The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights was a large political rally that took place in Washington, D.C. on October 11, 1987. The second such march on Washington, it drew 500,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to protest for equal civil rights and to demand government action in the fight against AIDS.
The 200,000 person estimate, widely quoted from the New York Times, was made several hours before the march actually began; similarly, most of the pictures used by mainstream media were taken early in the morning, or of the AIDS Quilt viewing area rather than the march itself. Police on the scene estimated numbers during the actual march to be closer to half a million.
This event & date would also become the starting point for what would become National Coming Out Day.
The march began with a grassroots call out to known lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations for an organizational/platform meeting in New York City in November of 1986. Steve Ault & Robin Tyler, both of whom had been active in the first march, the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979, felt that the time had arrived for another March on Washington. Representatives from the following schools were in attendance: Brown University; California Institute of Technology; California State Universities at Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, San Francisco; CUNY Hunter College, Queens College; New York University; Pasadena City College, Stanford University, University of California at Los Angeles; and University of Southern California. At the end of the weekend, the overall structure for the National Steering Committee had been set, a gender parity Co-Chair structure (Robin Tyler and Steven Ault) with the usual organizational positions; Stephen G. (check spelling), Secretary (Brown University); and additional Regional (California; Nicole Ramirez-Murray & and Issues/Constituent-related Chairs for organization and special interest input.
The second meeting of the steering committee was held in January 1987 in the City of West Hollywood at City Hall. Jean Conger from Southern California Women for Understanding was the parliamentarian for the meeting. Among the issues discussed were "the personal is political," (Rosie O’Donnell still uses this phrase - "The View" 04.03.07) and a petition for adding atheists to the list of peoples represented.