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LGBT march on Washington planned for D.C. Pride weekend

The last LGBT march on Washington was the National Equality March on Oct. 11, 2009. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A gay activist in New York City has set in motion plans for a “mass” LGBT march on Washington on June 11, which he hopes will be similar to last week’s Women’s March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of people.

David Bruinooge, 42, a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident who has friends and relatives in the D.C. area, said he was inspired to create a Facebook page announcing the march on Jan. 21 while he was watching the Women’s March on Washington at home on television.

“I was watching the events unfold on TV and I was very proud and inspired by all the women, the strong women in our country who were kind of taking this to the street and getting their voices heard,” he told the Washington Blade. “And in the back of my mind as an openly gay man I thought the gay community should be doing something like this to follow up on the momentum,” he said.

He said he intentionally chose June 11 for the march because it’s the same day that D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival is scheduled to be held on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. near the U.S. Capitol. Bruinooge said his thought was the march would start in the morning and end at the site of the Pride festival.

Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes the D.C. Pride events, including the Pride Parade set to take place on June 10, said he has spoken with Bruinooge and expects that Capital Pride officials will collaborate with the march organizers so the march and the D.C. Pride events will complement each other.

Bruinooge said that at Bos’s suggestion, he has changed the name of the march from Gays on the Mall, which he initially announced on Facebook, to the National Pride March.

He acknowledges he and others working on the march will have a significant amount of work to do logistically, including obtaining permits for street closings. He said he’s hopeful that Capital Pride officials will provide support and consider the march to be a joint Capital Pride project.

“My intention was never to undermine what was going on with D.C. Pride,” Bruinooge said. “They obviously have the infrastructure and the mass support to help this become a reality.”

More information on the proposed march can be obtained here.