by Joe Siegel
LGBTQ publications are celebrating Black History Month with special features on civil rights activists, entertainers, and other historic figures. The Los Angeles Blade, for one, ran a story on February 6 about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pardoning of gay civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin.
“Though President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Medal of Freedom in 2013, the gay civil rights icon still had the stain of a 1953 ‘morals charge’ arrest in Pasadena on his lifetime of achievement,” wrote Karen Ocamb, news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. “Rustin’s pardon launches a new clemency initiative for people who were prosecuted in California for being gay.”
At Philadelphia Gay News, “We are doing a feature on [blues singer] Bessie Smith,” said editor Jess Bryant. “I also have op-eds lined up from various folks of color in the community. This week’s will be from Larry Benjamin, who is in communications at Mazzoni, an LGBT health clinic.” PGN will also be covering an event from a “Black transmasculine group celebrating Blackness.”
Tagg Magazine, based in Washington, D.C., plans to run profiles and stories related to Queer Black History, said Editor Eboné Bell. One story profiles women including poet and journalist Alice Dunbar-Nelson, novelist Alice Walker, writer Audre Lorde, and Barbara Jordan, the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
South Florida Gay News, based in Wilton Manors, ran a feature on National Black HIV Awareness Day. “Now in its 20th year, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities,” SFGN reported. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 44 percent of new HIV diagnoses.”
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