national equality march


V.18 No.43 | 10/22/2009
The movement
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Maren Tarro

Just Say Yes

The struggle for LGBT rights hits home

When Alibi news editor Marisa Demarco asked if I would cover the National Equality March in D.C. I quickly responded with a great big “Yes”. Nevermind the march took place the weekend I was scheduled to be hauling all my earthly belongings into my new apartment outside Baltimore, and never mind I’d never actually been to D.C. before. I was excited for the opportunity to document this event. (See the piece and other photos here.)

And then, as I started working on the article, a phone interview with One Struggle, One Fight–New Mexico’s Kelly Hutton caused me to seriously think about attending the march as more than a reporter. Her infectious enthusiasm got to me. “Please! Come march with us,” Hutton encouraged me, and her invitation echoed in my thoughts as I made my travel plans.

Additional pressure came in a phone call from my mother who reminded me I had many LGBT friends and family members who would be unable to make it to D.C. The weight on my shoulders was growing heavy. I could have easily shrugged it off by telling myself I was a reporter; my job was to attend as an objective observer and nothing more.

But I couldn’t. My conscience wouldn’t be that easily appeased.

So, I marched. I marched in between climbing walls to get the best shots I could, between hanging off light posts to get just the right angle and between tracking down activists from New Mexico. I ran alongside marchers, doubling back to snap photos of clever signs and then hurrying to catch up to marchers arriving at the Capitol. I jumped on and off cement barriers and planters, jogged backwards to catch groups caught up in the moment and ended up with a stress fracture in my left foot. But I marched.

I marched for my aunt Gloria who died last year after a fiercely short battle with ovarian cancer. I marched for her partner Deanna who was referred to only as “friend” and “roommate” at Gloria’s Catholic funeral.

I marched for my HIV-positive cousin Mari, the first transgender person I’d ever met. As I child, I was endlessly fascinated by him, putting him on my list of things to ponder between Boy George and God.

I marched for my cousin Felix, a young lesbian who I have so much admiration for. She is unapologetic for her identity even to her devoutly Catholic family.

I marched for all my LGBT friends over the years who are too numerous to name. But I will make special mention of John Cook, a nurse and teacher who may very well be the best drinking buddy a gal can have.

And I marched for all those who made their way to D.C. to support their community. For the military personnel thrown out under DADT, for the young people bullied in school over their sexuality, the parents who aren’t recognized as parents under current laws, partners who are refused the right to be at their loved one’s sides in hospitals, those ostracized in their churches and the countless others who find themselves denied anything based on their orientation, I marched.

The march continues. Now is the time to write letters to our senators, representatives and councilmen. Now is the time to tell everyone you know to support our friends and family in their old-as-time struggle for equal treatment under the law.

I marched for my loved ones, but will you?

V.18 No.42 | 10/15/2009
“We're here, we're queer!” Marchers arrive at the Capitol and pack the lawn with several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue still filled with marchers.
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Maren Tarro

News Feature

They’re Here, They’re Queer—They’re Grassroots

New Mexicans join the national march for LGBT rights

WASHINGTON, D.C.They voted for change when they voted for Obama. Now, the LGBT community is making its growing impatience with the president heard. But calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act weren't the only reasons tens of thousands gathered in D.C. to put pressure on Washington. Unlike previous gay rights marches, the National Equality March on Oct. 10 and 11 was largely a grassroots effort, perhaps signaling a change in how the community—specifically the younger generation—will tackle equality issues.

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Forward March!

Can’t make it to the National Equality March in D.C. this weekend? Wish you could be connected to marchers and follow from home?

Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, blogs and nonstop cable news, you can. Here are a few connections for those sitting this one out:

Twitter:

@NtlEqMarch

@iqreport (Team of NEM live tweeters)

@myshinyredshoes, @GaiBoi2009 (Marchers from One Struggle One Fight - New Mexico)

@MTarro (Yours truly with live updates and photos)

Facebook:

National Equality March

Kelly Equality Hutton (One Struggle, One Fight New Mexico)

Blogs, websites:

One Struggle One Fight - New Mexico

Equality Across America

And C-Span will be broadcasting live from the march from noon to 3 p.m. p.m. MST on Sunday.

And see next week’s news section in the Alibi for coverage.

V.18 No.40 | 10/1/2009

politics

National Gay Rights March

Ace reporter Maren Tarro will be covering for the Alibi the National Equality March in Washington, D.C., this weekend.

From the site:

“We are guaranteed equal protection by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Free and equal people do not bargain for or prioritize our rights, so we are coming to DC this October 10-11th to demand equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.”

Earlier this year, I interviewed vexillographer Gilbert Baker, the man who sewed the first rainbow Pride flag in 1978. When I spoke with him in June, he was already spending hours over his sewing machine in Harlem making banners for October’s D.C. demonstration.

From the article:

"I went back to my roots," Baker says. "I did upgrade to, like, really fabulous silk and sequins. They're stunning in the great tradition of revolution, but they certainly have the detail of a couture evening gown."

This news story says the first march in 1993 drew between 300,000 and 1 million people. This year’s rally will coincide with National Coming Out Day on Sunday, Oct. 11.

If you can’t make it all the way to Washington, Sinatra-DeVine Productions is putting up “Come Out Come Out,” the annual drag revue, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. There are 300 seats left.