April 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
‘Worldwide’ LGBT marches set for Saturday

Curtis Sledge is helping to lead An LGBT equality march planned for Saturday which is only expected to draw about 2,000 participants, a far cry from the tens of thousands that demonstrated at 2009’s National Equality March. (Photo courtesy Curtis Sledge)

An estimated crowd of between 1,000 and 2,500 people are expected to assemble in a park next to the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, April 21, to kick off one of at least 30 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights Marches set to take place in the U.S. and abroad, according to a D.C. police parade permit obtained by organizers of the event.

The D.C. march is scheduled to begin with a 10:45 a.m. rally at Upper Senate Park located at Constitution and Delaware avenues across the street from the U.S. Capitol.

Among those scheduled to speak at the rally is D.C. gay activist Brian Watson, an official with the local group Transgender Health Empowerment.

The march, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., will travel from Upper Senate Park along Constitution Avenue to 15th Street, N.W, according to information posted on the march’s website. From there it will travel west to Pennsylvania Avenue and turn right again to head east along Pennsylvania Avenue to Third Street, N.W., where it will end.

“We’re not sure how many people will turn out,” said Curtis Sledge, a Richmond, Va., gay activist who serves as lead organizer of the D.C. march. “We know people will be coming from other locations, including Philadelphia,” he said.

Sledge said the permit issued by D.C. police requires the march to travel along the sidewalk rather than in the street.

Jonathan Wolfman, who is listed on the website as a writer and straight ally, is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the rally. Sledge said Wolfman, among other things, is editor of CastleGayGuide.com, an online LGBT travel and news blog.

Other speakers include Sledge and Lamel Aura Clark, identified as an LGBT activist who will discuss marriage equality.

The worldwide marches were initiated and were being organized by a Facebook group called “Let’s Reach 1 Million People Campaign…It’s a Start! LGBT Equality.” Oklahoma City gay activist and businessman Joe Knudson founded the organization.

Other U.S. cities scheduled to host one of the marches include Baltimore, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Portland. Organizers said Great Britain, Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and the Philippines were among the countries scheduled to host a Worldwide LGBT march.

Most of the mainline D.C. and national LGBT rights organizations chose not to become involved in the marches.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • It is one thing to rally for LGBT Equality here (and it’s important); it’s quite another to take the decision to do this in nations where today breathing-while-gay can get you lengthy, if not life prison terms and in some cases, death sentences. We need to recognize the extraordinary guts and strength of activists in places such as Tanzania and Uganda and Namibia.

  • Can’t wait for the march in Jackson, Mississippi!! :))

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