January 21, 2017 at 4:51 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Hundreds of thousands attend Women’s March in D.C.

Women's March, gay news, Washington Blade

Hundreds of thousands of people attended the Women’s March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than 500,000 people attended the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday.

Madonna, actresses Ashley Judd and Scarlett Johansson, singer Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Melissa Harris-Perry and filmmaker Michael Moore are among the dozens of people who spoke at the march that took place on the National Mall. Cher and actor Jake Gyllenhaal are among the other celebrities who attended.

U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) are among the members of Congress who also took part.

“Imperfect as we may be, I believe we are a great country,” said Harris.

Women's March, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks at the Women’s March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Screen capture via C-Span)

LGBT rights, statehood, climate change and public education are among the issues about which D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring stood behind her as she spoke.

“The best thing the federal government can do for us is leave us alone,” said Bowser.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice Executive J. Bob Alotta, transgender author Janet Mock, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Raquel Willis, a trans activist and writer from Atlanta, also spoke.

“We chose to come together today in all of our power,” said Alotta. “We do not and we will not choose one neighbor over another. We do not and we will not choose to deny our queerness, our lesbian gay or trans selves in order to be a march for women or a country for everyone.”

“We do not and we will not deny the beauty and power and joy in our blackness and brownness as it would make us more safer or any more sane in a country that has proven otherwise over and over again,” added Alotta. “We will not hide behind our whiteness.”

Madonna curses out march detractors

Organizers predicted around 200,000 people would attend the march that took place a day after President Trump’s inauguration.

An estimated 250,000 people attended the inauguration, even though White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dismissed this statistic on Saturday during a tense press briefing in which he sharply criticized reporters.

Thousands of people who attended the march were along the Ellipse as Spicer spoke. Many of them were still in downtown D.C. on Saturday night.

“I will respect the presidency, but I will not respect this president of the United States of America,” said Women’s March National Co-Chair Linda Sarsour. “I will not respect an administration that won an election on the backs of Muslims and black people and undocumented people and Mexicans and people with disabilities and on the backs of women.”

Actress America Ferrera, whose parents are from Honduras, said it has “been a heart-wrenching time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country.”

“A platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday, but the president is not America,” she said.

Madonna agreed.

“Good did not win this election, but good will win in the end,” she said.

Madonna also had a blunt message to those who have criticized the march.

“To our detractors that insist that this march will not add up to anything, fuck you,” she said to enthusiastic applause.

The D.C. march was among more than 600 marches that took place throughout the country and around the world.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Chicago, Denver, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and other cities.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke at marches in Boston and Montpelier, Vt. Georgia Congressman John Lewis, who Trump criticized last week after he said he would not attend his inauguration, spoke to the tens of thousands of people who attended the march in Atlanta.

“We cannot afford to be silent,” said Lewis.

Marches also took place in London, Paris, Mexico City and Santiago, Chile. A gay-friendly coffee shop in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Saturday hosted an event in solidarity with those who were taking part in marches in the U.S.

‘I am marching for my girls’

Many of those who took part in the D.C. march carried rainbow flags and pro-LGBT banners.

Jana Uebele of Champaign, Ill., marched with a hand-written sign on her back that said, “Proud mom to trans & lesbian daughters.” She told the Washington Blade she decided to take part because she is “disgusted” with the Trump administration.

“I am marching for my girls,” said Uebele as she and a group of other women from Illinois slowly marched past the National Gallery of Art on Madison Drive.

Jana Uebele of Champaign, Ill., takes part in the Women's March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Jana Uebele of Champaign, Ill., takes part in the Women’s March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Richard Morales of Los Angeles was among the thousands of people who were standing on the steps of the National Gallery of Art during the march.

Morales, who arrived in D.C. on Thursday, was holding a sign that read “electile dysfunction” and depicted Trump as a piece of excrement. Morales told the Blade the march had “wonderful energy.”

“There are a lot of people of different races, colors, shapes, sizes that are coming together with positivity,” he said.

Keshia Morris of D.C. was among the dozens of Human Rights Campaign supporters and staffers who took part in the march. She described it to the Blade as “resistance of hateful rhetoric that was spoken during the campaign” as she walked from Judiciary Square to the National Mall.

“I’m marching today to stand in solidarity with every person across the United States that feels like the Trump presidency disqualifies them from the American dream,” said Morris.

David Goldberg, who is a student at the University of Buffalo, described the march as “really beautiful” as he stood near the Judiciary Square Metro station. His friend, Lucius Campany of Rochester, N.Y., who attends George Washington University, was wearing a rainbow flag around his shoulders.

“It’s important just to speak out for women, the community, trans people,” Campany told the Blade.

Human Rights Campaign staffers and volunteers take part in the Women's March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Human Rights Campaign staffers and volunteers take part in the Women’s March in D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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