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Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks of the National Black Justice Coalition on the Importance of Being Allies

In honor of National Coming Out Day, NBJC Executive Director & CEO Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks pens a powerful piece for on the Black family and important role of allies in the fight for freedom and equality for all Black people. 


It's impossible for me to talk about the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality without talking about Black people and without talking about family. I am unapologetically a "sistah" in the movement for full equality for my LGBT brothers and sisters. We need to realize that we have Black LGBT siblings, parents, aunties, uncles, and cousins among us. It isn't a metaphor for me. Our bloodline runs deep. We're in this together and there's no separating racial justice from LGBT equality in my world.

In order for me to be fully free, we've all got to be. So when my gay brothers and sisters can't have their commitment recognized legally, or my transgender sisters are getting murdered for who they are, it's personal. None of us are free if we are not all free.

As the executive director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation's leading Black LGBT civil rights organization, it's my job to educate our community about things like intersectionality and dual oppression-the fact that Black LGBT persons exist and are disproportionately affected by social inequalities like job discrimination, violence, and homelessness is enough reason to make us realize that LGBT issues are Black issues. And as a Black woman, a mother, and a military spouse, it is my duty to challenge policy that makes it acceptable to legislate bias and hate against LGBT people…

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.