Greetings! We hope you can feel all of our excitement here at NBJC.
We’re just a few days out from the official end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the discriminatory law that prohibited gay and lesbian servicemembers from serving openly and honestly in the military. NBJC, in concert with many other organizations, has worked hard to abolish this practice, and on September 20, 2011, it will become a matter of history.
We are 11 days out from the OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit and we are ecstatic about the overwhelmingly positive feedback that we’ve received. We’d love for each of you to experience the beauty and synergy of organizing, learning and fellowshipping with other Black LGBT activists in our Nation’s Capitol. Please Register TODAY!
Click below for the latest OUT on the Hill schedule of events.
NBJC has a solid team leading us into OUT on the Hill. The team consists of Executive Director – Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks; Executive Assistant – MarQuis Fair; Communications/Media Consultant – Katina Parker; Senior Fellow – Rodney Nickens, Jr.; and Operations/Logistics Manager – Nikki Hadder. We are even more thankful to have Stacey R. Long, Esq., Federal Legislative Director at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, overseeing the OUT on the Hill Issue Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
Additionally, OUT on the Hill is supported by countless dedicated volunteers and allies. We thank you, one and all.
Lastly and with utmost affection, we bid a fond farewell to Dr. Sylvia Rhue, a veteran LGBT activist whose life passion has included courageously challenging homophobia in Black churches. Sylvia served NBJC with honor for more than five years and was one of the founding Board members prior to joining the staff team. She ended her tenure with NBJC on June 30, 2011. Sylvia has moved on to pursue new directions and activities, including writing a book and a one-woman show. She will still be active in pursuing total equality for LGBT people and staying in touch with her friends and colleagues in the struggle. Sylvia will be missed, and we wish her all the best.
"Brother Outsider: Linking Racial Justice and the LGBT Equality Movement"
LGBT Congressional Staff Association Briefing
Tuesday, September 20, 2011; 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) – Orientation Theatre (South)
1st Street SE and East Capitol Street NE
Washington D.C., DC 20515
The discussion will cover homophobia and transphobia in Black America, cultural barriers to coming out, African American LGBT media images, LGBT legislation in Congress, and more.
The moderator is Robert Traynham, Washington DC Bureau Chief, Roll Call TV, The Comcast Network. Panelists include Sonia Alleyne, Editorial Director, Black Enterprise; LZ Granderson, ESPN, CNN; Hilary Shelton, Director, NAACP Washington DC Bureau; Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); George Walker, VP of Leadership Initiatives Victory Fund, Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute; Kylar Broadus, Associate Professor, Lincoln University; and Courtney Snowden, The Raben Group. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, email Twaun.Samuel@mail.house.gov
NBJC Hosts LGBT-Themed
CBCF Issue Forum
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Issue Forum
Friday, September 23, 2011; 9:00am – 11:50am
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC 20001
From Civil Rights to LGBT Equality: African Americans and the LGBT Community at the Intersection – With the increased visibility of notable Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) personalities and more Black youth coming out every day, African American communities must rise to meet the challenge of confronting homophobia and transphobia. From bullying in schools to employment discrimination, from boys who wear pink to anti-gay preachers, from startling HIV rates to welcoming Black churches, this issue forum will generate provocative discussion about the ever-evolving Black family from an LGBT/Ally perspective. Confirmed panelists include Cheryl Kilodavis, author of the Princess Boy and proud parent to a 6-year old boy who wears pink dresses, as well as Sirdeaner Walker, mother of Carl Walker-Hoover, who committed suicide at the age of 11 because he was being bullied at school.
Sponsored by: NBJC & the National Education Association
Critically-acclaimed film PARIAH Screens in Conjunction with OUT on the Hill
The National Black Justice Coalition in partnership with the DC Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs will host a screening of the critically-acclaimed coming-out story Pariah on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 7pm, Regal Gallery Place, 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
A rousing success at its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, this deeply felt human drama is the feature debut of writer/director Dee Rees. Adepero Oduye portrays Alike (pronounced “ah-lee-kay”), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. A gifted student, Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the support of her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker), she is especially eager to find a girlfriend. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity. Spike Lee is among the feature’s executive producers.
To view the trailer click here: http://focusfeatures.com/pariah
Black Lesbians United Retreat
October 7-9, 2011
The BLU retreat is an opportunity for women of African Descent to celebrate, build community, and share good times with women who love women. In the last two years, over 300 women descended upon our 120-acre private wooded retreat in the hills of Malibu to make magic.
With registration, you will receive your BLU ALL-ACCESS PASS, which provides access to ALL retreat activities, events and workshops, including:
The Opening Ceremony, live performances, workshops and games, Afrikan dance and drumming lessons, BLU Flag Football Game and BBQ, wealth building, Black Lesbian Film Fest, Club BLU Give-Aways, and More!
Register Today for OUT on the Hill (Sept. 20-25; Washington, DC)
Please join NBJC for the 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 the public policy concerns of Black LGBT people and our families.
This year’s convening features the first-ever LGBT-themed CBCF Issue Forum entitled From Civil Rights to LGBT Equality: African Americans and the LGBT Community at the Intersection, a White House Issue Briefing with the Obama Administration, and several opportunities to network with Congressional leaders as well as OUT on the Hill delegates.
The OUT on the Hill registration fee covers a full basic registration for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF-ALC). As a result, participants will have the opportunity to add their voices and perspectives to the issue forums addressing the critical challenges facing Black communities. This high-profile gathering brings thousands of African American policy makers, organizers, and concerned citizens to our nation’s capital every year.
We hope to see you on September 20th!
APPLY for HRC's HBCU LGBT Leadership & Career Summit
What: HBCU LGBT Leadership and Career Summit
When: October 27 – 30, 2011
Where: Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Who: HBCU LGBT Student Leaders
Those interested must have their applications submitted by September 12, 2011. To submit your application go to www.hrc.org/hbcu or contact Lauren Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-572-8937.
- See yourself as a leader and social change agent
building a social justice movement and building the
LGBT and African American communities
- Understand how discrimination affects you and
learn how to lead resourcefully through the
intersections of race, religion, gender identity, class,
and sexual orientation
- Develop a higher skill set regarding breaking
through the internalized voices of oppression that
inhibit your leadership and career goals
- Gain the skills needed to navigate your career as an
out LGBT African American leader
- Increase your awareness of your unique approach to
- Stand in your vision (individual and collective) as
passionate, genuine leaders
- Leave feeling empowered and ready to lead
Md. anti-marriage-equality advocates continue with claim marriage is not a civil right
Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a self-described “Black LGBT civil rights organization,” told The American Independent that the black-centric argument against legalizing gay marriage is no argument at all. “This conversation is getting old,” she said. “At the end of the day, one part of [same-sex-marriage] opponents’ campaign is a manipulation of words [that] trumps history. … Civil rights little ‘c,’ little ‘r’ belongs to everyone in the United States.”
Gay Rights Linked to the Civil Rights Movement?
The Rev. W. Wiley, a Washington, D.C., pastor and doctor, is arguing that gay rights are linked to the black community's struggle for civil rights, according to BET. The argument stems from a project he is working on called "Gays Are Us" for the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. He plans to use his understanding of the civil rights movement as the backdrop for the project.
Influential Head of Gay Rights Lobby Resigns
– Pam’s House Blend
Joe Solmonese, head of the Human Rights Campaign, the influential gay rights group at the forefront of debate over same-sex marriage and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, recently announced his resignation. Solmonese will depart at the end of his contract in March 2012. After seven years, he said he wants to try something new but plans to remain political.
One Day Our Change Will Come: A Call to Raise Awareness and End Violence Against Transgender Women of Color
Each day, transgender women of color, like Camila and Lashai, are tragic yet shining examples of those whose lives were brutally cut short due to senseless acts of violence. Sadly, our society continues to turn a blind eye to the transgender community. As I reflect on the lives of Camila and Lashai, I feel compelled to ask the question, how long? How long must we wait for a change to come? How long must other transgender women of color, like myself, be subjected to the hands of hate, the vestige of violence, and the devastating effects of discrimination?
Black Church’s Protest of FAIR Education Act Typifies Hypocrisy
– Atlanta Post
Last week pastor Xavier Thompson of Southern Missionary Baptist Church met with other members of the Los Angeles-area clergy to pray and protest the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48), which was signed into law in July by California governor Jerry Brown. The law ensures that California public schools will include the historical contributions of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people in the social science curriculum.
A Transgender Sister in Christ
– Huffington Post
"Pastor, I need to know if I'm welcome in this church!" It was with these words, blurted out as she ambled across the threshold of my office doorway, that I was first introduced to Sami (not her real name), a person who was in the process of transitioning from male to female. The words barely out of her mouth, Sami plopped down on the edge of the couch adjacent to my desk and launched into her story.
A Breakdown of Gay Marriage Support by Religion
Unsurprisingly, about seven in 10 of those who aren't affiliated with any religion or who are affiliated with one other than Christianity support same-sex marriage. What is surprising is that a slim majority of Catholics and a similar-size majority of white mainline Protestants support gay marriage too. In contrast, 60 percent of black Protestants and 76 percent of white evangelicals are against its legalization.
Black, Gay, And Jewish: I’ve Become A Jew!
"Throughout the conversion process the community aspect of Judaism was always the largest pill to swallow. Since I had refused to set foot back into my Baptist church at twelve-years-old I’ve been on a spiritual and religious path. When I found Judaism last March I knew that I found what I was looking for."
HIV Portfolio Needed for Black Gay Men That's Rooted in Social Justice
(NNPA) The theme of this year's National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) could not be more timely: "The Urgency of Now: Reduce Incidence. Improve Access. Promote Equity" is a clarion call to action in the wake of the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV surveillance report, released on Aug. 3, 2011.
McInerney Murder Case: Mistrial
A judge has declared a mistrial in the two-month-long case against 17-year-old Brandon McInerney, who shot gay teenager Lawrence King twice in the head in February 2008. The jury couldn't decide whether to convict McInerney as an adult of first-degree murder, with hate crime charges, or of voluntary manslaughter. The former charge would have netted McInerney at least 53 years in prison, the latter only about 20.
Is marriage for white people?
Over the past century, the institution of marriage has undergone a tremendous transformation in America — especially when it comes to African Americans. Over the last half century, marriage rates in the black community have dwindled. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to remain unmarried for their entire lives, and when they do marry they're more likely than any other group to marry men with lower incomes, and less education, than their own.
Half of Pennsylvanians Favor Marriage Equality
“The poll shows about a third (33 percent) strongly favor a constitutional amendment that would allow homosexual couples to get married and about another sixth (17 percent), said they would somewhat favor a constitutional amendment to legalize same-sex marriage,” according to the Daily Review.
Gay Marriage Battle Heats Up in North Carolina — and Gets Personal
– Huffington Post
"I take it personally because I like to think of myself as one of the good guys, someone who works hard, pays his taxes, stays out of trouble and tries to get along with others because everyone benefits in the end. Who wouldn't take it personally if your relationship was called "perverted" by local church leaders and politicians? They even claim that legally recognizing my relationship will cause their own marriages to collapse! In my more magnanimous moments, I have often thought that if only these conservatives knew me and my partner, they wouldn't say such things. But they don't know us and they don't care; they care only about imposing their political and religious agenda on everyone in North Carolina."
After celebrating Labor Day, remember ENDA
We have jobs. We lead industries but still it remains legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation and in 35 states to do so based on gender identity or expression. That's right. LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion, and experiencing harassment on the job. And just like advances in the workplace led to greater civil rights in our communities, this bias in the work place helps perpetuate discrimination and homophobia.
Discharged for Being Gay, Many Seek to Re-enlist
Bleu Copas was discharged from the Army under the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy in 2006. Now 35, he is thinking of learning yet another language but fears that he is too old to return to service.
Ready for the D.A.D.T. Talk?
How do you talk about not telling, or not having told? On September 20th, gays and lesbians will be allowed to serve actively in the military. That won’t be a problem for our armed forces—it can only make it stronger, as people who are willing and able to protect us are no longer kept from doing so. But it will present gays and lesbians already in the military—and there are plenty—with some choices. Stars and Stripes interviewed service members about how and whether they’d go about telling others in their units, once they could without sanction.
Military prepares for 'don't ask, don't tell' to end
At Fort Jackson, it's Capt. Guy Allsup's job to ensure that recruits in Charlie Company now realize a soldier is a soldier: gay or straight. On Monday, the 29-year-old Charlotte Country Day graduate walked 231 nervous basic training recruits through scenarios. Soldiers won't be asked their sexual orientation. After Sept. 20, they won't be kicked out of the armed services simply for acknowledging they are gay. Hand-holding and other forms of public affection on base won't be tolerated. That goes for a guy and girl, or a guy and a guy.
Tammy Baldwin Announces Senate Run In Wisconsin
– Huffington Post
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is jumping into the race for U.S. Senate, running for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. Baldwin is the only openly gay woman in Congress. If she wins her race in 2012, she will become the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate.
VIDEO: 'The Game' Says There are 'Several' Closeted Rappers, Tells them to 'Be Gay and Proud'
"I don’t have a problem with gay people. Like, Beyoncé should’ve said, ‘Who run the world? Gays,’ because they’re everywhere and rightfully so. Do you. It’s a free country. Be gay, you can do that…Game don’t have a problem with gay people. Game has problem with people who are pretending not to be gay."
Transgender 10-Year-Old, Jackie, Born A Boy, Happier As A Girl
– Huffington Post
Turns out there are parents in the news who do the right thing. Jennifer and John of Ohio have a transgender 10-year-old child, and they support Jackie's decision to live life as a girl. Since she was 18-months-old, "it was always dancing, dress-up, " says her mother Jennifer. Jackie loved the color pink and wearing ballerina outfits. She wanted sparkles and pretty shoes.