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October 18, 2006

Same Sex Racism

What will the growing --and angry-- riff between black and white gays mean for a movement long portrayed as the epitome of tolerance and diversity?

This morning black gay writer, Keith Boykin highlighted a disturbing story about gay rights "hero" Tyrone Garner, a black man. Garner has been dead for over a month but because his family cannot raise the money to bury him, Garner's body may be turned over to the state of Texas for a pauper's burial. Boykin notes that the same white gay groups who used Garner as a tool to destroy most of the existing laws against sodomy in America have failed to stand up for him in death.

"Lambda Legal Defense Fund had previously announced a fund to be set up for Garner's family to cover the cost of the funeral and burial, but apparently the funds have still not been raised. I don't know the circumstances behind the fund, but Lambda is the second largest LGBT organization in the country and boasts an annual budget of $10.5 million."

White gays don't care about black people.
Jasmyne Cannick, a black lesbian activist in Los Angeles lambasted the silence of white gay activists in the face of the murder of a black homosexual man by whites in New York.

"So it’s been five days since Michael Sandy died after his family removed his life support system. And in five days, I have heard absolutely nothing from the top two national predominately white gay rights groups, that being the Human Rights Campaign and The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, on the death of Michael Sandy, a Black gay man.
So here you have HRC and the Taskforce, two groups who are always trying to get the National Black Justice Coalition, the Black gays, to follow behind them and join their various coalitions, all in the name of showing diversity and unity, but when NBJC leads on an issue that is important to Black gays, they are nowhere to be found.
HRC has issued the five press releases since Friday, October 13, 2006. The Task Force has issued one statement. None of their statements had anything to do with Sandy.
When Matthew Shepard was killed, HRC and the Task Force were falling all over themselves trying to be the first out there with press releases and statements."

Cannick bluntly told readers to "Tell them [white gay organizations] that sending their House Negroes to Black Prides doesn’t cut it either." Incidentally, its not the first time Cannick has fired off at racism among white gays.

Last March in Atlanta a white lesbian director came under charges of racism by a black gay magazine publisher because she refused magazine sponsorship of the largely white attended "Pride" festival. The controversy became so pronounced, the local gay newspaper was forced to report on it.

Black gay leaders like Earl Fowlkes openly complained about the facade of the one big happy rainbow family. "Truth be told, it's not that way." White organizations like the donor rich Human Rights Campaign decided they knew what black folks liked. Just throw them a gospel concert bone. In 2002, HRC launched its "Gospel and Soul" Concert a churchified attempt to get black folks lined up with the gay agenda. It didn't work.

The all white "exgaywatch" (perhaps feeling guilty) did get involved in a catfight with another white group NARTH over racism charges. But these situations highlight a divide and even more stark streak of racism white gays are ignoring. With gays demanding tolerance, respect and equality its inconcievable that they would routinely practice the same ole jim crowism white racists did in the sixties.
Clearly, homophobia is not the problem, its same sex racism.

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