The January 28 town hall meeting was a significant milestone in the struggle against the entrenched homophobia in the black community currently being exploited by black ministers and radio talk hosts. The event was a powerful declaration by the black LGBT community of metro Detroit, along with their friends, families and supporters, that expressed their pride and their anger. The energy that filled the auditorium that night will, hopefully, continue to give strength to the black LGBT community.
During the meeting Detroit City Councilwoman, JoAnn Watson, offered the group some sage advice. Ms. Watson said: “Don’t agonize. Organize. Don’t sympathize. Strategize.” She recommended we make plans, raise money, build alliances and develop the necessary machinery to obtain political clout.
Currently, LGBT issues are being exploited by cynical politicians to distract and divide voters from genuine issues. The question about whether or not we deserve rights equal to other Americans may be used as a tool to decide the next president of the United States. Religious institutions are using our issues to distract congregants from their own internal organizational problems. Physical assaults aimed at LGBT people are a daily occurrence across the country. Considering that our lives are under attack, I believe Ms. Watson’s thoughtful advice is timely and useful not only for the black LGBT community but for the entire LGBT community as well.