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people marching with colored umbrellas that made a rainbow flag pattern from aboveEver since Osama bin Warren was allowed to unconstitutionally participate in the inauguration, there has been a growing disquiet with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats in the queer community. We constantly have been told to "give him a chance" whenever we speak up. Younger queers found it bizarre that basic rights are treated as trivialities which must be set aside indefinitely. Those of us who have been around longer remember being told "give him a chance" during a previous Administration only to have Bill Clinton turn out to be viciously homophobic.

Cleve Jones and the other organizers of the National Equality March (NEM) did something about it. They organized their butts off and got hundreds of thousands of queers to protest in DC with a very small budget. The NEM put queer issues back on the national agenda after years of both parties trying to keep all of them but same sex marriage from being addressed in any way at all in Congress and the media.

The NEM pointed a big red arrow at the DC Democrats poor record on queer issues. The Obama administration, being typically contemptuous of us, decided to throw us a bone by having the President make a speech at the HRC dinner. We choked on that bone.

This is where the courageous people who picketed the HRC dinner played a huge role. Obama's speech was irritating and offensive in the absence of overdue action, yet that irritation would have remained isolated and unfocused if not for the picketers galvanizing it.

Thanks to the massive outpouring of people and energy at the NEM and the HRC dinner picketers who were speaking for the vast majority of lgbt people, the Washington Democrats realized that they actually would have to do something for us. They picked passage of hate crimes legislation because that is the queer issue that has the most overwhelming support among the general population. In the process, they passed legislation on the second most important queer issue.

The NEM and the HRC picket didn't pass the legislation by themselves. People have been working on the issue for at least three decades. What they accomplished was to give a final push to an effort that had been stalled for far too long.

Thanks again to the street activists who made this happened. If people had all just sat home and waited, we wouldn't have passed a hate crimes bill for years, if not decades.

Photo: samirluther

1 Responses to Many Thanks to the Participants in the National Equality March and the Picket Outside the HRC Dinner

  1. Lew Scannon Says:
  2. A show that big enough and loud enough protests will work, especially when it backs people into the corner. Shining a light on the inequities of the system as far as basic rights go forced those in power to either stand up for these rights, or act as the callous and shallow people they are when the television cameras are turned away. We need more of these marches in order to wake the Democraps up and remind them of why they were put in the majority.



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