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tail of the parade had yet to leave
MARCH ON WASHINGTON the staging area. Supportive crowds
lined the route at both the start
On Sunday, OCt- 14, 1979 the lar— and the finish and gave everyone a
gest national group of gay men and boost. In addition, supporters of
women assembled for political action the march——ranging from socialists
marched down the streets of the na- to libertarians—-were busy working
tion's capitol. We were marching to the crowd and one had to be careful
demand an end to repressive legisla— not to accept more literature and
tion and attitudes and in support 0f pamphlets than one could reasonably
the federal gay rights bill now expect to carry-—much less read.
pending in Congress. We were also There were only a few counterdemon—
marching to demonstrate to a nation- strators, who kept their distance.
al audience--——via television and Once at the rally site one could
radio—-——that gay people from across easily be overwhelmed by the sheer
the nation and from all walks Of numbers of gay people and supporters
life could unite together and stand gathered under the Washington Mon—
up for our rights. There were ap- ument. Gays had come from as far
proximately 75,000 of us-—-young and away as Alaska and Canada as well as
old; rich and poor; black, white, other distant states and countries.
brown, yellow and red; men and women Each state or delegation had a ban
and—-—-perhaps most gratifying——-- a ner of some sort and the‘ assort—
fair number Of parents Of gays mar— ment of colors and people made for a
ching OUt Of pride over their gay spectacular sight. A large number
offspring. of speakers addressed the croWd;
There were about twenty—five men their different attitudes and styles
and women in the Kentucky delegation blended together after a while and
While most were from Lousiville and the central message was GAY IS GOOD.
Lexington, there were also gays from We know this and with more work and
Bowling Green and Owensboro. The effort on our part no person or
parade was sectioned Off by geo- group will be able to ignore this
graphic region; Kentucky was in the fact any longer. Speakers included
middle to rear of the marchers. In Robin Tyler, Eleanor Smeal, Kate
addition, the march was led by child Millett and Rep. Ted Weiss, A spon-
ren, older pe0ple, and handicapped sor of H.R. 2074——the federal gay
persons to insure a moderate pace; rights bill. Music followed the
therefore, the parade was fairly Speeches and included songs by Tom
slow in getting under way. The Robinson, a British rock singer and
organizers did a good job in getting gay activist.
everyone in line and in helping US Once the march and rally were
pass the time while waiting to march over and the participants had re-
one entertainer favored the crowd turned to their respective cities
with his rendition of "Give me that and states, it was almost as if the
old lesbianism" (to the tune of That event had never occurred; coverage
Old Time Religion). of the event by most of the major
Once underway, the march lasted media was light to moderate. Much
for well over two hours. We were of the coverage centered around con-
aligned in rows of eight and more flicting reports of attendance.
than stretched throughout the entire Crowd estimates ranged from 25,000
two—mile route; the head of the par- (national park service) to 250,000
ade reached the rally site next to (some march organizers and partici-
the Washington Monument while the pants). At least a couple of essen-