‘African American LGBT Giving Circle’ Funds Minority Within Minority

Because to be gay and a person of color too often includes a dose of double marginalization.

A mixed coalition of protesters rallies for gay rights in a demonstration of minority unity. (Photo: Getty Images)

Sep 19, 2012· 2 MIN READ

Being a member of an ethnic or religious minority in the United States still comes with certain conditions: Subtle (or overt) discrimination, societal judgment and flat-out bigotry are constant specters.

And then there are people who make up a minority within a minority—for LGBT people of color, the discrimination, judgment and bigotry they experience can be even more pointed.

But this week a new group took a step toward evening the odds for minorities within minorities.

On Monday, the group Kindred: An African American LGBT Giving Circle awarded a grant to the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League in Washington, D.C., a group that supports African American LGBT youth, the Washington Blade writes.

MORE: Black and Gay in the USA: The Harsh Truth of HIV and AIDS

The Kindred effort, which “utilizes the power of collective giving to uplift the African American LGBT community in Washington, D.C.,” according to a statement from the group, targets a particularly focused kind of discrimination in the U.S. and beyond—a type that doubles up on racial and sexual bias.

Double-down discrimination was recently found to be particularly problematic in the U.K. A new British study suggests that gay black people have a more difficult time than other at-need groups in accessing public services.

The report found that, “black men who have sex with men are nearly twice as likely than their white counterparts to get infected.”

The study, “One Minority at a Time,” posits that black gays are particularly hard-pressed to receive proper health services.

The study further finds that minority gays and lesbians are more likely to smoke, drink, suffer mental problems and attempt suicide than is the norm in the country—plus, they have a harder time getting help to address those issues.

Increasingly in the U.S., health services are needed for young, black gay men. A study from July reported that the group has a disproportionately high rate of HIV infection.

The report found that, “black men who have sex with men are nearly twice as likely than their white counterparts to get infected; in the same category, those younger than 30 are more than three times as likely to get infected,” The Huffington Post writes.

That kind of statistic has spurred the formation of the Black Gay Research Group, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the HIV-transmission risk among gay black men.

But minorities within the gay community face challenges from all kinds of angles—and in all kinds of media. A recent GLAAD report found that when characters are rendered as openly gay on American television, those characters are disproportionately gay white males, arguably the least persecuted of all gay subgroups in the U.S.

In a move that mainstream TV and mainstream America might do well to mirror, Kindred is making the conscious effort to exercise a philosophy of inclusion.“Our African American history is rich with individual philanthropists—people who provided warm meals for families in the community in need, and books and resources for young people trying to make it through school,” says the group’s statement. And is seems that the time has come to extend that heritage to minorities within the minorities.

Would America be more receptive and tolerant if TV shows featured more characters who are LGBT people of color? Leave your thoughts in COMMENTS.