Greetings! Fall is quickly approaching as we close out our summer activities. So many of us are coming back from or headed out for vacation, or preparing the young people in our lives for the upcoming academic year. In the midst of it all, NBJC is striving to keep you abreast of important news. In this issue of the E-Digest, NBJC invites you to register for the 2011 OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit, President Obama bans anti-gay human rights violators from entering the U.S., NBJC presents a workshop at the Trans Faith in Color Conference, SLDN Releases a Post-DADT Guide for Servicemembers, The Centers for Disease Control Releases a Report that Says the HIV Epidemic is Growing Fastest Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men, and much more.
TransFaith in Color Conference
NBJC's Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks presented at a workshop on transgender policy issues at the TransFaith in Color Conference (Charlotte, NC). Lettman-Hicks said that communing with other activists working on behalf of transgender people of color was a deeply moving spiritual experience that affected her on a very personal level.
The TransFaith in Color Conference was convened to combat problematic disconnects within the transgender community and the broader LGBT movement. These were particularly noticeable in the 2009 Employment Non-Discrimination Act's political and social organizing efforts. Allies and members within the LGBT community struggled with whether the transgender population could be included in this first wave of those being given access to employment protection under the law.
To address this, the Freedom Center for Social Justice (FCSJ) invited a group of transgender people of color to the table to shape and frame a summit to train a cohort of transgender people of faith to work as grassroots activists and opinion leaders around issues of sexuality within their respective faith and general communities. Ultimately, the Summit will provide resources and technical support to educate, develop appropriate strategies, and increase networking opportunities for transgender men and women as they build, grow, and mobilize around 'personal' and policy relevant issues.
NBJC Calls Upon NBA to Include Sexual Orientation in Its Mission
The National Black Justice Coalition recently partnered with the Civil Rights Law Section of the National Bar Association (NBA) at their 86th Annual Convention in Baltimore, MD, August 2-3, 2011. Collaborating with Lambda Legal, NBJC co-sponsored two receptions aimed at highlighting the intersectional issues of the Black LGBT community. NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks called on the NBA to add a sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination clause to their constitution. NBJC is determined to continue raising the consciousness of inclusion with traditional Black national organizations around the country. The NBA Civil Rights Law Section newsletter features an ENDA article by NBJC. To view it click here: Summer 2011 NBA Civil Rights Section Newsletter.pdf (8.6MB download)
NBJC Board Member Leslye Huff Celebrates Unanimous City Council Vote for Equality
NBJC Board Member Leslye Huff was instrumental in organizing with other activists to get the East Cleveland City Council to unanimously agree to protect ALL citizens and individuals doing business with the city, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender identity, or religion. Sponsored by Council President Dr. Joy Jordan and co-sponsored by Council Vice-President Chantelle Lewis, this legislation provides needed protection for LGBT citizens against discrimination. After the vote, each councilperson exuberantly expressed their commitment to protecting the rights of every East Cleveland citizen and anyone doing business with East Cleveland.
Post Your Comments to Essence.com – Newlyweds Aisha and Danielle On Their First Year as Wife and Wife
If this happy couple looks familiar, they should. Last October, ESSENCE.com shared their beautiful wedding story on the site, and they became the first same-sex couple to ever be featured on Bridal Bliss. Readers were so supportive and inspired. Their story received over 5,000 likes and hundreds of supportive comments. ESSENCE.com later received a GLAAD Media Award for the coverage and Danielle and Aisha instantly became public role models in the national fight for marriage equality. Today, Essence.com published a story in honor of Aisha and Danielle's one-year anniversary and, already, the homophobes are out-shouting those of us who believe in equality for ALL. Please add your voice expressing positive support for the story and help balance out the homophobic commentary that is being posted to Essence.com. Also invite your friends to do the same. If you're already logged into Facebook, you won't need to log-in to post.
Be A Star: Take the Pledge/Share the Curriculum to Prevent Bullying
Founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE, the mission of be a STAR is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion, or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness. The be a STAR program (Show Tolerance And Respect) promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect, because everyone is a star in their own right.
be a STAR Members
The National Black Justice Coalition joins the following organizations in the be a STAR alliance: Advocates for Human Rights; American Association of School Librarians; Anti-Defamation League; Bebo, Inc.; Champions Against Bullying; Close Up Foundation; Council for Unity, Inc.; Do Something, Inc.; Game Time International; Girl Scouts of the USA; GLAAD; i-SAFE, Inc.; imbee; Island DEF Jam Music Group; LEADERSHIP 1st LLC; LiveJournal; Meebo, Inc.; myYearbook; National Alliance for Youth Sports; National Association of School Resource Officers; National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education; National Council of Negro Women; National Education Association Health Information Network; National High School Coaches Association; National Immigration Law Center; National Puerto Rican Coalition; National Society of High School Scholars; National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment; Parents for Public Schools; Reddit; STOMP Out Bullying; The Advertising Council; The Experience Project; The Sikh Coalition; True Educator, Inc.; and Xanga.
How National Black Justice Coalition
Supporters Can Get Involved
Take the Pledge:
Click here to pledge: http://www.beastaralliance.org/content/pledge
Share the Anti-Bullying Curriculum and DVD with Schools:
Register for OUT on the Hill 2011!
You are cordially invited to attend the National Black Justice Coalition's Second Annual OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, September 20-25, 2011. This unique gathering convenes the nation's preeminent Black LGBT activists, thought leaders, elected officials, faith leaders and youth to participate in social action on the national stage to demonstrate that all politics are local. We will educate the Obama Administration, Congressional leaders, and federal agencies on public policy concerns of Black LGBT people and our families. We have the ability to move the masses towards an America that is more inclusive of Black LGBT people!
Obama: Human rights violators won't be allowed into U.S.
President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation stating that violators of human rights and those who conspire with them shall be denied entry into the U.S. The document included language that would block those who persecute others based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. "The Council praises this move, which could in principle be used to justify the exclusion of hate-promoting politicians like Ugandan parliamentarian David Bahati, who introduced a 'kill the gays bill' in a previous legislative session in Uganda and may do so again," said Mark Bromley, chairman of the Council for Global Equality.
Showing up, showing out: gay, gifted and black
Sometimes it's not enough just to be here and queer. Sometimes you have to show up and show out to tear down the curtain of homophobia and show the depth and breadth of our community in the fabric of America.
Mass walk-out at trans woman's funeral
– Washington Blade
Remarks by a pastor who presided over the July 27 funeral service for Lashai Mclean, a transgender woman who was shot to death in D.C. last month, prompted as many as 100 people in attendance to walk out of the church in protest, according to activists who were present.
NAACP urges minorities to get to polls in 2012
– USA Today
The NAACP is going to reach out to black churches, fraternities and sororities as well as use sophisticated databases, social media and boost training of volunteers to include things like getting a contact for each voter they register.
Someone You Must Know: Darian Aaron
"I've long held the belief that waiting for the powers that be to tell our stories would turn up fruitless, so once I was done complaining, I decided to take action." That's how Darian Aaron, 31, Atlanta, Georgia, explains what motivated him to use his passion for social justice and his various creative skills for the sake of showing the world a positive picture of black gay men not often portrayed in the media.
WATCH: Preview of LGBT History Month Videos
October is LGBT History Month! Each day in October, an Icon is featured with a video, biography, bibliography, and downloadable images. The resources will be available without charge at www.lgbtHistoryMonth.com.
The Kentuckiana Gay Black Pride Association Hosts Inaugural Event
– The Courier Journal
The Kentuckiana Gay Black Pride Association held its first pride festival Saturday afternoon at Cole's Place, a Parkland club. "This is something our community has been needing for a long time," said Tammy Campbell, a member of the association's advisory board. "This year the dream has come alive."
Advocate and Ally
Brian Watson shares the frustrations of challenging the status quo as he fights for homeless LGBT youth and the transgender community.
Julian Bond speaks at NAACP on Homophobia
The NAACP held its first-ever town hall meeting to discuss LGBT issues on July 25 as part of its 102nd annual convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The theme was "Our Collective Responsibility: Overcoming Homophobia". Julian Bond, Civil Rights Icon and Chairman Emeritus NAACP, addresses the NAACP.
NAACP Holds Historic Gay Rights Discussion
NAACP hosted an LGBT town hall meeting at their 2011 NAACP National Convention in Los Angeles. CNN's Don Lemon moderated the panel discussion that included Wanda Sykes, NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous, Professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall of Spelman College, Patrick Ian Polk, activist Kenyon Farrow and former NAACP president Julian Bond. The discussion included topics such as LGBT civil rights, "praying the gay away" and homophobia & hypocrisy in the black church.
Black Theatre Festival leaves many patrons touched
– Winston-Salem Journal
In "The Contract," audiences "explore the great divide between Gay and God and are asked to consider with fresh eyes why the two can't co-exist within the Black Church," reads the play's description on its website.
Transgender TSA Agent Who Was Forced to Pat Down Men Wins Settlement
Ashley Yang, 29, was living her life as a woman, dressing in more feminine clothing, using the ladies' room and wearing her hair long. That kind of behavior was apparently not acceptable to managers in Los Angeles International Airport. In order to keep her job as a security checkpoint screener, managers allegedly forced her to cut her hair and dress as a man, citing the fact that she had not had physical surgery to change her sexual identity. However, California recognizes her as a woman on her driver's license.
SLDN Releases Post-DADT Guide for Servicemembers
Today, in a move that shows the changed landscape in the military — and within the LGBT organizations that have pushed for DADT repeal — SLDN is releasing "Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Military Service" — a booklet to help guide servicemembers after DADT.
HIV Epidemic Growing Fastest Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men
Young black gay and bisexual men are the only population in the U.S. in which the pace of HIV's spread is increasing, according to a startling study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday.
Will Obama Oppose Cuts To HIV/Aids Programs In Deficit Reduction?
– Washington Blade
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stopped short Monday of saying that President Obama would oppose any cuts to federally funded HIV/AIDS initiatives that would emerge in Congress as a result of the debt agreement.
Commentary: Gay Marriage Is Not an Attack on the Black Community
The title of Arps' piece is a bit confusing: "Is Gay Marriage Another Blow to the Struggling African-American Family?" It's the kind of title that shouldn't be in the form of a question, as you just know Arps is about to go on a rant proclaiming that gay marriage is indeed a blow to the African-American family. And, boy, does he ever rant.
Poll: Rapid Increase in Support for Gay Marriage
The analysis showed that on average support for marriage equality rose about 1% per year over a 13-year period between 1996 and 2009. However, in 2010 and 2011 this figure rose to 5% per year. This is in part due to a generational effect, with voters under 40 supporting the right to marriage by almost 70%. This rise is expected to continue over time.
N.C. pastor: I should be able to marry gay couples
– Charlotte Observer
Petty joined happy couples with the same pieces of biblical wisdom: Love is a gift. Love is tough. Love confronts injustice. Straight or gay, everybody got the same blessing.
[Video] Bishop Eddie Long had fifth accuser in gay sex scandal
An investigative report by Atlanta's Fox 5 news station states a fifth accuser in the Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal played a role in the negotiations that ended in a secret settlement between the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church preacher and four other men who sued him for sexual coercion.