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A Brief History of Civil Rights in the United States: National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

This guide focuses on the civil rights that various groups have fought for within the United States.

National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

Among other purposes, marches on Washington, D.C. show communities acting on their right to peaceful protest, make visible the commitment and volume of support behind a movement, and mobilize and nationalize otherwise more fractured local efforts to organize.  Since the original march on October 14, 1979, the LGBTQ community and its allies have marched on the nation's capital on numerous occasions. Subsequent marches took place in 1987, 1993, 2000, and 2009.   

The organizers of the original march identified the following Five Demands:

  1. Pass a comprehensive lesbian/gay rights bill in Congress.
  2. Issues a presidential executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Federal Government, the military and federally-contracted private employment.
  3. Repeal all anti-lesbian/gay laws.
  4. End discrimination in lesbian mother and gay father custody cases.
  5. Protect gay and lesbian youth from any laws which are used to discriminate against, oppose and/or harass them in their homes, schools, jobs and social environments.


Selected Library Resources:

  • Scott Barclay et al., Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law, KF4754.5 .Q44 2009
  • The dividends of dissent: how conflict and culture work in lesbian and gay marches on Washington, HQ76.8.U5 G53 2008
  • Robert B. Marks Ridinger, ed., Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay and Lesbian Rights (1892-2000), available as an eBook (2012) through Howard University Libraries


Subject Headings:

  • Gay liberation movement -- Washington (D.C.) -- History
  • Civil rights demonstrations -- Washington (D.C.) -- History
  • Gays -- United States -- Washington (D.C.) -- Political activity


Additional Resources: