Black gays organizing separate Million Man March commemoration
“Anybody can go stand at the Mall that day: arsonists, drug dealers and child molesters. There’s a big difference between simply being invited to stand on the Mall and actually being invited to speak and to bring up the issues that concern us, like homophobia, which the Movement is not addressing.”— Philip Pannell, gay activist on the weak “welcome” to the Farrakhan/Willie Wilson-organized event.
The split is sadly official. After homo-bigot Willie Wilson’s “lesbian diatribe” from the pulpit, and no response to the hatred from Farrakhan (who originally supported gay attendance), the black gay community is organizing its own gathering at Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on the morning of October 15. (365gay.com):
Gay African Americans say that despite assurances they will be welcome at the 10th-anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington they will hold their own rally.
The Million’s More march and rally will be held October 14-16 and will be led by the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan has told black gays that they will be welcome at the event, but DC black gay leaders say they have been shut out from any role in organizing the march.
“To say we’re welcome isn’t enough,” Philip Pannell, a longtime gay rights and political organizer told the Washington Post. There also are concerns about some of those who have been invited by Farrakhan to organize the event, including Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Washington’s Union Temple Baptist Church.
Last month Wilson caused a fury in the gay community when he warned his congregation that “Sisters making more money than brothers and it’s creating problems in families … that’s one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians.”
In the July 3 sermon entitled “You’ve Got to Fight to Be Free” he also said, “Lesbianism is about to take over our community. I’m talking about young girls. My son in high school last year tried to go to the prom. He said, ‘Dad, I ain’t got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. Ain’t but two of ’em straight, and both of them ugly.’”
As you will recall, Wilson was exposed as a liar, since his son didn’t need a date – he has a girlfriend.
Aside from that nonsense, how sad is all of this? For those that have pooh-poohed the schism in the black community, particularly the faith community over gay civil rights, this is a milestone that cannot be ignored. Is it more important to be black than gay? Is the fact that black gays and lesbians cannot participate in the planning of this event (or speak at it for that matter) a signal that these issues of discrimination against gays carry no weight in the black community? That is indeed the message Farrakhan and Wilson are telegraphing right now. Are black queer people to choose allegiances? This is indeed a sickness.
Whether the fallout translates into shifts in voting patterns is meaningful to debate and decipher, but it certainly places those of us that inhabit both spheres on notice. One wishes that we could hear the wisdom of Coretta Scott King right now.
Earlier posts on the ignorant Willie Wilson:
* DC pastor – lesbianism is “about to take over our community”