"Black, Gifted and Gay"

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, The Root, a daily online magazine that provides commentary from a variety of black perspectives, featured excerpts from Black, Gifted and Gay, a new book that profiles some of the most talented black LGBT journalists, artists, politicians and athletes.The groundbreaking book highlights portraits of twenty African American icons who have unapologetically claimed their place in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Among the inspiring group of openly gay men and women are producer/director Lee Daniels (pictured right), former mayor of Cambridge, Mass., E. Denise Simmons, Essence.com managing editor Emil Wilbekin, professional basketball player Sheryl Swoopes and many more. “There are long stretches of American history where black, gay people are essentially absent from the struggles, stories and accomplishments that define either the gay or black communities. Those heroes we do celebrate – Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, and other giants of their era – are long dead,” writes Leyla Farah, the book’s co-author and founding partner at Cause+Effect, a media and marketing firm focused on the LGBT community. “This book is an effort – however small – to address that absence.” GLAAD applauds Leyla Farah and The Root for promoting the visibility of black gay and transgender men and women.