African-American Lesbian Activist

Essay by NatsukoUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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Lesbians of color are most the often overlooked; they are shadowed by heterosexuals, males, and whites. Although lesbians of color have always been present in daily life and the feminist and equality movements, it was not until the late 1970s, that lesbians of color began to organize, writing biographies and compiling their own histories.

Mandy Carter is a well-known African-American lesbian activist. She?s the field director for the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, and formerly, the public policy advocate for the Human Rights Campaign Fund. Carter is also a member of the executive committee of Stonewall 25 and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bayard Rustin Alliance.

Carter is incredibly active in so many areas of various communities, from GLBT issues to African-American issues, Democratic all the way to the Anti-War communities. I?m astounded by everything this woman has done, and her tireless campaigning to get all of these issues addressed.

She?s had to overcome many barriers to get to where she is now, from her race, her sexuality, her age?when she was growing up being a lesbian wasn?t accepted as even possible, to growing up as a foster child in New York and North Carolina. It seems as if everything that could possibly be stacked against her was, and is.

And yet, amidst everything, she maintains her push for the empowerment of women, the empowerment of African-Americans and the empowerment of gays and lesbians. Her views are not strictly feminist, though there is a certain feminist touch, and this is what makes me respect her. She does not leave all of her other selves by the wayside. Mandy Carter is insistent that a person is not pulled apart by all of the little groups they fit into, but is instead made whole by...