A new initiative called #ThisIsLuv is underway to dismantle the idea that the black community is more homophobic than any other, and it’s already got two big names on board: EJ Johnson, the openly queer son of NBA legend Magic Johnson, and Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player. They will headline a town-hall discussion next week on the subject.
"Too many people within the black LGBT community believe this myth and never allow themselves to be loved by their families," Wade Davis, a former NFL player and co-founder of You Belong, told #ThisIsLuv partner Ebony.com. "Our goal is to make it known that love for black LGBT people exists in our community."
#ThisIsLuv launched on February 16 and it will last throughout March. Along with the townhall meeting and "Empire" watch parties, it is inviting activists, celebrities, writers and others to share photos and video blogs that depict supportive relationships that transcend sexual identity using the hashtag #ThisIsLuv. (Lee Daniels, the creator of "Empire," has said that he is depicting Lucious Lyons’ vitriol toward his gay son, Jamal, to "blow the lid off of homophobia" in the black community.)
"Part of what we wanted to offer is space to place black LGBT-affirming love front and center," campaign co-creator Darnell Moore told Ebony.com. "Many of us are loved by our families and friends and some of us have experienced alienation and hurt, but isn’t that the case for so many others? We are hoping people will use this an opportunity to further dialogue."
The town-hall discussion will take place on February 22 at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. Along with Collins and Johnson, the event’s special guests will include Daniel Moodie-Mills (Politini), Mychal Denzel Smith (The Nation), Lori Adelman (Feministing), Miss Lawrence ("Real Housewives of Atlanta") and Tiq Milan (GLAAD).
You can follow along with #ThisIsLuv on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.