As we mark the beginning on Black History Month, HRC’s blog will feature the voices of African-American LGBT leaders and allies.
Without the leadership of Black LGBTQ and allied trailblazers — such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Cory Booker, Jason Collins, Laverne Cox, Eric Holder, Martha P. Johnson, John Lewis, Audre Lorde, DeRay Mckesson, Janet Mock and Bayard Rustin — our victories as an LGBTQ movement simply would not have been possible.
For example, in July Congressman John Lewis stood side-by-side with HRC President Chad Griffin and announced his support for the Equality Act.
“I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color, not to fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Lewis tweeted.
We also recognize the Black LGBTQ and allied leaders we lost in 2015, including longtime civil rights leader and HRC supporter Julian Bond and Jacqueline A. Berrien, former Chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to the Williams Institute, there are more than 1 million LGBTQ African Americans currently living in the United States, with approximately 3.7 percent of all African American people identifying as LGBTQ and 34 percent of African-American same-sex couples raising children.
While we recognize the progress and power in our history and as an LGBTQ movement, we also recognize that too few LGBTQ Black leaders are celebrated — not just in February, but throughout the year. We also know that bias, discrimination and prejudice in our society today persists, disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people of color.
HRC will continue to strive for a world where every LGBTQ person is ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
Stay tuned for more posts from African-American LGBT leaders and allies as part of HRC’s Black History Month series.
To learn about the experiences of LGBTQ people living in the United States who identify as African American, click here. For more on the experiences of Black LGBTQ people living outside of the U.S., click here.