Selma and Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

Two Rainbow Elder Care board members and I went to see the film Selma over this past weekend. It is a good film — not great — but good. There are some phenomenal performances in the film and it should be required viewing for young people in particular because there are actions afoot today that undermine the hard work done to achieve voting rights and equal access to the ballot box. I was dismayed that the film did not more fully and accurately portray the important role of gay African American civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He was an integral part of that civil rights movement, and he was only marginally portrayed and referenced in the film. The uninformed viewer would have no idea that Rustin was so integral to the movement and that his sexual orientation became an issue among the leaders of the movement. It would be important for many in both the African American and LGBT civil rights movements to understand the nexus between the two movements through the complex people involved — people of all sexual orientations. Telling the full story about the LGBT people who were in the trenches in the iconic civil rights events of the past would help. Rep. John Lewis explains about Rustin and the interconnected struggles here.


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