NAACP panel examines added bias for LGBTQ communities of color
In the past two months in Detroit, an African American transgender woman and gay black men who have been attacked or killed in one of the deadliest periods for the local African American LGTBQ community.
The violence has shocked residents and was among the topics discussed Tuesday at a town-hall meeting, "The State of LGBTQ People of Color in America" at the national NAACP convention, which wraps up in Detroit on Wednesday.
Curtis Lipscomb, the executive director of LGBT Detroit , said violence continues to plague black gay communities.
"The violence is real," Lipscomb told about 250 people gathered at the meeting to hear the discussion.
One victim was Paris Cameron, 20, an AfricanAmerican transgender Detroit woman who was slain.
Cameron was among two other people shot and killed May 25 on Devonshire Street on Detroit's east side. Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20, also were killed.
Two others were shot and survived.
Authorities believe the victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
The panelists and audience members said the state of LGBTQ communities of color are "not good" and includes reasons such as health concerns and discrimination.
A high HIV infection rate among black males is another problem that needs to be addressed, said Lipscomb.
"HIV infection among gay black males is out of control," said Lipscomb. "The use of condoms is (only) a consideration."
Lipscomb, the co-founder of the Hotter Than July Black Gay Pride festivities, said black gays and lesbians also face discrimination among faith communities.
"Why do you worship a place that vilifies you," said Lipscomb.
Robert Marchman, a national board member of PFLAG, said parents of gay children need to be supportive.
"This is personal to me," said Marchman, an attorney. "I am the proud father of a gay man. More dads like me need to speak up. We need to make sure all voices are heard."
Michelle Elizabeth Brown, a business consultant, lecturer and columnist, said she and others are subjected to additional harassment.
"My community accepts me, but when I pulled out my gay card, they don't accept me," said Brown.