Tens of Thousands Gather on Capitol for LGBT Equality

Tens of thousands marched on Washington D.C. Sunday to demand equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Activists and allies called for an end to discriminatory federal laws such as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and advocated for marriage equality in all 50 states. National Equality MarchSpeakers at the rally included NAACP Chairman Julian Bond; Army 1st Lt. Daniel Choi, an Iraq war veteran who faces discharge after revealing that he is gay; pop music sensation Lady Gaga; “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon; and GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. As The New York Times reported on Sunday, the National Equality March came just one day after President Obama addressed 3,000 people at a fundraising event for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT organization. President Obama renewed his promise to overturn DADT and DOMA at the HRC gala, but drew criticism from some advocates who believe the president must act more swiftly in realizing his campaign promises to the LGBT community. “I think he has a lot on his plate,” Rachael McIntosh of Worcester, Mass. told The New York Times. “But I’d hoped we’d be a priority.” Be that as it may, the speakers at Sunday’s rally invigorated the community. The Washington Post profiled glam rocker Lady Gaga on Monday and highlighted her significant role in raising awareness about the Equality March. Gaga, who is openly bisexual, called the rally “the most important moment of [her] career.” The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, pointed to NAACP Chairman Julian Bond as being particularly moving. "We have a lot of real and serious problems in this country,” Bond said. “And same-sex marriage is not one of them.” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios also spoke at Sunday’s rally. Barrios stressed the importance of everyday conversation in the fight for total equality:
Our impatient march begins in far more humble places than Capitol Hill – at the office water cooler, at the Friday night fish-fry, at the Facebook page staring at you from your laptop, or the dining room filled with family for Sunday supper. In these plain-spoken places it isn’t legislation -- it isn’t a lawsuit that moves us forward – it is our stories that we tell about our lives.
(Video of Barrios’s speech can be found here) GLAAD also offered media training services at Georgetown University to assist an array of community activists and organizers with developing media outreach campaigns and sharing personal stories with national media outlets. For more information about the National March for Equality, please visit: http://equalityacrossamerica.org/