NY man walking across U.S. to promote equality
by RACHEL DAVIS
Oct 31, 2012 | 3321 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alan Bounville, a New York native, braved the cold winds Tuesday as he walked through Walker County as part of his continental trek to promote equality. – Photo by Rachel Davis.
Alan Bounville, a New York native, braved the cold winds Tuesday as he walked through Walker County as part of his continental trek to promote equality. – Photo by Rachel Davis.
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When Alan Bounville left Seattle in May 2011, his goal was an end to gender and sexual orientation discrimination.

He began walking 6,000 miles to Washington, D.C., as a way to raise awareness and promote his message.

“I’m able to talk to folks and humanize the issue,” Bounville said.

His trek includes numerous vigils held at places where people have been murdered or committed suicide due to gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation discrimination. He is also a theatre artist and turns the stories he hears in to theatre to be able to show the individuals behind each tale.

Bounville’s journey brought him through Walker County this week. Despite chilling winds, he spent most of the day Tuesday hiking alongside old Highway 78. He usually averages 20 to 25 miles per day, although his personal best was 34 miles in a single day.

Throughout his travels, he said he has had mixed reactions from people, although many of his experiences have been positive and he seems to focus on those.

“You see the best and worst of people,” Bounville said. “I’ve had some people share very personal experiences on the side of the road.”

People along the way sponsor Bounville’s stays or allow him to sleep in their home and provide assistance. When that assistance doesn’t materialize, he camps near his path.

The last 17 months have included a variety of inclement weather conditions, but he said Tuesday that he remains committed to his original vision and hopes people who see him walking will remember one thing.

“I want them to listen, truly listen,” Bounville said. “Turn off the mass media message, the propaganda and listen to the human stories. And not be afraid of us.”

And when the journey ends, hopefully in February 2013, Bounville isn’t sure what he will do to mark the occasion, especially since supporters will be at the scene to walk into D.C. with him.

“I’ve thought about making it a moment of protest or moment of celebration,” Bounville said. “That will be something I decide then, I guess.”

Bounville’s website is intothelightwalk.com and his Facebook page is www.facebook.com/IntoLightWalk.