“Because The Bible Says So” Does Not Answer Every Question Or Legitimize Hate

26 Apr

To my left, God is the Christian God. To my right, it is Allah. A couple houses down, It is the God of the Old Testament. The Hindus in the cul-de-sac … I suppose it could be Vishnu or something. Are they all right or are they all wrong? Each is completely right depending on who you ask. With religion, it means someone is always wrong for no objective or logical reason. Physics, chemistry, biology – it’s the same everywhere. Life can be created in a lab anywhere by anyone with the correct formula. Living organisms can be cloned. But that doesn’t mean the people who can do that are gods.It just means they are really freakin’ smart.


By Amanda Fox

Over the course of the last week, I’ve come face-to-face with intolerance in many different ways – even my own intolerance. It’s true – there are certain things I won’t tolerate, I’m no different from anyone else in that regard. The specific issue we’ve dealt with, however, is religious intolerance. To me, in many ways, that is the worst intolerance of all. The thing is, it hasn’t been a matter of us not tolerating people having religious views that differ from us, it has been the religious not tolerating our views.

As I have written about here before, I was raised with religion being a central point of life. Even after my dad was widowed and married a Bible thumping Southern Baptist that was ready to pin every evil of the world on demon liberals like the Kennedy’s (Whom we are actually related to on my mother’s side…

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Who Gave You The Right?

22 Apr

Lately it seems that it’s okay to take a gun and defend my country but it is bad if I want to marry to another woman. It’s okay if I’m a whore with my husband in bed and I meet his needs but it´s bad if I exercise prostitution to feed my children.

These examples are extreme but real. They are too real for too many women around the world. Before judging how I live or what I do you better know my story – and the same is true of everyone.

Nobody has the right to judge another person just because they like to hear them self talk or it makes them feel superior.


By Barbara Farina

Lately it seems that people think they can do and say whatever they want just because they have mouths. It’s like they think if they don’t use them – all the time – they will lose them. Not everything that people say is bad, but far too often, people speak up only to tear others down.

I want to be very clear with this and there be no confusion. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can talk about me or for me. In the same way, I think and this is true of everyone. No one can speak for another person or judge another person’s life or how that person chooses to live it just because one day they woke up and believed them self to be an evangelist that comes to save us.

Apparently, some men, and women, believe that women must live and act…

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The Awakening

6 Mar

I didn’t know I was being abused.I refuse to use the term “victim” to describe myself.I was leaving because I thought I was losing large parts of myself in the relationship and I needed to take a step back to find strength in myself before moving forward with the person I wanted to marry. But then…the unthinkable happened and I was met with violence. Violence.See, if I had bothered to even consider that I was in an abusive relationship, I would have known that the most dangerous moment for anyone (man or woman) in an abusive relationship is when they are leaving.And boy – was that moment dangerous. Being pushed into the hallway with no shoes…having my bags thrown into the hall…having her engagement ring hit me in the chest…ducking to avoid getting clocked in the face by a book…watching her rip up a painting I made her for Valentine’s day…watching her rip up our photos and throw them in the trash…feeling her snatch the phone

via The Awakening.

via The Awakening.

Sexy celebrity looks for eyes

5 Mar

Getting sexy looking eyes just got simpler! Current celebrity trends have opened up a whole new wave of ways to get sexy looking eyes anyone can pull off at home. Bold colors and multiple shades are in vogue again and for all those fans of blue  – it’s back! Follow some simple steps and you too can have sexy eyes no one can resist staring into.

For a playful sexy look purple is the only option. Purple works with any eye color and is sure to separate you from everyone with the old traditional boring black eyeliner. Start with a purple eyeliner pencil – the bigger the better. Make a nice wide strip on the top lash line first and then repeat on the bottom.  The reason for this is you want  a thick bold line to tart working with – and remember to work from the outer to inner corner of your eyes.

Your next step is to smear the color on the top lid – use your finger for this. You want to make sure you work the color into the creases. Before you move on – grab that pencil again and make a second line over the original. This is going to help redefine things and set a multi-tone look.

To finish up hit your lashes with a dash of black mascara and you’re done. It really is that simple, and you have a look that is going to draw a ton of attention.

For an evening out that looks runway glamorous you’ll need to work with two tones – green and gold. Don’t be scared off by those colors, when used together they look fabulous. To get started apply a line of olive green liner just below the lower inner rim of your eye. Blink a few times to see how the color transfers to the upper rim, and then reapply the liner one more time to fill in where any color may have been lost.

Next you want to apply another olive green line along the lower lash line, Be very precise with this step. Now you want to switch to the gold tone and repeat the steps working around the green lines. Go slightly heavier on the top than the bottom.

To finish it off smudge the lines with a small shadow brush and apply mascara to top it off. In just a few minutes you have eyes that would rival the biggest start at the most glamorous of events.

For fans of blue that were dying for it to come back you are in luck – and this is the easiest look to pull off as it is just a matter of working below the eye – the top lid is left nude. The hot color this year is indigo blue so all you likely need to buy is a pencil in that shade. Make one thick line that runs the full length of the lower inner rim.

Next do the same but now do it along your lower lash line. Make sure this is a bold thick line. Then widen it out and make one more line just below the one you finished. Next smudge the lower line upward to your lashes so that any areas that are under-filled are addressed and the color looks like a solid block of sorts. Apply mascara and the look is complete. Simple, sexy, and sure to get raves!

While these looks may sound a little bold for some, don’t be bashful about trying them. The worst thing that can happen is you try one out and don’t like it. If you do not try on the other hand you’ll never know.

Interview with the president of UVA’s only co-ed, Queer and Allied fraternity

28 Feb

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?I’m a third year biology major. I volunteer at the hospital’s pediatric unit (which is a blast! cuddling babies is the best part!), I spend time helping out in Professor Roach’s lab in the greenhouse, am involved with a Literary and Debating organization, and I am in SOR.What is SOR?SOR, Sigma Omicron Rho, is UVA’s only co-ed, Queer and Allied fraternity. I’m currently the president. I think it’s the first co-ed LGBTQ related fraternity in the country, actually. Since people might be genderqueer or trans*, so being co-ed was the only way to have an inclusive queer fraternity.

via Interview with the president of UVA’s only co-ed, Queer and Allied fraternity.

via Interview with the president of UVA’s only co-ed, Queer and Allied fraternity.

19 Feb

Whenever a porn star – especially a gay porn star – commits suicide, theories show up, and people act very, very certain about them. Arpad Miklos, who was as much as a porn “star” as anyone can be in a time when we are hyper-saturated with porn, killed himself on February 3rd, 2013, at the age of 45. As usual, many people felt sure they knew why he committed suicide, without much evidence. It was drugs, it was studios not treating him well, it was the feeling of dehumanization, it was the vague but all encompassing “porn industry” that did it, it was the feeling of being h

Conner Habib

Why do porn actors kill themselves?  Who is responsible?


Whenever a porn star – especially a gay porn star – commits suicide, theories show up, and people act very, very certain about them.  Arpad Miklos, who was as much as a porn “star” as anyone can be in a time when we are hyper-saturated with porn, killed himself on February 3rd, 2013, at the age of 45.  As usual, many people felt sure they knew why he committed suicide, without much evidence.  It was drugs, it was studios not treating him well, it was the feeling of dehumanization, it was the vague but all encompassing “porn industry” that did it, it was the feeling of being hollow, it was it was his loss of validation after being a star for so long.

I can’t claim any special knowledge about his death, I didn’t know him very well.  We met in…

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No thank you to Valentine’s Day

14 Feb
People….. I am all for love. I think it’s awesome if you find it with someone or several someones or whatever it’s like for you. I’ve got no issue with that. The world could use a little more love and tolerance. What I do take issue with is a day that is for many filled with pressure to reach unattainable expectations.

Not everyone can afford gifts for the person(s) they love – but advertising tells us we must because that is how we prove our love and the bigger the gift, the more we must love. It creates unreasonable expectations of romantic expressions that quite frankly, you may not feel much like for whatever reason on that particular day.

It means that SOME single people often feel left out, somehow less valued because they don’t have someone to shower romantic love upon or be showered with it. It is a day followed by a day in which couples breakup in droves for often trivial reasons. People previously faithful explore or break the sanctity of their bonds with their spouse/partner because Valentine’s Day just didn’t live up to their expectations. Suicides…. love help us…. it’s a fucking tragedy.

So this is why I say fuck Valentine’s day! I don’t need this manufactured arbitrary day to tell the people I love that I love them. I do that already anyway. I don’t need this day to send flowers or a random gift just because I appreciate someone in my life. I feel sorry for anyone that does need an impetus like this to remember to or feel okay telling others they love them.

I’m not knocking anyone that enjoys the day. If it’s what works for you – awesome! But please, please, don’t look down on those of us who take no pleasure in realizing how much pain is incorporated into this day for far too many people.

How exploring your own inner feelings can help save a marriage

12 Feb

Two of the building blocks that must be present in any good marriage are honesty and trust. If you aren’t honest, eventually it is going to come back to bite you on the rear and when that happens the element of trust goes out the window with it. Being honest and having trust though doesn’t just relate to how you interact with your spouse, it is first and foremost a thing of self. As the saying goes if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

That last statement may sound odd, but the truth since we are on that topic, is that if you aren’t caring for yourself by being honest with yourself you cannot be honest with your spouse or care for them properly. If you are not being honest with yourself there will come a time you no longer trust yourself. You will question your judgment, motivations, emotions, and basically everything that runs through your mind. You find yourself asking the question “do I really feel this way, or am I feeling this way because it is how I think I’m supposed to feel?” If you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with?

As this issue becomes increasingly difficult to deal with for the individual, it begins creeping into their other relationships, none of which is more prominent than their spouse. The person failing to explore and come to grips with their inner feelings will often find they are asking them self a variety of questions like “when did we begin drifting apart?” or “when did things change so much?” The simple fact that a person has to ask them self such things is a sure sign they have issues within them self they have been avoiding. This is when it is ground zero in terms of getting in touch with ones inner feelings.

It is isn’t always an easy thing to do and it often requires professional help, which is recommended, but these feelings can be sorted out and honestly dealt with. It is human nature that we want to put a positive spin on things and only see the good and put the bad off to be dealt with later if ever. By making the choice to deal with these inner feelings the first step to saving a marriage has been taken because you are being honest with yourself that there is a problem you have to deal with. This first step is the hardest, but that in no way means the rest of the ride is smooth sailing.

Identifying your emotions specifically is the second step. This is far from easy which is way a professional therapist is invaluable in the process. We as humans tend to answer our own questions in the most convenient manner possible. While it feels good to do so and is easy it isn’t always correct. A therapist is able to objectively step in and question us further to see if a person is truly being honest. If it is determined they are not, they can then begin a series of exploratory questions to probe deeper and find the truth. One by one a persons inner feelings can be identified an dealt with in this manner until a full clear picture presents itself.

During this process the marriage begins healing itself because each partner is able to begin discussing the progress being made in an open and honest manner. Rather than keeping emotions inside and unresolved they are accessible and can processed as a couple. This demonstrates a heightened level of trust and shows that there is enough love and desire to save the marriage to do something most people would rather not ever deal with.

It is true that this does not save a marriage in all cases, sometimes even the best efforts fail to work. Even in those cases going through the process is of great benefit. Each person has had the opportunity to learn about themselves and what the want an need. It has been jointly determined in most of these cases that the marriage is not salvageable, but that it can be dissolved amicably. It further allows better odds for each person to move on to a new healthy relationship. More often than not though exploring ones inner feelings, especially with a therapist which is the best avenue and cannot be stressed enough, there is a very good chance a marriage can be saved and move from stagnation to a thriving relationship again.

Fighting gay and lesbian hate crime

8 Feb

Hate crimes are an all to regular occurrence not just in the United States but around the world. A hate crime as defined is not just a physical attack, but can take place as mental or emotional abuse, the denial of rights, or as speech which is rooted in a bias created by the perceived differences of a person. Everyday at least three gays are the victims of a hate crime in the United States alone. Hate crimes are the truest form of crimes committed in ignorance.

Just to establish a few facts about hate crimes in the gay community before discussing how to fight them, the fact is that in 2005 the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) had labeled just over fourteen percent of all hate crimes in the U.S. as attacks motivated by sexual orientation. This fell in just behind crimes based on race and religion. Some believe crimes based on sexual orientation may actually exceed those based on religion due to misclassification and the reluctance of many gay victims to report hate crimes against them. Furthermore nine murders under FBI jurisdiction alone were attributed to sexual orientation in that same year. According to statistics from TYFA (Transgender Youth Family Association) one transgender person has been murdered in the U.S. every month since the spring of 1996 when tracking of violence against this segment of the LGBT began. I include this because to a large portion of society the transgender community is one and the same as the gay community. Also worth noting is that a higher portion of hate crimes based on sexual orientation are against gay men than lesbians. It is quite evident that hate crimes are a problem that needs a proactive solution.

When people hear the words “fighting” or “combating” thoughts of a physical battle often are the first that come to mind. In the case of combating hate crimes however fighting fire with fire is not the solution. Hate crimes are crimes of ignorance. Therefore the best way to fight hate crimes is through education and legislation. The two work hand in hand. Only through improvements and expansion of existing initiatives and the prosecution of perpetrators of hate crimes under the existing laws can we begin to end the cycle of hate. It is the responsibility of everyone to get involved, not just legislators and victims. Even within the gay community there is more that needs to be done. We have to be willing to stand up an talk about this issue, make it more visible, and make it plainly clear we are not going to tolerate hate crimes nor be silent when they occur to not just one of our own but anybody.

There have been organizations in the U.S. for decades with the sole purpose of defending the disenfranchised, and the gay community has their share. Since 1982 the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has fought a long hard battle to see legislation concerning hate crimes not only makes it’s way to the floor, but fights to ensure it is regarded seriously. In 2007 they they focused much of their energy on seeing that the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as The Matthew Shepard Act, make it’s way through the House of Representatives. Organizations like Gay Rights Watch also dig into the issue of hate crime by trying to provide viable solutions to ending it, and then delivering that message through the media outlets.

Fortunately good and true information about members of the gay community is seeing the light of day. Odd as it may seem television and movies are playing a major role to revamping the way a generation views the gay and lesbian community. Positive out of the closet role models in the entertainment field are on the television screens in millions of households everyday helping break the myth that gays are deviant, mentally ill, predatory, or any number of false images associated to gays for countless generations. Movies and television series are now featuring more and more gay characters in positive roles which further reinforce that gays are regular people in all regards, with no differences from the straight community aside from the fact they are attracted to members of the same sex. Viacom launched a PSA (Public Service Announcement) on April the third of 2008 featuring Ellen DeGeneres to speak out against hate crimes against the gay and lesbian community, and Elton John has done numerous announcements of the same ilk. This increased positive exposure helps display who the gay and straight community are more alike than different and therefore helps fight crimes as it helps lessen the homophobia of some people.

Along with growing positive press for the gay community, the birth of organizations by school aged children such as Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) have been making huge strides towards integrating two previously diverse groups into one, and promoting better understanding and education about each other. Why organizations like this provide so much hope in the fight against gay hate crimes is that it is more likely a person that learns tolerance and acceptance of the diversity within people at a young age will have those same values carry over to their adult life and passed on to their children. Another positive aspect is that the more people there are that know the facts, the more people there are to stand against those whom may commit a hate crime making them less likely.

The general mantra of GSA’s, or at least the one at my daughters school, in concerns to hate crimes is to act, unite, speak up, and support each other. What acting means is to be proactive in letting people know hate crimes will not be tolerated. Through unity hate crimes may be averted and and it supports the principle of “United we stand” and power in numbers. When a hate crime occurs, or is even suspected of being possible speak up and let someone in a position of authority know what happened so it can be stopped or prosecuted and the victim gets the help they need. Support quite simply means we must all support each other through good and bad regardless of our differences. While I have seen charters in my research that are far more lengthy and comprehensive I like this one as it keeps it simple. The great thing is that this was a charter designed by young teens which in my mind points to the possibility of better days on the horizon.

Another important factor to combating hate crimes against gays is effective and decisive enforcement of the existing laws. Hate crimes are a federal offense which can carry up to a seven year sentence to be served in a federal penitentiary. Although the law concerning this is plainly laid out it is often not enforced or or even brought up as a charge. In the case of the murder of Edward “Gwen” Arajuo, it was clearly defined that her murder was motivated by her sexual and gender identity, however a jury decided it was just a situation that “Got out of hand.” With better education such ambivalent situations would be less likely, and prosecutors would be more willing to levy hate crimes charges as they would see that juries are in fact understanding and willing to vote in favor of such sentences.

All these organizations are important because there are always going to be people that for whatever reason are predisposed to hate. What is especially frightening are the number of organizations not only speaking out against gay and lesbian people but advocating some truly reprehensible, even criminal steps be taken to “Remove” members of the LGBT to use a gentle phrase. Organizations like the Westboro Baptist Church headed by Fred Phelps, Americans For Truth, and the Family Research Institute are just a few of the anti-gay hate groups in operation in the U.S. today. While we all need to do our share as individuals to combat and minimize hate crime in our local community, it is by banding together and supporting large groups that we can fight against hate organizations, apply political pressure, and educate as many people as possible that it is okay to be gay, and that it is our differences that make the world a wonderful place.

http://www.gay.com/news/roundups/package.html? sernum=461
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/type.js p?DT=26
http://www.thetaskforce.org/issues/hate_crime s_main_page/2007_legislation
http://www.aglbical.org/ 2HATE%20CRIMES.htm

How Bayard Rustin advanced the gay and civil rights movement

7 Feb

Bayard Rustin was born on March 17, 1912, in West Chester Pennsylvania. He led a life that early on had him pegged as a rising academic who was noted for his keen mind and sometimes unpopular thinking. Actually his thinking was only truly unpopular to the scattered racists and bigots which he was forced to deal with on a daily basis. As such, Bayard often began censoring his words but not his thoughts. Unfortunately in that era many people felt that a man of color, no matter how bright he may be, was to be seen and not heard. Bayard rose above it all and vigorously began pursuing his dreams which led his to play a pivotal role in American history.

Bayard was raised by his maternal grandparents, his grandmother was a Quaker, which played a tremendous role in the way he viewed the world and his place in it. His grandfather was affiliated to the A.M.E. Church, but what really led to young Bayard seeing he could make difference in the world wasn’t the strong religious background he came from, but his grandmothers membership in the NAACP. Julia, his grandmother, was what would be called a “behind the scenes player” these days and regularly hosted James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B. DuBois at their home for meals and discussions. It was these men along with his grandparents that molded Bayard. Though they never encouraged him to be proactive, but rather make his own decisions and follow them, he often chose the same path as his elders. He was most noted for his campaigning against Jim Crow Laws as a youth.

Eventually Bayard went on to attend Wilberforce University but dropped out before taking his final exams needed for graduation in 1936. He moved on to Cheney State Teachers College where he began taking courses in activism offered by the American Friends Service Committee. He moved to Harlem a year later and began taking more courses at City College of New York. In this two year period he became involved in three things that would change his life: He joined the Young Communist league, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and he became very vocal in the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys who were nine young black men wrongfully accused of raping two white women.

Not much changed for Rustin until 1941 when he became disillusioned with the Communist Party. What initially drew Bayard to that organization was their support for civil rights, however when Stalin ordered American Communist party members to discontinue work on that issue and focus it instead on getting the U.S. into WWII, Bayard had enough. He quickly changed allegiance and began working with and supporting anti-communist socialists. Bayard was one of the three organizers that planned to march on Washington to protest racial discrimination in the armed forces, but Roosevelt made the change on his own before the march ever took place. With that plan scrapped, he instead went to California and helped organize protests against the internment of Japanese-Americans in segregated camps under the guise of national security.

In 1942 Bayard along with three other activist formed CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) which was conceived as a pacifist organization based on the teachings of Mohandas Gandhi and Henry David Thoreau. Being a leader of CORE which was a pacifist organization meant that Bayard was arrested for violating the Selective Service Act and sent to Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary from 1944-1946. He didn’t roll over during that time and do nothing, he instead organized protests against segregated dining facilities and the British Rule of India. After that Rustin was regularly arrested for protests and all too often manufactured charges which usually didn’t stick, but did serve to harass him.

All of this was just the precursor to his greater works regarding civil rights. He along with George Houser organized the first Freedom Ride (The Journey of Reconciliation) which was designed to test the ban on racial discrimination in interstate travel. This was opposed by the NAACP as well as most of the big name civil rights organizations as being too antagonistic and improperly timed, but they did so anyway. During the trip they were arrested several times including, on of which led to a 22 day stint on a North Carolina chain gang. What he did wasn’t popular, but his seven arrests proved the law was being ignored and led to the major organizations pressing the issue with the government through grassroots movements.

The next 5 years were different for Rustin as he became heavily involved with African Civil Rights Leaders and began spending more time in California. Bayard was still being arrested regularly, one of which exposed his secret. Bayard Rustin was gay. He served a 60 day sentence in California on a charge of “sex Perversion” which was plead down from sodomy. He refused to be ashamed of his sexuality which led to being fired from FOR “Fellowship of Reconciliation) of which he had been a member since 1941, and was then often kept on the sidelines as many other organizations weren’t sure he was the proper image they wanted to portray. Still he quickly landed a new job with the War Resisters league. While with WAR he published “Speak Truth To Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence” which is regarded as one of the best pacifist essays ever produced in America. At his request, his name was kept off the document for fear it may be disregarded or hurt the credibility of WAR duet to his known homosexuality. While he took no shame in being gay, he also realized it would color the way people read his words, and may disregard them as the “words of a homo.”

In 1956 he Left WAR to become and adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Ghandian tactics of pacifist resistance. While he was initially supposed to only help with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he stayed on to help form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. King in 1957. No matter how great a job Rustin did, his homosexuality was held over his neck like an axe. In 1960 Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr. forced Rustin to resign from the SCLC or have his homosexuality brought up in on the floor of Congress. While Bayard hated it, he complied. As unjust as this was, it got Bayard thing as much about gay rights as African American rights.

Rustin was forced further from the forefront after this until 1963 when he helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. S.C. Senator Strom Thurmond began waving about a picture for anyone who cared to look of Bayard talking to Dr. King who was in a bathtub implying that since Bayard was a known homosexual, King must be too in an attempt to smear their names with the public. As such, the NAACP thanked Bayard for his help, told him he would receive no credit for his efforts, and showed him the door. As the decade advanced, Bayard became involved with the Democratic Party and President Lyndon Johnson which landed him out of favor with the Black Power Movement who labeled him a sellout. Rustin began moving away from radical politics and accepted a position on the Board of Trustees at the University of Notre Dame in the early 1970’s.

While Rustin was never terribly vocal about gay rights at the time feeling his days of hands on activism were over, he remained a player behind the scenes, much like his grandmother did when he was a child in her house. he kept his name and face largely out of the press but was always available to share his knowledge of activism with any gay rights leader who sought it. In 1986 he changed his stance on this and began getting vocal again testifying before the New York State Assembly on behalf of the Gay Rights Bill. He stated that the LGBT community had become the civil rights “barometer” in America as they are “the community which is most easily mistreated.”

Sadly he died on August 24 of 1987 just when he was getting started on the gay rights movement in the public eye. His legacy with the LGBT community is secure though as two high schools were named for him, one in his hometown of West Chester PA, and one in Chelsea NY, which is slated to close in 2012. He also has a library and Social Justice Center that bear his name as well as the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition (BRC) in San Francisco.

Bayard Rustin is a man that was marginalized and scapegoated all his life. First for being born black, then for being born gay, two things he had no control over. Even when he was pushed aside, hidden, and discredited in the most personal of ways on the floors of Congress, he continued to believe in the country and system and fought peacefully for equality for all people, black white, brown gay, and straight nearly 60 years. While his role in the gay and civil rights movement were often ignored, he is a man whose time has come. he deserves now the credit he should have received while living.


Anders on, Jervis. Bayard Rustin: Troubles I’ve Seen

D’Emilio, John. Lost Prophet: Bayard Rustin and the Quest for Peace and Justice in America

Haskins, James. Bayard Rustin: Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movement