In cities and towns across the world, yearly LGBTQ pride parades and festivals draw millions of participants. The parades and festivals benefit from extensive corporate sponsorship and the support of politicians and celebrities. March on Washington events in 1979, 1987, 1993, 2000, and 2009 collectively drew nearly two million participants. Unlike the media blackout of the 1979 and 1987 marches, each subsequent march has received national media coverage.
National Coming Out Day, established for LGBTQ people to declare their sexual orientation or gender identity, is celebrated on October 11 within LGBTQ history month. The day honors the empowerment of coming out to yourself, family, friends, and co-workers, and promotes the simple truth that people are more likely to support equality if they know someone who is LGBTQ. World AIDS Day, first held in 1988 to unite the fight against HIV and commemorate those who have died, is hon- ored in hundreds of events around the world.
As of 2013, more than 500 openly LGBTQ people served at all levels of government. In 2016, Oregon elected Kate Brown as the nation’s first openly gay governor; and in 2017, Virginia elected Danica Roem as the nation’s first openly transgender state representative. In 2019, Pete Buttigieg became the most visible LGBTQ person to seek the presidential nomination. The economic clout and organizational skills of the LGBTQ community have worked to discourage discriminatory policies aimed at LGBTQ employees, patrons, and students. Most large companies today have anti-discrimination policies and provide equal benefits to all employees.
In 2011, The Williams Institute, a national LGBTQ think tank, estimated that roughly 9 million Americans identify as LGBTQ. They occupy every aspect of life, are visible in every culture and society, and can trace their history to the beginnings of human civilization. As religious freedom bills and discriminatory transgender policies demonstrate, full equality has yet to be achieved. Discrimination and hate crimes continue to proliferate. However as of 2020, the LGBTQ community has never been as well-positioned to meet those challenges and to seek equality for all in the community. As the militant activist group Queer Nation said in their famous rallying cry: “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”