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|[Video] Tempers flare during NAACP panel discussion on LGBT issues|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|August 01, 2011 11:58|
CNN anchor Don Lemon, who recently came out as gay, moderated a panel discussion on black LGBT issues during the annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People conference in Los Angeles over the weekend. Panel participants included out comedian Wanda Sykes, civil rights activist Julian Bond and other leaders in the black gay community and focused on a wide variety of topics from homophobia and hypocrisy in the black church to reaching out to allies in the community.
The two hour discussion was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the organization's 102nd annual conference.
There were contentious moments during the discussion, when NAACP CEO Benjamin Jealous was asked how the NAACP could be taken seriously as an advocate for LGBT equality when members of its board have made public anti-gay statements in the recent past.
Jealous made a point to defend his organization's work in the equality movement with regard to marriage and other protections for LGBT persons.
“The gay community should take us seriously as civil rights advocates who are committed to fairness for everyone,” Jealous said. “They should take us seriously because we are one of the architects, along with the Human Rights Campaign, of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Hate Crimes bill.”
Another heated moment came when Jealous commented on the passage of California's Proposition 8 and whether or not the black community in California was responsible for the marriage ban's passage into law.
“I'm tired, quite frankly, of LBGT [sic] organizers who come to the black community late with an expectation and don't treat us with the respect that they treat every other community and showing up early, organizing hard, working late, building the relationships,” he said.
On a lighter note, the continued controversy over Bishop Eddie Long's sex scandal was a moment for laughter, and reflection, among participants.
“I wouldn't go as far to say that Eddie Long is gay,” Bond, former chair of the NAACP, said of the Bishop's sex scandal where at least five young men have accused Long of inappropriate sexual contact. We spoke with Bond last year about the scandal. Here's a link.
“He's openly homophobic, we know that. But I don't know that he's gay,” Bond concluded.
Check out a video below put together by NoMoreDownLow.tv of the discussion below:
Top photo: Benjamin Jealous, CEO of the NAACP (official photo)
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