As the discussion over gay rights continues, so, too, does the debate as to whether the gay rights issue is a civil rights issue, namely one that some say is reflective of the black civil rights movement. In the upcoming film, The New Black, filmmaker Yoruba Richen explores the histories of the African American and LGBT civil rights movements. The film specifically looks at homophobia in the Black church, and how the Christian right has exploited this phenomenon that exists in order to promote an anti-gay political agenda, says Richen. Her project is demonstrative of how the parallels and distinctions between the African American and gay rights movements are complex and multi-layered.
As both of these movements have reached maturation we have multiple generations working for civil rights, says J. Bob Alotta, executive director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Right now you would be talking about grandchildren and children of civil rights activists. Our elders were Black Panthers and marching with [Martin Luther King Jr]. Not only have we learned from them, but when we start talking about identity politics its apparent that many of us embody multiple identities.
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