Post submitted by Dennis Coleman, former Executuive Director of Equality TexasColeman

When I think about Black History Month, I have to think about my living 92-year-old grandmother, Mable Blanche Medlock Hayden. I reflect on the stories told over and over about growing up in Mexia, Texas: what she witnessed (the good and the bad), the dream she and my grandfather had for their family and how she instilled the dream that nothing is possible without God in your life.

I think about how hard it was for her and my grandfather, Johnnie Greene Hayden, raising six children, one with special needs on a domestic and laborer’s wages, and their determination to ensure my mother and her brothers and sisters had the best.

During this time I reflect on the life of my friends, particularly those who are African American and LGBT; about how blessed we are to live our lives openly without apology; how we hold positions of authority in our prospective fields, in our churches and in our communities open and proud. This freedom was made possible by the sacrifice of hardworking people, like my grandmother.

I rejoice in seeing that we have established our own organizations (NBJC), not to be separate but, to preserve and share our rich history. I am proud to see us in the media, on television, in movies, magazines and newspapers). We are thought leaders and we played a very visible role in raising money, mobilizing and electing our first African American President.

Our story as African Americans and LGBT Americans is still being told, and I am proud that it is being told as one and not separate. Thank you, to my grandmother and all those before me who sacrificed for me to live my life open and honestly.


This February we honor those who have paved a way for us all as we continue our work toward justice and equality together. Stay tuned to HRC Blog throughout the month for more from our Black History Month blog series, featuring a cadre of African-American LGBT leaders.

Filed under: Coming Out

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