Photos by Bill DelGrosso
Ironically, on the same evening that CNN broadcasts its much-heralded Black in America series that totally ignores black gays and lesbians and "the black family", there was an excellent discussion on& ; the subject at the campus of the University of Washington DC.& ; On Thursday evening, Saro Harvey, the openly gay, 15-year-old black teen recently profiled by the Washington Post, and mother Emily Zientara-Harvey spoke at a panel discussion on LGBT issues in the black community. The panel was presented by the Metro DC PFLAG and UDC's LGBT Student Union.
Bill DelGrosso, a Washington-area Rod 2.0 reader who is active in PFLAG DC, captured these images and took some notes. "The discussion ranged in topics from GLBT housing, the disconnect between GLBT people of color and their church, black prides being more about the party and less family oriented, to HIV/AIDS awareness and parents' relationships with their gay black children," Bill tells Rod 2.0. "Saro said, 'I'm just very lucky to have my family love me.' Saro's mother, Emily Zientara-Harvey, was also very emphatic about how glad she was that her son came out. 'I always knew or suspected to the point where I wanted so badly to ask. I just was so relieved when he finally told me. I did a little dance after that.' "
Another panelist, Jacqueline Davison, seen above sitting next to Mrs, Harvey, puts the Harveys relationship in context. Bill Delgrosso tells Rod 2.0 Mrs. Davison has three children, two of which came out to her in the 1970s "When you couldn't even use the word lesbian.," she says. "It was a different time, but I was so glad they did it. I love all my children, my straight daughter feels like the odd one out... I see her marriage and that of my lesbian daughter as the same."
As you can see from the pictures, the event was well-attended, mixed in age and race, and, according to our reporter, "included one woman in her mid forties that said she has never been a able to talk to any of her family about her sexuality or her personal life. Ever."& ; Hopefully that will change at some point and she will be able to have an honest conversation with her family.