5 questions with Elizabeth Eastman
Elizabeth Eastman is a spokeswoman for Dallas Southern Pride, which runs Thursday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 30. For more information, go to www.dallasblackpride.com.
How did you get involved with Dallas Southern Pride?
In 2005, I came on board as a public relations/media contact and event coordinator. This evolved from my being an active and vocal member with other organizations in the community, such as Women of Distinction. I enjoy being a part of positive organizations spreading good news and promoting quality events.
What is the goal of Dallas Southern Pride?
Dallas Southern Pride’s mission is to build awareness of pride in the same-gender loving, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of color. It also creates a funding source and support for organizations that are addressing health, educational and economic issues adversely affecting our community.
Is it true that in the past the event has gotten a reputation for being too party-oriented?
I’m not certain about that. I do know that 2005 was a new beginning for Dallas Southern Pride. We elected new board members and we decided as a team to implement educational workshops, HIV/STD testing, author reviews, book signings, worship services and a gospel brunch in addition to the excellent parties.
What are the big issues facing the gay black community?
We need to strengthen the capacity of organizations that serve African-Americans who practice same-sex relationships, and to change the culture of how both communities and government respond to the lives of these individuals. So part of it is community organizing among the African-American LGBT community, but also doing public advocacy and media campaigns around HIV/AIDS, stigma, homophobia, violence, and how all of them are inextricably linked.
How big of a problem is racism in the LGBT community?
Unfortunately, even now, some members of this community still demonstrate prejudicial and unfair treatment toward other members of our community just because their skin is a different color. I hope that all of us can and will rededicate ourselves to creating an environment, both on these grounds and in the world beyond, where individual differences and distinctions cease to be excuses for treating others unfairly. There is a need for more unity in the LGBT community with all nationalities.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 21, 2007