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The New Black: PBS Examines the Struggle to be Gay in the Black Community

Gay Rights is one of the biggest - and most divisive- issues in the Black Community
Gay Rights is one of the biggest - and most divisive- issues in the Black CommunityCourtesy, PBS.org

Gays may be winning the battle for equality in the media and before the law, but in many ethnic and racial communities to be LGBT is to be shunned, bullied or worse. In The New Black, filmmaker Yoruba Richen examines the heart-breaking and courageous struggles that confront gays in the Black community. Faced with a deeply ingrained homophobia and religious intolerance, Black gays find themselves fighting not only church and state but also family, and not just for their rights, but also for acceptance as members of that community.

The New Black is part of the Independent Lens series and will premiere on most PBS stations at 10:30 pm Eastern Time, Sunday, June 15.

PBS and Independent Lens in particular have been at the forefront of publicizing the discrimination and other difficulties faced by members of the LGBT community both in America and around the world. The New Black is part of that tradition, and puts before the camera politicians, clergymen, activists and family members who speak on all sides of what has become a very divisive and painful issue within America’s Black community.

The core of the documentary focuses on the lead up to the referendum held in Maryland over the same-sex marriage law passed by the state legislature in 2012. As the film points out, hat referendum became especially and surprisingly divisive in Black neighborhoods. Director Yoruba Richen does more than just follow the political fight, however, choosing also to examine the debate held both inside the churches and around the family dinner tables about what it means to be Black and gay, and how to survive let alone flourish while being both.

Although CPTV Connecticut Public Television has not yet scheduled an air time for The New Black, audiences in Connecticut who have access to other Public Television stations can view the show, which is part of the Independent Lens series, when it premieres on at 10:30 pm Eastern Time, Sunday, June 15. Check local listings for date and time for later or repeat showings.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with nearly 40 years of experience as a ghost-writer, columnist, historian and game designer. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include War and Peace, The Napoleonic Wars and the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln.
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