At day's end, though, the great tragedy here is neither historical amnesia nor moral cowardice. No, the tragedy is embodied in Barry's description of African Americans as a people for whom open homosexuality is rare. That description is, unfortunately, too accurate - not simply for black Washington, but for black America. We are a socially conservative people.
And our conservatism is, quite literally, killing us.
It is no coincidence the community that has yet to make a safe place for its gay members to openly be who they are, the community that still regards gay as a dirty secret not to be spoken in open company, the community in which people still think gay "can't happen in my family," is also the community that accounts for half of all AIDS diagnoses in this country, the community that has lost 211,000 brothers and sisters to this disease, the community where marriages keep popping like balloons from the discovery that the husband is gay on the "down low."
-Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and LGBT ally Leonard Pitts Jr. on Marion Barry's ineffective leadership on marriage equality in D.C. and the black communities denial about homosexuality.