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2009 National Equality March

rainbow flag at the U.S. CapitolThis year’s National Coming Out Day was marked by the National Equality March in Washington, DC.  I’ve always missed the marches in the past, so this year I decided to go.  What a great time!

It’s easy to forget that there are lots of LGBT folk (and lots of straight allies too!) around the country.  But standing in the crowds as we began to organize before the march, it was inspiring to look around and see all the different people.

There are no official counts, but the media has claimed that anywhere from tens of thousands to 200,000 people showed up for the grass roots rally.

In the past, marches for LGBT rights have taken much longer to organize.  But this year, after a perceived lack of political progress after the election of President Obama, Cleve Jones and David Mixner decided that it was time to remind the our politicians of the inequalities LGBT folks face regularly in employment, military service, and marriage equality.

(Note:  Eleven days after the march, Congress finally passed the Matthew Shepard Act, extending hate crimes protections to gays.)

As we waited in an intersection by McPherson Square for the march to begin, a rainbow showed up in the sky, giving a boost to the already lively crowd in which I was standing.  It was a mixed group with children, youth, even grandparents with signs supporting their gay and lesbian grandchildren.  It was a sight to behold.  I’ve included some photos here.

 

Slideshow

As we gathered around the Capitol, it was inspiring to see the number of people who turned out for the event.  And it was great to hear Troy Perry, the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, read a letter from South African Archbishop Desomnd Tutu and then lead the invocation for the speeches:

 

 

Overall, it was a fun day!  Great weather, fun people, and a light-hearted atmosphere.  Camp humor was alive and well and it was wonderful to see how folks could come together for a serious set of issues, but with a quirky sense of style.  Would that every day was a little more like this one was…

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