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February 14, 2013



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Making Black History for Gay Rights

NBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley Talks Black (LGBT) History

Brother Outsider

Activists: LGBT Communities Must Ally with Others to Ensure Equality for All

OP-ED: Setting the Record Straight: Wall Street Journal Perpetuates 'Black vs. Gay' Meme 

NBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Rev. Candy Holmes Recipient of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) Award

Georgetown University Joins NBJC's Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project

NBJC Announces the Many Faces. One Dream. LGBT Economic Tour for Communities of Color

NBJC Wraps Up a Successful Creating Change Conference

Attend Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 Lobby Day

Help Drive Policy Change – Tell Your Workplace Story!

GUEST POST: Trans Womanhood Does Not Equal Drag

Vigils Planned for Slain Rapper Evon Young

At the Vortex of Music and Fashion

Detroit Man Sentenced for Anti-Gay Hate Crime

DC Forms Bias Crime Partnership with Prosecutors, Mayor, Gay Community

The State of HIV/AIDS in Black America 

Black LGBT Elders Face Isolation

Mothers May I?: Chwanda Nixon & Kacey Frierson

Pentagon Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

Op-Ed: We, The Black Church, Have a Sex Problem 

Kobe Bryant Tells Fan on Twitter to Stop Using 'You're Gay' as an Insult

Fame Monsters Ball

Talks at the Schomburg

For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough Reading and Discussion



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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.

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In honor of Valentine's Day, NBJC celebrates the uplifting stories of Black gay and lesbian couples who have courageously stood on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality. As a celebration of our bold and beautiful Black love, NBJC is collecting photos of Black gay and lesbian couples. Post your engagement and/or wedding portraits on NBJC's Facebook page or tweet them to us @NBJContheMove. Not on social media? Email your submissions to Please include your names, wedding date and city/state. We will be compiling and reposting the images we receive.


In the meantime, watch and share excerpts from the NBJC-commissioned documentary Black Love: The Quest for Marriage Equality. The film examines the triumphs and trials of same-gender relationships, how marriage equality can be a part of the solution to the structural and economic issues faced by many Black families, and the strategies that are needed to bring full acceptance of gay and lesbian people to the Black community.


In this issue of the E-Digest: the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality (MCTE) hosts the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 Lobby Day; Milwaukee police have arrested five men in connection with the disappearance of trans rapper Evon "Yung LT" Young; the Pentagon extends benefits to same-sex couples; and more. 

blackhistoryMaking Black History for Gay Rights

– The Washington Post

Washington Post

Still, it is true that black homophobia is too often present in black churches across America, so it is good that faith leaders began playing active roles in advocacy organizations such as the National Black Justice Coalition, GLAAD, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, the Human Rights Campaign and Many Voices. Black theologians and social justice advocates strengthened their long-standing work within the black community and among black churches. This allowed us to be visible and to challenge the misconception that LGBT issues don't affect communities of color and people of faith.



wholleyhistoryNBJC's Je-Shawna Wholley Talks Black (LGBT) History 

– Outbeat News


Campus Pride As a segment of their Campus Pride National Voice In Action Spotlight series, Outbeat News featured JeShawna Wholley, Programs and Outreach Associate with the National Black Justice Coalition, to talk about Black History Month and inspirational Black LGBT trailblazers.


brotheroutsiderBrother Outsider  

– Huffington Post


Huff Post  

Bayard Rustin organized the March on Washington with MLK…and he was openly gay. Huffington Post Live

discussed the complex history between the Civil Rights and LGBTQ movements. Participants included Bennett Singer, Producer/Director, Brother Outsider; Randy Blazak, Department of Sociology, Portland State University; Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO, National Black Justice Coalition; Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, Senior Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ; and Maurice Tracy, Graduate Student, St. Louis University.


equalityforallActivists: LGBT Communities Must Ally with Others to Ensure Equality for All  

– GA Voice


GA Voice

The National Black Justice Coalition wants people to be mindful that it is a black president that has been the most LGBT-supportive president ever and that it is time to undo the "black versus gay narrative" that has played out for years. "Gay people, you need to understand black people and listen to them and reach out to them," Lettman-Hicks said, adding that black LGBT people have a 36 percent unemployment rate compared to the national 8 percent. Meaningful justice recognizes cultural differences, she added.

blackvsgayOP-ED: Setting the Record Straight: Wall Street Journal Perpetuates 'Black vs. Gay' Meme  

– Huffington Post


Huff Post

Our airwaves, front pages and social media feeds have been dominated by coverage of the presidential inauguration. From Michelle Obama's impeccable ensemble to Beyoncé Knowles' rendition of the national anthem, critics have been dissecting and distorting the events of the historic day, including President Barack Obama's reference to "Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall" in his inaugural speech.

candyholmesNBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member Rev. Candy Holmes Recipient of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) Award 


Candy Holmes Rev. Candy Holmes, NBJC Leadership Advisory Council Member, was recently appointed to Program Officer of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) People of African Descent Advisory Council. Each Advisory Council will function as an "internal think-tank."  Rev. Holmes has also been awarded MCC's Rev. John H. Hose Award for Dedicated and Faithful Service by a Clergy Person in MCC. This award is named after one of the very first MCC clergy serving at MCC Los Angeles, California, (USA) who became part of the first Board of Elders, who served as Treasurer of MCC, and who contributed a great deal to MCC's Statement of Faith. Congratulations, Rev. Holmes!


georgetownGeorgetown University Joins NBJC's Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project 

Georgetown seal  

In honor of Black History Month, Georgetown University's LGBTQ student group GUPride in collaboration with the university's Black Student Alliance and NAACP chapter hosted a screening of Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. The event took place as a component of NBJC's Bayard Rustin 2013 Commemoration Project, a series of ongoing collaborations with Walter Naegle, Rustin's surviving partner and Executor/Archivist of the Estate of Bayard Rustin to honor Rustin's courage and his invaluable legacy. The NBJC team was proud to support the students by attending the screening and sharing a few words about the organization's work. Many of the students are expected to attend NBJC's upcoming  Black LGBT Emerging Leaders.


 Read more about the Project here. 



manyfacesonedreamNBJC Announces the Many Faces. One Dream. LGBT Economic Tour for Communities of Color   


NYSE Earlier this month, NBJC proudly partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Black Enterprise magazine to launch an LGBT economic empowerment tour for communities of color. Many Faces. One Dream. seeks to bring focus on the communities' economic power, innovation and creativity in the small business sphere. The tour will occur in 13 major cities throughout the country that have a significant LGBT presence in communities of color, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.


Read the full press release here.  



nbjccreatingchangeNBJC Wraps Up a Successful Creating Change Conference  


Creating Change
Photo credit: Urban Socialites


The NBJC team wrapped up an amazing four days in Atlanta at the National Conference for LGBT Equality: Creating Change, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It was a family affair as board members, members of our Leadership Advisory Council (LAC), Emerging Leaders, community partners, old and new friends, and more convened at our exhibit booth and attended our sessions. "Like" us on Facebook to view more photos from this year's Creating Change. Also, follow us on Twitter @NBJContheMove to stay engaged!

fairnessformdAttend Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 Lobby Day


MCTE logo

NBJC is proud to join the Maryland Coalition for Trans Equality (MCTE), a coalition of organizations and individuals working to advance equal rights for transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming people in Maryland. On February 18, 2013, 6pm, join Marylanders for Trans Equality and the NBJC team for the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013 Lobby Day at Lawyer's Mall, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401.


One evening of your time is all it takes to visit your legislators and tell them how important protecting all Marylanders from discrimination is to you. One evening of your time is all it takes to join us in a massive rally on Lawyer's Mall, just outside the legislative buildings and the State House, to be inspired by special guest speakers and to let the world know that we will not rest until we achieve equality for all Marylanders.


Will you spend one evening with Equality Maryland and MCTE to ensure transgender Marylanders are treated equally under the law?


Sign up for Lobby Day here!



workplacestoryHelp Drive Policy Change – Tell Your Workplace Story!



The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is hard at work on their next policy report–a report about LGBT workers in America.


Individual stories from LGBT people across the U.S. help personalize the impact of unfair and discriminatory laws and policies–or show how welcoming workplaces can make a difference. From experiences of discrimination to being denied family or other benefits to the positive impact of a supportive manager–your story can help move public opinion, persuade policymakers that change is needed, and bring greater awareness to the challenges that LGBT people face at work.


Tell MAP your story! They want to hear it all–the good, the bad and the ugly.


They want to hear from you.



transnotdragGUEST POST: Trans Womanhood Does Not Equal Drag   


Monica Beverly Hillz In an NBJC guest blog post, TransGriot's Monica Roberts explains: "With Monica Beverly Hillz coming out as trans on RuPaul's Drag Race on February 4, it was seen as a good-news-bad-news moment by much of the trans community.  While we celebrate our trans sister taking such a huge step in her life, the irony of the moment wasn't lost on many of us in the trans community. She was coming out as trans on a show in which its creator has a contentious relationship with the trans community, and has repeatedly uttered problematic transphobic comments. The trans community also has a love-hate relationship with the drag community as well for the rampant transphobia and misogyny in elements of that world."




evonyoungVigils Planned for Slain Rapper Evon Young  

– Wisconsin Gazette


Evon Young Milwaukee police continue to search for the body of transgender rapper Evon "Yung LT" Young, believed killed on Jan. 1 or Jan. 2 by acquaintances in a street gang. Milwaukee police have arrested five men in connection with the disappearance of the 22-year-old Young. Authorities believe Young is dead and the Milwaukee District Attorney's office has filed first-degree homicide charges against Victor Stewart, 27; Ashanti Mcalister, 19; Billy R. Griffin, 26; Ron Joseph Allen, 37; and Devin L. Seaberry, 23.




vortexAt the Vortex of Music and Fashion   

– New York Times


Honey Dijon The New York Times profiles fashion-forward trans DJ Honey Dijon. "I've always wanted my talent to speak for itself," she told the newspaper. "I didn't want 'black' or 'trans' or any of it to speak for me. Now I am beginning to realize the importance of it because there is really hardly any visibility for black trans women, especially in fashion. Hell, there are hardly any black women in fashion. Period."



hatecrimeDetroit Man Sentenced for Anti-Gay Hate Crime  

– Department of Justice

Everett Avery

Everett Dwayne Avery, 26, was sentenced [on Thursday, February 7] by U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara after pleading guilty to committing a hate crime by assaulting a man because the man was gay. Avery was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. The assault occurred on March, 7, 2011, while Avery and the victim were at a convenience store in Detroit. Avery used anti-gay slurs toward the victim as Avery and the victim waited in line in the convenience store. Shortly after the first slurs, while still in the store, Avery used another anti-gay slur and punched the victim in the face, fracturing the victim's eye socket. Avery pled guilty to violating the federal Hate Crimes Protection Act on Aug. 29, 2012.




biascrimeDC Forms Bias Crime Partnership with Prosecutors, Mayor, Gay Community 

– LGBTQ Nation

District of Columbia officials are announcing a partnership between prosecutors, the mayor's office and the gay, lesbian and transgender community. The goal of the partnership, announced Saturday by Mayor Vincent Gray, is to seek stronger punishments for people convicted in bias- or hate crimes. As part of the arrangement, the mayor's office of GLBT Affairs will solicit so-called impact statements from community members in criminal cases that were motivated by the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity. The statements are intended to factor into a judge's sentencing decision.



stateofaidsThe State of HIV/AIDS in Black America



There is some good news and not-so-good news to report on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The good news: The number of new infections has finally stabilized at about 50,000 new cases per year in the USA since the mid-1990s. The bad news: The epicenter of the epidemic is Black America. African-Americans and other Black communities represent only 12% of the nation's population but account for nearly half-some 44%-of all new HIV infections, report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black gay and bisexual men suffer the highest new infection rates in the country.  





blackeldersBlack LGBT Elders Face Isolation 

– Bay Area Reporter


Larry Saxxon

Larry Saxxon knows firsthand about the isolation and loneliness that researchers and others say are among the main challenges facing black LGBT elders. The experiences that Saxxon has lived appear to reflect those of many African American LGBT elders. Among other issues, they've lost numerous friends to AIDS while dealing with homophobia and racism. Saxxon is HIV-negative, which he called a "miracle," but he said, "I've lost 95 percent of my friends" to the disease. He recalled being the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's first black social worker in the 1980s. 




Mothers May I?: Chwanda Nixon & Kacey Frierson

– OUT Magazine


Chwanda Kacey

With seven children in total, you'd think this couple would have their hands full. But after a civil union ceremony in Illinois, they were inspired to take their family on the road for an "I Do" Marathon: nine marriages in eight cities in 10 days.





pentagonPentagon Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

– Huffington Post  

Leon Panetta

More than a year after lifting the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the military, the Pentagon has extended certain benefits to these service members and their families.  Gay rights groups have been pressing the Pentagon to extend equal benefits to gay service members and their families since the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The benefits include commissary privileges, access to family support initiatives and joint duty assignments. The move was one of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's last moves as a member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet, and it will likely be one of his most lasting legacies.



blackchurchOp-Ed: We, The Black Church, Have a Sex Problem

– TakePart  


Black Pastors When we are silent about human sexuality, we cannot minister effectively nor remain relevant to the life issues of our people, including faith Christians like Susan and Renee. The Black church has a sex problem.  On the other hand, when we can open up conversations dealing with attraction, romance, relationships, courtship, marriage and starting a family with children-yes, human sexuality -people are finally able to exhale. There is such a longing for the conversation just beneath the surface.  Just like a wound, this conversation needs air and light in order for healing to occur. Among the most intimate, personal and ubiquitous of human experiences is that of connection, relationship and love. How can we not address the topic openly and fully in our churches?



kobebryantKobe Bryant Tells Fan on Twitter to Stop Using 'You're Gay' as an Insult

– Outsports  


Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant got in the middle of a Twitter exchange [on Sunday, February 10] and told a fan to stop saying "your gay" [sic] as an insult. "It's great to see Kobe Bryant's maturation on this subject," said out sports radio broadcaster Jason Page, who alerted Outsports to the Twitter exchange. "The fact that he immediately smacked down somebody using that kind of language proves that some guys can learn to understand the impact harmful words can have."



famemonsterFame Monster Ball


Fame Monster Ball


Saturday, February 16 


Upscale Ballroom 

3900 Bexley Place 

Suitland, MD 20746


Organized by "Ayana Christian," a family nurse practitioner and behavioral health researcher with expertise in transgender health as well as a famed icon in the house and ball community, the Fame Monsters Ball aims to foster an LGBTQ community that addresses the challenge of valuing differences and making every individual feel accepted, supported, and safe. Admission costs $20 before midnight and $30 after midnight.


Visit for details. 



jetmarriageTalks at the Schomburg


Talks at the Schomburg   

Monday, February 25

7:00pm – 8:30pm

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Langston Hughes Auditorium

515 Malcolm X Blvd

New York, NY 10037



Marriage equality: Yes or No? Join the panelists as they engage in a timely discussion of same-sex marriage. Join author Obery Hendricks and historian Michael Eric Dyson as they engage in a timely discussion of same-sex marriage with Aisha Moodie-Mills, advisor for the Center for American Progress, and Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director for the National Black Justice Coalition.


Get Tickets$8, Schomburg Society Members; $10, General Admission.



coloredboysFor Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough  Reading and Discussion


For Colored Boys  


Wednesday, February 27


Faison Firehouse

6 Hancock Place

New York, NY 10027  


Hosted by LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, New York Times bestselling author Keith Boykin will read excerpts from his anthology For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough. The reading will be followed by a discussion.  Refreshments will be served. Free admission.


For more information, email





She Baltimore   


Saturday, March 2


The Cell Theatre

338 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10011  


Set in Baltimore, MD, the play addresses America's social system and its relationship with communities that are often abstracted from proper care due to sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstances, and discrimination. We seek to ignite conversation about an issue often ignored by society. 


Purchase tickets at




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.