Students march for LGBT rights
October 16, 2009
Nineteen members of the Lambda Alliance traveled to Washington, D.C. by car, bus and metro to attend the Oct. 11 National Equality March.
Participants gathered in McPherson Square and walked two miles to the Capitol Building, passing the White House along the way.
As the march began at noon, a rainbow appeared in the sky, receiving thunderous applause from the protesting crowd.
“It really struck me, the range of narrow interests that were unified in this march for a broader range of equality such as transgender, immigration and lesbian interests,” Jeff Bergemann ‘09 said.
Equality Across America, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, organized the march to demonstrate support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights to policy makers in Congress.
Gaining marriage rights for same-sex couples, adding sexual orientation and gender identity into businesses’ non-discrimination clauses and including sexual orientation in the hate crime laws were a few of the issues brought up by activists in the march.
“I’m strongly supportive of the gay rights movement,” Cory Hitt ’11 said. “I don’t understand why God wouldn’t want to keep two peaceful, loving people together in matrimony.”
The date of the rally coincided with National Coming Out Day, which is devoted to the celebration of LGBT identities. It also came on the heels of a promise by President Barack Obama to end the U.S. Military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly.
While there were no official crowd counts, estimates put the rally’s attendance in the hundreds of thousands.
Signs ranged from humorous ones such as “Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine husbands legally; I just want one” to signs held by young children saying, “Let my mommies get married.”
As the huge mass of people made their way toward the Capitol, supporters lined the road and cheered, including a group holding a sign saying, “Teabaggers for gay rights.” There were a few people protesting the demands of the marchers on religious grounds.
Still, an overwhelming majority of the protestors were marching in support of gay rights.
“This was not only a march for those being oppressed by not getting the proper rights,” Will Martin ’11 said.
“At every turn, you could find someone who was straight holding up a sign saying, ‘Not gay, but an ally,’ and that’s what really counted.”
On the lawn of the Capitol, activists such as Cleve Jones and Lady GaGa spoke, calling for equality in law.
Overall, members of the Lambda Alliance agreed that the march was a success.
“It brought the community together,” Martin said. “And truly showed that we are not alone.”