In Their Own Words: From Rangel to Sharpton, High-Profile Black Americans Weigh in on LGBT Rights

Published: August 24, 2010

A little less than a year ago, I wrote a piece about what I felt supporters of LGBT rights could be doing more effectively to generate more enthusiastic support among black Americans. Some of my suggestions were controversial (as many of you let me know) and perhaps easier said than done, like asking LGBT groups to attack specific policies but to lay off attacks on organized religion.

But some of them were, frankly, no-brainers; so much so that I can’t believe I felt the need to write them down in the first place. Among them, not attacking black Americans for things that are legitimately not our fault. (Such as the defeat of gay marriage in Maine where there are practically zero black people. And I’m not exaggerating. According to the census it is one of the whitest states in the union, yet I’ve had to explain that on more than one occasion to those convinced black voters were responsible for nixing same-sex marriage in the state.) But another suggestion was simply encouraging LGBT groups to reach out to high-profile black Americans who do support equal rights for gays and lesbians and utilize them as messengers more effectively to reach the larger community.

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