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Equality March Was a Start, Now It Is Time to Act Up!

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I was very happy to hear that so many Americans marched on Washington last week for LGBTQI equality in the United States. I am even more thrilled to know that so many people participated in the Camp Courage workshops in order to be better trained in how to work for equality in their communities and in the nation's capitol. I have read many commentaries written about the event in the past few days, and I agree that the recent DC Equality March is not the end of what will be necessary for us to claim the rights that, as written in the Declaration of Independence, belong to each of us, inherently.

I had quite a few friends that went to DC for this historic event, but I must admit that I myself did not make it. That fact actually disappointed a couple of my Facebook friends. I was with you all in spirit, but I was physically in Missouri where I had prior commitments to speak in Kansas City, Columbia and St Louis on my support of nuclear disarmament--and besides, marching around downtown DC on a Saturday, when our Senators and Representatives are not even at work, rarely accomplishes anything substantial in the form of legislation. There are too many right-wing lobbyists in the offices of our Congress people on a daily basis for one single march to really make a difference.

However, if we could translate even 1/1000th of the 'people power' that was expressed in Washington DC last Saturday to daily protests in the halls of Congress, we would quickly see many members changing their minds due to the increased pressure. The gay community has a rich history of acting up with civil disobedience in order to bring attention to HIV/AIDS, dating back to the mid-1980s. My question is: Why aren't gay and lesbian and transgender folks from across the nation repeating the success of Act Up in creative public demonstrations to raise awareness about all the other LGBTQI inequalities. If we had 200 people disrupting hearings and sitting in offices day in and day out, it would be all over! Congress would not be able to ignore or patronize us for very much longer.

I am on my way to Washington DC right this moment so I can speak up about passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and ensuring marriage equality. If you would like to join me on Capitol Hill this month, I would be glad for the help. You can email me at reallygirly@gmail.com if you think you can commit to acting up in DC. We can work together to develop a creative strategy for forcing our elected representatives to take action without further delay. If you cannot commit to a long term stay in DC, then I encourage you to stage sit-ins demonstrating for LGBTQI issues in the local offices of your Senators and Representatives.

What we cannot do is to walk away from last Saturday's historic event thinking that the fight is over. Some forces in this country would deny us our basic human rights for eternity if they could. If you want to take part in a march which will finally make a substantial difference in LGBTQI equality, then come back to DC and march though the office buildings in which legislative policy is created. There has never been a better time to 'act up' about oppressive laws that we have tolerated for far too long.

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Activist politician who lives in Springfield Missouri. Co-Chair of the Progressive Party of Missouri, delegate to Green Party of the United States.

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