On Saturday, Alan Bounville completed his 6,000-mile, 21-month march for LGBT equality that spanned from Seattle, Washington, to the front yard of the White House in Washington, DC.
Bounville set off from the West Coast on May 31, 2011, with all of his belongings in a cart festooned with rainbow banners bearing the slogan “Full Equality NOW!”
In a statement, he described his “Into the Light Walk”:
Walking across the country in a straight line essentially twice is one thing. Walking as an out queer person pushing a cart emblazoned with rainbow signs while sharing the demand for full equality based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation is quite another.
People stop me all the time to ask what I’m doing and why I’m walking. Many people are supportive. Some are downright discriminatory. I keep walking because I know that the more I share my truth, the more I humanize to others my demand to be treated equally by my government and my neighbors.
Bounville, 36, made stops where lives had been lost to hatred—either through murder or suicide—in the Bible Belt and beyond. He spoke to congregations, led workshops, performed one-man shows and held candlelight vigils.
He says even opponents of equality walked away from encounters changed: “Something always seems to shift in unsupportive people after I tell them why I’m walking and that I’m gay or queer.”
Members of the public were invited to join him on his last three miles, from Arlington, Virginia, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Bounville says he chose to end his trek at the White House because it was “the People’s House, where transgender, bisexual, queer, lesbian, two-spirit, intersex, and gay Americans are still not welcome as equals.”
A portion of proceeds raised by the Into the Light Walk benefit the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.