Condo Blues: I Marched in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Marched in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade

My feet hurt. I was tired. My hands in their it-was-supposed-to-be-colder-than-this fleece gloves were starting to overheat. My frustration grew. I could not always hear the cadence from my band to stay in step due to the drum corps in front of us, the echo from the buildings, and the parade announcers over the loudspeakers. Out all of the parades I have ever marched or will ever march, this parade had to be perfect.

Then I saw it. I sucked in my breath like an excited child seeing for the first time what Santa placed under the tree on Christmas morning.

The Presidential box.

I am marching as an ally in the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) marching band. Two hundred and fifteen people strong we are the largest civilian marching band in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade.

Everything I was feeling vanished except patriotism, pride in my band, and the profound responsibility that I am there for something greater than myself.

Photo courtesy of MSN

After I got home, it took me awhile to write about the experience. First, I had to recover from marching over 22 miles in three days (2 days of rehearsals and the parade itself) after a month long battle with bronchitis. Next I had organize everything I did, felt, and experienced into something more cohesive than WOW! Finally I had to face the fear of posting it.  

I had more marching practise than the rest of the band because several people in the Honor Guard had not marched in a band before. They asked me and the other experienced marchers to be good role models. Me? I know. There's a first time for everything!  

You see, after I announced my marching in the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Parade in I’m Marching on Washington! The President Asked me To (Sorta) (you can read that post here)  it did not go well.

I lost readers because of that post.

A lot of them.

I don’t know if they left because they think I am a horrible person because I believe in equal treatment for everyone or because I am a horrible person due to partisan politics. Maybe they hate marching bands. I don't know.

It is disappointing. 

So is the lost revenue I hoped would help offset my band fees and travel costs.  It would have been nice to have some extra coming in to cover the impromptu costs.

While losing readers is disheartening, it reminds me why Husband insisted I still go when he could not due to a big work project.

We represented our home band Capital Pride of Columbus well.  
Ohio had the third largest number of band members in attendance. 

Fortunately, that was the only bit of rain on my parade. Baltimore was supportive. We drew enthusiastic crowds during our rehearsals as we marched around the Inner Harbor

Little kids joining our parade was adorable. I wish I had a photo of the little boy who asked to try on a tuba. It swallowed him. Heart meltingly cute!

Spectators were excited and followed us. Everyone likes to watch a marching band! Someone put us up on You Tube. I embedded the video below because it is the only video where you can actually see me marching. You can see the Ohio flag but not me in most of the TV footage and photos of the Inauguration Parade.

Some people thought we were a Ravens pep band *shudder* (I’m from Cleveland.)

Inauguration Day was exciting but it was also an endurance test. The day started early with a little DIY to stretch my too small hat with an ice bucket in my hotel room bathtub.

I found a practical use for Fiji water! 
There's no way I was going to actually drink it.

Our buses left the hotel at five o’clock in the morning for Washington DC. When we got to DC we ate some Inauguration Bacon.

If might have already seen this if you follow me on Instagram.

I became one with my bus seat. We spent a lot of time on buses waiting for various logistical and security checks and things to happen that I can’t tell you about. 

We are smiling because no one tried to sing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall like someone always tried to do on the high school band bus.  

There were a lot of rules and I followed them all. Surprising, but true. Here are a few of the preparade things I can share.

The Jefferson Memorial from my bus window. Matthew the most patient section leader who dubbed us The Bad News Bears. Our Drum Majors warming up the band. Do you see those people in the yellow jackets behind them? They are a service dog group! Cap Priders get a little help from the Washington Monument to spell out OHIO. (Roll with it. It's an Ohio thing.)

After waiting and waiting and waiting some more, we marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The crowds cheered.

My heart swelled with pride. I named a step for every LGBTQIA person I knew and marched with in my heart down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue. Husband got the first one.

As a lifelong Buckeye I make fun of Ohio a lot (in fact I'm wearing my Columbus Cow Tipping Team sweatshirt as I type this post.) but I have never been so proud to represent my state as I was that day. I carried our state flag (which is technically a pennant) with honor.  It was an After School Special moment.

Before the parade,  a gay acquaintance asked me why as a straight person I march in a gay band. My friend wasn’t being rude, he told me he wanted to understand why.

I’ll leave you with what I told him. This will most likely be the first and last time I blog about it here because while important to me, it is not related to DIY and Condo Blues is a DIY blog. However, if I am going to anger and lose more readers over this, which I can almost guarantee, then you deserve a better explanation than I like to twirl flag and my friends asked me to join their marching band.


  • I am marching at the request of my President. I would go no matter which side won the election because I love my country even when our politicians refuse to work together.

  • I am marching to celebrate the peaceful exchange of power (from same person to same person but still historically peaceful.)  Sadly there are countries in the world that don't have that.

  • I am marching because we support the equal treatment of everyone, especially our personal community of co-workers and friends some so dear to Husband and I we consider them family.

  • I am marching because getting a job, a place to live, worshiping at a religious institution, having your relationship legally recognized, or visiting your partner in life at the hospital and making decisions for them if need be should not depend upon your type of union.

  • I am marching for every person who still has to speak in code in certain situations.

  • I am marching because a former co-worker was severely beaten by two men who decided to spend an evening beating up gays and only stopped when they realized she was not a man but an androgynously dressed woman.

  • I am marching for everyone afraid for their safety if they hold their beloved's hand in public.

  • I am marching for every person who was a beloved family member until they came out to their family.

  • I am marching for the millions of men and women in the military who until recently couldn’t serve openly and were considered a security risk.

  • I am marching for the next generation of LGBT kids.

  • I am marching because the straight people who professionally picket LGBT events think they speak for me when they absolutely do not.

  • I am marching because of the woman in a store who thought it was a funny joke to say if Husband and I bought the rainbow colored band-aids it would turn us gay.

  • I am marching to show LGBT people that not all straight people are narrow.

  • I am marching for Harvey Milk.

  • I am marching for Matthew Shepard.

  • I am marching for YOU.

  • I am marching for me.

I am marching for EVERYONE.

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed or to Condo Blues by Email.


Mary said...

I am proud to be one of your bog readers, Lisa! I'm glad you went and I'm glad you had a wonderful experience. Thanks.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Thank you Mary!

debbieb0925 said...

Lisa-I am so sad that anyone would decide to stop following your blog because of politics or your wonderful stand for LGBT rights. In 1985 I was a student at GWU in DC and had tickets to attend Reagan's inauguration. A hard core Democrat I was still incredibly excited to participate in such a fantastic experience. Sadly it was too cold, it was moved inside and only the important people got to attend (boo!). When I read your first post I was filled with joy for you and for the band for being selected. It was such an incredible honor and something to be so proud of. I am so glad that you had such a great opportunity. FWIW I wouldn't stop following you even though many of the DIY projects are WAY beyond my skill set! I still read with true admiration and awe.

Anonymous said...

Great pics! I feel strongly about equal rights for every person regardless of sexual orientation and have spoken strongly about this in my life as well. Sometimes it is safer for a heterosexual woman to stand up for gay, lesbian and transgendered brothers and sisters than it is for themselves. Sad, but true...people listen more at first. Then it is great when someone they already know comes out to them and they (hopefully) see how silly they've been. Sometimes they cause deep hurt and hatred to spread and this is why I speak out.
Thanks for walking and rest those feet:-)
Sue Clarke

Laina27 said...

Way to go Lisa! I lived vicariously through your post, as I would have done the same if asked. Don't think again about the haters out there. They are not worthy of your energy. Always do what you know to be right, with love, and you can't go wrong. Peace and O-H...

Patty said...

I also am a loyal reader, and follower, of your blog. How sad that shallow people left your blog. I have a lot,as my sister says,straight and twisted friends.(That was their official group name. Isn't it funny?!?) Thanks for standing strong.

Barb @ Turtles and Tails said...

Good for you for marching!

I just found your blog today (when you commented on mine) and I'm proud to become a follower!


P.S. I thought it was funny that you hang art over your dog's bowls - we do that too!

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Thank you so much for your comments of support! It makes up for the relative (by marriage) who unfriended me and the unsubscription notices I'm getting after this post. Feel free to share this post via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Allie said...

I don't comment often, but I always read, Lisa.

You are beautiful.

Anna (Green Talk) said...

Lisa, I proud to call you my friend.

Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green said...

Sorry to hear that you lost readers. Thank you for standing up for equal rights!!

Robj98168 said...

I M NOT ONLY PROUD TO BE CB reader I'M PROUD (AND THANKFUL) OF MY FRIEND LISA FOR MARCHING FOR ME AND OTHERS LIKE ME. Anyone has a problem with that can go piss up a rope!

Post a Comment

I love comments and read them all! If you’re shy and don’t want your opinions made public, you can always email me at condoblues [at] gmail [dot] com.