Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Politics of Race: A Black LGBT Presidential Forum in Los Angeles Helps Define a Powerful Voting Bloc

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Politics of Race: A Black LGBT Presidential Forum in Los Angeles Helps Define a Powerful Voting Bloc

Article excerpt

WITHOUT ALL THE POMP and circumstance usually involved in presidential election events, the black same-gender-loving community came together in Los Angeles this January for the presidential election forum It's a Black Thang: The Black LGBT Vote.

You maybe asking yourself, Why do we need a black LGBT forum? Previous presidential election forums that have attempted to address us as constituents have been either gay and overwhelmingly white, or black with no mention of the word "gay."

During South Carolina's Democratic debate, the term "African-American" was used 26 times, while the word "black" was used 13 times. The word "race" was used 14 times, and "women" logged 13 mentions. Sen. Barack Obama offered the only use of the word "gay" during the debate, and Sen. Hillary Clinton was the only candidate to mention "sex," just once, not counting references to sexual abuse.

So what does all this mean?

It means that no matter how we cut it, slice it, spin it, and serve it up, issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation will continue to be as prevalent during the race to the White House as they are among gays.

Believe it or not, most black same-gender-loving people tend to vote in concert with other African-Americans. And African-Americans overwhelmingly support Obama for president. That fact was made painstakingly clear during the forum when panelist after panelist declared support for Obama.

There's a misconception that gays are overwhelmingly for Clinton. For white gays, that may be true. But when you throw race into the mix and open up the vote to include voices beyond the white majority, it's clear there are many of us, including myself, who support Obama or another candidate.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It's important that black gays are represented at some point during this election. Especially given the debacle last year that had Obama in South Carolina with homophobic gospel singer Donnie McClurkin in an attempt to sway black voters. Matters only got worse when, after nationwide protest and advice from the Human Rights Campaign (an organization that clearly supports Clinton), Obama's camp extended an invitation to an openly gay white pastor to address an audience of Southern Christian blacks. Southern Christian blacks. Talk about sabotage.

Prior to our forum--which was held in a coffee shop in L. …

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