Marches, Coming Out & Matthew Shepard


October, by default, has become the month that gays and lesbians can celebrate who we are and a time to pause and reflect on those not with us today.

Second National March on Washington for Lesbians and Gay People October 11th - Occurring in 1987, it has been described largely as a political rally and referred to by many in the gay community as 'The Great March' on the mall. Crowd estimates were 500,000.

Coming Out Day October 11th – A day when all GLBT queer folk proudly proclaim their sexual orientation in 'coming out' to their family, friends and co-workers.

Founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and Jean O'Leary, an openly-gay political leader from L.A., Oct. 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1987 gay march on Washington, DC the previous year.

Matthew Shepard's Death October 12th - Matthew Wayne Shepard (1976-1998) was a 21-year old gay University of Wyoming student who was tortured and murdered outside of Laramie, WY on Oct. 6-7 because of his sexual orientation. He later died of head injuries due from the attack, found left tied to a fence, on Oct. 12. His mother, Judy, became a gay rights advocate, wrote a book and a play, The Laramie Project, a documentary-styled play analyzing the death of Shepard, was written and performed.

National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights October 14, 1979 - The first national (US) gay rights march held in DC, this one was held on Oct. 14, 1979. It drew between 75,000 and 125,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people as well as straight allies demanding equal civil rights for sexual minorities and urged the passing of protective civil rights protection. Ironically, a planned March on Washington in 1973 met with resistance by local and national LGBT organizations and the march was dropped.

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