“Are We Still Marching?”

We’re thrilled to bring this guest post by Cathy Renna of

“Are we still marching?”

My three year old asked us this as we began the long walk back to
our car after the Washington, DC protest march this afternoon. It
was her first protest and she was enthralled by the people, sights
and sounds. She watched the first hour on my shoulders and it was

The crowd was huge – definitely in the thousands, probably about
ten thousand. The energy was great, the people diverse and it felt
like I had taken a trip back in time about 15 years. Initially I
felt surrounded by people much younger than me, then I would see
someone I knew. Andrew Sullivan was there, as was Jonathan Rausch,
along with prominent local longtime activists Mindy Daniels and
Erica Gloger with their daughter and uber-PFLAG parents Lanette and
Bill Graves.

But mostly we saw lots of new faces – young and older, LGBT and
lots of allies and tons of diversity in all it’s forms. Hell, there
were even Metalheads against Prop 8, who got all Ozzie Osborn on us
as we passed them.

It felt good to be out in a crowd, chanting, marching and feeling
like part of something bigger. Not at all like the many big fancy
dinners I go to all the time. Nearly everyone had homemade signs –
us included – and the messages were as diverse as the people. They
all mattered and they all resonated. Some were heartfelt, some
funny (my favorite: The Gay Agenda, #1 Equality #2 See number 1)
and most very simple.

Ours was the latter: We ARE An American Family – a simple truth
that we didn’t see in any No on 8 ads and something that may have
made the difference. Until the general public sees us as real
people and not some nebulous “other” asking for what seems to them
an elusive and abstract notion of equality, we will never make
serious progress in the court of public opinion.

It was an inspiring afternoon. I was thrilled to see that when it
suddenly started to absolutely pour the crowd didn’t disperse. Out
came the umbrellas, the kids in strollers were covered in their
little plastic bubbles and some just got soaked (that would be

We all trudged through the mud puddles and grass past the
Washington Monument and toward the White House. There was no
stopping us – the final destination was as important as the
journey. As one sign said: Obama, Don’t Forget Us. No matter who is
in the White House, it will continue to be important to show up at
the front door every once in a while.

It remains to be seen if this Stonewall 2.0 has momentum. I hope
so. This afternoon made me feel like the grassroots movement that
has seemed so elusive to many of our national organizations is
actually there for the organizing. But that also seems like it
needs to come from the bottom up, for many reasons.

One thing I do know is that our community’s reaction to these
recent losses seems to have an very ironic silver lining, prompting
an upsurge in grassroots organizing and certainly discussion of the
strategies and tactics we are employing in our battle for equal
treatment under the law. This is going to be very interesting.