Last week, we brought you the first of our two part series on Black History month. This week, we tell you about several more prominent African American members of the LGBT Community. It may seem to many that there are fewer gay blacks, but studies prove just the opposite, in fact some research now shows that per capita, there may be slightly higher numbers of gay black as compared to the white population. It’s interesting and more research needs to be conducted, but it just goes to show that no matter what race or nationality, homosexuality occurs naturally in all populations, it’s not just a white thing.
Patrik Ian Polk
Patrik Ian Polk is an openly gay film director who is known for his films on the African American LGBT experience and relationships. Polk’s 2008 film ‘Noah’s Ark: Jumping The Broom’ won a GLAAD Award for Best Feature Film and was nominated for three NAACP awards.
Writer Langston Hughes’ innovative poetry and stories lead him to become an icon of the Harlem Renaissance. Although he was known for her his strong political views he remained closeted throughout his life.
Legendary writer James Baldwin pushed boundaries with his novel ‘Giovanni’s Room’, which focused on an American man living in Paris and his relationships with various men. Baldwin lived most of his life as an expatriate in Paris where he attempted to escape American prejudice towards blacks and gay individuals.
After retiring from the NBA in 2007 John Amaechi became the first NBA player to come out publicly. In his memoir ‘Man in The Middle’ he discusses his career and life as a closeted athlete.
Fashion expert Andre Leon Talley is the editor-at-large of Vogue. Outside of his contributions to the magazine Talley has dressed notable celebrities such as Jennifer Hudson, In 2008 he introduced Michelle Obama to Jason Wu who designed her inaugural gown. In 2005 Talley was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Gay Men And Women In America by Out magazine.
King was the first (and, thus far, only) trans model to be featured on the reality fashion competition “America’s Next Top Model.” She was seen on both the 11th and 17th “cycles” of the show and recently became American Apparel’s first transgender model.
Film director Dee Rees is behind the movie ‘Pariah’, which follows a 17 year old African American teenager struggling with her sexuality. The film was a hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festiva
Carribean American writer Audre Lorde was actively involved in the gay culture of Greenwich Village. She was also an activist for civil rights and feminist movements. Her poetry focuses on the female experience, race, and sexuality.
Three time MVP Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to be signed to the WNBA when it was created. Not only was she a star on the court she was one of the first high profile athletes to come out publicly.
So there you have it folks, this list is certainly not comprehensive, I am sure I have forgotten someone, but at least you know a little more about gay history, and about African American History. Like many of you, I am anxiously awaiting the day that we just called it all history, and we can leave adjectives like Gay and African American behind: A day when gays and blacks aren’t relegated to being celebrated for just one month a year.
Information on LGBT African American from www.huffingtonpost.com