Why the March on Washington is Crucial

There’s been some controversy in the LGBT blogging community (such as it is) for the last few months about the worth of this October’s March on Washington. I see value in both sides of the debate, though I fall pretty hard in favor of the march. Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters did a good job summing up the anti-march arguments last week, and the following is adapted from my response to his post.

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national-equality-march-logoMany people, myself included, weren’t politically active until last November when we were shocked to attention. The energy created then is now collecting dust while we all wait for congress or the president or whoever else to actually DO something. All we’re hearing from our supposed leaders, with due respect, is to wait a little longer, to be patient.

That attitude was necessary during the Bush years, but we don’t need it anymore. We have a majority in congress and in the White House, and an increasingly supportive generation that is begging to help us. There has never been a better time to push forward relentlessly, and our window of opportunity is closing quickly.

A March in Washington does three things:

  1. It tells our governmental leaders that the time is NOW, that we won’t be patted on the head and then ignored for another five or ten years.
  2. It tells our LGBT leaders to get on board or get out of the way. No more waiting politely for someone to decide we’re worth the political cost.
  3. Most importantly, it infuses a new generation with the confidence of those who have been fighting for years. This generational passing-down of values and ideas is so much more difficult in the LGBT community because we don’t have the automatic mechanism of familial generations. We have to make a much more concerted effort than our straight counterparts.

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Regardless of this disagreement, the March on Washington is scheduled for October 10-11, 2009. I’ll have another post soon with more details, but for now I’ll just point out that this is not an LGBT-exclusive event. Straight allies are not only welcome, I think they’re instrumental to our success.


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