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What the National Equality March Means to Queerty. What’s It Mean To You?

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We’ve got 10 days to go before the National Equality March, where buses and planes and trains full of gays and our allies will descend upon Washington D.C. to demand our rights. The fight is not new: We’ve been angling for full equality and protection under the law for decades now. But next weekend, those efforts will join hands as thousands of us march in front of the (probably vacant) White House and come to this stark realization: Here we are, in 2009, with the most gay-friendly president yet, with more public supporters in the Senate and House than ever before, and yet we still are viewed by the federal government as second class. This is our unacceptable reality.

The 2.33 mile march on Oct. 11, complete with speeches by NAACP chairman Julian Bond and Judy Shepard, will forever be a mile marker in the history of gay civil rights. Yes, despite claims of NEM’s disorganization, despite criticism lobbed at Cleve Jones, and despite those who refuse to attend, donate to, or otherwise support the march.

Much gets said, including right here on this website, about “activism.” Leading “activists” make easy targets; they’re the closest thing we’ve got to celebrities after NPH and TR jokes are exhausted. But even we’ll admit, they do important work. That said, Oct. 11 isn’t about them. It’s about you. It’s about us. And it’s not even about “activism.” It’s about the right to live in a free country as equals. It’s something we’ve all been raised to believe isn’t just possible, but fair and just.

If nothing else, we hope the gathering of LGBT friends is actually the least significant part of Oct. 11. It’s one thing to book a plane ticket and hotel stay, design a makeshift banner, and walk by the White House with likeminded Americans. It’s an entirely different commitment to dedicate hours and days in the weeks and months ahead angling for the rights of your people.

We’ll be smiling that afternoon, surrounded by people we know have our backs, who want the same thing, who are tired of living in the shadows. But there will be a weight felt in the Sunday sunshine, knowing full well we’re still a community that, come Monday morning, will be right back where we started.

Unless, of course, we refuse to accept that reality. And carry on the good fight.