State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson waves to the crowd as she takes part in Boston’s annual gay pride parade and celebration, held last Saturday. Wilkerson is one of several straight legislators considered “allies” by members of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. (Talia Whyte photo)
|Gov. Deval Patrick (right) greets his daughter Katherine Patrick as his wife Diane Patrick (background) claps during Boston’s annual gay pride parade, held last Saturday. Katherine, the governor’s youngest daughter, publicly announced in an interview published last Thursday that she is gay. (AP photo/Lisa Poole)|
The recent decision by Gov. Deval Patrick’s daughter to come out of the closet marked a significant milestone in what has been a productive year for Boston’s black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as it makes strides in the struggle for acceptance and forges stronger allegiances with the larger black community.
In the middle of Boston Pride Week 2008 and on the eve of the city’s annual gay pride parade, Katherine Patrick revealed in an exclusive interview published in the June 12 edition of Bay Windows, a Boston-based weekly newspaper for LGBT readers, that she decided to tell her parents last summer following the state Legislature’s defeat of a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have put the issue of gay marriage up to a vote by Massachusetts residents.
Because of her dad’s strong support for defeating the ballot proposal and his backing of gay rights in general, Katherine Patrick said she felt confident that her coming out would be welcomed and accepted by her parents.
The governor and his wife, Diane Patrick, showed their acceptance and solidarity last Saturday as they marched alongside Katherine and their other daughter Sarah during the parade at that highlighted Pride Week. Black parade attendees expressed excitement about Katherine’s announcement.
“It’s good because [Katherine] has the backing of her father, which makes it easier for her in the long run,” said participant Roe Robinson.
The media attention that followed the Bay Windows interview underscored an issue that is often overlooked, but always present.
“Black gays and lesbians have always been a part of the black community,” said the Rev. Irene Monroe, a Ford Fellow and doctoral candidate at Harvard Divinity School who is also an openly lesbian community activist and a nationally syndicated religion columnist. “We care about the same issues that straight people care about, especially around family issues. The gay community is lucky to have affirming, straight black allies who work with us.”(p2)