MTV Logo and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation have announced that they will co-present a televised forum on issues of importance to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community with the leading 2008 Democratic presidential candidates, including, currently confirmed and in alphabetical order, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

The candidates will appear sequentially and engage in conversation with co-panelists Melissa Etheridge, performer and advocate, and Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The panelists plan to cover a range of issues including relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS and other important issues.

All I want to know is, besides Senator Obama, will there be any other Blacks apart of this event?  For that matter, other minorities period.

I think it’s great to have a presidential forum on SGL issues, but if it’s to be taken seriously, it will have to include Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as this is where is the war really is.  And not just our faces in the audience for diversity purposes.  The questions posed need to also address our issues as they are slightly different than that your average affluent white gay man or woman who is mainly concerned with marriage and marriage only.  While I agree that relationship recognition, marriage equality, workplace fairness, the military, hate crimes, HIV/AIDS are important issues facing gays, so are access to universal healthcare and jobs.  Immigration is another huge issue for gays, and not just Latinos, but West Indians, Africans, and others.  And because this is a gay forum, it would be great to show the world that gays care about something more than just marriage and that we are dealing with the same issues that the rest of America is.

Let us not forget the 2004 Presidential campaign where Black pastors from around the nation were popping up left and right supporting President Bush and demonizing gays and lesbians from the pulpit. If we don’t want a repeat of that scenario over the next year then we have got to start addressing the intersection of race and sexuality today, and the owness is not solely on Blacks, it’s on the gay community as well who still needs to address their own institutional racism.

It’s also interesting that this forum is scheduled to take place on August 9th, smack dab in the middle of the National Associations Black Journalists annual conference and convention which is where most of the Black America’s journalists will be.