From Seattle to D.C.: Alan Bounville nears end of Equality Walk

Map_Into the Light Walk

A 6,000 mile cross country walk for equality will come to a close with a press conference in D.C. next month. Alan Bounville started his trek on May 31, 2011 in Seattle. Along the way he’s made new friends, helped to educate thousands with his one man shows and workshops on LGBT equality and spent more than one cold and lonely night camped out in the middle of nowhere.

Accompanied by a push cart with two rainbow-colored signs that read, “Full Equality NOW!”, he’s walked every step of the way, zigzagging from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, often over harsh terrain and in even harsher weather.

Despite the hardships he’s encountered, the New York native never lost site of  his reason for undertaking such a monumental task, “The overarching mission of the walk is to end gender discrimination in all its forms. All people are typed in our society based on how they look. And much of the violence hurled upon people is based on these images. I feel if we open up spaces where we can learn to be better reflectors of our own thoughts and feelings, we can begin to understand what is meant by a pluralistic society where all are treated equally both in law and socially,” Bounville told a reporter in 2011.

It’s a message that he’s been able to share with tens of thousands of Americans, “People stop me all the time to ask what I’m doing and why I’m walking. Many people are supportive. Some are downright discriminatory. I keep walking because I know that the more I share my truth, the more I humanize to others my demand to be treated equally by my government and my neighbors. When people who don’t support my demand look me in the eye, they walk away from me changed. Something always seems to shift in unsupportive people after I tell them why I’m walking and that I’m gay or queer.”

While walking, Bounville has held numerous candlelight vigils remembering people who were murdered or who have taken their own lives due to discrimination based on the victim’s perceived or actual gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Bounville has also talked at religious services about his mission, facilitated social movement and art as activism workshops, and performed a solo interview theatre-based play inspiring people to walk into their own light and true potential.

The final 3 mile leg of the walk will start in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, February 23 at 3 PM. From there Bounville and those who are interested in joining him will walk across the Potomac River and arrive outside of the White House for a vigil and  the press conference.

“For nearly two years I’ve been invited as an equal into hundreds of homes across this great land. The walk ends at the People’s House, where transgender, bisexual, queer, lesbian, two spirit, intersex, and gay Americans are still not welcome as equals. The time for full equality is now”, says Bounville in a press release.

Earlier this month, Alan’s name was added to Wikipedia’s list of 62 individuals who have completed their walks across the country since 1980.

Participants who are interested in walking those last three miles can join the facebook event page HERE.

You can find out more about Alan and his entire journey on his website at www.intothelightwalk.com or on the walk’s facebook page found HERE.

You can make a donation to  Into the Light Walk by clicking HERE. 10% of every dollar raised through the Into the Light Walk goes to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, an organization whose mission is aligned with the purpose of this walk.

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