The African American LGBTQ experience
Why Black LGBT organizations are important
by Mahkesha Hogg
LGBT Black Issues Columnist
The other day I was looking for a great LGBT organization which serves the black community and I ran across the National Black Justice Coalition. As a Black LGBT advocate, I think having an LGBT organization specific to the needs of our community is vital.
A minority culture like ours must find others who identify with them to encourage self- esteem and validation of a LGBTQ person of African descent.
Furthermore, the black LGBT community often feels underrepresented within the LGBT community at large and specific black representation makes us feel more at home and can cater more to our own cultural sensitivity.
When I talk with my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, they express to me that the coming out process can be hard for any LGBTQ person. However, for LGBTQ people of color it presents certain cultural challenges that may not be present in other groups. When African Americans who are LGBTQ come out of the closet they may experience fear, isolation, rejection and the unknown from their own families, churches, and community at large. Sometimes they are searching for a place just to be around people who look like them.
With a simple Google search of “Black LGBT” I found the National Black Justice Coalition (www.nbjc.org). According to their website, they are “the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, to continue to empower young professionals and emerging leaders, including ourselves.”
They lead with initiatives such as health and wellness, transgender issues, coming out and honoring Black LGBT leaders and much more.
Organizations such as the NBJC are important to the Black LGBT community because they provide resources to people of color who are searching for hope and in need of education. There are many resources that people may be in the dark about if organizations such as this did not exist.
The LGBT Black community needs more resources, outreach and social activities within the Black LGBT community both nationally and locally. And such organizations need to be able to thrive and be sustainable to ensure the growth and sustainability of the Black LGBT community.
Being an LGBTQ person of color it presents certain cultural challenges that may not be present in other groups. But we can create what we want our history to look like. After all, it is our story to be told.
Copyright 2016 The Gayly – Feb 26, 2016 @ 1 p.m.