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Denverites March For LGBTQ Equality

By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – A community in Denver marched for equality on the anniversary of the shooting massacre at Orlando's Pulse nightclub.

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"Equality March" at Denver's Cheesman Park Sunday was one of 90 equality marches worldwide. A total of 49 people — mostly Latinos — were killed at Pulse, a gay nightclub, on June 12, 2016.

Marchers in Denver honored victims of hate crime and also fought for equality for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community.

After a moment of silence, the crowd listened to a call for action from Judah Ruscha, 12, an entering 7th grader at Denver Discovery School in Denver's Stapleton neighborhood.

"If you have kids, teach them not to be bullies," Ruscha told the crowd. "I don't need classmates who are just not homophobic or not transphobic. I need classmates who are anti-homophobic and anti-transphobic."

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Ruscha identifies as gay, pansexual and gender fluid. He co-founded his school's gay-straight alliance to help educate peers and discourage bullying.

"I'll get called a (expletive), and everyone else will just glare at them and shrug their shoulders," Ruscha told CBS4's Melissa Garcia.

He is also working to stop violence against people of different sexual and gender identities, and to help prevent youth suicide.

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"I see Judah as a leader and I'm really proud of him," said Joyann Ruscha, Judah's mother.

She supported her son and the cause by marching alongside others stepping forward for equality.

"I actually had to do a lot of learning," Joyann said. "It's my son who teaches me things. And my advice to parents is to ask questions more than you tell things. … You're not teaching them; they're teaching you."

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to

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