On this day in 1979, the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights took place in Washington, D.C. The first such march on Washington, it drew between 75,000 and 125,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, and straight allies to demand equal civil rights and urge the passage of protective civil rights legislation.
The march served to nationalize the gay movement, which had previously been focused on local struggles. The march began at 4th Street and the National Mall, turned left onto Pennsylvania Avenue, proceeded northwest towards the White House, turned left onto 15th Street, right onto E Street, left onto 17th Street and ended in a rally between the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool.
In addition to the march itself, the organizers arranged three days of workshops featuring artistic events, strategy sessions, focus groups on specific issues of women and minorities within the LGBT community, consciousness raising, local organization, religion and other issues. The Monday after the march was organized as a “Constituent Lobbying Day” in which over 500 participants attempted to contact every member of Congress to express support for gay-rights legislation.