Out CNN Anchor Don Lemon was interrupted by audience member Ashley Love at the NAACP’s LGBT town hall meeting on July 25 at the LA Convention Center when Love challenged Lemon. She considered Lemon’s exclusion of transsexuals and transgenders an insult when he said he intended the discussion of homophobia and the “gay” community to be all-inclusive. Feminist scholar Beverly Guy-Sheftall said that people need to understand that many in the African American community don’t even know the word “transgender,” as she discovered just days earlier during a lecture at Spelman College. Civil rights icon and former NAACP Board president Julian Bond promised that next year the NAACP will be more inclusive on their LGBT panel.
One critical lesson from this exchange is how some LGBTs assume that non-LGBTs understand us more and better than perhaps they do. That students at the famous historically Black Spelman College didn’t know the word “transgender” in 2011 is shocking and speaks volumes as to how much education the LGBT community must undertake. This is simultaneously a terrific reason why the California FAIR Education Act is needed – and a scary sign of how that lack of knowledge could lead to misunderstanding and defeat at the ballot box.
This video was shot and produced by Traipsing Thru Films for LGBT POV.