GA Voice, By Ryan Watkins
CNN anchor Don Lemon, who recently came out as gay, moderated a panel discussion on black LGBT issues during the annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People conference in Los Angeles over the weekend. Panel participants included out comedian Wanda Sykes, civil rights activist Julian Bond and other leaders in the black gay community and focused on a wide variety of topics from homophobia and hypocrisy in the black church to reaching out to allies in the community.
The two hour discussion was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the organization's 102nd annual conference.
There were contentious moments during the discussion, when NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous was asked how the NAACP could be taken seriously as an advocate for LGBT equality when members of its board have made public anti-gay statements in the recent past.
Jealous made a point to defend his organization's work in the equality movement with regard to marriage and other protections for LGBT persons.
“The gay community should take us seriously as civil rights advocates who are committed to fairness for everyone,” Jealous said. “They should take us seriously because we are one of the architects, along with the Human Rights Campaign, of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crimes bill.”
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