Where Were the Marchers from Kansas?
Editor’s Note: Organizers for the Oct. 11 National Equality March estimated the crowd at 200,000.
To the Editor:
Today I will have the extraordinary opportunity to travel from my suburban hometown of Olathe, Kan., to St. Louis, where I will get on a bus with a group called Show Me No Hate and travel to Washington, D.C., for the potentially historic National Equality March. As a gay college student who only came out of the closet a few years ago, I am very proud to say that my supportive mother will be embarking on this journey with me to represent the voice of the LGBT and LGBT-allied community of Kansas.
I am very excited, but also a little disappointed. Why? Because in order to go with a group to this event, I must travel to a different city and a different state. After relentlessly searching the Internet, I found virtually no LGBT groups from Kansas going to this march on Washington. Yes, I understand there has been controversy surrounding this march. Yes, I am aware that U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has said our efforts will be “useless.” Despite the positive media coverage surrounding this march, I can understand why some people might be a little intimidated because of the opposition from certain individuals. Perhaps it’s just part of the Kansas “don’t rock the boat” culture. Why then are the only two groups protesting against the march that the media has covered from Kansas (the Fred Phelps cult and Operation Rescue)? They certainly aren’t afraid to shake things up.
You might say that protesting and marching isn’t your thing. That it will make you seem just as crazy as Fred Phelps. There is something you are forgetting, though. The truth is on our side.
We know who we are, and we know the facts about homosexuality through our personal life experiences. Yet many of us have chosen to keep our activism in the closet, even if we live lives that are open about our sexuality or gender identity, hoping that the Kansas Equality Coalition and Human Rights Campaign will do all the dirty work for us. If we protest in a positive, affirming way, we will shed light on the hate that is spewed by our opponents by showing the love that is within our hearts.
I look forward to the day when Kansans from across the state join together to rally behind our cause, in the way that groups from California to Connecticut are. We might not be able to make it to Washington, but at least we can start taking a stand in our own communities. Let’s see justice executed, not just in the big cities, but the small towns and the suburbs. Let’s make Kansas gayer!
As for now, I will march.