Black History Month celebrated by LGBTQ media

by Joe Siegel

LGBTQ media outlets across the country are honoring Black History Month with a variety of stories in their publications. Some of the coverage pays tribute to legendary activists and entertainers.

The Dallas Voice features a column by African-American writer Jalenzski, entitled “Glitch In The Matrix.”

The Dallas Voice writer Jalenzski

“Blackness, symbolized by the color black, encompasses all colors, much like how a rainbow includes a spectrum of hues,” wrote Jalenzski. “This symbolism is a powerful representation of the entirety of the Black experience. Celebrating Blackness in its full expression means acknowledging and valuing every shade and nuance within the community. Black Queer people, often seen as the ‘glitch in the matrix,’ represent this divergence from predefined societal norms and constructs. Yet, this ‘glitch’ is not an error; it’s a powerful force for change.”

“We also have profiles coming in our next two issues of other leaders in the community, although they will not be marked as Black History Month features,” said Tammye Nash, Dallas Voice’s managing editor. “One is a profile of a man organizing a Black Pride event in Houston and the other is a profile of a woman who has been active in organizing, volunteering and leading in the Black LGBTQ community and the LGBTQ community overall for many years. That profile will run the week before a big bash honoring her birthday.”

At Philadelphia Gay News, the newspaper “will be amplifying Black LGBTQ+ voices throughout Black History Month. In addition to covering and previewing events about the Black LGBTQ+ community, we are also publishing evergreen pieces relating to Black LGBTQ+ people,” Editor Jeremy Rodriguez noted. “Too often, Black LGBTQ+ people are silenced and their voices are erased. And with Philadelphia being the birthplace of the More Color More Pride flag, we could not be prouder to uplift these amazing individuals and the work they do for our community.”

PGN featured a February 6 column by writer Victoria Brownworth: “Black History Month: Telling Stories, Erasing Voices.”

“For historically marginalized groups — Black people, LGBTQ+ people, Black LGBTQ+ people among them — the importance of written narratives, of stories that reflect and represent those groups in their own voices from the vantage point of their lived experience, cannot be overstated,” Brownworth wrote. “This explains why preventing those narratives from being written and shared has long been a focal point of the dominant culture and society. The suppression of Black narratives is a thread that runs through U.S. history. In the U.S. even teaching slaves to read was a crime. Stories by LGBTQ+ people have been banned for generations — deemed ‘obscene’ or ‘perverse’ and LGBTQ+ people pathologized.”

Tagg Magazine, which focuses on LGBTQ women and women of color, has a story about Kendra Frith, who settled in the United States after fleeing Jamaica, her home country.

“With the help of the Rainbow Railroad — a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting LGBTQ+ individuals escaping state-sponsored violence — Frith was able to stay in the U.S. and request asylum,” wrote Abby Stuckrath. “‘I wanted to stay [in Jamaica] and help make my country better,’ says Frith. ‘Nobody wants to leave their home and leave everything behind.’”

The LGBTQ San Diego County News featured a story about the annual Bayard Rustin Honors ceremony.  Rustin was an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and an architect of the 1963 March on Washington.

“Carolina Ramos and I are the proud founders of the now acclaimed Bayard Rustin Honors, which we are making future plans to make a statewide, and possibly national recognition,” longtime activist Nicole Murray Ramirez wrote in the newspaper’s February 2 edition. “Longtime LGBTQ and Black civil rights icon Mandy Carter was the first recipient of the Bayard Rustin Honors Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Ramirez added, “I will never forget and will always appreciate State Senator Scott Weiner (then chair of the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus) and then-State Assemblymember Shirley Weber (chair of the State Black Legislative Caucus) when they joined me in our efforts to get Gov. Gavin Newsom to pardon Bayard Rustin’s entrapment arrest record by the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1950s. That was a great day in our State Capital, as I joined Dr. Weber, Sen. Weiner, and members of the International Imperial Court to officially announce the governor’s pardon.”

Volume 25
Issue 11

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February 14, 2024