Crime | News | Trayvon Martin

Coalition of National LGBT Groups Issue Joint Open Letter on the Killing of Trayvon Martin

A coalition of LGBT groups yesterday released an open letter related to the Trayvon Martin case:

MartinAn Open Letter: Standing Alongside Trayvon Martin’s Family and Friends

The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin is a national call to action. Our hearts go out to Trayvon’s family and friends for the loss they have experienced. We stand in solidarity with them as they demand answers and justice. We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies.

Many in our community have been targets of bigotry and bias. We have a great deal of experience grappling with the role bias plays in violent crimes against our communities. We well know the stories of young people targeted for violence just because of who they are: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Deoni Jones, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Angie Zapata, Sean Kennedy and countless others.

Trayvon’s killing is a wakeup call to the enduring cancer of racism and racial profiling. The pain his family continues to endure transcends communities and unites us all. Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Trayvon’s killing is tragic and the stark reality that racial bias played a role in his death has alarmed our nation. Questions must be asked. Answers must be sought. And justice must be served. We join our voices to the chorus of so many others to demand that local and federal authorities find those answers. We stand in solidarity with Trayvon’s family and friends as they seek justice for his killing. In the timeless words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
Freedom to Marry
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Equality
International Federation of Black Prides
Lambda Legal
LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Stonewall Democrats
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
Pride at Work
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)
The Trevor Project

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  1. What impact this open letter can & WILL have.
    I have never been more proud of my community.

    I so appreciate this start to my day, Towleroad Andy.
    with gratitude, ~Marcito

    Posted by: Marcito | Apr 3, 2012 7:08:45 AM

  2. While the death of any young person is tragic I think there has been a huge rush to judgement in this case and LGBT groups should be very wary of asserting that racial bias "played a role" in Martin's death. If the eyewitness acount (which corroborates Zimmerman's account) then this case could really be a tragic but simple self-defense case.

    Posted by: Wayne | Apr 3, 2012 7:37:06 AM

  3. My sympathy goes out to the Martin family. If the news stories are correct, it seems like he was killed for no reason.What troubles me is the reaction of the leaders of the African American community.They correctly condemn this violence. But, where are they on the broader question. In my city of Phila, pa There have been about 90 murders of African Americans, mostly youths, in about 90 days. They have been murdered mostly by other African Americans. Where is the outrage? Where is Al Sharpton? Where is Jesse Jackson? The leaders of the African American community take the easy way out. On the rare occasion when a white person kills a black person, they get their marching shoes on. What happens to those shoes on the usual occasion when a black person murders a black person? Shame on them for not addressing this much more difficult problem.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 3, 2012 7:46:02 AM

  4. I agree totally with Wayne.

    And to add to that, I'm suspicious: Martin was no longer the little kid pictured when the incident happened and it is irresponsible journalism to keep depicting him as such.

    I'm not on either side of this issue yet, but I don't like being shown false images.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 3, 2012 7:48:03 AM

  5. And the white privilege comes out once again in the comment section. How shocking!

    *sips peppermint tea and shakes head*

    Posted by: New-new | Apr 3, 2012 8:01:04 AM

  6. New-new: What do you mean by the "white privilege comes out once again in the comments section"? I live in center city Phila in an area known as the "gayborhood" with lots of public housing and mixed rsidential, both rental and owner occupied. Where do you live?

    Posted by: jack | Apr 3, 2012 8:25:04 AM

  7. Sorry, Wayne, doesn't wash. The agreed-upon facts in the case -- that Zimmerman was stalking Trayvon through his gated community, with no probable cause other than the kid's blackness -- makes this very much not a "simple case of self-defense", regardless of the interaction during the encounter itself.

    From what I can tell, most of the evidence points to "tragic hate crime".

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 3, 2012 8:30:57 AM

  8. New-New: Once again, race baiting is played where it isn't necessary at all. There have been zero "white privilege" comments here thus far.

    Your comment is totally out of line and purposely incendiary. Take your peppermint tea, pour it over your shaking head and cool down.

    Posted by: johnny | Apr 3, 2012 8:34:21 AM

  9. It would just be easier if the racists posting their doubts here would just plain admit to what they are.
    When even the Florida police tell you to stop following somebody it is time to stop.
    Nothing that young man did, there or in his personal life, excuses his murder.

    Posted by: enough already | Apr 3, 2012 8:35:31 AM

  10. Jack, I don't think that New-New was accusing you of showing your white privilege. Still, there's plenty of anti-violence activism within many Black communities. Like all activism, it ebbs and flows, and seldom makes TV news. Even when Al Sharpton does show up.

    A quickie YouTube search, for instance pulls up this...:

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 3, 2012 8:40:56 AM

  11. "Nothing that young man did, there or in his personal life, excuses his murder."

    Why? I mean nothing, absolutely nothing? Nothing he did THERE excuses his murder. So I assume it's unimportant what did happen. I don't know, I wasn't there.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Apr 3, 2012 8:52:48 AM

  12. I don't think any of us know enough about the real facts in this case to be making sweeping statements about race or guilt. I do think that a reappraisal of the Stand Your Ground Laws should be a priority though.

    Posted by: Oliver | Apr 3, 2012 8:55:05 AM

  13. Wonder if we were talking about two youths of the same race and color if it would matter what the victim did THERE. Or if it would still NOT MATTER. Oh, well. Admit what you are.

    Posted by: MarkUs | Apr 3, 2012 8:59:39 AM

  14. Premature. There is yet to be any kind of determination as to whether the shooting was unjustified or not, and whether it was based on race or not. It may well have been BOTH, but it seems like people are rushing to their own judgments a tad too quick here.

    What happens if he's acquitted at a fair and honest trial?

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 3, 2012 9:29:16 AM

  15. I live in center city Phila Pa . The murder of young black men by young black men doesn't affect me directly. It does sadden me that these young lives are lost. Who knows what joy these young people may have brought to us old heads.What does anger me is the relative silence of the leaders of the African American community about this war. YES WAR. Thousands of young blacks are being murdered on the streets of America every day by other young blacks. What are the leaders of the Black community and of the rest of America doing about it????

    Posted by: jack | Apr 3, 2012 9:40:27 AM

  16. "What happens if he's acquitted at a fair and honest trial?"

    Then it was neither "fair" nor "honest". Haven't you seen this movie?

    Posted by: MarkUs | Apr 3, 2012 9:43:46 AM

  17. I think there's a good chance this killing wasn't justified and Zimmerman should face manslaughter charges. But the racial bias evidence at this stage is a lot less clear. What's gained by this sort of letter asserting the bias as fact before the DOJ investigation has concluded?

    And what's the criteria for a letter on behalf of Martin and not on behalf of other innocent people who are killed? I thought that between fighting DOMA and the state marriage bans, and pushing for ENDA, there was already enough work for all of these organizations, but apparently now they're going to move into victim advocacy as well.

    Posted by: Mark | Apr 3, 2012 9:46:01 AM

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    Posted by: now vitamin | Apr 3, 2012 9:48:57 AM

  19. Now Vitamin has a point. Thank you for sharing your unique point of view, Now Vitamin.

    Posted by: RyanInSacto | Apr 3, 2012 10:03:42 AM

  20. Beautiful! We are all human beings and it does not matter what race, sexual orientation, color, etc. It wonderful to see the GLBT organization show this support.

    United we can make the world better despite some of the hate that lingers in dark places.

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 3, 2012 10:15:58 AM

  21. Wayne, following someone and carrying a gun to then kill the individual is NOT self-defense. Period.

    Posted by: FunMe | Apr 3, 2012 10:18:46 AM

  22. Which eyewitness acoount would that be Wayne, you racist bastard?

    Fact is we know that Zimmerman was a crank with a criminal record and anger management issues.

    Fact is Trayvon Martin was a normal 17 year old kid.

    How the hell a former bouncer is supposed to be afraid of a string bean like Martin, I don't know.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 3, 2012 10:26:05 AM

  23. I am pleased with this letter, and disgusted with the typical knee-jerk racist responses from some cowardly posters on here.

    Sure, it's not about "race" - except for Zimmerman saying 'f***ing coons' on the audio.
    Sure, its about "standing your ground" - except for Martin, who I suppose wasn't allowed to "stand his ground" when being followed by a strange man, who was older and had 100lbs on him.

    We stand in solidarity with Trayvon -with his memory and with his family. And we will not join the cowards who side with the murderer in hopes of finding their own pithy "tolerance" from Conservatives.

    As for those who believe Zimmerman is innocent - betcha can't put a face to your comments. More "brave" racist tripe, spouted from anonymity.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Apr 3, 2012 10:32:37 AM

  24. I love how certain types keep saying to let the authorities do their job, as if that will be the way the truth will be revealed. Sorry but the truth is right in your face, you just choose to not see it because you are a flat-out racist. Relying on the police to investigate resulted in the turn of events we have today, no arrests and plenty of attention. Your type also conveniently fails to understand the main point of this MOVEMENT is the complete misconduct of the police and DA. Yes, you are speaking from a place of white privelege but admitting that would require admitting that you've done absolutely nothing with your life even though you were born with a distinct and clear advantage. Sucks to be you.

    Posted by: La | Apr 3, 2012 10:34:56 AM

  25. @LA

    One small disagreement with you.

    It seems that the police DID investigate and the detective handling this case wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. (Given the various reports regarding a physical altercation between Martin and Zimmerman....a manslaughter charge sounds about right).

    The detective handling the case was overruled and investigation of the case ceased until it became a national story.

    Seems more like the prosecutor's office impeded and ix-nayed the investigation at first glance.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Apr 3, 2012 10:42:44 AM

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