(Via PostBulletin) – On his campaign to represent a state House district stretching through the heart of Miami’s historically black communities, Cedric McMinn is touting his experience: as a former executive director of the local Democratic Party, as chief of staff to School Board Member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, and as an outreach director in Florida for the Barack Obama and Charlie Crist campaigns.
The fact that he is openly gay is incidental, if not irrelevant to his platform.
But McMinn’s sexual orientation lends a broader significance to his candidacy, even if it may make it more complicated.
If McMinn beats former state Rep. James Bush III next Tuesday and becomes the representative of Florida’s 109th House District, he’ll not only win the right to represent a majority-black district that cuts from Miami Gardens south through Overtown, but he’ll also become the first openly gay African American lawmaker in the state — possibly shattering the perception that homophobia remains an issue in black communities.
“The fact that he’s going out as an openly gay candidate, it’s exciting,” said Tony Lima, executive director of the Miami-based LGBTQ organization SAVE. “It could be risky.”
McMinn doesn’t necessarily agree that his sexual identity is a political risk, or that Miami’s’ black neighborhoods are particularly harsh on gay men — a concept that received national attention two years ago when “Moonlight,” a drama about a gay man growing up in Liberty City, won the Oscar for best picture. Having himself grown up in Liberty City and Brownsville, the 40-year-old activist thinks that, like any community, homophobia is restricted to a small segment of Miami’s black neighborhoods.
“I think it’s a very small minority that thinks like that,” McMinn told the Miami Herald. “I don’t hear that from my community.”
McMinn is open about his sexual identity, but it isn’t a part of his platform and isn’t mentioned on his campaign website. He says he’s focusing on creating better jobs and economic opportunities for families in the district, and curbing gun violence. He’s running on his long record as a Democratic activist.
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