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VIDEO: Celebration and protest at Equality March in Washington

Sign at the Equality March of Unity and Pride in Washington D.C. showing LGTBQ people standing up for their rights. Times-Mirror/Amelia Heymann
“The first gay pride was a riot.” It's a common battle cry for those in the LGBTQ community.

The phrase references the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Tired of police raids targeting bars frequented by LGBTQ individuals, the arrests at Stonewall Inn were the last straw for New York's gay community. The raid on Stonewall resulted in several days of violent demonstrations, which are considered the first major movement for LGTBQ rights.

While most modern pride events are celebrations, many think it’s also important to remember the roots of the movement.

“I mean it’s nice hanging out with everyone out in the community,” said Lukas Bayless, a protester at the Equality March in Washington, D.C. last weekend. “But also just walking so that we can show that we’re not just going to sit around and do nothing.”

This sentiment in mind, thousands of people from around the country took to the streets in the nation's capital Sunday for the Equality March for Unity and Pride.

Many signs at the march called for fair treatment of those in the LGBTQ community. They had phrases such as, “Trans rights are human rights” and “Liberty and justice for all” in rainbow letters. Other signs were more direct in their political criticisms. Some were clearly directed at President Donald Trump, like “Make America Gay Again" and “Make Humpty Trumpty Fall.” Activists criticize Trump for rolling back legislation that said transgender students have the right to use the bathroom of their identified gender.

WATCH:


Members of the LGTBQ community weren’t the only protesters. Allies also marched to support the LGBTQ rights. One was Jackson Hall, a child with a bisexual sister. Standing next to his mother and sister, he held a shiny sign with colorful letters.

“I came out [to the march] because I’m OK with LGBT,” said Hall.

The protesting didn’t start on Sunday. Saturday during the annual Capital Pride parade, the group No Justice No Pride protested the parade.

Members of No Justice No Pride believe that Pride events should not be sponsored by corporations that hurt the LGBTQ community, such as Wells Fargo and Lockheed Martin. No Justice No Pride officials also said the parade was too complicit with police, who often assault black LGTBQ people.

“For years, Capital Pride has ignored concerns of queer, trans and two spirit communities in DC -- particularly the concerns of queer and trans people of color -- regarding its complicity with entities that harm LGBTQ2S people,” the No Justice No Pride states.

Protesters from No Justice No Pride blocked the parade from moving three times. Each time the parade was stopped, it was re-routed by organizers.

While the Equality march -- like the protests the day before -- held anger, it also held love and unity. A transgender woman, Tracy Monegain, was at the march with her partner, Jay. Monegain said life is better now that she has fully transitioned. Jay interjected to hail her as a wonderful woman, and he was happy to be with her.

While advocates say the LGTBQ community has made great strides in recent years, they still feel they have a long way to go before being considered equally treated citizens.









Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.


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