VIEW MORE PHOTOS | 11th Annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast @ Saint Mark

imageA capacity crowd of LGBT activists and gay-friendly allies filled the social hall of a Midtown church on Monday for the 11th Annual Bayard Rustin/Audre Lorde Breakfast.

The event, with its crowd of more than 250 people, continues to expand and press the capacity of its home at Saint Mark United Methodist Church. The breakfast attracts a diverse crowd and calls attention to the contributions of Rustin—a gay man, civil rights activist and top lieutenant to King—and lesbian poet, author and activist Lorde.

imageBut the morning is not all about eggs, sausage and history. Organizers Craig Washington and Darlene Hudson (second photo), who founded the event in 2002, also challenge participants to dialogue with each other. A moderated discussion at Monday’s event turned into more intimate conversations among each table of those attending.

The event has grown dramatically since 2009, when about 100 people attended in the basement of an HIV agency. It moved to Saint Mark in 2010 and the crowd swelled to nearly 200 people.

imageAfter the breakfast, some participants joined an LGBT contingent for the MLK March & Rally. LGBT activist Paulina Helm-Hernandez, co-director of Southerners On New Ground, served as Honorary LGBT Marshal for the parade. Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., set aside her anti-gay views to open her arms to the gays.