LGBT advocates say Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage not end of fight

Beneath the statue of French general Marquis de Lafayette in Mount Vernon, gay rights advocates gathered Sunday to celebrate the Supreme Court victory for same-sex marriage and to highlight the ongoing struggles for full equality.

About 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals listened to six speakers discuss the various barriers that exist for LGBT community — from workplace discrimination to violence and harassment. The event coincided with the anniversary of the June 28, 1969 gay riots outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City's Greenwich Village that many consider as the start of the national gay rights movement.


"We're here today because marriage equality isn't the end of the struggle in Maryland or in this country," said Brian Gaither of the Baltimore Homophobia Opposition Network. "Our struggle is for the recognition we deserve as human beings.

"We're here today because 28 states still allow employers to fire the woman who this past Friday became the wife of another woman," he added. "And 31 states still allow employers to fire someone who is transgender."


He said violence against transgender people should remain a high priority given that several murders of transgender women remain unsolved in the city.

"Violence against any of us is violence against all of us," he said. "A few of us have been a little concerned about what we've seen as instances of homophobia in Baltimore. We think that's the real struggle we have."

Bryanna Jenkins, a transgender advocate, delivered a plea for gay and lesbian advocates to better support the struggles of transgender individuals. She said that Jennicet Gutierrez, a transgender woman who was removed from a White House LGBT pride event last week for interrupting President Obama, was booed by gay and lesbian attendees for demanding the release of all LGBTQ immigrants from detention.

Jenkins said the media has used the incident to say there is a rift between the transgender community and the gay and lesbian community. "Those of us of color know this so-called rift has always been there," Jenkins said. "LGBT people of color are suffering in silence every day. We are not all standing on equal grounds."

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, a LGBT advocate, agreed that gays and lesbians have to do more to support transgender causes as well as issues such as mass incarceration, immigration and workplace discrimination.

"We have to fight together," Meneses-Sheets said. "We do need more than marriage. When people say we've won, we've got to challenge it — not to say the marriage equality fight didn't matter, but that there are so many other fights that we need to be having."