Press Room

March 02, 2004

Category: In Communities of Color

HRC Holds First Conference for GLBT Students from Historically Black Colleges

Releases New 'Resource Guide to Coming Out for African Americans'

WASHINGTON - The first conference for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students from historically black colleges and universities was an enormous success, according to Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which hosted the meeting.

Thirteen students from five colleges and universities attended the event Friday night and Saturday, Feb. 27-28, at HRC's headquarters in Washington. Released at the event was the "Resource Guide to Coming Out for African Americans," a new publication from the HRC Foundation's National Coming Out Project.

"This student conference and the new coming out guide are important pieces of HRC's work in communities of color," Jacques said. "These students are already doing inspiring work on their campuses. Through this conference and our new coming out resources, we are equipping them with the tools they need to continue spreading a message of understanding and acceptance."

The participants came from Morehouse College, Paine College, Howard University and its Law School, Dillard University and the University of North Carolina Pembroke. The program focused on activating students through trainings in grassroots organizing and leadership skills.

"HRC is working hard every day to ensure that we are inclusive and affirming for all members of our community. This conference is one way that we demonstrate our commitment to diversity," said Julian High, HRC's director of human resources and diversity. "This conference could not be possible without the support of the David Bohnett Foundation and we are truly grateful to them."

The resource guide unveiled at the conference focuses on particular issues that the black GLBT and same-gender-loving community faces in the coming out process.

"Although every GLBT person has to find their own path to coming out, a person's cultural background often plays a significant role in the challenges they might face in living an open and honest life," said Candace Gingrich, HRC's National Coming Out Project manager. "The guide contains many personal stories confronting the challenges of coming out. These important voices remind us of the diversity of the GLBT community - a community that's as diverse as our very nation."

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.