Celebrating Black History Month: February 2015




February is Black History Month – a time to celebrate, learn, and teach the black community’s rich history.

For GSAs, this is also an important time to recognize the contributions that African-Americans have made for the LGBTQ community.

We hope these resources and role models inspire fruitful discussions and help your GSA take action. Check back for more updates. Email us at info@liveoutloud.info to let us know what you’ve been up to!

 

RESOURCES

 

ROLE MODELS

Kye Allums is the first openly transgender athlete to play NCAA Division I college basketball. Allums was a star shooting guard on the George Washington University (GWU) women’s basketball team.

“I had to come out because it was too hard not being myself.”

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was a writer whose works, such as Go Tell It on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room depict the inner struggles of African-Americans as well as gay and bisexual men. He was also a key figure of the Civil Rights Movement.

“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.”

1385854_10151868348139720_632231331_nJason Collins is an American professional basketball player who made headlines in 2013 when he publicly came out as gay. He became the first active male professional athlete to be open about his sexuality. Most recently, Collins played for the Washington Wizards and was one of the first inductees into the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.

“The most you can do is stand up for what you believe in. I’m much happier since coming out to my friends and family. Being genuine and honest makes me happy.”

1052709_10151881915674720_1767838375_oLaverne Cox made history when she became the first African American transgender woman to appear on an American reality television program. She has also made history as the first openly transgender person nominated for an Emmy Award, and the first transgender person on the cover of Time magazine. Cox currently appears on Netflix’s smash-hit Orange Is the New Black playing Sophia, a trans identifying woman. In addition to acting, Cox is an outspoken transgender activist who advocates for greater inclusion of transgender people in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual civil rights movement.

“I have struggled and continue to struggle to not only have dignity and to carve out a place in the world for myself but to treat myself as if my life matters. My life matters. Transgender lives matter.”

1379984_10151874928209720_186679701_nBorn in New York City to West Indian parents, Audre Lorde was an outspoken activist from a young age. As a young poet, her first poem appeared in Seventeen magazine while she was still in high school. As a black lesbian, many of Lorde’s poems included insight into both of her identities and how they often crossed paths.

“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.”

bayard_rustinBayard Rustin was an openly gay activist during the very homophobic landscape of the 1950’s and 60’s. Inspired by Ghandi, Rustin advocated for nonviolent and peaceful protest and served as Martin Luther King Jr’s advisor and mentor. Rustin was key in organizing the 1963 March on Washington.

“The proof that one truly believes is in action.”

Michael Sam made history in becoming the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team.

At a press conference, his message to LGBTQ youth was: “If someone disowns you, be part of my family.”


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