Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ashley Inguanta hosted a Marriage Equality Celebration and Readings at Lake Eola.

On the evening before the ban on same sex marriages was lifted, Ashley Inguanta hosted readings that were a celebration of love at Lake Eola. I arrived a bit early and did a sketch of a big grassy field thinking that it would soon be filled with hundreds of supporters. Tisse Mallon arrived with some equipment on a dolly. Although the invitation said to meet in the field, Tisse realized that a small staging area nearby might have an outlet where she could plug in an amplifier and a mic. Sure enough there were plugs right behind the stage. She covered a small TV tray table with a black cloth and set the speaker up in front of that. The final touch were small candles that acted as foot lamps.

Perhaps a dozen people gathered on the wooden benches. Ashley took the microphone and introduced herself. She explained that on this chilly evening, we were celebrating the arrival of same-sex marriage with a series of readings by LGBT writers. Readers on the bill included Dianne Turgeon Richardson, Tisse Mallon and Ricardo Williams. As Ashley read the first poem about love, a policeman on a bicycle stopped to shut down the performance. It is rather ironic that poems about love should be considered subversive while people shout out hatred of hell and brimstone on street corners downtown. Ashley asked if she could continue to read without the mic. He allowed that and rode off. Ashley advised everyone to huddle together in the front row, for added body warmth and to hear her over the traffic. She got off the stage and moved close to the audience.

Tisse read an intimate poem about her first love. Other poems were by Dia Davina and Adrienne Rich. Ricardo explained that he wasn't LGBT but any injustice is an injustice to all. Dianne's story was similar. She was recently married and hadn't been writing much poetry while she was happy. The poems she used to write were always dark. On this cold evening there was a warmth and joy in every poem shared. Ricardo read a second poem, but I couldn't hear him over the passing traffic.

Ashley had recently moved to NYC where she hoped to find her soul mate and get married. She reminded us all that there were only four hours left until there would be marriage equality in Florida. Now it will be possible for anyone to find a committed lasting love in the City Beautiful.


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