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Charles Barkley Speaks Out for LGBT Civil Rights: 'God Bless The Gay People. They Are Great People.'

Barkley

During yesterday's pre-game show before the Celtics-Magic game, TNT did a special tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Toward the end of it, former NBA MVP Charles Barkley spoke out in favor of ending discrimination against gays and lesbians, as well as Hispanic people.

Toward the end of a segment on King, Barkley said of MLK: "You know, people try to make it about black and white. He talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now — people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexuality people. God bless the gay people. They are great people."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Barkley has spoken out for marriage equality in the past. In February 2008 he blasted "fake Christians" for going after gay people who want to get married. And in August 2006, Barkley also spoke out in favor of same-sex marriage.

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  1. I didn't see Charles Barkley speaking out for "LGBT" civil rights; I saw him praising gays and lesbians.

    Can we stop pretending that by adding a 'T' to our acronym, we're including trans folk? It's not true, and you're only hindering trans progress.

    The only acronym you'll ever see me write is "LGB/TQ," because trans and queer people clearly have to go elsewhere to be honestly engaged in dialogue.

    Posted by: Joey | Jan 18, 2011 12:12:02 PM


  2. Charles Barkley calling GLBTs a great people ring odd to those who define a group of people by their sexual behavior alone--as do our opponents. Peel away the layers, and one better sees how deeply we love in the face of such hostility and discrimination, which our community historically has handled uniquely with great humor and peaceful resistance. It is how we love and how we face our challenges and challengers that truly makes us great as a community. There may be a lot of bickering among us, a great deal of criticism, but we've acted with dignity, and I for one am proud to be a part the GLBT community.

    Posted by: Mack | Jan 18, 2011 12:14:08 PM


  3. Can't you queens take a compliment? Let's review:

    * Alpha male black man with no need to speak out on LGBT issues does so on NATIONAL TELEVISION

    * Comments made on program with MAXIMUM STRAIGHT MALE VIEWERSHIP

    With all the rightful concerns about black community/gay community friction, homophobia in pro sports, and other attendant issues, Sir Charles speaks up like this and all you can do is parse and pick? Ingrates.

    Thank you Charles Barkley.

    Posted by: Pinky | Jan 18, 2011 12:21:50 PM


  4. Amen, Pinky!
    And, thank you, Charles.

    Posted by: DG | Jan 18, 2011 12:26:16 PM


  5. Nice to see a major sports figure standing up for gay marriage. He didn't have to say anything at all.

    Posted by: Steve | Jan 18, 2011 12:26:52 PM


  6. Pinky's got it right. Yes, Barkley's phrasing was a bit on the clumsy side -- but his heart was right, and his audience heard something important.

    Our allies aren't perfect. But it's foolish to ever reject an ally when we still have so many enemies in the world.

    Posted by: K in VA | Jan 18, 2011 12:27:03 PM


  7. I agree with Pinky. His phrasing may have been odd - "the homosexuality people" - but his message was clear.

    Also, unlike the countless celebs (like the Jersey Shore twit who got praised here last week for supporting gay rights a night after an ep of her show aired where she dropped the f-bomb offensivley), he had no reason to do this. He isn't pushing a book, doesn't have an album coming out, and doesn't need to expand his fanbase.

    It's clear this is something that was bothering him and he felt compelled to speak about it, which is good since it was so unprompted and cuts to the issue so directly. "Equal rights for every person." It also goes out to a very straight male viewership which is very important.

    Posted by: Joe | Jan 18, 2011 12:29:24 PM


  8. I'm with Pinky. Nice to see this. But Joey's comment about the 'T' in 'LGBT' is sound, too. I've asked about the emergence of that acronym on here before. Interestingly, in the UK, you often still see 'LGB' without the 'T'.

    Posted by: tcw | Jan 18, 2011 12:29:38 PM


  9. Wow. Thank-you Charles Barkley!!

    Posted by: StillmarriedinCA | Jan 18, 2011 12:31:13 PM


  10. Couldn't have said it better myself Pinky!

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 18, 2011 12:43:27 PM


  11. Great words from Sir Charles...and as Pinky so well points out, this is directed at a pretty straight audience. Way to go Charles.

    Posted by: Brian from Tucson | Jan 18, 2011 12:47:49 PM


  12. Thanks, Charles. You have spoken through the years with your support. It is appreciated. As for the carping T's - you know you have your own agenda, and many of you don't want to be grouped with the LBG's, except when it serves your purposes.

    Posted by: jak | Jan 18, 2011 12:53:46 PM


  13. I love parsing and picking.

    Pinky's use of "queens" is misogynistic, establishing a gendered hierarchy within the gay male community where feminine men are the most oppressed and masculine men are ranked highest, achieve the most passing (as straight) privilege, and thereby gain the most rights and access to society. Calls for masculinity, imitations of heterosexuality, and normalcy (via, say, marriage) are part of the civilizing process the masculine/cisgender/nondisabled/white/non-poor gays hope will gain them the same privileges afforded to infamously privileged Straight White Man.

    Also, the reason there is "friction" between Black and gay communities is because Gay White Men are willing to stomp all over Blacks and Black queers by putting things like "marriage equality" above access to health care and well-paying jobs.

    Perhaps when the white gays start challenging institutionalized racism (and institutionalized heterosexism, misogyny, ableism, etc.) instead of seeking to uphold white supremacy, we can actually practice a coalitional politics that allows ALL of us to live lives free of oppression, instead of just the most privileged among us.

    By I suppose one shouldn't blame the gays for simply operating within and perpetuating the hierarchies of oppression familiar to them. Oh, but I do.

    <3,
    Your Radical Queer Troll

    Posted by: Joey | Jan 18, 2011 12:57:08 PM


  14. A national sports figure (fading, yes it's true, but his records stand) takes up for us and the only thing you zero in on is that he didn't say enough letters when refering to us? Oy. I wish you well and would never wish a foul thought or action towards you "T," but I can't help but agree with the chap who said the "community" only seems to exist when it suits your needs. But hey, live and let live.

    Posted by: Tigerama | Jan 18, 2011 12:59:09 PM


  15. I'm a gay man and I know nothing about Trans issues. Not because I don't believe in their freedom do what they need to do, but their issues aren't necessarily my issues. LGBTQ is more than an unfortunate mouthful of consonants, it tries to be beyond inclusive. I have a cousin who got blown by a guy when he was drunk once. He's a Onetimer...should we make it LGBTQO to include him too, now? Are we so inclusive just to keep adding to our base? If so, the polygamists are totally within our purview. LGBTQOP? Sure, why not.

    Posted by: Jerry | Jan 18, 2011 1:00:29 PM


  16. @Jak: Although I'm gender non-conforming (more specifically, genderqueer, meaning Barkley's binary statement about equality for "every man" and "every woman" don't mean much to me), which could mean I fall under "transgender" when the term is viewed as an umbrella, I don't identify as trans. (Though certainly many of my friends do.)

    And worry not: We really don't want to be grouped with you, ever. (Well, some trans folk do, but those normative types don't exactly like us either!) The HRC and any other group that claims to speak for us and give us rights is pretty much bullshitting, and we don't really want to jump on that bandwagon/sinking ship.

    :)

    Posted by: Joey | Jan 18, 2011 1:02:12 PM


  17. cisgender? what's cisgender? never hear of this...am i late?

    Posted by: robert | Jan 18, 2011 1:04:05 PM


  18. @Jerry:

    1) How many letters Barkley said is irrelevant. My criticism is of the Towleroad post, which is titled, "Charles Barkley Speaks Out for LGBT Civil Rights." He most certainly did not.

    2) I agree that the acronym is a fool's errand. Hence, I only use "queer," even when referring to people who aren't queer-identified and/or who despise the word. While I certainly want to respect everyone's right to self-identify, all non-heterogender practices (including polyamory--not polygamy--which is usually what the 'P' stands for...or poly/pansexual) are queer, including the gays, the lesbians, the trans folk, the kinks, your cousin, and the list goes on...

    Posted by: Joey | Jan 18, 2011 1:06:41 PM


  19. @Robert:

    'The prefix "cis-" (as in "cissexual" or "cisgender") is complementary to the prefix "trans-" (as in "transsexual", "transvestite," "transgender", etc.) So, people who are not transgender are cisgender while people who are not transsexual would be cissexual, people who are not transvestite would be cisvestite.

    Typically, a cissexual or cisgender person is one who is comfortable in the sex/gender he or she was assigned at birth. A cisvestite would wear the clothing expected of their birth sex.' (http://trans101.wikia.com/wiki/Cis)

    'Cis-' is the Latin prefix meaning "on the same side as"; thus, "cisatlantic" means "on this side of the Atlantic." Or, "cisgender": on the same side of the established gender/sex binary that you were assigned at birth.

    Posted by: Joey | Jan 18, 2011 1:10:19 PM


  20. The Round Mound of Rebound remains a major sports celebrity and very influential. When he says he believes in rights for non-heterosexuals, it makes it much easier for sports fans to think the same way.

    Change comes in strange ways. Many southerners remember an early 1970s football game when USC stomped the University of Alabama, mainly because the Alabama players couldn't keep up with USC's black players. After the game the legendary Bear Bryant said he had to get some "quick" players and everyone understood what he meant. Many historians credit that incident as being a turning point in the acceptance of blacks into mainstream society in the south.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Jan 18, 2011 1:12:02 PM


  21. A homosexuality people and proud!!

    Posted by: tranquilo | Jan 18, 2011 1:19:52 PM


  22. I actually think his ability to express himself in such a 'clumsy' way makes this even more vital. He's not scripted, or delivering talking points. He's standing up for the idea of equality in the best way he can. The delivery makes it special, and may help more people get to the core of what he was saying.

    Posted by: JP | Jan 18, 2011 1:21:41 PM


  23. How erudite Joey is, and how useful he must be in a classroom situation or on a panel of peers. In the real world, however, I'm thankful for those like Mr. Barkley who can possibly effect the rest of us.

    Posted by: DG | Jan 18, 2011 1:32:00 PM


  24. Thank you Charles. He had nothing to gain from his comment. It was selfless, honorable and well-intended. Placing this in the context of equality on MLK day he reached an audience and made them think.

    As Justice notes above, we are reaching a turning point.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 18, 2011 1:34:45 PM


  25. He loves the gay people and the homosexuality people and the Hispanic people (The "G/H/H community?"), and supports their rights. It's funny wording, but great sentiment, and brave of him to step up to the plate to say this.
    His statement says nothing about bisexuals or transgendered people (despite the headline) or inter-sexed people or asexual people or mastectomy patients or albinos or Darfur refugees.
    What he thinks about some other area of discrimination I don't know, but people don't need to make an attempt to exhaust a list every time they address an issue, either.
    We should celebrate that he has spoken out on discrimination against gay/homosexual people.

    It was a sad day when the world lost MLK Jr. and another sad day when we lost Coretta Scott King. I imagine a parallel universe where they had both lived and would to this day be motivating others to support full equality for all people.

    Posted by: gregv | Jan 18, 2011 1:36:15 PM


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