D.C. gays join celebration over bin Laden death near White House

Mon. May 2, 2011 6:46 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

Washington, DC - As Americans awake to the news that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a firefight with US forces in Pakistan on Sunday, the Washington Blade reports several members of D.C.'s LGBT community joined in the celebration overnight at the White House.

In a late night address, President Obama announced that bin Laden was killed in a firefight and said U.S. officials took custody of his body.

"For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda's leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies," Obama said. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat al Qaeda."

bin Laden is the founder of al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The Washington Blade reports an estimated 2,500 people gathered in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue before Obama's announcement concluded.

The crowd shouted "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

Servicemembers United executive director, Alex Nicholson, joined the celebration.

"I think there's a lot of symbolic significance in this for a lot of people, and so there's a lot of relief and jubilation that I personally felt and I think a lot of people were sharing," Nicholson told the Blade. "Everybody's shedding their identifying characteristics — like being gay — and just showing solidarity with some common American identity."

Gay D.C. resident Greg Taylor, 25, told the Blade, "We wanted to celebrate with our fellow Americans and show our patriotism. We were really pumped. We were kind of getting tired and ready to go to bed, but then we got so excited, and now we're awake and we just want to sing the National Anthem."

U.S. authorities have been searching for bin Laden since the Sept. 11 attacks.