Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Be More Present and Visible, Period."

Pam Spaulding, the blog mistress behind the widely acclaimed Pam's House Blend, recently expanded her reach, becoming a regular columnist for The Durham News, her hometown newspaper. And today, her printed column (and her blog) take a look at what it's like to lobby African-American lawmakers on LGBT issues . . . with a little help from a local PFLAG ally.

North Carolina's legislature recently took up a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the "Non-Discrimination in State/Teacher Employment" law (HB1049). And the bill, along with other issues of LGBT equality, is a "complex" issue for many African-American lawmakers, according to Pam, who writes that, "Comprehensive sex ed, and the anti-bullying bill, for instance have not posed a problem, but the marriage issue has tripped them up, and religion, as expected, is a hurdle that must be cleared."

So Pam decided to ask local advocates in Durham about their experience with, and advice about, working with African-American lawmakers to advance LGBT equality in North Carolina. And today, she posts a video interview with TaMeicka Clear of PFLAG Out Like Us (pictured), who shared her own thoughts about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to working on LGBT issues.

"Definitely one thing to do would be to show up and show them that it is a black issue, and to just be consistent and show up in large numbers . . . and I can't stress consistency enough," Clear tells Pam, adding later that, "There is a large misconception that we don't have a voice -- we do. And I saw some of the shock on a lot of the legislators' faces today to even see as many black [LGBT] people as there were present. So we need to be more present and visible, period."

To see the full video interview with TaMeicka, and to join the discussion at Pam's House Blend, click here to visit Pam's home on the web.

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