When Mariel Martin heard the presidential election results, she said the first thing she thought was, Are you f***ing kidding me?
“I felt like our democracy failed us,” Martin said.
The 31-year-old bisexual said it seemed like all of her identities were under fire after she heard Donald Trump would become the nation’s next president Jan. 20.
“Being a Jewish minority and being a part of the LGBTQ community, I just felt like so much of what I am, who I am and how I identify [was being attacked],” Martin said. “It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter that I’m an American citizen. Equality isn’t in my cards and for 24 hours, I went through all of the stages of grief. And then afterwards, I got angry. Quite frankly, I’ve been angry ever since.”
Martin will channel that anger into the Women’s March on Philadelphia, which will be held concurrently with the Women’s March on Washington. Philadelphia is one of 97 cities where marches will take place Jan. 21.
“For those who can’t make it to Washington, D.C., this march in Philly is an opportunity to show positive support and unity for not only women, but all those feeling they do not have a voice due to the rhetoric of this election cycle: immigrants, people of color, individuals with disabilities, the LGBTQ community and those of diverse faiths,” Emily Morse, organizer of the Women’s March on Philadelphia, said in a statement. “While women are the focus of the march, our male allies are welcome and encouraged to attend to show their support, as universal equality stands to benefit all Americans.”
The Philly Women’s Rally, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for women’s rights and political involvement in Philadelphia, will spearhead the event, which began on Facebook and grew in popularity from there. As of presstime, the Facebook event had more than 8,000 confirmed attendees and more than 20,000 designated as “interested.”
With Morse, Martin is one of eight organizers for the Philadelphia march.
“I very much believe in our U.S. Constitution,” Martin said. “I felt like all of these things were under attack, and in turn, I’m under attack. The fact that I have a voice and a platform to do something, I feel like I have taken that responsibility very seriously.”
Martin said her 5-month-old daughter’s future is the “motivator” for her to participate in this march. She also recognizes her bisexual identity and said that, while she married a man, she knows her rights would have been different if she fell in love with and married a woman.
Martin said her family has always been accepting of others.
“[My family] always said, ‘It doesn’t really matter what your sexual orientation is,’” Martin said. “‘What matters is how you treat other people.’ But not everybody has that [support].”
Martin said she hopes the LGBT acceptance that will be on display at the march has a lasting impact.
“At the end of the day, if I can make one gay kid OK with their identity and who they are, then this is very much worth it,” Martin said. “This is not just a march and rally. It will become a movement.”
A rally will take place immediately after the march in Eakins Oval. Scheduled speakers include Director of LGBT Affairs Nellie Fitzpatrick, out state Rep. Brian Sims, out attorney Sherrie Cohen and Mayor Jim Kenney. Joining them will be:
• Doyle Steinberg, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania
• Carol Tracy, Philadelphia Philadelphia Commission for Women
• Jovida Hill, Philadelphia Commission for Women
• State Sen. Judy Schwank
• State Rep. Donna Bullock
• Tiffany Wilson, Office of State Sen. Vincent Hughes
• Lindy Li, former Democratic Congressional candidate for Pennsylvania’s Sixth District
• Brittany Behar, M.D., Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
• Karen Feridum, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
The march will set off at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 from Logan Square, 200 N. 19th St., proceed down Benjamin Franklin Parkway and conclude with the rally at Eakins Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. Interested participants can register for free at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-on-philadelphia-tickets-30073313089 to give the organization an accurate count of attendance.