City Desk

Editors Diverge On Whether LGBT Activists Should Get Involved In Trayvon Martin Case

A couple of weeks ago, Blade editor Kevin Naff wrote an editorial complaining about how some sectors of the LGBT community rallied around Trayvon Martin's death. Naff, it seems, didn't quite understand how or why gay activists would want to align themselves with a movement that isn't an LGBT problem. He wrote:

Not to be left out of all the bandwagon posturing, the nation’s leading LGBT advocacy groups belatedly leapt into the fray on April 2 — 36 days after the shooting — to draw parallels between black and LGBT crime victims and express solidarity with Martin’s family.

“Trayvon’s killing is tragic and the stark reality that racial bias played a role in his death has alarmed our nation,” read the statement, which was signed by HRC, GLAAD, Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and many other national LGBT rights groups.

“Stark reality?” Unfortunately, there’s not much about this case that’s so crystal clear.

His supporting facts included the (admittedly despicable) re-editing of the 911 transcript by NBC to make it sound like Zimmerman told the dispatcher Martin was black without any prompting.

Sean Bugg, the publisher of Metro Weekly responded recently with his own take:

There are fair points to be made about the appropriateness of progressive coalition-based politics; trivializing and infantilizing the reaction to the shooting death of a black teenager is not one of them. Neither is dismissing Al Sharpton as a ''pot-stirring,'' ''ambulance-chasing zealot'' – the kind of language generally used by racism-deniers who greet any racial incident with cries of ''Tawana Brawley!''

For that matter, when anti-gay activists are pursuing political strategies designed to pit blacks against gays, it would seem this LGBT support would be a positive development, not ''bandwagon posturing.''

We just find Naff's take completely weird. If his argument is that "we don't know all the facts," that's one thing—and it's a common sentiment. But it's another to bash activists for stepping outside of their silos at a time when coalition-building to further different goals is incredibly popular. The guy's heard of Occupy, right?

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Comments

  1. #1

    There is sort of a false balance equivalency to juxtaposing these two opinions, as "two sides" of one argument.

    From the perspective I saw, most LGBT people I know disagreed quite strongly with Naff's take on it and even found his article downright offensive and embarrassing as a voice of the LGBT community.

  2. #2

    [SHANI HILTON: noodlez, this comment is not cool.]

  3. #3

    But you want someone to process your marriage certificates that are not an issue for straight people.

    If you let injustice through the gate, you could be next.

  4. #4

    It's my understanding, Kevin Naff a bigoted gay white male wrote an article about Trayvon Martin angering many black gays and black lesbians. I've stated many times, many white gay men are privileged and are just as racist as heterosexual white males. White gay men aren't a minority. White gay men belong to the 220 million majority population in the United States. Shani, did you read the many comments made by black gays and lesbians in the Washington Blade in reference to the Kevin Naff article? My question, why haven't Kevin Naff written a rebuttal explaining his white racism?

  5. #5

    Here's Kevin Naff's racist article in the Washington Post. Shani, please read the comments made by black gays and lesbians in reference to Kevin Naff's article. White racism within the gay community need to be exposed because white gay men are always discussing being a minority and being discriminated against. However, many white gay males discriminate against black gay males.

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/04/09/all-aboard-the-trayvon-bandwagon/

  6. #6

    Correction:

    Kevin Naff's article is in the Washington Blade, not the Washington Post.

  7. #7

    MS SHANI MY SATIRICAL AND TRUTH LADEN COMMENT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE COOL BUT TO POINT OUT WHY FOLK OF HIS KIND ARE CLOAKED IN TRUE CONSERVATIVE VALUES WHILE POSING AS SOME GROUP THAT HAS BEEN LEFT BEHIND.

    THEY BEG AND WEEP FOR COMPASSION FOR THEIR ISSUES BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SPEAKING UP FOR A GROUP THAT DOESN’T HAVE A VOICE OR THE FINANCIAL BACKING (I.E-THE GROWING NUMBER OF BLACK WOMEN WITH HIV) THEY SOMEHOW FIND THEMSELVES MUM, DISINTERESTED OR NON-EXISTANT.

    THE REASON YOU THOUGHT IT NECESSARY TO INFORM YOUR READERS ABOUT THE DIVISIVE AND RACIAL COMMENT MADE BY A WHITE MALE HOMOSEXUAL IS BECAUSE YOU FELT IT WAS AN INAPPROPRIATE POINT OF VIEW MADE BY A PERSON IN A POSITION OF STATURE WITH A GROUP THAT CLAIMS SOME FORM OF DISCRIMINATION OR EXCLUSION AT EVERY TURN.

    HIS EDUCATED AND TACT LADEN COMMENT WASN’T COOL EITHER BUT YOU CHOSE TO RUN IT. I’M NO APOLOGIST AND FROM THE MY PERSPECTIVE NEITHER IS MR EDITOR. I DON’T SEEK TO CONTROL ANYONES FEELINGS AND IF SOMEONE’S FEELINGS ARE HURT BY MY COMMENTS THEN SO BE IT. HURT FEELINGS ARE OKAY BECAUSE THEY MAKE YOU APPRECIATE THE GOOD ONES EVEN MORE.

    MS SHANI EVERYONE CANT BE IN THE MIDDLE ALL THE TIME AND THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TIMES WHERE I MOVE OPPOSITE FROM MR EDITOR. I RECOGNIZE AND EMBRACE THAT THERE ARE TIMES YOU WILL BE PUSHED TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF THE HUDDLED MASSES BY CHOICE OR BY CIRCUMSTANCE. JUST ASK THE MALE PENGUINS.

    NAMASTE!

  8. #8

    noodlez, you are on point with your comment. I agree with your 100%. If you have noticed, many of the whites that comment on here daily like Drez and others have said a word on this issue. Many white gay men are racist. There being gay doesn't excuse them from being a bigot like Kevin Naff.

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