“At the center of the March, from conception to execution, was Bayard Rustin, a gay man whose sexuality troubled some movement leaders. Rustin’s half-century career as an activist is at its heart an account of a multi-issue approach to social justice rooted in a socialist ethic. A Quaker who embraced Gandhian non-violence, he worked for decades in a pacifist movement where he argued that peace would never come unless pacifists also espoused a politics of racial justice.
Skilled though he was as an organizer, he also learned to lead without drawing attention to himself. As a gay man in the generation before gay liberation, he had to navigate carefully around the homophobia of the society and of some of his activist colleagues. By the standards of the time, Rustin was amazingly open about being gay. He never constructed a heterosexual front for himself, and didn’t suppress his gay desires. But, this only brought him trouble…It meant, for instance, that he had to leave Montgomery, Alabama in a hurry during the bus boycott, in order not to have his sexuality be used against the campaign. It meant that he was not hired as a staff member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and that he had to resign from the leadership of other organizing projects whenever the threat of exposure of his sexuality surfaced. But still, he continued to work in both the peace movement and the black freedom struggle, finding ways to do it without having a formal leadership role.
Rustin believed firmly in a strategy of coalition building, but he also knew that coalition was not for the faint of heart. As the coalition broadened, the initial vision of the [March on Washington] narrowed. It officially remained a “March for Jobs and Freedom” but jobs and economic justice now fell lower on the list of demands. The original conception of a multi-event protest that included lobbying and civil disobedience was revised simply to include the march and a private meeting of organizational leaders with some members of Congress and the President.”
Source: "Marching for Jobs and Freedom" by @Out_History