In the News

A Roadmap for Change: Preface

Ben Jealous discusses why civil right leaders, labor, and LGBT leaders must join together to tackle problems at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and criminal justice.

I was born in the one-square-mile hamlet of Carmel, where there was one other black boy I knew who was my age. He lived across the street.

From the age of six months on, he has been my best friend. He truly is my brother in every way except by birth. Part of being brothers has always been our willingness to adopt each other’s fight as our own.

At first, our fight was clearly about our skin color. The clerk at the five and dime would chaperone us through every aisle of the store as white friends ran in and out at will. We knew it was because we were black and therefore different, and targets for discrimination.

A few years later, my brother’s preference for wigs, dresses, and make-up became an even bigger issue with our peers.

The above excerpt was originally published in Columbia Law School Center for Gender & Sexuality Law. Click here to view the full article.

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Ben Jealous

Senior Fellow