Monday, December 26, 2011

Here we go again with the "gay rights aren’t part of the Civil Rights Movement" apologists

ByJohn Aravosis at
So tired of this garbage. And even more tired of gay people who feel the need to apologize for "daring" to compare the gay civil rights battle to the Civil Rights Movement. You know who else compared gay rights and black civil rights? Coretta Scott King. But that doesn't stop the apologists among us:

Do we (the LGBT community) get hosed down and dogs sicced on us? No,” Lettman-Hicks said. “But we’re comparing how our community is treated, from a so-called civil society—the overt discrimination and bigotry. No one should be able to understand that better than black people in this country, and that is the root of the comparison. But you can’t compare the plight of the movement, the centuries of oppression that black people in this country had to face.”

Preston Mitchum, a student at American University’s Washington College of Law, said he doesn’t believe the two movements can really be compared either.

“My role is dual, because it comes from being gay and black,” he said. “I can see both sides of the story, and people need to recognize that the struggles are different. It almost trivializes black civil rights in a way.”

Ask Matthew Shepard how trivial the comparison is. Ask Alan Turing, who pretty much was forced to kill himself after being chemically castrated for being gay. Or ask all those gays who were forcibly lobotomized and actually castrated during the last century how trivial their suffering was.

Usually there are two reasons given why gay civil rights violations aren't nearly as bad as what African-Americans suffered, and thus gays aren't really part of the long history of the Civil Rights Movement in this country.

1) African-Americans were oppressed for hundreds of years, aka slavery.

2) Lynchings.

Well, here are two responses.

1) And gays (and transgendered people) had it great the past couple of thousand of years?

2) Yes, lynchings were horrible. And the Holocaust wasn't exactly a cake walk for gays either.

No community owns the trademark on oppression, and the fight for equal rights didn't start with America's black community. There were slaves as far back as 2000 BC.

For example, let's talk the Jews. They've been oppressed a lot longer than 400 years, and if we're going to talk slavery, the Jews were slaves a good three thousand years ago. And while Jews were "only" slaves for about 200 years in Egypt, they were hardly full and equal citizens, free from oppression, the next three thousand years, and the Holocaust was far worse than "hoses" and "dogs" (if we're going to play that game).
So do the Jewish people "win" the "most oppressed" grand prize that someone is apparently interested in giving out?

The entire discussion is offensive. It's part of a twisted "my pain is greater than your pain" debate that some feel the need to have over and over again. It's also reflective of the paranoid fear some in the gay civil rights movement have of "offending" anyone. In the end, I'm not even sure what the "debate" is about. If people are asking "Was the 1960s Civil Rights Movement specifically about gay rights?", well duh, it was specifically about racism. If someone is asking whether the civil rights movement in this country is about more than racial discrimination, then again, duh, it certainly is.

And if someone is really asking who suffered more, I'm not sure of the answer, but being targeted by Hitler in the Holocaust certainly ranks up there.

But again, why are we even playing these games? Why, because as I said before, some people are afraid to offend others.

Well, maybe it's time we did some offending. Rather than use the relatively low support for gay civil rights in the black community, as the article I link to appears to do, as "proof" that gay rights aren't "real" civil rights, maybe the shoe should be put on the other foot. Maybe the question isn't why we dare compare the two civil rights movements, rather, maybe the question is why some dare not.
Treating each human with the same diginity, understanding, and honor is a human right.

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