Connecting Rainbows & Walking Across America For LGBT RightsRichard Noble

by Matthew Burlingame, March 21, 2011

Some might think that the days of the true activist are dead, given way to large, donation-hungry advocacy organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD.

Beyond corporatized or even grassroots activism – where are the Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings of today, showing us the difference that a single person can make by simply standing up to bring attention to continuing injustice?
Some believe that level of old-school activism is alive and well in Richard Noble, a LGBT rights activist from Palm Springs, CA. Noble is currently walking across America carrying a rainbow flag to bring national attention to the American Equality Bill, which would amend the Civil Rights Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Civil Rights Act was enacted in July 1964, outlawing major forms of discrimination against persons for their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It ended the unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and hiring discrimination in the workplace, as well as facilities that served the general public.

Noble, who has long championed LGBT equality and civil rights, has a history of activism. He spent his younger days storming anti-gay churches, disrupting events with kiss-ins and participating in other radical forms of protests with Queer Nation, a group spawned from the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP).

Then, years later, he would take a less militant, but nonetheless poignant approach, such as fasting to bring attention to gay-teen suicides and asking eastern religious leaders to bless gay marriage.

It seems as though life-long activism was a destiny for Noble. During the AIDS crisis of the late 1980s and 90s, while in his teens and 20s, he found himself watching most of his friends, many who were his own age, die.

It was then he discovered the Radical Faeries and became close friends with the group's founder Harry Hay, an unorthodox civil-rights leader himself. Years later, marching with the likes of David Mixner and Larry Kramer would not be an uncommon occurrence for Noble, nor was openly confronting and protesting anti-gay celebrities or businesses.

The roughly 5,000 mile trek from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to New York's Statue of Liberty, which kicked off March 12, will be Noble's largest endeavor to date. It was not entered into without forethought.

Noble made certain to research everything from nutrition to how to properly pack his backpack. Along the way, he garnered support from businesses and individuals supporting his cause. He was provided with donations of a sleeping bag, iPhone and other items to aid him on his journey.

Noble's walk has garnered a mass of attention and accolades including a Proclamation [for the walk] issued from the City of West Hollywood, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Certificate of Honor from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and a letter of support from the Highway Patrol Dept.

Noble's Civil-Rights-Walk is expected to take over a year to complete and will bring him through Sacramento. To track Noble during his journey, you may find him on Twitter at richardnoble, YouTube at RnobleOne and various Facebook pages.

Or better yet, call Richard to find out if he is close to where you live. He would love to have you join him in his march for whatever time you can. You can call him at 760-992-4172

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