An estimated crowd of more than two thousand this evening marched and rallied in New York City in response to a spate of anti-gay crimes in Manhattan in recent weeks. The wave of anti-gay violence came to a head on Saturday May 18th with the murder of Marc Carson who was shot dead in Greenwhich Vilage. The suspect in that fatal incident has been charged with a hate crime.
Members of the LGBT community and their allies assembled outside the LGBT Center of NYC on West 13th Street. By the time the march began the crowd had swelled to well beyond initial expectations. Led by representatives of the LGBT Center, the Anti-Violence Project, relatives of Marc Carson, religious leaders, Edie Windsor (DOMA plaintiff), and elected officials, the group marched towards the scene of Carson’s death at West 8th Street and 6th Avenue. Participants waved signs and chanted along the march route. A large number of police were in attendance.
Inspiring and upliftying speeches were given by representatives form a range of LGBT organizations and other community groups. The aunt of Marc Carson spoke on behalf of Marc’s family and accepted the condolences offered by those in attendance. Leaders from LGBT affirming churches provided input from a religious perspective. Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins, attacked in an unsolved anti-gay assault on May 5th, also spoke.
Much to the irritation of a number of rally attendees, no elected official spoke in relation to the recent rise in anti-gay violence in the city. The event ended with a minute’s silence to honor the death of Marc Carson.
The Pathway Forward
Across the speeches, a number of key themes emerged:
(1) We must remember that LGBT rights are about so much more than the legalization of same-sex marriage. While marriage equality is a key issue, focus must also remain on other LGBT-related struggles experienced in daily life such as street-based homophobic abuse.
(2) The gains made by LGBT people in recent years, and especially in recent months with regards to marriage equality, have potentially sparked the hate of those threatened by this legitimate challenge to existing societal power dynamics. Those against equality know they are losing the battle and they don’t like it.
(3) We must continue to champion and embrace the right of LGBT people to live freely in society. LGBT people, lke all others, should have the right to dress as they wish, be who they want to be, and love who they won’t to love, without being subjected to abuse and violence.
(4) As heinous as the recent violence has been, it’s an opportunity for the LGBT community to once again come together and unite against those who seek to oppress us. We have never given in to discrimination and we never will.
(5) The LGBT community has an opportunity to become a leader in society on matters of gender expression and sexual diversity. Rigid norms around masculinity and feminitity have long been the basis for sanctioning and scorning those who don’t conform. In a contemporary society, we must ackolwedge and embrace the diversity that exists across all sectors.
See below for a selection of photos from today’s march and rally. More photos are available at Gay Marriage USA’s facebook page. All photos taken by GMUSA and can be used with credit.
Album 1 (140 Photos) – all images taggable on facebook
Album 2 (90 Photos) – all images taggable on facebook