Marco McMillian, Mississippi and Sexuality

On the Huffington Post, Françoise N. Hamlin discusses the death of mayoral candidate Marco McMillian, finding that he wasn't the only black and gay politician the state has seen.

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Marco McMillian (Facebook)

In Mississippi, the late black, gay politician Marco McMillian wasn't the only sexually fluid man in power down in the Delta, writes Françoise N. Hamlin on the Huffington Post, which makes his death all the more curious.

From the articles I have read online, Marco McMillian had received threats, prompted by his candidacy and his sexuality. Recently I learned that Mississippi's hate crime law does not include sexuality -- which explains why the Coahoma County sheriff's office refuses to even entertain the subject. Herein lie the questions -- why not take the lead to bring McMillian's killer to full justice and challenge the state law from within and below? Why let the rest of the country (and in the digital age, the world) heap criticism on a state that historically maintains a bad rap, particularly in the human rights corner. Clarksdale again faces a crossroads ...

One such leader, Aaron Henry, a long serving president of the Mississippi State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, represented the district in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1982 to 1995 (ending only because of declining health). It is no secret in the civil rights community that Aaron Henry had a fluid sexuality, but he never admitted to anything. A loving father and husband, he kept his proclivities under the public radar. His leadership and courage during the darkest days of the movement earned him community protection, trust, and loyalty, even when his enemies sought to use his vulnerabilities against him. Indeed, his conviction in his 1962 morality case brought by local and county police stood until his death.

Marco McMillian, however, was not Aaron Henry. Out and proud, he believed that Mississippi could handle twenty-first century reality. 

Read Françoise N. Hamlin's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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