Police Shut Down Gay Rights March in Jackson, Mississippi

(photo GetEqual Facebook)

A march for LGBT rights in Jackson, Mississippi was shut down by police yesterday, the Clarion Ledger reports:

The participants had intended to walk along city sidewalks from Cups in Fondren to the Capitol steps, said Fondren March for Equality organizer Bob Gilchrist. However, Sgt. James McGowan said Gilchrist failed to secure liability insurance or any documentation to release the city from liability.

“We tried to work with them as much as we could,” McGowan said.

If the proper permit procedure had been completed, “we would have given them an escort to the Capitol,” he said.

Activist group GetEqual says they were intimidated:

The primary organizer of the march, Bob Gilchrist, had organized the event on Facebook, and was expecting a large crowd for the march. The permit was denied even though event organizers were finalizing details to secure required liability insurance. When informed by police that the permit had been denied, those assembled for the march quickly changed plans under the threat of arrest if they were to proceed.

“Mississippi is notorious for basic human rights violations,” said Bob Gilchrist, the event organizer. ”It’s a shame that, in 2012, the state is still maintaining that reputation.”

Zach Magee, a Mississippi native who helped with the organizing behind the march, said, “I can’t believe the state is still maintaining a campaign of fear and intimidation to oppress state residents. Mississippians organized this march and Mississippians were going to attend this march — if the police can’t maintain safety while also permitting gay Mississippians’ freedom of speech, then I don’t know why they’re in the business of law enforcement.”


  1. Continuum says

    What happened to the Bill of Rights amendment that guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

    If the government can require permits, insurance and anything else, then this right is meaningless since any two-bit dictator governor can make it impossible to protest.

  2. aj says

    At least they didn’t bring out the Water Hoses, Truncheons, and Dogs as they did during the 60’s. And yet when the Founding Fathers wrote “the right to assemble and free speech, i am certain that Insurance and permits were not intended….of course “permits” and “Insurance Coverage” are made to inconvenience the organizers not help them…otherwise there would be no impediment to “the right to Assemble”!

  3. Gregoire says

    You ARE fabulous, you go boy. Anybody with the cajones to march through the Racism Capital of the United States gets my full-hearted support.

  4. says

    That guy in the photo is really hot. He’s such a nice, refreshing change from the usual male models that are thrust upon gay men every two seconds. If I were in Mississippi, I’d totally ask him out – but we’d leave the sign at home.

  5. Steve says

    Alabama’s got me so upset.
    Tennessee makes me lose my breath
    And everybody knows about Mississippi GODDAMN!

  6. zeddy says

    Gotta love the “convenience” of bureaucracy! Liability insurance is total BS. Did they ask the lunch sit-ins if they had a permit? WTF.

  7. Paul in Charleston says

    If they planned on walking on the sidewalks why call it a “march” to begin with? Get re-organised, call it a “flash walk” instead of a march or flash mob. Have people wear t-shirts with messages so no signs have to be carried. Start the walk with just a few pairs of people walking together as free citizens of Mississippi, every block or half block have more people follow. Stay on the sidewalks and cross at intersections in marked crosswalks, don’t block traffic and don’t impede others from going about their business. The city cannot ask you to have permits and insurance if you walk down the street. If several hundred people also walk down the street in the same direction wearing the same t-shirt, oh well! Crazy coincidence ain’t it?
    And by the way…those shorts with THAT t-shirt NOT fabulous.

  8. Reppin2 says

    Why would anyone gay want to live in Mississippi. Move the hell away from there into a city big city where there is acceptance.

  9. says

    my heart bursts with love and pride for our brothers and sisters who continue to fight against intolerant bigotry down in Mississippi Goddamn.

  10. TampaZeke says

    Paul in Charleston, the man is fabulous for what he’s DOING, not for what he’s wearing.

    You seem to be FULL of ideas for these people in Mississippi. What are you doing in South Carolina; which is every bit as bigoted as Mississippi.

  11. Charley says

    Ordinances like that have been overturned by many federal courts. Lamda Legal needs to sue.

  12. Joey says

    Corporate political money is protected free speech

    Citizen’s wanting to peacefully assemble now requires a permit and insurance, both of which, can be denied. We are not that far from St. Petersburg Russia in this land of the free

  13. Don says

    Well, regardless if a person feels an ordinance is right or fair, either fight to have the ordinance overturned or follow the ordinance to the letter. If you don’t do one of those two actions the homophobic bigots will JUMP at the chance to stop your event. That’s just how it goes, right or WRONG as these outdated ordinances may be.

  14. uffda says

    Follow the rules people, then everyone gets to see, gets to participate and gets to show off more signs like the wonderful one in the photo…”fabulous by choice”…priceless.

  15. uffda says

    OK unpost me. I didn’t read carefully enough. Mississippi law enforcement sucks.

  16. pgbach says

    It is time to occupy Jackson & show the bigots that slave days are over… this incident leaves little wonder why MS is a welfare state… a bunch of ignorant old white bigots…

  17. vince says

    As a gay man in Jackson, the real travesty is that GetEqual didn’t help this kids (because that’s what the organizers are…naive, inexperienced kids) get the proper paperwork in place. Instead, they waited and are now using this a chance to falsely cry “homophobia!” when the police were merely doing their job.

    And believe me, I’m not one to take up for local law enforcement.

    The ALCU has said no discrimination happened. Why hasn’t GetEqual come out and retracted this inaccurate press release?

  18. Zach says

    Vince, as a gay man in Jackson, you seem to have a lot to say. I have a question for you. Where the hell were you??? These “kids” (of which I don’t appreciate very much) were out there standing up for what they believe in, which is more than we can say about you. Obviously you consider yourself to be so much wiser than we are, so where were you? How dare you sit behind a computer screen and attempt to scrutinize us for our actions! We had a permit, I’ve got the receipt to prove it. SO- excuse me for being greatly irritated by your comment, but you didn’t see how the police treated us. You DON’T know what happened. Quit speaking as someone who has credibility just because you’re from Jackson, because it is quite apparent to me that you have none.

  19. uffda says

    OK Zach, you cooked him good with your tone of on-the-ground authority. If you’re right Vince should step up and say so, or something. There’s not enough acknowledgement of misstep on this site. Or maybe submission…

  20. Randy says

    You DO NOT need a permit to march, or otherwise express your free speech rights, and rights to assemble in public.

  21. Mary says

    Little Kiwi’s heart “bursting with love” and “tossing roses” to people? Have I died and gone to the utopian Towleroad in heaven? I’m bookmarking this one!

  22. Zach says

    To be clear, this story is slightly incorrect. We DID have a permit (one for 400 people, actually), but as we were migrating from our meeting place (a parking lot) to the sidewalk to march, the police claimed it was going to be a safety issue for us to walk on the PUBLIC SIDEWALK, revoked our permit and threatened anyone who continued with arrest. They claimed it would be necessary for us to have liability insurance to continue. We are actually in the process of getting our money refunded for the permit since the police shut the march down. TRUE STORY. How do I know? My name is Zach Magee, I am a lead organizer in the state of Mississippi for GetEQUAL, and I was there for everything.

  23. says

    First of all let me congratulate Zach Magee from GetEQUAL MS and all that participated in this Action in Jackson. Fine work raising awareness and bringing attention to our cause for EQuality in a State that is not known for its Progressive thinking (shall we say) and I know from whence I speak because I work with GetEQUAL GA and we face many of the same challenges as our LGBT brothers and sisters in MS and throughout the South.

    Before any of you sit at your keyboards offering up your armchair criticism … let me ask … What are you doing for EQuality.?. When was the last time you got out with a Sign at a Protest Action.?. When was the last time you picked up the telephone and called your elected Representatives and demanded they support Legislation for EQuality.?. When was the last time you gave of your time in any way possible for the cause … besides sitting at your keyboard offering up critique for those that do.!.?.

    And writing a check once a year to your favorite LGBT organization (as great as that is) … doesn’t cut it in my book.!.

    So .. my challenge would be to everyone posting on this thread … before you offer up any critique or fashion advice … do us all a favor and sign-up now to GetINVOLVED with GetEQUAL and donate some of your time and energy to something other than sitting behind your fake online name and your computer screen and Join Us.!.

    And for those that do … Congratulations and Thank You … we need more like you.

    Paul EQuality Schappaugh

  24. says

    kudos to Paul and Zach.

    but rest easy, brothers – there will always be people who complain from the Online Anonymity Closet about “how much better they’d do things” who never, ever, at any point do any of those things they claim to do.

    just know you’ve inspired people, and that those of us with functioning brains and hearts are with you, 100%.

  25. Zach says

    Thanks, Little Kiwi. I know there will always be those people, but I also know that they will always irritate me. Haha. I truly appreciate the support. Hope you all have a great night!

  26. ratbastard says

    And why didn’t they get the proper permits for their ‘parade’? Surprise! Cities require a permit for a public parade. They weren’t being picked on.

    I suppose them getting arrested was really what it was all about.

    And quit picking on MS; this is 2012, there are plenty of bigots of ALL persuasions everywhere you go in this world.

  27. ratbastard says

    ‘a bunch of ignorant old white bigots…’


    As opposed to a bunch of ignorant young black bigots? Ignorant middle aged Asian bigots? Ignorant flaming homo bigots?

    Many of the people posting about MS being a racist and bigoted place probably live in a state or country with a far smaller black population than MS, which is around 30% black. The U.S. as a whole is around 12-13%. Canada is around 2%.

  28. says

    hey ratbastard, how’s your dad? still dead? awesome! aint he the lucky one. 😀

    keep rambling from your many aliases. you could always provide your own link where you show the specific pro-LGBT work that you and your friends and family are doing, but that would blow your cover from the multiple fake profiles you use to comment on this site.

  29. says

    hey ratty! how’s your dad? still dead? well then aint he the lucky one 😉

    nice to see you using this fake-alias of yours more often, it’s been a while. he was in seeming semi-retirement.

    now, perhaps you could provide the URL to your own page or video where you show us all the incredible pro-LGBT work that you and your family are doing.

    i mean, that’d be nice, but it can’t happen as it’d blow your cover for the multiple fake profiles you use to comment on this site.

    oh well. at least your dad isn’t around to be embarrassed by you anymore.


  30. TJ says

    KIWI – just because we all have your URL doesn’t give you permission to cross the line as you sometimes do. I often disagree with RAT. But I hope I’d never stoop so low as to make cracks about someone’s dead father. My friend, that crosses the line. Maybe when you lose your father, like I have, you’ll understand.

  31. says

    TJ, he’s not a real person. He has MULTIPLE fake aliases on this site, and many others. There’s no dead dad. it’s part of a fake sock-puppet’s fake life.

  32. says

    he’s been removed from tonnes of other queer sites for the same thing – having multiple fake profiles that all parrot the same-styled nonsense and engaging in positively Sybil-esque conversations with each other.


    all with their own “character slant” on the exact same ideology, all spouted from the same place of anonymous cowardice and (as webmasters from other sites found out) the same IP address.

    i have no problems with insulting someone who, to be flatly honest, doesn’t even really exist.

    clue in, boys and girls – we don’t have as many “trolls” as you think – we have two. with many sock-puppet avatars.

  33. TJ says

    Not that it’s not possible or probable,KIWI, but that’s still not proof. You are all about evidence. Give me some. How do you KNOW?

  34. says

    for one – he was kicked off of Queerty for that reason.

    another – simply stick around the boards and start taking note of “who says what”, and at what times. character profiling.

    understand character motivation, my friend. he’s one more voice from the same old troll.

  35. TJ says

    What is your evidence that he was kicked off Queerty? If you know this, and since I am not aware, how do you convince me? Again, I don’t don’t that it is not possible or probable.

    Keep track of who says what? So, should I (and others) then make the assumption that since I agree with you much of the time, I must be one of your aliases/avatars?

    I have seen people claim that RICK and JASON have the same ISP. I don’t know how this voodoo works on the intertubes. My interest in the intricacies died when I had to carry boxes of cards back in 1976. but I know that whippersnappers are well-versed. Are you well-versed enough to offer me this evidence? Or should I just take your word?

    >and cyberly, I do consider you a friend; hence the confrontation<

  36. says

    no worries. there’s no “evidence” i can submit – it’s from past experiences on Queerty, a site that (alas) is worthless as it’s full of nothing bur trolls. but ol’ratbas was there. with many an alias.

    it’s not just who says what, it’s those very specific “whats” that are the pet peeves of these very sad and deeply closeted excuses for men. anti-black, anti-liberal, always blaming the victims, and always sure that they’d do a better job of things, if only they had the drive to do things other than complain anonymously online.
    take my word, friend. a troll who will earn his death by starvation.

  37. TJ says

    I will accept as a possibility that you are right. I will also consider the possibility that more than one poster shares similar points of view. After all, you are not having a discussion with one of your alters. Not that I can prove this, but I’m sure there are those who can.

    As far as starving trolls goes; lord knows, feeding others is my avocation, so it’s hard not to offer sustenance. But there are those that I no longer argue directly with, even if I feel strongly compelled to offer an opposing point of view and then do so. And I’m far from pure in this intention. But DUDE! Sometimes, you just might be the Aunt Jemima of carb overload when it comes to feeding trolls. And creating (often helpful) controversy and drama.

  38. Will Welch says

    @Vince: It is not just a matter of “getting the required paperwork.” There is no real liability for 40 people walking on the sidewalk; they should be able to do it without a permit. In this case, the insurance requirement is unnecessary and its use has the effect of restricting free speech. The city can’t require an insurance policy that the group can’t afford to permit them to assemble on public property for redress of grievances. But given that what they were doing should not even require a permit, the fact that the police threatened to arrest them if they walked on the sidewalk is completely out of control.

  39. uffda says

    TJ – “There’s no “evidence” I can submit” is the only relevant thing KIWI has said. End of a story which is otherwise disreputable along with its yammering author. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He does, however, know two things: how to keep to a clear line of forceful thought, often with passion if not eloquence, and more usually how to fabricate “facts” while he savages people and their fathers. Following his example it is clear that he has lived in a warm shower his entire life and has long since intimidated his own father into submission which is the reason he has no manners at all.

    I rarely read him anymore as the vibe is usually negative ending as he often does with the demand that those who do not agree with him commit suicide, that their own fathers (like his – ahem) are ineffectual, dead (or that they despise their sons), and that dissenters are going to die lonely and in pain etc. etc. This makes him a false prophet on top of a very nasty customer. Do not be tempted to abase yourself before this reverse-troll and reverse-bigot by straining to give him the benefit of the doubt. They are more mighty than mountains.

  40. chuck says

    I guess Mississippi could have solved their racial human rights issues 60 years ago, if they had only demanded liability insurance from MLK’s group! Maybe a couple of million dollars per protestor would have been sufficient. The insurance would have paid for the tear gas, and wear and tear on the billy clubs.

  41. says

    UFFDA, if you think people haven’t clued in to your own pathetic troll cowardice you’re freakin’ crazy.

    unlike you, UFFDA, i have the orbs to show myself.


    and my rad dad 😀

    you don’t. because you’re one more troll. you’re one more sad-sack homosexual with no testicles, and it’s clear to anyone and everyone that you have little to no experience interacting with other gay males, LGBT people, and indeed pro-Equality grassroots work.

    one of the reasons i keep my blog, and my youtube page, is because i’m very open about the struggles i’ve had in my life, and what can be done to ensure that others won’t have to go through what i went through.

    you, UFFDA, are a complete coward. and this is the last time i’m ever addressing you, or reading your nonsensical comments.

    you, however, can feel free to keep stalking me online. lord knows it’s the only thing that keeps you going.

  42. Johnathan Putnam says

    I will March with you guys any day or the week right to that capitol building. Deny my rights? I think not!