The LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent are hosting their fifth yearly forum at the Harlem State Office Building on Oct. 20. The annual event gathers people of all faiths who are also part of the LGBT community together, to discuss the most pressing issues that affect them. This year’s subject will take aim at the sociopolitical atmosphere for the community since President Donald Trump took office, and how his policies will affect the LGBT community of color, said the lead organizer.
“We decided to focus on what is going to be happening with same-gender loving people under the current administration, because from our perspective that has to look at the black community at large and the LGBT particularly as a population,” said Wilhelmina Perry.
Even though Trump publicly says he is a supporter of LGBT Americans, under Trump’s more conservative-leaning values, there is a concern about the types of laws will emerge — more recently the announcement that transgender people cannot serve in the military, said Perry.
She said despite the few freedoms the LGBT community currently enjoys, the administration will challenge many of those protections and liberties such as marriage and anti-discrimination.
“I see myself first as a black American and what issues my community is going to face, and right now I see particular rollbacks that will be destructive to black populations — like healthcare, we will no doubt lose on that,” said Perry. “We will lose on environmental protections and we will lose around country.”
She sees these fears increasing in every aspect of life, which will seemingly become more of a challenge for black LGBT populations.
“We just ended stop and frisk and it looks like we might lose that freedom,” she said. “I’m worried about LGBT rights, marriage equality, and what may happen to protection in the workplace — we have a lot of concerns going forward and we want people of faith and strong social justice values to be aware.”
This year’s forum will include a panel comprising speakers Reverend Ruby Sales and Vince Warren. She added that the forum stands to be an informative gathering where an exchange of ideas will help people understand what the LGBT is up against and how laws can directly and indirectly affect them.
“Some of these problems may seem less severe in nature but nonetheless create a pattern of oppression and fear and anxiety, and we recognize these issues to empower people,” said Perry. “We strongly urge people to attend. It’s a very educational event and we’ve had people who have identified as agnostic and others who have not identified as same-gender lovingly join us because while we speak to a specific part of our population, I’m certain it speaks to the larger one as well.”
“Fifth Annual LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent forum” at Harlem State Office Building [163 W. 125th St. between Adam Clayton Powell and Malcolm X boulevards in Harlem. Oct. 20, 11 am–3 pm. Free.