Demanding Rights [Exhibit Panel]


The second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights took place October 11, 1987, with an estimated half million participants. Protest issues included the government’s slow response to AIDS and the Supreme Court’s 1986 decision to uphold sodomy laws in the Bowers v. Hardwick case.

In a foreshadowing of later protests, the day before the historic March, an estimated 2,000 Gay and Lesbian couples exchanged marriage vows in front of the Internal Revenue Service building. After the March, more than 600 protesters were arrested at the U.S. Supreme Court protesting the 1986 Hardwick Decision, making it the largest act of civil disobedience since the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.

Organizations formed as a result of the 1987 March included the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Organization (LLEGO), the first national group for Latinas and Latinos, BiNet U.S.A. for Bisexuals. National Coming Out Day continues to be marked on October 11th, the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington.




“Demanding Rights [Exhibit Panel],” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed June 15, 2024,

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