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Why I joined the Equality March on Washington

June 22, 2017

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On Sunday, June 19, I joined the National LGBTQ Task Force in marching with the 2017 Equality March for Pride in Unity in D.C. to protest the current administration’s erasure of LGBTQ+ people. Tens of thousands of people showed up, all of different races, ethnicities, communities and backgrounds. It was the largest crowd of people I have ever witnessed in my whole life. Entire city blocks were coated in a sea of rainbow flags. What people wore ranged from extravagant costumes to sportswear and everything in-between. Despite the awful humidity and sun beating down on us, people showed enthusiasm and organization.

The Task Force was there with a contingent of over one hundred people. I had lots of fun volunteering that day. I helped with passing out flags, thousands of signs, and I even sprinted several blocks on one occasion. We took hundreds of photos and video footage of the thousands of people marching, including our contingent. The chants were passionate and clever. I was honored to march with an organization that was there for the LGBTQ community from the start of our movement.

We marched because although these past few years, the LGBTQ movement has experienced significant gains, there are still discrepancies to address. It is still legal in most states to discriminate in housing and employment opportunities on the basis of sexual orientation and gender expression. Transgender women face a murder rate that is 4.3x greater than the national rate for cis-gender women, and the vast majority of victims are women of color. Forty percent of youth experiencing homelessness identity as LGBTQ and LGBTQ youth continue being kicked out of their homes by unsupportive families. Immigrants and Muslims are vilified and dehumanized by many politicians and elected officials, including President Trump.

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The anniversary of the Obergefell ruling is approaching. With that, it is important to remember that the work to secure full equality for all is far from over, despite being victorious in our campaign for marriage equality.

What are the next steps in our fight for equality? For one, we need to ensure our continued presence on the political stage. We cannot allow people to forget our existence and actively resist attempts to remove us from public discourse and silence us. We must also keep in mind that inequality is not limited to discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. An attack on any marginalized group is an attack on us all and we must remain conscious of that. We all have an important role to play in the work to advance equality. We should continue staying informed and resisting the Trump’s administrations attacks on freedom, justice, and equality.

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By Parker Toro, Social Media Intern, National LGBTQ Task Force

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