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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 14, 2005

Campaign will increase black LGBT visibility and influence

Washington, D.C.--A program to heighten the visibility and influence of black gays and lesbians was announced on National Coming Out Day, October 11, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

�The perception is that black GLBT community is invisible, which makes it so much easier for mainstream organizations to exclude us,� said Earl Fowlkes, president of the International Federation of Black Gay Prides. It is a group of 23, soon to be 30, pride organizations in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa.

�Black Out 2006� is a year-long national coming out initiative. One portion will be to get 2006 participants at each black pride event to pledge to come out to someone who does not know that he or she is gay.

Fowlkes said the �legacy initiative� will �identify people in all aspects of leadership�the arts, community activism, faith�and we are going to have their pictures out so that people can see we are not invisible. It will be increasingly difficult after next year to say that you don�t know any GLBT black people.�

Contact information also will be made available to the media. A recent Time magazine cover story on gay teens did not include any black voices, which many termed ridiculous.

�I�ve been to 45 black prides over the last five years,� Fowlkes said. �The majority of those people are under 25 years old. The issue is that we are seen by the mainstream media as invisible.�

The National Black Justice Coalition is a partner in these efforts. Board chair Keith Boykin said they will put an increasing effort on registering pride attendees to vote, with the goal of registering 100,000 new black GLBT voters and building contact information so that they can be turned out on election day.



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