Karen Ocamb

NAACP Convention: Julian Bond Speaks on LGBT Issues [VIDEO]

Filed By Karen Ocamb | July 31, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Julian Bond, NAACP, speech video

The NAACP held its first-ever town hall meeting to discuss LGBT issues on July 25 as part of its 102nd annual convention held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The theme was "Our Collective Responsibility: Overcoming Homophobia". Julian Bond, civil rights icon and Chairman Emeritus NAACP, addresses the gathering.

Video by Renee Sotile & Mary Jo Godges of TraipsingThruFilms for LGBT POV and Frontiers In LA. An extensive piece on the town hall with more video is coming soon.

(Crossposted at LGBT POV)


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Karen, thank you so much for posting this!

I like to joke that I'm so white I'm blinding, but one does not have to be African-American to appreciate the history and accomplishments of the NAACP, nor the words of Julian Bond here.

I would submit, however, that when such an organization uses the term "LGBT" as freely as was done here, that organization has an obligation to do justice to more than just the first two letters of that acronym. I fully agree with Monica Roberts and other AA trans folks who have called out NAACP for their failings in this regard.

It's my hope that the next NAACP LGBT town hall is far more inclusive than this one was. It seems to me that the act of excluding bi and trans folks from this event is exactly the kind of behavior that Mr. Bond was speaking out against in his comments. Where I come from, that's called hypocrisy...and injustice.

I've heard it said that next time one of these events is held the voices of trans people will be included. I hope that's correct. It would be a shame to see such a respected organization as the NAACP be guilty for a second time of the very kind of exclusion and silencing it has such a long history of fighting against.

Kudos for Julian Bond! It feels so good to hear a Black leader of his stature and credibility confirm that gay rights are merely specific cases of civil rights in general, that they are not "special" rights but lie within the common range of civil rights, and that gay marriage is both a "civil rite" -- meaning a state-sanctioned ritual -- and a civil right -- a course of action whose availability is intrinsic to the individual. So much of Black homophobia -- as well as white homophobia -- rests on the denial of those particular assertions.

Again, just pointing out that while there certainly were a lot of positive things going on there for sure, this was not actually a meeting by or for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) folks, but for lesbian women and gay men only. No representatives from either the bisexual or trans communities were actually invited to participate.

want to make sure that no one thinks that what happened was not ground breaking, long over due and did not produce some important results that we sure do hope will continue to be built on.

And of course we also do hope that in the future that the good people at the NAACP will consider including representatives from the many national, regional and local groups who do represent transfolk and bisexual people as well. However at this time the article does misrepresent who attended and what the actual focus was.

So, perhaps that misleading wording could be corrected?

Without being there and seeing the literature being supplied, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how this gathering was announced -- the official convention schedule on the NAACP website does not even mention that the event took place as an official part of the NAACP 2011 Convention.

Wanda Sykes, in a series of tweets, referred to this event as an "NAACP panel on black homophobia" -- and if the focus was exactly that, homophobia, then it is difficult to criticize the NAACP's focusing and targeting, or the composition of the selected panel. Homophobia is a specific notion, and bi-phobia and transphobia are specific but different notions. If the focus was homophobia, then the panel did what it said it would.

This is not to say that bi and trans should not be included, either here or somewhere else -- they should. (With the caveat that L/G's should have prerogative to hold L/G-only, as well as L-only and G-only, presentations from time to time, as should the B's to have B-only events and T's to have T-only events.) But apparently it was outsiders who categorized this as an "LGBT" panel, I don't see anywhere that the NAACP did.

On June 3rd 2009 Julian Bond testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee together with Shirley Tan regarding UAFA - green cards fro same-sex couples.... I was sitting behind him when he spoke about Gay rights being a civil rights issue. It can be found on You Tube. I was sorry that Immigration Equality and other LGBT groups did not do more with that at the time. So much time gone by since then and so little on the idea of an omnibus - especially when we had an all DEM Congress stuffing around. Melanie Nathan www.gayusathemovie.com