National Equality March Crowd Hard to Estimate
Sunday’s National Equality March brought droves of gay activists to the nation’s capital, but exactly how many people may be difficult to determine.
From the moment it was first announced, the National Equality March garnerned widespread controversy when it came to predicting the number of attendees. Even in the days after the march, a concrete number will be difficult to pin down. Organizer Tanner Efinger says activists may never be able to determine exactly how many people marched, and that a pre-march number would have set unreasonable expectations.
“There’s no way to really tell, you know, and a lot of people will judge the success or failure of a march based on that number, you know, based on what we expected.”
Estimates from the media have ranged from the tens of thousands all the way to a quarter of a million people flooding the National Mall on Sunday. The Advocate placed the number at around 200 thousand. Time Magazine agreed with that figure, but noted that estimates of attendance on the National Mall are “notoriously unreliable.” Police and National Parks personnel have not given an official number and no longer do so as a matter of policy. For comparison, the Millenium March nine years ago drew between 200 thousand and one million people — depending on who you asked. Street level crowd counting and even aerial analysis have a wide margin of error. No matter what the number is, organizers say they do not measure success based on attendance.
“People would see that as a failure but this is a success so no matter what that number is we’ve motivated, galvanized and will continue to organize.”
Efinger says what really matters is those who DID come taking the fight for LBGT equality back to their home districts.
-Evan Schwartz, Washington