The Agenda

Victory president commemorates 50th anniversary of LGBTQ rights protest

Philadelphia’s Independence Hall was the backdrop for a ceremony July 4 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the United States’ first LGBTQ rights demonstrations. Attendees honored the forty advocates who gathered in front of Independence Hall on July 4, 1965, for the first of what would become known as “annual reminders.”
Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings organized the original annual reminders, in which the organizers picketed with signs saying “Equal treatment before the law,” and “Equality for homosexuals,” along with other slogans.
Speakers at the event, including the lead plaintiff in the recent Supreme Court marriage case, James Obergefell, celebrated the progress over the past fifty years, and urged advocates to keep fighting.
LGBTQ movement leaders, including Aisha Moodie-Mills, president and CEO of the Victory Fund and Institute, spoke about the remaining work still needed to protect all LGBTQ people in the wake of the marriage decision. She highlighted that dozens of states lack LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections for housing and employment.
“In too many communities, you can still get married on Sunday and then fired on Monday. Marriage equality was a critical milestone but not the final destination,” said Moodie-Mills, according to the Associated Press.
Retired New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson noted the vital nature of multi-issue coalitions in the LGBTQ movement. “Our struggle for LGBTQ equality must merge with other social justice movements,” said Robinson. “Black lives matter. Immigrant Dreamers lives matter. People living in wheelchairs and in poverty matter. We who are LGBTQ are black, are immigrants, are disabled and are poor.”
Activists at the event remembered history and reaffirmed their commitment to secure the rights of all LGBTQ people. “If history has taught us anything, it’s that no community’s rights are one and done with a simple piece of legislation. Equality is not set in stone,” Moodie-Mills said.