A march for equality

Joe Alexander

Sunday was National Coming Out Day and also the National Equality March in Washington, D.C. As a member of the LGBT community, I felt that it was my duty to show support for equality for all and for all the people who could not make the journey.

I arrived in the city and headed to the starting point and wondered if we would encounter any opposition. I had heard the notoriously anti-gay Fred Phelps was in the city. I met up with all the Broadway people and the others from New York City who were able to come because of the generosity of the group, Broadway Impact, and other individuals and groups who donated money to charter the buses to Washington, D.C.

Broadway Impact is a group that was cofounded by Gavin Creel who stars as Claude in “Hair” on Broadway and is from Findlay. I was surprised how many people got up early just to attend the march. I saw Joey Haro from “West Side Story” and Jonathan Groff from “Spring Awakening,” and the whole cast of “Hair” including John Moauro, who graduated from Kent State.

As we started marching, I could feel the love and hope in the air. We marched down the streets and then past the White House and on toward the Capitol. People were cheering and waving at us. I was amazed that I was marching next to Tony-nominee Will Swenson from “Hair,” and Anthony Hollock, also from “Hair” and his boyfriend, Marti Cummings. I moved up toward the front of the group, and I discovered that helping to hold the Broadway Impact banner was Cynthia Nixon from “Sex and the City,” who is a lesbian.

Once we got to the Capitol, the speakers started. Many of the speakers mentioned they were getting tired of waiting for President Barack Obama to follow through on his promises he made to the LGBT community to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton. They were mad he made such a big deal in his speech to the Human Rights Campaign the previous day about welcoming LGBT families to the annual Easter egg roll at the White House.

They wanted equality now. They also took aim at Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay man himself, who had previously called the march “useless” and “a waste of time at best.” I think Frank was wrong. I witnessed the LGBT youth join their elders to demand their equality that was long overdue. I believe this march was just the starting point for something big, and President Obama and Rep. Frank and other naysayers better get rolling on the issue – or they may just get left behind in the next election. Society has to change and Sunday was just the first step.

We are just getting started.

Joe Alexander is a senior exploratory major at Kent State Stark Campus and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.