Marching Prouder: Gay Musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area After the Inaugural Parade
As a drum major, Kim Boyd is often marching tall. But the Oakland resident said there’s a little something extra in his step since he marched in the Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
“I don’t know how to explain it to you. I step prouder,” Boyd, 51, said. “You already hold your head high, but you step prouder.”
That pride comes not just from Boyd’s participation in the parade, but also from what President Obama said during his inaugural address. Boyd is a member of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band who marched in the parade with the Lesbian and Gay Band Association; in his address, the president expressed support for gay rights and same-sex marriage. He also referenced the Stonewall riot, a seminal event in the gay rights movement.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
The musicians marching with the Lesbian and Gay Band Association listened to the address on a bus, where they were waiting for parade preparations to begin
“At the first moment, when he said Stonewall, just that alone, the whole bus cheered,” Jason LeBrun said. The 33-year-old San Francisco resident played cowbell in the parade. “People had tears in their eyes.”
“To actually hear the president say Stonewall and talk about equality for gay and lesbian people … it really touched my heart,” Boyd said. “It made me that much prouder to be there and do a good job marching by him.”
Now back in the Bay Area, both LeBrun and Boyd say they’re heartened by the symbolism of the president’s address.
“It makes me feel like we have a president that’s fighting for me and my rights, for equality,” Boyd said.
However, LeBrun added that he feels the president should continue to show vocal support for gay rights now that the inaugural ceremony has ended.
“The job of the the president is to be a visible leader. … I really want to see him keep doing what he did in the inauguration,” he said. “I want that sort of unwavering commitment as far as his public appearances go.”
You can check out photos below of Boyd and other local musicians rehearsing for the inauguration and of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association marching in Washington, D.C. The photos were shot by San Jose State University student James Tensuan for inaugblog.com, a NewsHour project that featured coverage of the inauguration by college students.