Members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and straight communities will march Sunday in Washington, D.C. with one demand — equal rights for LGBT people.
“We’re out here, and they need to listen to us,” said Duane Breijak, a member of the Michigan Democratic Party LGBT Caucus and Michigan organizer for the national event.
Participants want equality and protection in all issues concerning civil law in all 50 states.
The march, which coincides with National Coming Out Day, will begin at noon Sunday and will end at the west lawn of the United States Capitol at approximately 2 p.m. with a rally to follow. About 10,000 people from all over the nation are expected to be in attendance.
The Michigan group will depart to Washington D.C. on Friday night, Breijak said.
The caucus will take two buses down on Friday, he said, with 100 to 110 people in attendance. One bus will be full of University of Michigan students, he said.
“The march is basically a kick off for grassroots organizations,” Breijak said. “We’re not going to be silent anymore. Things need to happen.”
Students from Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University will be in attendance, along with residents from around the state, including the Mount Pleasant area.
Will Calhoun, a Flint senior and CMU Representative for the Isabella County Human Rights Committee, is one of the Central Michigan University students going to the march.
He said unity within the LGBT community is key to making changes.
“We need to network with ourselves, and with other communities in the country,” Calhoun said.
After the march, Calhoun wants to take community enthusiasm to the local level.
“One thing I want to do (in Mount Pleasant) is the non-discrimination ordinance. We cannot as an LGBT community do this alone,” he said. “The big push after the march is individual legislatures.”
There will be several LGBT rights events in Washington D.C., this weekend.
Saturday’s events include a media training workshop by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and a protest and memorial service regarding the military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
Barack Obama will be speaking at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner on Saturday.
The National Equality March hopes to involve residents in all 435 congressional districts in the United States.
Calhoun said he is excited to be part of such a large movement.
“Right now, we are at times a fractured community,” he said. “I wanted to help my community and friends. I wanted to join fellow people from my state in this.”
More information about the National Equality March can be found at equalityacrossamerica.org.