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?