Holler If You Hear Me

White House To Screen BET Documentary On Homophobia In Black Churches

Christianity has been a crutch of the black community for centuries now as it sheltered people from the troubles of the outside world and served as a community center. Homosexuality has been a part of humanity for much longer. However, the two have seem to conflict when brought together.

A BET documentary entitled “Holler If You Hear Me: Black and Gay In the Church” focused on the place, or lack thereof, of homosexuality specifically in black churches. The Clay Cane-produced documentary will be screened in the White House for Black History Month, according to MSNBC.

Howard University Law School

Howard President Suggests HBCU’s Go Tuition Free Under Obama’s Plan

Howard University President, Dr. Wayne Frederick, recently made a suggestion about something that President Barack Obama can add to his plan to improve higher education.

Obama is looking to make community colleges across the country free to students that maintained good grades while in high school. Frederick wants the President to consider adding HBCU’s under that umbrella, according to NBC4.

Wikimedia commons

Why an Angry Whites “Listening Tour” is the Last Thing President Obama Should be Doing in 2016

It is often assumed that, since White folks are a majority in this country, the key to ending racism is just making them happy or “listening” to them. Sadly, this has never worked. And, the suggestion that President Obama should waste his time on an angry White people “listening tour” is both ignorant and racist.

obama-ban-the-box

It’s Time to Contextualize President Obama’s Efforts to ‘Ban the Box’

On Monday, President Obama laid the groundwork for longterm changes in rehabilitating and reintegrating formerly incarcerated individuals in the United States. Proposing seven new measures, President Obama seeks to destigmatize those who have been convicted of crimes while providing equity across employment, education, and housing access for all citizens. The most popular of his announced measures is his push for federal employers to “ban the box.” And while this is a huge step forward in reducing the impacts of the prison industrial complex in society, there is still so much work to be done. Perhaps these changes are best understood in a larger context.

President Obama Escorts Trans Woman of Color Out of LGBTQ Event

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At the annual White House reception honoring LGBT Pride Month, President Obama was confronted by a trans woman of color who interrupted him during his speech. Rather than empower her voice, respect her concerns, or even give her the time of day, the President gave one of his harsher responses to hecklers and had her removed from the gathering. His actions seem at odds with what he claimed the event was about and failed to uplift LGBTQ person’s who are frequently excluded from mainstream social and political circles.

Jennicet Gutierrez, the trans woman and immigration activist who interrupted Obama, yelled from the audience, “President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention.” She continued, “I am tired of the violence we’re facing.” After getting President Obama’s attention, she repeated herself, “release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop all deportations.”

At that point, President Obama became visibly frustrated. He was not checking for Gutierrez’ interruptions but how he handled her was incredibly disappointing.

As seen in the video, Obama became quite annoyed with Gutierrez, moreso than he has historically. He said, “you know what? No, no, no, no.” He continued, “Listen. You’re in my house.” At this point, Vice President Joe Biden started to chuckle as the crowd cheered the President on.

“It’s not respectful when you get invited to- ” President Obama said while frowning. “You’re not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this,” he warned as the crowd started booing Gutierrez.

As Gutierrez continued speaking, the crowd became agitated in support of the President. Onlookers were “shushing” her.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Obama continued, as the Vice President put both hands over his face. “Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this.”

The crowd began to chant, “O-bam-a!, O-bam-a!”

The President threatened to have her escorted out unless she quieted down. When she continued demanding, “no more deportations,” President Obama forced her out of the space amidst cheers from others in attendance. After Gutierrez left, the President joked about her being in his house eating and drinking his food but he never seemed to consider the fact that he silenced and erased this trans woman of color who likely had little access to him otherwise.

Gutierrez penned her own response to yesterday’s events at the Washington Blaze. She clearly articulated her reasons for interrupting the President.

“I was fortunate to be invited to the White House to listen to President Obama’s speech recognizing the LGBTQ community and the progress being made. But while he spoke of ‘trans women of color being targeted,’ his administration holds LGBTQ and trans immigrants in detention. I spoke out because our issues and struggles can no longer be ignored.”

She also explained why President Obama’s reaction was so harmful to trans folks, especially those being held in detention centers for deportation.

“It is heartbreaking to see how raising these issues were received by the president and by those in attendance. In the tradition of how Pride started, I interrupted his speech because it is time for our issues and struggles to be heard. I stood for what is right.”

Overall, President Obama’s response too Gutierrez reflects a continued inability to properly empower and elevate voices of LGBTQ folks and trans women of color. His failure to understand how his actions undermined his proposed goals mean that even allies have work to do in addressing these marginalized communities.

Gutierrez summed it up best when she said, “Instead of silencing our voices, President Obama can also stand and do the right thing for our immigrant LGBTQ community.”

 

Photo Credit: YouTube

 

Jenn M. Jackson is the Editorial Assistant for The Black Youth Project. She is also the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Water Cooler Convos, a politics, news, and culture webmag for bourgie Black nerds. For more about her, tweet her at @JennMJack or visit her website at jennmjackson.com.