A California man who walked across the country to raise awareness of LGBT rights stressed on Friday that more needs to be done to protect Americans on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
“The opposition to our equality I think to a large part is dying off,” Richard Noble told the Blade while was in D.C. He visited the U.S. Supreme Court on the day the justices narrowly upheld President Obama’s health care reform law and attended a screening of “Bully” at the Department of Education and a Dupont Circle vigil for a lesbian couple who were shot in a Texas park last month while he was in the nation’s capital. “Those who do oppose [our equality] and fight it need to be given a little more strong arm consequences and pay for suffering. It must be very clear we must not tolerate attacks or discrimination in America. We’re over it. I think we’re all over it.”
Noble began 2,700 mile trek in San Francisco in March 2011, and ended last month in Jacksonville, Fla., with his dog Trinity, which he adopted in Texas. Noble, who made a point to carry the rainbow flag from coast-to-coast, stressed that the spate of LGBT teenager suicides in the fall if 2010 prompted him to walk across the country.
“It just came to me after all the suicides last year on bullying since I lived that,” he said, further stressing that he still has what he described as emotional scars. “We’re at a much different place where we can begin to sort of strengthen our demand for full equality with much more immediacy as we’ve seen with marriage equality in New York and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the passage of [the] Matthew Shepard hate crime bill.”
Noble also used the walk to highlight his support of the American Equality Bill, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to articles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.“Full equality is what all Americans are born with in this country and are entitled to and those rights have been taken away,” said Noble. “We will always understand that we are all free and equal and the march will go on until that dream is realized.”