Revolution #180, October 25, 2009
October 11 March for Equality
Tens of Thousands Take to the DC Streets for Gay Rights
Washington, DC, October 11—Many tens of thousands took to the streets of the U.S. capital to demand “equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states”—including marriage rights. People came from all over the East Coast and many other places, some traveling hundreds or thousands of miles. Among the marchers were veterans of the gay rights movement. But what was notable was the huge presence of young people, many who were at their first big protest. There were contingents from many different colleges and universities, as well as students and youth who came on their own or with small groups of friends. There was an air of determination among those in DC on this day to resist the unjust situation facing LGBT people—and also a sense of celebration at being part of this very significant outpouring.
After a march that stretched for miles, people rallied in front of the Capitol. Among those speaking and performing were: Julian Bond, current chairman of the NAACP; Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter for the film Milk; spoken word artist Staceyann Chin; Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was beaten to death in 1998 because he was gay; and the cast of the Broadway musical Hair (see Li Onesto slide show below), who canceled a matinee performance to attend the march. Cleve Jones, longtime gay activist who played a leading role in organizing the march, declared at the rally: “A free and equal people do not tolerate prioritization of their rights. They do not accept compromises. They do not accept delays. And when we see leaders and those who represent us saying ‘you must wait again,’ we say No! No! No longer will we wait!”
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