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Gay Pioneers to
Lead March for Equality on Independence Mall

Gay Pioneers to
Lead March for Equality on Independence Mall

On Sunday, May 3, Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz, pioneers of the first gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations, will lead the March for Equality at the National Equality Rally on Independence Mall, outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

"In the face of toxic homophobia, the Gay Pioneers heroically launched our movement," said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. "We are honored to have gay pioneers Frank Kameny and Lilli Vincenz lead the March for Equality on Independence Mall. They gave birth to the dream and within our lifetime that dream will be realized."

The March for Equality will begin at the National Constitution Center and end at Independence Hall. Demonstrators will assemble for an equality program touching on issues including the need to pass trans-inclusive hate-crimes legislation and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act, and support better health care for LGBT people, equal benefits for same-sex families, and same-sex marriage equality.

Kameny, known as the "father of the GLBT civil rights movement," led the successful effort to remove a prohibition that precluded gays and lesbians from working for the federal government. Kameny was the first openly gay candidate for Congress.

Vincenz demonstrated at the Annual Reminders from 1965 to 1969. She was the only lesbian to participate in the first White House picket line in 1965 and was an officer of the Mattachine Society of Washington, one of the earliest gay organizations.

Information about the National Equality Rally and how to participate can be found at www.nationalequalityrally.org. (Rhiza Dizon, Advocate.com)

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