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Eyewitness Account of Rally

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Eyewitness Account of Rally


Gay rights


A student's account of a Washington DC gay rights rally, in protest of Ms. Anita Bryant's attack on gay rights ordinance in Dade County, FL.


A Mary Washington Student




HIST 298, University of Mary Washington




The materials in this online collection are held by Special Collections, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington and are available for educational use. For this purpose only, you may reproduce materials without prior permission on the condition that you provide attribution of the source.


400 dpi




Fredericksburg, VA

Text Item Type Metadata


Eyewitness Account of Rally

On Sunday, January 22, there was a rally and march in Washington DC to protest the arrival of Ms. Anita Bryant, and to show to her and the community, the gay solidarity and support for 34, the Human Rights Law currently in effected in DC. I was in attendance.

When my friend and I arrived at 5:45 pm there were already quite a number of people milling around DuPont Circle, listening to Lyn Frizzell perform his music. One of his songs, entitled “Hurricane Anita” was written in protest of Ms. Bryant’s recent attack on the gay rights ordinance in Dade County, Florida. The song unified the audience and bought a roaring applause from the gloved hands of a crowd now nearing 1000.

Casse Culver, another singer and songwriter, performed several of her songs and urged us all to sing along. Afterward, she gave a short speech. Next, on the rally program was Leonard Matlovich. Once an airforce sergeant with many decorations, he was handed a less-than-honorable discharge when he disclosed his homosexuality. His was a stirring speech, advocating equality of rights for all. After Matlovich’s speech, a nun representing Catholic support for gay rights spoke. Following her were several others including Frank Kamony, and David Kopay, ex-pro-football player. Both gave rousing speeches.

At seven o’clock it was time to move our nearly frozen bodies toward the Washington Hilton where Ms. Bryant was staying. As the crowd moved down Connecticut Avenue with candles in hand, I could see the immensity of the procession. We were near the rear of the line which was three abrest from DuPont Circle all the way to the Hilton, three and half blocks away. When we neared the Hilton, we could see that the entire hotel block was encircled about 25 people deep, all with candles held high.

The crowd sang “We Shall Overcome” and “America the Beautiful” during the walk to the Hilton, groups of marchers also began chanting “Gay and Proud” and “2, 4, 6, 8, Gay is just as good as Straight!”

It was my first march, and it was quite an experience. The DC police were there to make sure that no one tried to infringe upon our rights to peacefully assemble. All went smoothly, and in my opinion, quite successfully. Official sources estimate the crowd at over 2000 people.

Seeing such support for gay rights in our nation’s capital makes me honestly believe that we shall overcome someday!

Original Format


Contributor of the Digital Item

Humphries, Kim

Student Editor of the Digital Item

Williams, Megan




A Mary Washington Student, “Eyewitness Account of Rally,” HIST298, accessed January 16, 2021, http://hist298.umwhistory.org/items/show/17.