"You're just going to pick up girls, aren't you."
Why the issue of abortion, contraception, and reproductive rights is seen as exclusively a woman's or even a lesbian's issue baffles me, but it is certainly true. Before I left, many of my friends were convinced that I was doing it just to be close to as many girls as possible, because I am a guy. There were others, including people who attended, who thought that my alleged efforts would be thwarted by the fact that the girls were interested in other things. Considering that lesbians as a class are not quite the target market for abortions, and that both men and women are involved in the potential initiation of baby production, which one or both partners might be interested in engaging in while one or both might be trying to limit the aftermath, it should simply be the sort of issue that everyone would want to care about.
Yes, I was one of six men on the bus to Washington, D.C. for the March for Women's lives, and one of those men was the bus driver. Yes, there were lesbians making out in the seat behind me at one point. But these are not why I came (and frankly, while lesbians are erotic in the abstract, seeing them make out isn't that big of a deal unless the lesbians in question are particularly hot or interesting to you). I went because, for activities that humans will always perform, I prefer legalized control and proper education to marginalizing the activity, criminalizing it, and ignoring it or throwing into jail those who practice it, not because I am interested in such activities, but because the government has more possibility of positive control over a legal activity than an illegal one. I went because I oppose sloppy legislation, which in this case involves partial-birth abortion laws and George W. Bush's reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. I went because I want every child that is born to be wanted. I went because abstinence-only sex education doesn't work in this country. Regardless of whether these ideas are right and good, they have nothing to do with wanting to get laid, and there is nothing about them that limits them to the female brain.
These are all of the things that I was insisting inside my head. But because of the fact that the issue is seen as a women's issue, an interesting thing happened to me when I got to the National Mall and saw the sheer quantity of people there. Estimates ranged from 500,000 to 1.1 million. One thing was sure: it was massive.
I was surrounded by women, but this did not affect me in the eye-popping sexually aggresive way you'd see in a movie, because I was not surrounded by girls, I was surrounded by female humanity. There is a difference. At first I did not notice. Then doubts began to creep in as I chanted chants meant for women to chant and heard about how this was a women's issue over and over. Do I really belong there? Does anyone think I'm just a really butch lesbian? I picked up a sign that said "US: GET OUT OF MY UTERUS" and carried it around in an effort to make myself feel less out of place by calling attention to how out of place I felt. I've felt out of place before, but this time it was impossible to just ignore it.
Throughout the weekend women said "thank you" for my coming. At first I thought that was ridiculous, because why shouldn't guys come? But after going through the entire weekend I started to appreciate it. I'm not trying to say that I learned so much, that I'll act differently, or anything like that. Even so, the experience affected me because it was not what I expected.