Black, Gay Group Bridging Divide


[The late great Marlon Riggs’ 1989 movie Tongues Untied was meant to, he said, “shatter the nation’s brutalizing silence on matters of sexual and racial difference.”]
While one would assume the NBJC would back Barack Obama, the first black man with a real shot at the White House, the group refuses to make a presidential endorsement. Communications director Herndon Davis explains, “You tend to box yourself in one corner if you endorse someone over someone else. I think remaining neutral brings more bargaining power, rather than if you endorse one candidate over another.” They have, however, been in communication with all the campaigns, including the independent candidates, but Hendricks wouldn’t give any details on their communications.

Robinson, who once worked on Hillary Clinton‘s LGBT team, did offer some thoughts on Obama, with whom Robinson spoke after the Donnie McClurkin scandal. You’ll recall that the Obama campaign came under serious fire last fall when they invited anti-gay McClurkin to appear on the Senator’s gospel tour. Robinson – and many, many others – weren’t impressed and asked Obama to rescind the invitation. The candidate did not, instead asking a gay preacher man to join the fun and later talking gay rights with the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the same church Dr. King once attended.

The activists definitely didn’t approve of Obama’s McClurkin decision, even Robinson’s derision contains admiration:

Strategically, when it came to that particular incident, we had a disagreement on the way in which the choices that he made, but I agree that tactically we have to listen to both sides and have conversations with those who vehemently disagree with us, because it is only through our willingness to have those conversations that we’re going to make a change.

Though inherently different, when boiled down to the nitty-gritty, race and sexuality are essentially the same: they’re social categories, one of mankind’s most enduring traditions. Thus, the NBJC doesn’t simply want to fight racism and homophobia. It wants to erase them entirely. Said the Action Fund’s Hendricks, “Once we eliminate racism and homophobia, there will be no need for these categories. Our goal is to eliminate those things entirely.”

Sure, progress comes one step at a time, but can come a whole lot faster when we’re all stepping together, whether it be in Selma, on Christopher Street or in your own back yard – although all those feet would be hell on your grass. But, you know, we all have to make sacrifices.