Rebutting a Rant

A Town Square Opinon: NGLTF responds to Rick Rosendall's rant

I’m no tree-hugger, but I do feel badly for all the trees that had to die so Rick Rosendall’s rant about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force could appear in Metro Weekly.

Boiled down, his diatribe says people should not support the Task Force because (a) I didn’t confront Walter Fauntroy publicly when I spoke at the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and civil rights march last August; and (b) we have the gall to take positions on issues Rosendall doesn’t perceive as “gay.”

Rosendall says that — standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial on that auspicious day — I should have denounced Walter Fauntroy for his anti-marriage views. He said the reason I did not was simple, “Fauntroy was black.” Rosendall has been grinding this tired — and frankly, racist — line for months. Rick, get a life.

Thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — including myself — weren’t there to push a LGBT-specific agenda, marriage or otherwise. Instead, we were there to show our support for and solidarity with the larger civil rights movement and to celebrate our own Bayard Rustin’s role in creating this movement. We were there to recommit ourselves to Dr. King’s vision for America. We were there to thank our supporters in the African American community, who have stood up for us in countless attacks in Congress. Speaker after speaker — from Martin Luther King, 3rd to Rev. Jesse Jackson to Rev. Al Sharpton — specifically denounced homophobia. And two of our most ardent marriage proponents — Rep. John Lewis and Coretta Scott King — included us in their remarks. Given all this, I should have used part of my three minutes to condemn two-bit, marginalized Walter Fauntroy and “other black ministers”? Yeah, right.

His second line of attack — hating us for advocating for issues that he doesn’t see as “gay” — is similarly worn out. There’s nothing new here: for 31 years, we have believed that issues like affirmative action, choice, the death penalty, welfare “reform,” and immigration rights are, in fact, “gay” issues. We’ll keep on believing that for the next 31-plus years and that’s only one of the reasons I am so damn proud to be a part of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Mr. Rosendall’s excess bile could be much more effectively deployed — against our real enemies.

Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

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