Rahm Emanuel’s Inclusion of Anti-Gay Minister in Transition Team Troubles LGBT Advocates


Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has selected his transition team and it includes no gay people, which LGBT rights groups noted but said did not trouble them. What did trouble them, however, was the inclusion of Rev. Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God.

The Windy City Times reports:

Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive director of Equality Illinois, indicated the lack of LGBT representation in Emanuel's transition team should not be a cause for alarm for the community. His organization's PAC joined a large coalition of LGBT community leaders in endorsing Emanuel's mayoral campaign last month.

"We look forward to working with the team of co-chairs to help identify the priorities for the city of Chicago, including the priorities of the LGBT community, and figure out a path to addressing them as soon as the mayor is in office," Cherkasov said.

Brazier's presence on the transition team is an eyebrow-raising choice, however. Brazier's father and the previous pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, the late Bishop Arthur, supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. Additionally, the church is affiliated with the Pentecostal movement, which generally condemns homosexuality as sinful. At press time, Brazier had not return Windy City Times' request for an interview.

Rev. Irene Monroe, coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, said Emanuel's selection of Brazier while not including any LGBT co-chairs was an intentional, and troubling, choice.

"It is a great concern," Monroe said. "Why that particular church when there are so many progressive churches he can choose from?

Monroe added that the inclusion of Brazier reminded her of Obama's inclusion of anti-gay leaders in his team: "I think what bothers me most about that is that progressives like Rahm and Obama don't mind taking LGBT money for their campaigns and don't mind our vote, but when it comes to full-throated advocacy, they invariably either let us down or leave us waiting like this time is never the right time for them to hit these particular issues."


  1. ratbastard says

    Emanuel is an ahole and everybody knows it. How did he get elected mayor Chicago? The DOJ and the UN should have overseen the Chicago elections to keep corruption at a minimum.

  2. Keppler says

    Chicagoans voted for Mr. Emanuel, and a number of gay groups were staunch advocates, DESPITE his record with the Obama White House. You reap what you sow, boys and girl. You voted for him; now enjoy him.

  3. candideinnc says

    Justme is absolutely correct. This is the idiot who got Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre to call themselves Democrats and run in North Carolina. We might as well have elected Goering and Himmler for the job. He is a sociopath.

  4. mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com says


    sad LOL, exactly

    rahm is a huge traingulating neo liberal triangulating conservedem whore

    he will do anything to get elected

  5. Francis says

    Intentional choice? Maybe, maybe not. A choice that proves he doesn’t give a damn about our community? Yes. No different than in the WH where he was one of the main puppet-master in trying to avoid LGBT advocacy at all costs. He at the very least has no regard towards us, so this is no surprise whatsoever.

  6. Rowan says

    Agree with everyone. Chicago gays only have themselves to blame.

    Not sure what Monroe is on about though-there is a different between having to working with anti-gay pastors as the PRESIDENT of the USA and what Emmanuel is doing as Mayor of a city. Dumb and lazy comparison.

    Lastly, everyone knows that it was Rahm that made sure Obama did NOTHING on gay rights in tghe first two years and as soon as he leaves? We get DADT and a push to repeal DOMA.

    This would NEVER have happened on Rahm’s watch. The guy is a thug.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    Before the anti-black posters start to rolling in with their racial slurs: PLEASE NOTE that Reverend Irene Monroe is a black Lesbian, and she is the one critcizing the choice of the black anti-gay Pentacostal minister to join Emanuel’s transition team. (I still say that Rahm told President Barack to move slowly on Gay American Civil Rights Issues…and, of course, the President agreed.) It’s called re-election politics, y’all.

    I dunno…Emanuel and my beloved President SlimJim remind me of the Democrats of “Old” (Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy). They would promise Black Americans that they would fight for civil rights, but they would still cowtow to Southern White Democrats who were vehemently anti-civil rights (when the South was still solidly Democratic). It’s a current strategy that I know angers the hell out of many Gay Americans.

    I remember my beloved President Jimmy Peanut Carter nominated a former segregationist Klansman as his Attorney General a lot of black folks were furious, but we dealt with it (what was his name?) Well, anyway……

  8. Derrick from Philly says

    Oooops, I’m VERY VERY VERY sorry, Griffin Bell (Carters Attorney General) was NOT a former Klansman nor a segregationist. He just argued some cases seemingly NOT in favor of Black Americans– while he was in public office down in Georgia (Busing, and the seating of Andrew Young in Congress).

    (I guess I didn’t learn my lesson about Googling your subject matter before you open your big mouth.)

    My point is that the Democratic Party is DIVERSE. It is not totally liberal or progressive. There are social conservatives STILL in the party. And if you will remember they played a pivatol part in some of the 2008 primaries AND they were not for Obama.

  9. Rowan says

    True Derrick and they are 80percent black. That’s one of the biggest issues with he left-same here in the UK-is that because they are pro the support of minorities, minorities support them as they are the only group who try and advance their rights and because of this, it means we have a lot of inherently rightwing people in the party/sector who are simple right wing but know which side their bread is buttered.

    This is why we are so fragmented and have so much infighting.

    Don’t get me wrong, the 20 percent is women, gays etc who are inherently right wing but realize the left are the only group who will advance their rights.

  10. Rowan says


    It’s irrelevant whether he was or not. I simply agreed with the fact about the broad and complex church that is a left wing party.

    Blue collar workers, who I would parallel with the working class in the UK, don’t tend to be social conservative at all, they tend to be socialist but maybe it’s different from what I’ve read and been told.

    No one in the Labour party backbenchers-UK-voted against pushing down the legal age for gay sex at 16 and for civil unions for gay people. These backbenchers are lily white unionists on our shores.

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    “True Derrick and they are 80percent black.”

    You’re saying, that’s the perception, right? –that the Democratic Party is dominated by Black Americans. Well, we are the most loyal constituency within the Party. We vote as block over 90% for Democrats in every local, statewide elections; and, ofcouse, in presiential elections. ( We used have many Republicans until they told us to “get lost” under Richard Nixon.) That is why people like Rahm Emanuel and my beloved President feel they have to pander to the black preachers.

    I wish that President Barack Obama knew that he DOES NOT need the anti-gay black preachers (nor the white ones). But his strategy is not to anger them, and not to anger the white evangelicals either. His strategy (and I guess the Emanuel strategy) is to keep them from getting riled up, and keep them from organizing/working against him.

    Both the President and Mayor Emanuel frustrate the left-wing of their party. They frustrate me– but not to the point of making meaningless threats of “witholding campaign contributions and leaving the Democratic Party”.

    If White Southern Democrats couldn’t scare the national Democratic Party with threats of desertion in the 1960s, then who thinks they can scare them with that threat now…(although we didn’t win many national elections after they left, did we?)

  12. Rowan says


    I think Obama is progressive. Again the Rick Warren stuff had more to do with the fact that you’re one of the most fundementally religous countries that can’t seperate church from state. What was he to do to keep your evangeli$tS happy?

    Rahm is not a progressive at all. He’s anti-progression in fact.

    He’s only a Dem because he was always going to try and run for Mayor of Chicago to keep Daddy ‘Mr x Mossad’ happy.

    Furthermore Rahm knew/knows that the only way he could get as high as he wanted to in government, was to align yourself with the blues as a very out and proud Jew.

  13. NickC says

    Note that it’s only since Rahm left the White House staff that we’ve seen progress on gay issues, including the repeal of DADT and now the decision not to defend DOMA.

    Chicago is welcome to this guy. Gay organizations that backed him will have only themselves to blame as they get thrown under the bus.

  14. Jack says

    Chicago Gays must be the dumbest people on Earth. how can this possibly be shocking? Rahm is the man who kept gay issues on the back burner for nearly 2 years. If he were still in Washington, I don’t think Obama would have taken the DOMA stance that he did.

    I was shocked to see that he got the support of Chicago gays, I would have voted for anybody but Rahm

  15. allan says

    No, Rahm has never been a progressive.

    But no New Yorker should criticize him too smugly about GLBT issues. Our mayor, Mike Bloomberg, has also sweet-talked the community during campaigns but done diddly squat for us when it counted.

  16. Chitown Kev says

    @Derrick From Philly

    The problem is that on a national level, yes that’s true but Mayor Emmanuel should not need to do that in Chicago…

    of course, Emmanuel is not Richard Daley either.

    And Rowan Galliano, that’s some mighty nasty anti-Semitism there.

  17. ratbastard says


    Blue collar people in the U.S. actually tend to be at least moderately right. A big reason for this, at least among whites, is the American left have for generations demonized ‘Working-Class’ whites whenever they attempt to suck up to black folks and other minorities.

  18. RyanInSacto says

    @RATBASTARD: Oh, the division between working-class whites and blacks is the “American left’s” doing is it? It doesn’t have anything to do with a little Republican sleight of hand called the Southern Strategy? Or, in your little right-wing bubble, was the Southern Strategy implemented by the Democrats? Please, enlighten us.

  19. Rowan says


    Hmmm, actually we’ve seen a similar pattern here but that has just been in terms of people who were working class and who were never TRUE lefties but could vote either way, though tended to vote to the left in the past, pre 90’s.

    So for example, you won’t see a card carrying Labour voter NOT turn up and vote for the Labour party, no matter how angry they were say for example with Blair because the right is enemy.


    Yes not physically because the black population is tiny teeny but as loyalists, like the 20% of loyal gays and women who will loyally vote to the left come rain or shine because they know who has got their back, even if they may actually be more to the right inherently.

    I’ve met so many people, included bright very good friends of mine who won’t even question why they vote left, it’s a no brainer as they are a minority.

    Gays-white-in the UK are actually centre, very centre. Many are even Right wing but you won’t hear them say anything because it was the Labour party that changed gay rights in the UK. Fact.

    So what has happened is that many gays-white-with money have had great influence in the party and have made the party shift to the right-because they have high earnings, which is why have even more friction now!

  20. Jon says

    I’m not surprised about the choice of Brazier on his transition team. Apostolic is a huge African American church on Chicago’s Southside, rivaling Trinity UCC (Obama’s former church…remember Rev. Wright?) in terms of political clout. It’s all about politics. Brazier is probably fairly moderate on gay issues, especially considering his denomination. There are a whole lot more scary churches/ministers he could have asked onto his team, but he chose a fairly centrist AA minister. Safe politics. It will be interesting to see if WCT gets their interview. I hope they do!

  21. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Silly gay liberals, thrown under the bus before Rahm’s even been sworn-in. Even for Chicago politics THAT was fast-footwork. Chicago has maybe the third-largest gay community in the Nation, and obviously no-clout with it’s own Democratic Machine…err, Democratic Party. What did you get for your money and activism? Tire tread-marks across your rainbow t-shirt.

    And so many accuse the gay Republicans of being co-dependent in an abusive relationship…look in the mirror. Or, more to the point the Second City Mayoral dais.

  22. ratbastard says


    I am not ‘Right-Wing’, certainly not Republican. But my head isn’t up my a** either. The ‘Radical’ left and leaders of the ‘progressive’ movement in America have demonized ‘Poor’ and ‘Working-Class’ whites at least since the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. This is not a fantasy.

    And I’m WELL AWARE of the Republicans so-called ‘Southern Strategy’, which they would have had a much harder time being successful with if the American left hadn’t demonized ALL southern whites.

    The left in America only have themselves to blame for a lot of their intractable problems at the polls.

  23. IonMusic says

    There’s too much of a defeated attitude here. Just because he elected this man does NOT mean we have to start pointing the finger at each other and shurging our rights off in Chicago as all but done. No, if ANYTHING…this news should further fuel the fire of Chicago gays and Lesbians to join various advocacy groups, and for those advocacy groups to put further pressure on Emanuel Inc. We’re stronger in numbers and anytime we have a set back, we need to galvanize our mission and message, not turn on each other and walk away from our goal.

    He made this move…Chicago gays, now make yours and make your presence both heard and seen. A little bit (be it partnering up with your equality orginizations, a strongly worded email or call, or pro gay orginizations doing their part vocally)…goes a LONG way. Trust me, I know. I’ve made great strides in my community alone.

  24. says

    Even though I’m a fierce Atheist, I miss Rev. Irene Moore’s occasional column in The Advocate.

    And yeah, I’m not terribly surprised by Emanuel, but was big-time surprised by the gay community’s love affair with him. Yes, he’s handsome, yes, he was in the WH, but he’s not a friend. As a former Chicagoan myself, I know how strong the gay community is there—sleeping on the job?

  25. Isaac says

    This is a TRANSITION team, not his permanent cabinet, for goodness sakes. This team will be together for a few months as Rahm gets his PERMANENT team together. As others have mentioned, Emanuel is making sure that blacks, who represent 30% of the city and overwhelmingly voted for him, get a seat at the table with this preacher man. Unfortunately gays don’t represent that big of a voting bloc, so they’re not represented on the 6 member team. I wouldn’t have picked this guy, but he evidently has a lot of influence on the south side. I’m not getting my panties in a bunch just yet. I don’t know why we need to attack gay Chicagoans on this one–we know what’s best for our city, thank you very much. We’re gaining civil rights here in IL, not losing them. The other candidates were not ready for prime time. I’m sure Rev. Monroe is great, but why are they getting her opinion on Emanuel, she lives in Cambridge MA, not Chicago.

  26. says

    @ Rowan I’m a little tired of your hypocritical ass. You come on here and Joe my God to assail Blacks as GOD AWFUL PEOPLE and the blaming of everything. But then you go on Rod 2.0 with a different flava.If you so right and bold then bring this same arguement and vitriol there since it’s a Gay blog devoted to Black gay LGBTQ’s.

    W’sup with that Madame Brit? You need to worry about Galliano she’s of your cloth and she learned from the best the grand ol’ Royal UK!

  27. Jon says

    ChitownKev, The article states that his father supported the amendment, not that he did. The sins of the father are not necessarily the sins of the son. Let’s see what WCT can actually get out of Rev. Brazier.

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