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Historic Black LGBTQ Intergenerational Discussion on “Selma”

Historic Black LGBTQ Intergenerational Discussion on “Selma”

If Bayard Rustin were alive today he certainly would have been proud on Monday as the LGBTQ communities held discussions on the film “Selma”.

Flashback Sunday, a social group for LGBTQ Elders of Color and their friends, and the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition convened “an honest and open dialogue” between a generations of LGBTQ activists. Folks who were active during 1960’s civil rights era and  today’s LGBTQ  “Black Lives Matter” activists met at Emmanuel Church in Boston on Monday, as a way of honoring the twenty-ninth anniversary of Martin Luther King Day.

For the first time an intergenerational and interracial gathering of LGBTQ voices met and created a paradigm of how future discussions should take place.

“Selma” is about King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights for African Americans in the South. Rustin was an integral part of King’s efforts that Ava DuVernay’s film depicts. A lot of what Rustin endured and learned as an openly gay activist is still with those unsung LGBTQ activists of King’s era.

During the Civil Rights movement Rustin—the strategist and chief architect of the 1963 March on Washington that catapulted the MLK onto a world stage—was always the man behind the scenes—mostly due to the fact that he was gay. 

Since the Ferguson protests of last summer (resulting from the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, one of several unarmed African American males killed by police that year) a younger generation of activists has emerged. Some have questioned their tactics.

In promoting the film “Selma” producer Oprah Winfrey set off a firestorm with her comments to “People” magazine stating that “Black Lives Matter” activists lacked leadership.

“I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it. But what I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this.” 

Oprah’s remarks, however, resonated with a generation that’s shaped by a heterosexist male-dominated movement rather than a non-hierarchical, diffuse model with an intersectional analysis that “Black Lives Matter” activists are illustrating.

But this is not the first time younger and older generations locked horns. Senator John Lewis and his group, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, didn’t see eye-to-eye with King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on how to move forward on voting rights in Selma.

Corey Yarborough, co-founder of