COAD News Buzz

Here’s a look at some COAD-related stories in the media:

Denise King, Mother of Hate Crime Victim, Dies

Denise King, a gay rights advocate in South Florida, died of a heart attack on New Year’s Eve. King’s son, Simmie Williams who was gay, was gunned down in February 2008. Since his unresolved murder, King made educating others about the violence LGBT people face a priority:

The Sun-Sentinel wrote:

Since her son's death, Mrs. King "brought the conversation of love, acceptance and compassion into a community where black [gays and lesbians] are invisible," said Michael Emanuel Rajner, a co-founder of Transgender Equality Rights Initiatives, who became a family friend after the murder.

"The night of her son's viewing, she left early because she had gotten a call from someone that evening that there was a youth, about 16, thrown out of his home because he was openly gay," Rajner said.

"Denise, not even knowing the child's name, hit the streets with her car up and down Sistrunk looking for this child. She would take them in. Her home became this safe haven for people to run. In her pain she was moved to make certain no child was turned away."

Mrs. King's aunt said she was committed to justice.

"Everything she did, she did it from her heart as a mother," said Rose Barnes, of Fort Lauderdale.

Julian Bond Chosen For Marriage Equality Advisory Board

The American Foundation for Equal Rights today announced that it has chosen champion civil rights leader, Julian Bond for its advisory board, which includes a diverse and prominent roster of civil rights leaders. The American Foundation for Equal Rights launched its groundbreaking federal court challenge to Prop. 8 in May, and brought together attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies to argue the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

The Windy City Times reported:

Julian Bond is Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors. He co-founded and was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and was a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) . He served more than 20 years in the Georgia legislature after a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling held that the Georgia House of Representatives unconstitutionally denied him the seat he had won.

"The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others," Bond said. "This is not a special interest case, but one that should be of great importance to everyone who believes in the principles of equality on which this nation was founded."

The Los Angeles Times op-ed on being black, gay and African:

In the Los Angeles Times, Douglas Foster, a journalism professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, addresses the anti-gay belief that being gay is “un-African,” his experiences in South Africa and the anti-gay legislation in Uganda. Here is an excerpt from his op-ed.

South Africa is far from nirvana for lesbians and gay men: There's certainly no shortage of homophobia within its borders. But it's the one place on the continent -- and one of the few places in the world -- with a constitution that explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2007, when I spent a year in Johannesburg, I heard the deputy chief justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Dikgang Moseneke, address the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. In his speech, he paid tribute to liberation heroes like the late Simon Nkoli, a courageous black revolutionary and an out and proud gay man. Nkoli, like the men and women with less well-known names who regularly turn up at Simply Blue, countered the lie that same-sex attraction is a relic of colonialism.

The theme of homophobic African politicians is that gay identity is a perversion imposed on black people by white oppressors. The historical fact is the reverse, of course: Legal prohibitions on homosexuality were originally imposed by white colonial rulers. So it's no small twist in the plot that the new wave of threats to Ugandan gays should be reinforced by American religious extremists.

The proposed legislation places in stark relief the persistence of deadly prejudice. The roots of hatred can be traced to myriad traditions -- indigenous and foreign, white and black. What's more important than identifying the sources of the poison is to find the antidote. The first step is listening to the voices of African lesbians and gay men, and taking our cues from them about how to offer the most effective support.

I've been logging on daily in recent weeks to the Box Turtle Bulletin, the website widely credited with alerting Americans to the Uganda legislation, and also to Gay Uganda, the distinctive, irrepressible blog of a partly closeted young gay blogger who's broken important news, and provided bracing perspective, ever since the anti-gay panic began to build in Uganda. "I am fighting for our lives and freedom in my country," the Gay Uganda blogger wrote on New Year's Day, as government officials and preachers called on Ugandans to join in a nationwide demonstration against homosexuality on Jan. 19.

Read the piece in its entirety here.

Lala Vazquez Poses Topless for Marriage Equality                                          

The VH1 host follows in the footsteps of her friends Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian and poses for the grassroots campaign against the passing of Prop 8 in 2008.

HipHop Crunch reported:

MTV/VH1 veejay Lala Vazquez bares all and lends her famous form to the NOH8 marriage equality campaign, a photographic protest speaking out against California’s Proposition 8 gay marriage ban.

N0H8 is a photo project and silent protest created by photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley. Other African-American celebs who have posed are the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, actors Isaiah Washington, Jenson Atwood, Rachel True and Daryll Stephens ; singers Dawn Richardson (Dantity Kane) and the girl group Rich Girls; and Entertainment Tonight Reporter Kevin Frazier to name a few.