Op-ed: Sleeping, Praying, and Walking Across America for Equality

BY Advocate Contributors

January 24 2012 11:50 AM ET

RICHARD NOBLE JARED POLIS X390 (RN) | ADVOCATE.COMIt was lonely then, and it still is, though I do have the companionship of my dog, Trinity. Together, we are halfway through the Walk Across America. I've compiled numerous newspaper articles, resolutions, and proclamations from legislatures representing about 6 million people so far, supporting my journey for full federal equality. Sure, I could fly to Washington, D.C., and knock on doors and express one voice. But the walk has made me a federal lobbyist, as I represent millions of people supporting federal equality and comprehensive civil rights.

The journey has been long, difficult, and beautiful. It took me 49 days to cross the deserts of Nevada. I had the wonderful opportunity to join young people in Salt Lake City on a civil rights walk. I've rafted the Colorado River with the rainbow flag. With a backcountry permit, I've walked the rainbow flag through and over the Rocky Mountains into Estes Park. I've made friends with coyotes and had Christians pray in groups at their request for my safe journey and the passage of our civil rights. Some have come out of the closet after meeting me and learned about the courage and integrity that lives within them. I tell young people we have a hate-crimes law in effect and not to be intimidated by any bully or any form of homophobia or transphobia.

So far I have so journeyed 1,800 miles and have officially 1,080 to go to the Atlantic coast of Florida. Once there I will have crossed the United States. I now look forward to meeting Mayor Annise Parker in Houston. The civil rights case is being made. Those who oppress us and deny us civil rights are quickly becoming transparent with every little step. There are so many successes and wins here, and I'm just amazed at the blessings I've received and the challenges I've had to overcome to move forward.

I want to thank all my Facebook friends for sponsoring me along the way when everyone else said, "No way." Nobody believed me. I was unsure myself.  I had no idea the walk would have become what it has. On the other side there's a lot to celebrate. Marriage equality in New York, Hillary Clinton's address to the United Nations on LGBT human rights, and so on. I'm very grateful, but we're not done yet. Join me as I continue to sleep, pray, and eat during my Walk Across America for Equality.

When Trinity, the rainbow flag, and the American Equality Bill have reached the Atlantic coast, it is my hope to add a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Trinity and I will bus up to West Virginia and walk the several hundred miles into Washington and meet up with members of Congress and deliver your voice. Federal equality and comprehensive federal civil rights: It will be the icing on our cake. 







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