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ABC’s nightly news titled its story: “Brokeback Bunny? Gays Vie for Easter Egg Roll.” An interviewer at the ABC studio told me that I was the only “controversial one” in the story, Chrisler’s coalition of transgender parents apparently being controversy-free.
“What would President Rutherford B. Hayes say about all of this?” the interviewer asked. “Probably pretty shocked,” I said of the first president to host a public egg roll at the White House. “Wouldn’t he also be shocked by black children on the White House lawn?” he asked. “Actually not,” I responded, pointing out that Hayes, a former abolitionist and Civil War general, had a pretty good civil rights record.
ABC’s nightly report did not use this insightful exchange about President Hayes. Instead, it briefly quoted me saying the Family Pride Coalition’s plans to exploit the egg roll were “tasteless.” After featuring a lesbian couple in New York planning to journey to Washington, D.C., the story concluded with footage of the egg roll being racially integrated by Ike and Mamie.
It rained the Monday morning of the egg roll. And some of Chrisler’s mobilized followers complained that even though they had been among the first in line to get tickets, they were not permitted in until after 11 a.m., well past the 9 a.m. appearance of the First Couple. The White House explained that the first two hours were reserved for the children of White House staff and for children from volunteer groups.
In the end, the Family Pride Coalition had about 200 of its alternative families show up in rainbow leis. After the rainy morning at the White House, they attended a “celebration” at Foundry United Methodist Church, where the Clintons regularly used to attend.
Meanwhile, neither Chrisler nor I are likely to experience such a bevy of media opportunities any time again soon. But I enjoyed the ride, and I think she did too.
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