>Marching for Equality by Zach Childree

>My friend Zach Childree marched in Washington for Equality along with 200,000 others, including my partner and me. I have posted five accounts of the event, and may come up with more, on Examiner. (See what Julian Bond said here. See what Dan Choi did and said here. See what Urvashi Vaid said here. See what Lady Gaga Said here. See some of the signs at the march here).

Zach wrote a piece for the Chanticleer, the student newspaper at Jacksonville State University, where he is editor-in-chief. the piece is also posted on his blog, Sweet Homo Alabama.

Marching for equality

by Zach Childree

My feet hurt.

They hurt because I did a lot of walking this weekend during my trip to Washington, DC. I walked around the national mall, up and down stairs at the Smithsonian and at the Lincoln memorial.

My feet don’t just hurt because I walked, My feet also hurt because I marched in the National Equality March.

My partner, David, and I and roughly 200,000 other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people took to the streets of our nation’s capital with a simple message for the nation- we demand equality. We demand to be treated with dignity and respect and to be granted the same rights and responsibilities as straight Americans.

Right now, LGBT Americans in many states, including Alabama, can be fired from their jobs just for being honest about who they are.

LGBT Americans cannot serve openly in the military, nor can we marry the person of our choosing.

Right now, LGBT Americans are second-class citizens. We are denied the right to visit our partners in the hospital because the state doesn’t recognize the validity of our relationships.

A gay or lesbian couple could be together for decades, but the federal government still calls them legal strangers.

In some states, such as Florida, being gay means you can’t adopt children.

That it’s 2009 and the people of the United States still allow such a miscarriage of justice to continue is a travesty.

While President Obama has continually promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as well as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the LGBT community is still waiting to see action from the administration or even a suggestion as to when those promises will be fulfilled. We’ve grown tired of waiting for full equality.

We marched because we’re tired of hearing empty promises from the man we helped put in the White House.

We’re tired of hearing about another lesbian who wasn’t allowed to see her partner as she lay dying, alone, in a hospital.

We’re tired of hearing about yet another gay bashing where a young man lies bleeding and dying in a gutter. We’re tired of being told our relationships are somehow less valuable than straight ones.

We’re tired of watching family after family being legally dissolved because of the will a deceitful campaign misusing religious ideas.

We grow weary of hearing lies told about us from the floors of state legislatures around the country.

We marched because our voices won’t stay in our throats any more. They are bursting forth with a mighty yell as we demand equality for all Americans.

We marched on the streets of our nation’s capital on National Coming Out Day to stand together as one people and burn down the closet doors once and for all.

We marched for LGBT youth around the country who come out each year to be sentenced to homelessness by religious parents. We marched to bring those kids hope. Hope that one day they may come out and not be persecuted for who they are.

In 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by Dan White, a former supervisor.A few months before, Harvey sat down with a tape recorder to dictate his thoughts in case he was killed. On this tape, he told a story about receiving a phone call from a young gay man in Altoona, Pennsylvania who had just heard of Milk’s election in California. The young man thanked Milk for giving him hope.

Milk’s eerie words echoed in my mind as we marched toward the White House this weekend. “It’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power – it’s about giving those young people out there in Altoona, Pennsylvania’s hope,” Milk said.” You gotta give them hope.”

We marched for those young people.

We marched for Harvey.

We marched for hope.

My feet hurt, but I’ve never been more proud of my bruises than I am today.

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