Why I Marched, by Elizabeth Pax

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 at 4:12pm
Elizabeth Pax, center (courtesy of Bryan Hlavinka via Facebook)
Elizabeth Pax, center, at the National Equality March. (via Facebook)

I attended the National Equality March in D.C. this weekend, but it was on my own time and dime — not as a reporter. And since I didn’t interview anyone up there, this morning I sent out an e-mail to a bunch of Dallas activists who attended  seeking their reflections on the weekend for publication in the Voice. I’ve gotten only a few responses thus far (hint, hint), but one of them was so moving that I thought I’d go ahead and share it with you here. It came from Elizabeth Pax, Dallas organizer for Join The Impact, ambassador for Queer LiberAction and a graduate student at the University of North Texas. Here’s what Pax said:

When my dad found out that I was going to D.C. he was very angry. He yelled at me for weeks about being irresponsible for spending money that I didn’t have. In one fight I told him that I had to go, that is was important that I be there. He snarked at me, “If you are little miss BIG IMPORTANT activist why didn’t they pay for you to go out there?” Not that it makes me “little miss big important activist,” but I actually had been offered a free ticket to D.C. —  a thousand thank yous to Mark and Dante (unfortunately for me it was AFTER I had already booked!). His intention was to belittle me but all he did was prove that he has no idea what this movement is all about or how critical it is that everyone (even little nobodies like me) get involved. I wasn’t saying that it was important that I be there because I am IMPORTANT. Not everyone is Cleve Jones or Sherry Wolfe … or even Lady Gaga. There are a lot more little, insignificant-but-passionate activists like me in this movement than big, important celebrity activists. If only the big, important activists bothered to show up, there would be no march. To him the march was a waste of money, a lark, a vacation, an impulse, a bad idea. To me the march was priceless, a statement to my community and country, a demand to my government, a battle in the war against inequality.

Eventually I will pay off my credit card. In the long run, I won’t remember the hours I worked in my part-time job to earn the money. However, when equality finally comes to America and I am able to marry the woman I will love … when I don’t have to be afraid of what will happen if my employer “finds out” that I am a lesbian … when I am finally extended the full rights and privileges that are endowed upon every American citizen …. I WILL remember turning the corner on Pennsylvania Avenue, the gorgeous Capitol building rising up in the distance, and looking across a sea of rainbows, signs, banners, and fists, at my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and allies passionately fighting for equality at the National Equality March on D.C. in 2009. That memory is, as they say, priceless.

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