PG Saturday Diary: A Proud Father, Gay African-American and future minister speaks

Be sure to read this piece from the Post-Gazette Saturday diary:

In this miracle we call America, my own life is a testament to promises made, and kept.

I studied and worked hard. I have a good job. I worked in Congress for a well-known senator as the Reagan revolution began, one of only a handful of black Senate staffers at the time.

None of the blessings I've enjoyed would have been possible had it not been for those whose blood was spilled in Alabama in that summer of 1963.

Now, as a gay African American, a proud father and, I hope, a minister some day, I stand second to none when it comes to having pride in my country and what it has achieved. Mr. Obama's election reminded me of that.

The promise that now lives in me has been passed on to my children — my beautiful “rainbow” sons — two of them African American, one Puerto Rican and one Irish.

This week has been filled with much turmoil in the LGBTQ community as we struggle to reconcile the hope of an Obama presidency with the voter support of four anti-gay constitutional amendments.  Bigotry has reared its ugly head along with ignorance, good intentions and enough blame to go around and around.  At one point, I had to stop reading my email because the finger-pointing is just too much. 

Sadly, there has been no online discussion on the local level.  The local LGBTQ advocates have issued no statements or email messages or anything of that sort.  There has been no calls to action or invitations to reflect on how we — the collective we — can move forward. I haven't really seen this level of analysis in the other local blogs.  

Which is better?  To remain mum or to expose the ugly face of racism in the queer community?  It is great that Melissa Etheridge isn't going to pay California State taxes.  That'll show 'em.  And people are boycotting Rosie's family cruises b/c she didn't ante up.  Wow.  I shouldn't be so dismissive of people working through their anger and frustration, but the lack of self-awareness on the collision of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation is sad.

We are fortunate that men like Don step foward to proudly claim all of their cultural identity and remind us that our community is diverse.  Period.  We have to come to terms with that and find a way to build bridges with constituencies that might support a statewide marriage amendment.  We have to make sure the Don Hammonds of the region are sitting at the table when we talk with the Ricky Burgesses of the region.  Not that Reverend Burgess is a bigot, but he is opposed to gay marriage and we have to be willing as a community to enter that uncomfortable territory to dialogue around these issues and find our common ground. 

Do we have what it takes? 


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