Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Affirmations is seeking outside funding for a series of meetings of LGBT leaders on racial issues. If those meetings come together, perhaps we of the LGBT community can begin the open, honest discussion about race that our entire community – gay and straight alike – so desperately need.
Sometimes, no one wins.
At least, not in the short term.
Last week, we here at BTL were greatly saddened to learn of the departure of Kimya Ayodele and Vanessa Marr from Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center in Ferndale.
We are sad for the women who are now without jobs, we are sad for the remaining staff and leadership at Affirmations, and we are sad for our entire community.
Nor do we have any answers to offer.
What we do know is that, as LGBTs, our entire community faces common adversaries who care less about the color of our skin than they do about the fact that they’d like to criminalize our sexuality. We know that many of those same people were just as opposed to the black civil rights movement 30 and 40 years ago as they are to the LGBT civil rights movement today.
And we know that, even with that common enemy, it can be hard to stick together in the face of our cultural, racial and other differences.
The situation at Affirmations is a case in point. Whether or not racial issues are at the core of Kimya and Vanessa’s departure from the center, the fact is that they and many leaders of metro Detroit’s black LGBT community feel that is, indeed, the case. While Affirmations’ leadership is acknowledging the reality of institutional racism and vowing to “open their door” to the entire spectrum of our community, it’s quite possible that some or many segments of our community will say, “too little, too late.” With a series of protests planned beginning Oct. 11 – during one of the center’s biggest fundraising events – it can be hard to see how this situation can possibly resolve as a win-win for everyone concerned.
That’s the situation right now.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, any more than metro Detroit as a whole has to continue as a bastion of segregation.
There is a bright spot in all of this. Affirmations is seeking outside funding for a series of meetings of LGBT leaders on racial issues. If those meetings come together, perhaps we of the LGBT community can begin the open, honest discussion about race that our entire community – gay and straight alike – so desperately need.
In other words, it’s possible that out of this situation, our entire LGBT community may come together and take the lead on improving race relations in metro Detroit as a whole.
And that could only lead to a long-term win for all of us.