January 16, 2017 at 9:40 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Women’s March to include LGBT presence
Chad Griffin, Women's March, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, gay news, Washington Blade

HRC President Chad Griffin said the group is serving as a sponsor of the Women’s March and a separate rally for immigrant rights. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

At least three national LGBT rights organizations and a large number of LGBT supporters will join tens of thousands of people expected to turn out for a Women’s March on Washington scheduled for Jan. 21, one day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, and GLAAD are among 158 mostly progressive organizations listed as partners of the march.

Jackie Savage, one of the coordinators of a group organizing participation in the march from the D.C. area, said the local coordinators have been reaching out to the LGBT community among other communities in the area to encourage their participation.

“Absolutely everyone” in support of the cause of women’s rights is welcome to join the march, including men and LGBT people, Savage said.

HRC announced on Wednesday that it is organizing a contingent of HRC staff, members, and volunteers to participate in the march.

The Women’s March on Washington is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 21, at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street, S.W., near the American Indian Museum and the U.S. Capitol.

Savage said she was not aware of plans for an LGBT contingent in the march other than the HRC contingent, but she said members of the D.C. area organizing group would welcome such a contingent and announce it on the local group’s website, wmwdclocal.com. The site for the national group organizing the Women’s March on Washington is womensmarch.com.

She said at least two of the city’s gay bars, Cobalt and Nellie’s, expressed interest in joining other local businesses in supporting the march and were looking into hosting events for marchers on the evening of the march.

“This march is not a protest. It is not about one person,” Savage told the Blade. “It is a showing of solidarity” for the cause of women’s rights and women’s equity, she said.

But the official mission statement on the march’s national website, while not mentioning Trump by name, suggests that organizers had Trump in mind when they drafted the statement.

“The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared,” the statement says.

“We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear,” it says.

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” the statement continues.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us,” it says.

HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement released Jan. 11 that HRC was also serving as a sponsor of the Women’s March and a separate rally for immigrant rights.

“At a time of great uncertainty in our country, we join our fellow Americans in standing up and speaking out for our shared values and equality and justice for all,” he said. “Next week and beyond we will stand in locked arms with our progressive partners, reminding our new president that our communities are as diverse as the fabric of this nation.”

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

  • I’ve been carefully reading and viewing all the social posts from the Woman’s March on Washington for the last 3 weeks and I have been shocked that this “intersectional” movement has done very little for our community, and NOTHING by members of our community. I’m equally shocked that the HRC has made this move! There is a clear lack of LGBTQIA+ diversity among Women’s March leaders and their messaging. To date, none of the women leading this march has identified as lesbian, trans, or queer. I have not seen even one use of the word “lesbian” among their 100s of FB posts and 1000s of tweets! I’ve heard no sharing of stories from lesbians, trans, queer or non-gender conforming persons on social media (others have done so). They released rounds of tweets about many forms of injustice. Homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism is no where to be found! There’s a lesbian themed poster that I was told is not part of the March, then told it was part of the March, and then again told is not part of the March. Their “Unity Principles” (the downloadable PDF version) does not currently list “sexual orientations” among the many types of women leading this March (they keep making changes to this doc so that may change). While they say LGBTQIA+ ppl are welcome to attend, and mention us as something they are fighting for, lesbian women are clearly not being allowed to lead; lesbian and trans women likely won’t get to be at the mic much during the March; and it does clearly seem LGBTQIA+ people are being viewed more as “participants” in this March than people asked to represent our fight for justice. Is HRC speaking or merely attending? I’m quite freighted by these events and the reactions of our LGBTQIA groups! Our community represents the “new kid on the block” and we’ve only recently obtained some rights. It would seem logical to at least wonder if we will be the first to see our rights reversed under a Trump regime. I’m appalled by the lack of urgency, primary, and concern for our community, and from our community! The words “gay and lesbian rights, “lesbian rights,” and “trans rights” should be found in abundance among the messaging from leaders in this March! They should be telling our stories and educating others about our rights and our fight!

    • Hi Wesley,
      I share your concerns! I am a leader of the DC Local group organizing for the WMW and I am queer. I’m glad to hear such a passionate voice advocating for our community. I would love to connect online or in person to pull that passion and recognition of DC’s LBGT+ community into our work moving forward. One in ten in DC identifies as LBGT – they need to be part of the conversation. Visit our page listed below to get connected.
      Jackie Savage

      • Hello Jackie. It was kind of you to respond and I’m glad to hear you share in my concerns. I have visited your local WMW site and FB page and concerned that your online properties also include no use of the words “lesbian,” “gay,” “LGBT,” or “queer” anywhere. Are national leaders actually preventing their use by local chapters as well? I do hope that is not the case! I’m also noticing you speak of finding ways to include the LGBTQIA community into their “work moving forward” and I’m honored that you’re asking me to consider being a part of that. At this point, I’m much more concerned about what has not ALREADY happened, and what is not happening TODAY! We’re clearly a token issue (at best) to the national leaders. That’s abundantly obvious to any Queer person who is paying attention! No one from our community is part of our leadership of this intersectional movement and I want to know why we were overlooked from Day 1 – and why we’re discussed (when we are actually discussed) as some kind of “other” group that are expected to attend the March because they half-heartedly tell us they’re fighting FOR us too, and on our behalf. I can’t – and I won’t – accept that lack of clear LGBTQIA representation in this movement….and I’m appalled beyond belief that these amazing woman expect us to allow them to simply speak FOR us! It’s so clear they don’t even understand the basics about who we are as a people! If you wish to chat with me off of this thread you’re welcome to PM via FB (see Wesley Hain). In the meantime, the leaders have gone so far as to position me to fight AGAINST them about LGTBQIA inclusion and messaging – and while their choice to make us an “other” instead of a “partner” breaks my heart – I will fight to speak for my own people despite any odds put before me. #LetUsLead #LetLesbiansLead #LetTransWomenLead #LGBTvisiblity

        Thanks again for your willingness to even dialogue about this matter!

        • Wesley,

          Thank YOU for engaging and advocating! I admire your passion. This dialogue that we’ve begun (and yes, I am totally going to find you on Facebook!), is exactly how we need to learn and better understand our different perspectives. I appreciate your thoughts and feedback regarding the actions of our group in the past and I urge you to stand with us as we move forward together. Sounds like there are important lessons to be learned and I am excited to listen. What CAN we do today to make sure that all in DC feel welcomed and included in this forward momentum? I look forward to hearing your (and others) ideas.

  • While I share some of the concerns mentioned I have still written about the march and urge everyone including members of the LGBT community to join hands and march. We are all in this together. The larger the crowd on January 21st the more the impact will be. We will have to unite to ensure that the Trump administration doesn’t take our country backwards. Let us not fight among ourselves at this moment in time. The goal of equality for all is what is important and the mission statement of the march makes that clear.

    • Peter Rosenstein, I am with you. But I am snowbirding in Florida for the winter, hence I’m marching in the Women’s march in St Pete January 21. I will let you know how visable we are. I understand you can have a booth if you want and there will be plenty. Jackie Savage find me on face book as well.

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