Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13



LGBTs March on Washington
by Chuck Colbert, Keen News Service

This article shared 3436 times since Sun Nov 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

The day after President Barack Obama delivered a rousing speech to more 3,000 LGBT supporters at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, gay-rights activists took to the streets of Washington, D.C. with another message: "Equality Across America." The message emblazoned on blue and white banners that stretched as wide as the city streets, were followed by youthful marchers chanting, "L. G. B. T. We demand equality," "Hey hey. Ho, ho. Homophobia has got to go," and "Hey Obama, let mama marry mama." Crowd estimates were between 100,000-200,000 people.

Under nearly clear blue, sunny skies, with temperatures in the high 60s, those who gathered at the Capitol to rally heard a diversity of speakers—more than 30 LGBT elected officials and activists, Black civil rights and religious leaders, comedians, performers, immigrants, artists, among others—articulate a new vision for the movement.

Speakers included Sex in the City star Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda in the television series and movie, and Judy Shepard, who became an activist against anti-gay violence after her 21-year-old son, Matthew, was brutally murdered in Laramie, Wyo., in October 1998 because he was gay.

The keynote speaker was Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP. His address connected the fight for gay equality with the Black civil rights movement.

"Black people, of all people, should not oppose equality, and that is what marriage is all about," he told the crowd. "We have a lot of real and serious problems in this country, and same-sex marriage is not one of them. Good things don't come to those who wait, but they come to those who agitate."

All afternoon, the message to the president and members of Congress was unambiguous: No more waiting. No more excuses. Equality. Gay equality. Now.

Many who trekked down Pennsylvania Avenue, past the White House and onto the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol building seemed to belongd to a new generation of college-aged, twenty- and thirtysomething young people. Many seemed to have been inspired to march by the passage of the anti-gay California Proposition 8 last November—the measure that took away marriage equality only five months after it was established.

But while a new generation of LGBT activists and allies turned out to be the prime movers behind 2009 National Equality March—relying heavily on Facebook and Twitter to organize—activists from the Baby Boom generation also played key roles in honing the message.

"We are equal in every way," said Harvey Milk protégé Cleve Jones, a longtime activist from San Francisco and a lead march organizer. "And if you believe we're equal, then it's time to act like it. Free people do not accept a prioritization of their rights and compromises. They do not accept delays. And when we hear leaders and those who represent us say, 'You must wait again,' we say, 'No, no, no longer will we wait."

Bisexual pop singer Lady Gaga, who had been a big hit Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, addressed marchers on Sunday, too.

"Obama, I know you are listening," she said, then pausing briefly. "ARE YOU LISTENING?" she screamed. "We will continue to push you and your administration to bring your words of promise to reality."

Marchers stepped off from downtown Washington, D.C., at about noon, with many, but not everyone, arriving at the Capitol rally in time for a speakers program, which began at 2 p.m. C-SPAN broadcast the march and rally live for several hours.

"It would be a mistake to interpret the overall turnout of the march, arguably smaller by comparison across the five total marches the movement has thus far staged, as an indicator that the demonstration was not successful," said Amin Ghaziani, a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at Princeton University and author of a 2008 book, The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in the Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington. The book is a sociological study and historical assessment of the four previous gay marches—in 1979, 1987, 1993 and 2000.

"We need to look closely at who attended. This march makes clear that a younger generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth has risen to continue the long struggle for equality," he explained. "The march also illustrates the more active role played by straight allies." And he suggested that, unlike in 2000, when HRC's yellow equal sign was prominent, the dominant symbol at this year's march was the rainbow flag—a symbol, he said, of a more community-based drive.

"This is just the first step," said Tanner Efinger, a march organizer who, along with others, said that gaining full equality under civil law in all 50 states requires a coordinated, sustained grassroots movement, including action teams in all 435 congressional districts to persuade elected officials to enact pro-gay legislation. The current state-by-state strategy, said march organizers, is not working, or not working fast enough.

Focusing on federal law, the right to marry and the right to serve in the military were the key goals that speakers hammered throughout the rally.

Lt. Dan Choi, an Iraqi war veteran and Arabic linguist who is fighting his discharge from the Army National Guard, told the gathering, "The right to love is worth fighting for."

The march comes during the 40th-anniversary year of the historic Stonewall Rebellion, a flare-up between police and the patrons of a gay bar in New York City in June 1969. Patrons of the bar fought back against police harassment of gays, inspiring a tremendous growth in the LGBT community and the vigor with which it sought equal treatment under the law.

©2009 Keen News Service

This article shared 3436 times since Sun Nov 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...

Gay News

Judge rules city's rejection of protest permit around DNC was justified 2024-02-01
- A judge upheld the city's denial of protest permits for a march around the Democratic National Convention this fall after an appeal from its organizers. A coalition of groups under the banner of Bodies Outside of ...

Gay News

LGBTQ+, reproductive rights organizers plan march on Democratic National Convention, appeal permit rejection 2024-01-31
- Organizers planning a protest march outside the Democratic National Convention in August are appealing the city's denial of their permits. The group of organizers under the banner of Bodies Outside of Unjust Laws had been planning ...

Gay News

Scott Free's new album revives protest music for the modern era 2024-01-09
By Alec Karam - Gay Chicago musician Scott Free wants to bring protest music back to the mainstream. With his new album Songs to Fight Oppression, Free has unveiled several new sing-along social justice songs to accompany protests, or simply ...

Gay News

In D.C., Black LGBTQ+ lawmakers protest Nigerian wedding arrests 2023-09-14
- On Sept. 12, Black LGBTQ+ lawmakers—led by Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero and D.C. Councilmember Zachary Parker, and alongside the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and other advocacy groups—protested outside ...

Gay News

Protest action to be held at site of Sept. 9 Jason Aldean concert in Tinley Park 2023-09-08
- The Revolution Club Chicago has announced a protest action against 46- year-old country music star and Nashville resident Jason Aldean outside of his Highway Desperado Tour appearance Sept. 9 at Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre. The protest ...

Gay News

Chicago activists counter-protest Rally for Life event 2023-06-24
- Chicago pro-choice activists attended a counter-protest of a pro-life rally marking the one-year anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24. The counter-protest was organized by a coalition of organizations, including Stop Trans ...

Gay News

LGBTQ, women's rights supporters to protest for civil rights in Chicago June 24 2023-06-12
--From a joint press release - On the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Dobbs anti-abortion decision, with a major anti-LGBTQ decision expected this month, and hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills pending in statehouses around the nation, organizers vow a rebirth of the spirit ...

Gay News

Violent clash takes place at Calif. school-board meeting over LGBTQ+ rights 2023-06-07
- On June 6, protesters clashed and fights erupted outside a meeting of the Glendale Unified School District board, which was scheduled to vote on recognizing June as Pride Month, ABC7 reported. After the skirmishes, police in ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Alabama protest, antibiotic, bi politician, high-school musicals, Key West 2023-05-12
- Alabama LGBTQ Action is urging the LGBTQ+ community and allies to join the group at a march on the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on Tuesday, May 16, to demand equal rights for all state residents, ...

Gay News

WORLD Hungarian law, French official, anti-Uganda protest, Rahm Emanuel 2023-04-14
- Germany and France are joining the EU Commission's infringement proceedings against Hungary over its anti-LGBTQ+ law, according to NBC News. The European Commission referred Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU in mid-2022 over ...

Gay News

NATIONAL 'Don't Say Gay,' anti-trans bills, gay Irish leader visits, gay Calif. mayor 2023-03-25
- In Indiana, approximately 100 students from the Center For Inquiry School 27 held a walk-out to protest the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would restrict how teachers are able to discuss sexual orientation or gender ...

Gay News

Protest held outside New Life Covenant Church over alleged anti-LGBTQ practices 2023-03-13
- Now-former New Life Covenant Church parishioner Rosaly Andino, who is a lesbian, and her allies gathered across the street from the church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood March 12 to protest alleged anti-LGBTQ practices by Pastor David Marrero. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Drag shows, LGBTQ+ honors, Bragman memorial, Fred Karger 2023-03-04
Video below - Dozens of supporters turned out outside the Crazy Aunt Hellen's restaurant in D.C. in anticipation of a drag show's planned protest by the far-right group Proud Boys—but police said members of the far-right, neo-fascist organization didn' ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Help center, PrEP/PEP bill, gay pol weds, Creating Change protest 2023-02-24
- On Feb. 21, the LGBT National Help Center officially launched its newest program, the LGBT National Coming Out Support Hotline, per a press release. The hotline focuses specifically on the concerns of those who are struggling ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.