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Chicagoans march for worldwide LGBTQIA rights

in WORLD, 30/04/2012

Approximately 50 queer activists and allies gathered in Chicago's Pritzker Park April 21 and marched two miles through the heart of downtown in solidarity with the 2012 Worldwide LGBTQIA Human/Civil Rights March.

Marriage equality, LGBTQ-affirming education and the importance of grassroots organization in the fight for queer rights were among the main issues vocalized by marchers. While a majority of protesters were Chicagoans, some traveled from as far Milwaukee to demonstrate.

Planning for Chicago's participation in the worldwide march began last fall. Lead Organizer Noa Francis Shayden orchestrated the grassroots event with the assistance of Gay Liberation Network co-founder Andy Thayer and Occupy Chicago.

"I wanted to go with a more personal touch to it," said Shayden of zis goals for the Chicago march. "We don't have a set list of guest speakers. So anybody who wants to can talk about their experiences as a queer person, or things that they feel need to be changed. We can put a personal touch on this and help make a difference, as well."

Shayden attributed the impetus for this day of protest to the Facebook group "LET'S REACH 1 MILLION PEOPLE CAMPAIGN… It's a start! LGBT EQUALITY." The group was created by gay rights advocate Joe C. Knudson of Oklahoma City, who also acted as International Committee Chairman for the global event. Knudson estimated the march had 6,000 to 8,000 worldwide participants.

In a statement issued to all who participated, Knudson called the event "a day to go down in the history books as the day thousands of people united together in 32 different countries and states throughout the world, along with individuals from many unofficial site locations too numerous to mention, to make their voices heard."

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