Gay Speaker Exclusion at Million More March Breaks Promise

by Admin •

Organizers of Million More March break Oct. 12 agreement to feature openly gay speaker.

WASHINGTON - Breaking an agreement reached in a meeting last week, the Million More March organizers excluded an openly gay speaker from the stage on Saturday. Though march organizers originally balked at including a gay speaker, a meeting Oct. 12 with gay and lesbian African-American leaders and Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Willie Wilson resulted in an agreement that longtime activist, author and openly gay Keith Boykin would speak.

"The march's goal was unity but the result was division," said Donna Payne, senior diversity organizer for the Human Rights Campaign and a participant in the Oct. 12 meeting. "Minister Farrakhan and Reverend Willie Wilson went back on their word this weekend. It's past time for us to speak the truth and that means being honest about the diversity within the African-American community. We're owed an apology."
On Oct. 12, HRC's Donna Payne, Keith Boykin and National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Alexander Robinson met with Farrakhan and Wilson. The group agreed to allow Boykin to speak on the march.

But when Payne and Boykin arrived at the march on Saturday, Boykin was not featured on the speakers list. Wilson told the two that Boykin would not be appearing on stage, saying they hadn't called back to confirm. The group confirmed with Farrakhan's assistant as agreed to during the meeting.

"There is no way we're going to come together as a community if people are shut out," said Robinson. "Minister Farrakhan has previously kept his word while Reverend Wilson has been anything but cooperative. Regardless of who's responsible, it's time for someone to step up and say enough."

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



WASHINGTON - Breaking an agreement reached in a meeting last week, the Million More March organizers excluded an openly gay speaker from the stage on Saturday. Though march organizers originally balked at including a gay speaker, a meeting Oct. 12 with gay and lesbian African-American leaders and Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Rev. Willie Wilson resulted in an agreement that longtime activist, author and openly gay Keith Boykin would speak.

"The march's goal was unity but the result was division," said Donna Payne, senior diversity organizer for the Human Rights Campaign and a participant in the Oct. 12 meeting. "Minister Farrakhan and Reverend Willie Wilson went back on their word this weekend. It's past time for us to speak the truth and that means being honest about the diversity within the African-American community. We're owed an apology."
On Oct. 12, HRC's Donna Payne, Keith Boykin and National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Alexander Robinson met with Farrakhan and Wilson. The group agreed to allow Boykin to speak on the march.

But when Payne and Boykin arrived at the march on Saturday, Boykin was not featured on the speakers list. Wilson told the two that Boykin would not be appearing on stage, saying they hadn't called back to confirm. The group confirmed with Farrakhan's assistant as agreed to during the meeting.

"There is no way we're going to come together as a community if people are shut out," said Robinson. "Minister Farrakhan has previously kept his word while Reverend Wilson has been anything but cooperative. Regardless of who's responsible, it's time for someone to step up and say enough."

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

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email press@hrc.org.