Katie Miller, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Oct. 11, fabulous people from across the nation came together to march on Washington for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community.

Kicking off the march with an actual rainbow (mind you, there was not a drop of rain in the sky), the event proved to be magical.

With waving banners and elaborate chants, 200,000 LGBTQ rights supporters marched from McPherson Square to the Capitol, a three-mile trek.

The organizing body known as Equality Across America asserts on their web site that the National Equality March was an effort to fight for “Equal Protection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Now.”

The movement’s urgency was palpable. During the rally on the steps of the Capitol following the march, all speakers, ranging from Lady Gaga to Academy Award-winning screen writer for Milk, Dustin Lance Black, to slam poet and LGBTQ activist Staceyann Chin, called for people to take action to make the march more than just an afternoon of waving rainbow flags.

While Lady Gaga’s booming cry for Obama to listen was surely one of the events highlights, the overall importance of the march goes far beyond the spoken word. The entire event proved that mobilization can happen.

Equality Idol Runner-Up and rally speaker Mario Nguyen, who is a sophomore at Western Kentucky University, was skeptical about how impactful the march would actually be. Once there, however, his doubts evaporated as quickly as the grass before the Capitol filled.

“This march was organized at nothing but a grassroots level, no corporate endorsement at all. And it was not just some cute gathering of pretty gay people, or some little pride march. No, it was a convention, where we networked, we connected, we inspired,” said Nguyen.

As a participant in the event, with a twisted ankle no less, I have to say that limping for three miles and standing for three hours left me much more than just sore and slightly sunburned.

As kids we hear about this thing called civil rights and that it is something people have died fighting for, but until you actually participate alongside those fighters, hold their hands, listen to their stories and become one of them, do you understand the urgency for a piece of what has been deemed our inalienable rights.

Not everyone shares my or the marchers’ views on gay rights, but anyone can understand that when surrounded by like-minded strangers expressing pure joy at the thought of working together to bring change to life, you are forever impacted.

“We gained knowledge, and most importantly we got ready to take what is rightfully ours with our own two hands,” said Nguyen. “So watch out America.”