The NAACP’s acceptance of the LGBTQ community

NAACP LGBTQ support in 2023 and beyond

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was in Boston from July 26 to August 1. Over 7,000 people attended nationwide, with hundreds of local and national vendors. The 114th National Convention allowed Boston to reintroduce itself. And Boston showed up and showed out. The theme “Thriving Together” created a milieu to celebrate and acknowledge Black Boston’s community’s collective entrepreneur and political power. 

The Convention was here 41 years ago, in 1982. During that year, the 73rd NAACP National Convention occurred when the news of the day was about an African American home firebombed because three Black families had moved into an all-white Dorchester enclave. That event, coupled with lingering residual animus derived from the Boston busing crisis of the 1970s, left a pox on Beantown, keeping not only the Convention away but also African Americans not wanting to visit, giving the city its earned reputation as one of the racist cities in the country.

Today Boston presents itself ready to change — not to erase its past — but rather as a city able to provide opportunities for people of color and to uphold their civil and human rights without discrimination.

The convention came to Boston when the organization’s acceptance of its LGBTQ members is no longer an ongoing controversy. The NAACP was once as homophobic as the Black Church. However, the NAACP did a 180 degree turn on LGBTQ issues in 2018 when it invited me and other LGBTQ activists from across the country to its 109th Annual Convention in that July at the Henry B Gonzales Convention Center, San Antonio, TX.

“I am pleased to extend this letter of invitation, requesting your participation as a panelist during the LGBTQ workshop titled “The State of LGBTQ People of Color in America.” The session will take place on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, from 2:30pm to 4:30 pm.

The panel will focus on the following discussion topics:

  • Effective Strategies for LGBTQ Activism
  • Evolution of Thinking: Acceptance & Inclusion
  • Living Out Loud: LGBTQ Representation in the Workplace, Congress and Media
  • Power of the Vote: Mobilization, Registration, Anti-discrimination Laws & How to Overcome Them

My colleagues and I sincerely hope that you will accept this invitation. In connection with convention-related LGBTQ events, we will cover travel and hotel accommodation expenses.”

At the NAACP Town Hall, Leon W. Russell, Chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors, apologized on behalf of the organization. “You cannot profess to be a civil rights fighter and then insert exceptions, Russell said. “It’s none of your business who I love. You just have to let me have the right to do that.”

Still Today, The NAACP Town Hall meeting is one of its most-watched programs on C-Span.