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Johnson Honest Talks Can End Homophobia

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Journalist Jeff Johnson called on the black community to have more honest conversations about sexual orientation after Houston mayor-elect Annise Parker was attacked by opponents because she is a lesbian.

Parker defeated city attorney Gene Locke in the mayoral race on December 12, but it wasn't without attacks from antigay voters who claimed that she was out to spread a "gay agenda" across Houston.

"What's interesting to me, is that many, not all, but many of the most vocal critics of Parker from the African-American community were willing to unite with political conservatives that in many cases they wouldn't even want to sit down to dinner with," Johnson said Thursday during a segment on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.

To put an end to the homophobia, Johnson said black people must be willing to talk openly about homosexuality, and churches should take steps to quash homophobic speech.

"If we're gonna be serious," he said, "we want to lift up this notion that there's a problem, and there's a crisis with down-low brothers -- that down-low brothers are leading the AIDS epidemic -- and not recognize that we have a community that is unwilling to embrace its own brothers that are gay. So if I can't go home to see my mama, because she's going to kill me, because I'm gay, you're damn right I'm going to be down-low. So how are we going to start having honest conversations about the fact that these are our brothers, our sisters, our fathers, our sons, our daughters."

The full audio clip is available here.

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