March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation
The March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation was a large political rally that took place in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1993. Organizers estimated that 1,000,000 attended the March. This was backed up by estimates by the D.C. police, which put the number between 800,000 and more than 1 million attendees. The National Park Service estimated attendance at 300,000; however, this estimate was found by many agencies to be so far off that they endured much ridicule and shortly thereafter stopped issuing any official estimates for events.
Background and planning
Between the 1987 March on Washington and the early 1990s, lesbians and gays achieved much more mainstream visibility than they ever had in the past. However, the LGBT community still faced vast discrimination, through such policies as Don't Ask Don't Tell, Colorado's Amendment 2, and rising occurrences of LGBT-targeted hate crimes. Amid this climate, Urvashi Vaid of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spearheaded the movement for a third LGBT March.
In January 1991, Vaid sent a letter to LGBT organizations across the US to garner support for a third march and to invite them to send delegates to a planning meeting on March 9, 1991, in Washington, DC. No consensus was made regarding the march's potential date at this meeting, so a secondary meeting was arranged in Washington, DC, for the weekend of May 11–12, 1991. This meeting provided the mandate for the march itself: to rebuild and reinvigorate local and national activists. Subsequent organizational meetings took place in Chicago (August 1991), Los Angeles (January 1992), Dallas (May 1992), Denver (October 1992) and Washington DC (February 1993).
Platform and demands
March organizers set forth seven primary demands, each with supplemental secondary demands. The primary demands are as follows:
- We demand passage of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights bill and an end to discrimination by state and federal governments including the military; repeal of all sodomy laws and other laws that criminalize private sexual expression between consenting adults.
- We demand massive increase in funding for AIDS education, research, and patient care; universal access to health care including alternative therapies; and an end to sexism in medical research and health care.
- We demand legislation to prevent discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the areas of family diversity, custody, adoption and foster care and that the definition of family includes the full diversity of all family structures.
- We demand full and equal inclusion of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in the educational system, and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies in multicultural curricula.
- We demand the right to reproductive freedom and choice, to control our own bodies, and an end to sexist discrimination.
- We demand an end to racial and ethnic discrimination in all forms.
- We demand an end to discrimination and violent oppression based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, identification, race, religion, identity, sex and gender expression, disability, age, class, AIDS/HIV infection.
Speakers and events
In the days surrounding the March, a wide range of events serving different subsets of the LGBT community were held throughout Washington, DC. These included historical exhibits, religious services, lobbying events, social gatherings, art exhibits, political workshops, public service events and candlelight vigils.
Speakers and performers at the rally following the march included Judith Light, Melissa Etheridge, RuPaul, Martina Navratilova, Ian McKellen, Eartha Kitt, Lani Ka'ahumanu, and Urvashi Vaid. Jesse Jackson, Martha Wash
- National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (1979)
- Millennium March on Washington (2000)
- National Equality March (2009)
- List of protest marches on Washington, D.C.
- Huffington Post "The 20th Anniversary of the LGBT March on Washington: How Far Have We Come?", accessed April 25, 2013
- GLSEN: "Changing Times, Changing Demands", accessed September 13, 2011
- Ghaziani, Amin. 2008. "The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington." University of Chicago Press.
- http://www.qrd.org/qrd/events/mow/mow-full.platform Platform of 1993 March on Washington, Queer Resource Directory
- http://www.qrd.org/qrd/events/mow/mow-events.FINAL 1993 March on Washington Event Listings, Queer Resource Directory
- http://www.allamericanspeakers.com/speakers/Judith-Light/9915 Judith Light Speaker Bio
- http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T603 Simple Matter of Justice, A: The 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation
- http://www.lanikaahumanu.com/mow.shtml Lani Ka'ahumanu Writings
- http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/scotts/bulgarians/vaid-mow.html Urvashi Vaid Speaks at the March on Washington