Marching With Aly Against Prop 8

Tom Hymes
So, in the face of floating embers and rolling blackouts that actually darkened our Valley apartment, Saturday I dragged my sorry butt to downtown Los Angeles to join a massive gathering of Prop 8 opponents gathered at City Hall for speeches before embarking on an energetic if somewhat ragtag march through the streets.

Wow, what a day. LAPD says the crowd was about 15,000 strong, but I think it was much larger and closer to the 40,000 expected.

All I know is that more and more people kept showing up and when the speeches were done and it was time to march, it took about 15-20 minutes for the crowd to loosen up in order for people to have room to even take a step. I learned that large crowds are like aircraft carriers in their inability to maneuver quickly and adroitly.

For all the crush, however, and despite the emotional weight of the issue and moment, it was a perfectly well-behaved gathering of Angelenos of every age, ethnicity and sexual orientation, all of whom exuded a very positive feeling throughout the day. Many of the signs were witty, many of the chants were funny and creative, and I think that anyone who showed up had to realize that the breadth and depth of the solidarity exhibited that day can only be interpreted as a portent of positive things to come.

In other words, I think anyone who showed up feeling isolated and forlorn had to come away with the belief that the future belongs to citizens whose natural bent is to accept, embrace and include rather than judge, tolerate and exclude.

I don't really like explaining what to me is a no-brainer opposition to something as pathetic as 8 but perhaps it makes sense here. As a straight married man, my feelings on the subject are simple. I cannot possibly categorically deny to others what I have for myself, but even more important, in accepting others' commitments to one another I believe that my own marriage is not weakened but rather strengthened. Love binds us, after all.

As good as it felt to be there among so many strangers of like mind, the day brought me a special surprise. Shortly after arriving, I turned in search of a better shooting angle and there standing before me flashing a broad beautiful smile was our dear friend Aly Drummond, ex-Cruise Director for Python and a beloved member of the industry for several years.

We'd been out of touch and so spent the day marching together and commiserating. What a joy. As one of the more thoughtful members of the business, Aly had always been one of my favorite characters, a real live human being in a sea of poseurs. We'd served together on the ASACP advisory council for a few years and also worked together at AVN, though not for very long. Now that she's been away for a few years, it was interesting to hear her perspective on her time in the industry. Distance is a great equalizer, and most of us would benefit from a similar adjustment in perspective, whether we plan on staying in the game or not.

But make no mistake, should you so choose there is life beyond porn. For her part, Aly has had great adventures over the past two years and her enviable ability to live an interesting life is very much in play. Healthy and thus resistant to any return to the trenches of adult, she is working and has personal projects in development, and I suspect that those among us who miss her engaging wit may very well be able to benefit from it again in one form or another.

We can only hope.