Bil Browning

Is It Time for Another March on Washington?

Filed By Bil Browning | February 14, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: LGBT rights, March on Washington, Robin Tyler, state vs federal

The Washington Blade is reporting that activist (and regular Bilerico commenter and guest poster) Robin Tyler is calling for NEM_2009_Capital.jpganother march on Washington DC in 2012.

Veteran lesbian activist Robin Tyler of Los Angeles says she's talking to LGBT leaders and organizations across the country about the possibility of a national march on Washington for equality in May 2012.
She said an LGBT march on Washington held in October 2009 and a series of street protests during the past year by the direct action group Get Equal played a key role in what she called the few LGBT advances under the Obama administration, including the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." She was not involved in organizing the 2009 march.

"The fact is, without continuous protests that Get Equal, Dan Choi, Robin McGhee and others did, I believe, as so many others do, that DADT would not have been struck down," Tyler said.

While critics say that organizing in activists' home turf would be more effective, Tyler posits that the enthusiasm for a national march would trickle down into the fifty. I'd be more inclined to support a national day of marches in every state; it's easier for lawmakers to ignore a march in Washington, but a large local march would get the attention of both federal and state legislators in most states.

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In March 1999, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force partnered with state organizations in all 50 states to coordinate activities for Equality Begins At Home. It resulted in over 250 distinct actions in the states, including first-ever LGBT political activity in a couple of states. While I think that national marches serve some very important purposes--mobilizing our people and allies to raise our voices in the nation's capital; energizing people to join our movement for social justice; bringing much-needed national publicity to our movement; instigating activity at home to support pro-LGBT candidates;(sometimes) lobbying Members of Congress and the Presidential Administration--the case can also be made that action in the states may bring positive results at a time when Congressional prospects for progress seem somewhat dim. I am interested and curious to hear more about the plans and the conversations now underway and will be looking forward to updates, Bil.

I agree that National Day of Marches in all states and Washington, DC (which should become the 51st State) may be more important at this time. It is especially important in all the states that have enacted constitutional amendments against same sex marriage, that the pressure and visibility are maintained. It's too bad that it is an either/or situation, a national march or 51 smaller ones. I think that many in our communities are a bit too comfortable, and do not see the need to be publicly active, visible, and continuous in the efforts. Solitary bursts now and then, here and there do not amount to much. There is not much likelihood of a DOMA repeal until more states enact marriage, especially New York and New Jersey. I think that with 2012 an election year, more local efforts, including the election of more local and state LGBTQ office holders, is a better use of people and money.

I'd be in if the primary (only?) focus wasn't just marriage.

How about we organize to march in the 9 states that have gay-only job/housing/accommodations protections?

Exactly. I'd rather let each state decide what the important issues facing their lgbt citizens are instead of a top-down national march.

Whether national, local, bicoastal or regional, a campaign of mass marches is the way to go. Lobbying and electing 'fierce advocate'/backstabbers won't cut it.

Equally important is the political emphasis placed on issues like SSM, ENDA, a broader push for inclusive and robust protections for ourselves, women, immigrants and people of color and the defense of Bradley Manning .

None of these questions can be solved authoritatively unless we have a democratic (not Democratic), national activists convention to discuss them and vote on them.

I'm for another one, but I don't agree with the timing. In May 2012, there will be still be Republican control of the House, and election season will be underway. I don't think this would affect change at all. Maybe a year later?

First of all, thanks for posting this Bill, and thanks to everyone for their comments. I think that State and city Marches are great. We here in
Los Angeles had tens of thousands of us out on the
streets for weeks after Prop. 8 passed. We also
had several rallys in the State Capital. I remember NGLTF's Equality Begins at Home. There were some positive actions to come out of that. It is not a matter of one over the other. We need to see continued activism in the cities and states. However, National Marches (if the time line is at least a year out) do mobilize activism on the State and local level. 2012 is perfect timing. We will only have influence prior to a natonal election, not after. Again, I want to
thank you for your feedback. It was not filled
with personal attacks, but your thoughtful analysis on what we should do. Look to Egypt.
Mass mobilization works. Robin

John Rutledge | February 15, 2011 7:15 PM

We need a civil rights march with broad support from straight allies, not just focusing on the marriage issue. The GLBT community itself is divided on marriage. GLBT equality is the civil rights issue of our time. It effects everyone. We are all touched. We are all community. Injustice to any is injustice to all! This message needs to encompass all people. We need to be visible and unified with people from all walks of life. We need to look like the crowd in Egypt, broad spectrum, families, blue and white color, in living rainbow color. All march for the right to live out loud, to celebrate who we are made to be. There are no mistakes. You are you, I am me, together we are all we, and we are beautiful.

I'd rather see resources used during the heat of the 2012 campaign to help win back the US House and try to keep the Senate which is in big trouble. There will undoubtedly be various referenda to fight in the states as well.

If there was a major piece of legislation to rally behind that needed a big push, a national march might make sense. But in this Congress, that isn't a possibility.


And lets make it a nostalgia festival by making toilet-trolling, involuntarily-out George Michael as the guest of honor - just like Gay, Inc., thought was such a spiffy idea in 2000.

And since I'm sure everyone really wants to make it a truly trans-inclusive affair, there should be an equally upstanding trans guest of honor....

Boy George!


Lesbian GOH?

How about the ghost of Aileen Wuornos?