By Maria, a.k.a. Mizz M
So many things had been speculated about the National Equality March that took place on October 11, and there had been so much controversy and hastiness in throwing it together that no one was sure how well it would go. Well, despite all the trouble leading up to it, the march went off amazingly well, and I had a blast.
On Sunday morning, I was supposed to meet the bisexual groups that were marching at a coffee shop not far from where the march was supposed to start. I took the subway into town with another bi friend, and on the way in we ran into two guys who were together and also were going to the march. They saw our bi flags and asked what they stood for. We told them, and they responded that it made sense and they were glad to see us out. I had also heard on the radio an announcer had been interviewing one of the organizers of the march, and the announcer had called it the “gay and lesbian march” and the organizer had corrected him “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” march. I was amazed, and I hoped these were good omens!
We met at the coffee house. There were four official bisexual groups: BinetUSA, the New York Area Bisexual Network, the DC Bi Women, and BIMA DC, and three of them brought banners. Overall, there were about 25 of us total that showed up there. I had hoped there would be a bigger turnout, but I was glad to see the people that came. I heard later that there were other bisexual people marching with other groups, so I’m guessing that there were probably quite a few of us overall.
We gathered together with the rest of the crowd – I looked around, and in every direction I had never seen so many people! There were all kinds of neat signs, outfits, and flags. We got our banners ready, tried to line up as best as we could (there was no official order for the groups to line up in) and waited. We waited for about an hour before things started, by which point it was getting hot and we were ready to go!
Around one o’clock, we started to march. It was quite fun, people came up with all kinds of chants, and as we walked, people came out of office buildings and stood on the sidewalks and cheered us on. There were press and camera people all over filming us and taking pictures – I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place! There was only one heckler – and he didn’t get too far. Other groups started marching with us, one example being a group that was marching for breast cancer awareness. It was really great to march – the only thing that got annoying was that there was no official order for how the groups were supposed to organize. Although everyone was marching however best they could, groups kept getting separated. Our own groups got separated several times.
Some people found a “shortcut” through the white house lawn! So we walked through there and took some great pictures of people standing in front of the White House holding their banners. Then we marched on, until we hit the west lawn of the Capitol, tired and thirsty! Everyone tried to get as close as they could to where the speeches were going to be, and people found places to sit. We sat pretty far up, but still not close enough to actually see the speakers, although we could hear them. The speeches were moving and inspiring, and they energized the crowd, even though people were tired from marching. In the opening convocation, several GLBT pioneers were mentioned, and to my pleasant surprise, they mentioned a bisexual one. Pretty much all of the speakers said GLBT, some even going so far as to say all four words.
Marchers at the Capitol
There were four bisexual speakers – Penelope Williams, Lady Gaga, Michael Huffington, and Chloe Noble. Except for Lady Gaga (who I already knew to be bisexual), each one of the speakers used the word bisexual and conveyed that they were proud to be part of the bisexual community. It was great to hear the thunderous applause after they said it. They all did wonderfully well and I am so proud of them and honored that they represented us. I actually felt well-represented and acknowledged as a bisexual for once.
What was truly amazing about this day was all the energy of the crowd – I could literally feel it – and it energized and motivated me as well. Near the end of the march my feet were killing me, but I marched on because I really believed in what I was marching for. The best part was, I felt totally included that day. Everyone who saw our bi groups was friendly and welcoming, and one of the groups even got interviewed for GLBT. TV.com! It was a great opportunity to come together and focus on the positive and what is best about your community instead of our divisions.
The march seems to have made a real impact – several media outlets have been talking about it. I hope that people can take the positives from it and use it for local activism. Most importantly, I hope that the message of inclusion will bring equality for the BLGT community, and will also inspire more inclusion in the BLGT community itself, especially towards the B and the T.
Video of the speeches is available at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/289403-1. (bisexual speakers are at 1:39:10, 1:42:42, 3:04:22, and 3:45:25).
NOTE: This article is excerpted, with permission and minor edits, from an article on bisocialnews.com. Visit this site for more excellent articles!