National Equality March & Presidential Speech

It's happening right now. Today is also national coming out day. And President Obama gave a speech yesterday on the eve of this event. A busy weekend for gay rights.

National coming out day "is an internationally-observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues" (wikipedia). And today is also the day of the National Equality March which comes just as the Hate Crimes law (Matthew Sheppard Act) is about to be signed into law, and just before Congressional hearings on repealing DADT are going to take place.

Sunday, Oct. 11th, 2009

* Oct 11, 2009 - 8am Official Interfaith Service
An interfaith service with singing and celebration!

* Oct 11, 2009 - 8:00am Cadence RunRun with LGBT Servicemembers and veterans military style, around the memorials/monuments

* Oct 11, 2009 - 8:00am-10:00am Community Strategy Breakfast: Movement Principles & Coalition Building (Podcast by

A community discussion featuring The Dallas Principles, Florida OUT (a coalition model), and the new movement web-tool - The Whip Count - by and

* Oct 11, 2009 - 12 noon National Equality March
March for Equality!

* Oct 11, 2009 - Approximately 2:00pm National Equality March Rally

The March culminates in a rally at the Capitol Building.

Last night President Obama gave a speech on the eve of the march at an HRC event (the largest US lgbt rights org) and discussed many things. The whole speech was about 25 minutes, but this clip of the middle section of the speech is where he mentions Hate Crimes, inclusive ENDA, DADT, DOMA, & Immigration/Aids:

Some people have criticized the march effort because they felt the time and resources could be better used elsewhere. My opinion is that rallies & marches can help motivate people, and build strong networks & connections, and that they are worthwhile if people return to their home districts & get to work there so that the fight for equality happens on both the national & local levels.

Below is one way you can help out locally, and here is why you should:

Independently of being an openly gay town councilman running for mayor, he has my support for a number of reasons, because he is also the only democrat in the race, he is strong on issues of public transit, environmental issues (he got the Sierra Club endorsement), he's participating in campaign finance reform/voter owned elections meaning his opponents can outspend him while he stands up for reform, managed growth, affordable housing, and social justice issues.

Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor

Canvassing – Walking Weaver Dairy (Sat Oct 17th 12:30)

Early voting starts on the 15th at some locations in Orange County, the planetarium opens for early voting on the 19th, the election is on Nov 3rd. Additional info on early voting/same day registration can be found here: This election is about to happen, can you help?


In the spirit of National Coming Out day

I'm Jake, & I'm gay.

I first came out in undergrad at NCSU. I'm a grad student there now.

Where do you fall on the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & ally spectrum? It's especially important for Allies to come out & voice their support for equality too! And when did you first know you were an ally? =p

I also wanted to share a few pictures from the march & I'll keep adding more as friends start loading them up on facebook & elsewhere:

On your side, Jake

Being gay is not something that is "chosen". It is something that is "acquired". People do not "become gay". They are either gay or they are not. Those that are against the gay movement have an extremely difficult time realizing that. No, I am not gay. I do have gay family members and throughout the years, some of them have confided in me with regard to their sexual orientation and their fear about reprisals within not only our family but within their work environment if they "came out". Thus far, they haven't come out. It really upsets me that one, in particular, has to hide who she is. She is such a giving person and is in love and cannot share her love because of those suspected reprisals she fears.

I marched in the gay-rights parade last year in my home town just for her. But, it didn't change her fears.

Somewhere along the line we need to all realize that gays don't have a "choice" in this matter. It will take time, but it is not right that today, even within the democratic party, there is widespread condemnation for not being "straight", regardless what is presented.

Barney Frank Tosses Tea Bag Water on Gay March?

Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay member of Congress, said the marchers should be lobbying their lawmakers. He said the demonstrations are simply "an emotional release" that do little to pressure Congress.

"The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.

Read more at:

March Speech & Speakers

That is just one of many speeches that you can find on youtube, but as a screenwriter I thought his way with words sent a strong & heartfelt message. Here is a partial list of speakers:

NAACP chairman Julian Bond
Academy Award winning screenwriter for the movie Milk Dustin Lance Black
Gay rights activist & protege of Harvey Milk: Cleve Jones
Lt. Dan Choi
Mother of the late Matthew Shepard: Judy Shepard
Actress Cynthia Nixon
Musician/Performer Lady Gaga
Stuart Applebaum
Richard Aviles
Jarret Barrios
Marsha Botzer
Staceyann Chin
Tanner Efinger
Hawaii Board of Education Member Kim Coco Iwamoto
Michelle Lopez
Robin McGehee
David Mixner
Nicole-Murray Ramirez
Chloe Noble
Tobias Packer
Reverend Troy Perry
New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn
Los Angeles Council Member Bill Rosendahl
Babs Siperstein
Maxim Thorn
Urvashi Vaid
Derek Washington
Falls Church City Council Member Lawrence Webb
Kit Yan
Kip Williams
Sherry Wolf

More coverage of the march: