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.
“Intersex” is what? Hermaphrodites? I’m not sure there is a lot of discrimination aimed at those with ambiguous genitalia, but I’ll accept that…
“Queer” is a synonym for gay, no? Seems a bit redundant, but I’ll accept that, too…
“Two-spirit”? What the @%$& is that?! The “spirit” is a religious concept, not a scientific one. Throwing that in there is just confusing. It weakens the argument.
@erikwm: “Two-spirit” people is an umbrella term used to refer to what used to be called Berdache. They were Native American and Canadian First Nation peoples who believed they embodied both genders. They were well respected members of the communities, and have been documented in hundreds of native tribes. Sorry if history confuses you, but it does not weaken the argument.
This almost makes me miss DC.
According to googlemaps, Washington, D.C. is 2,763 miles from Seattle, so I don’t see how this cross-country walk could have been 6,000 miles.
@yaoming: Maybe they already went once and they weren’t in?
6,000 miles is the difference from one Washington to the other… and back again.
@yaoming: According to the article, “Bounville, 36, made stops where lives had been lost to hatred—either through murder or suicide—in the Bible Belt and beyond…” so he made several stops along the way.
If you were to calculate the distance from Seattle to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Albuquerque to Dallas to St. Louis to Nashville to New Orleans to Atlanta to Orlando to Washington, it would be 6212 miles. So a 6000 mile journey from Seattle to Washington is not unreasonable.
@LandStander: You’re welcome to your opinion, but anything that confuses or distracts from the larger point weakens the argument. Redundant historical terms are unnecessary.
The message should be concise — equality under the law, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In this instance, 2 is greater than 7.
Did he pull a cart with food and water? That would have been the way to go. It’s lucky he’s so good looking, or he might have been smooshed on the way. Looks trump everything in this shallow country.
@yaoming: here is the map of alan walking route http://www.intothelightwalk.com/?page_id=6
What a complete waste of time.
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