All (Wo)Men Were Created Equal

I know a good amount of gay women.

I don’t happen to be close with any gay men (at least that I know of).

That being said the issue of gay rights comes up often in conversation. Whether it be in personal dialogue or online. I personally believe that gay people should have all the same rights that heterosexual people have (I’m actually proud of my home state, Maryland, for passing the bill on gay marriage recently). I don’t think that anyone should be denied the rights specified in the Constitution of this country because of their beliefs. Whether it be religious, political or even sexual.

The issue with trying to constrict the rights of a certain group of people is that the inalienable rights of everyone are then placed upon a slippery slope. Hitler didn’t come right out and persecute Africans, gypsies, homosexuals, Soviets and Slavic people. He began preaching his intolerance of the Jews or anyone who wasn’t Aryan. Eventually his blanket of hate and dogmatism covered anyone who didn’t fit a certain profile (blonde hair, blue eyes). So I have to ask myself, if the powers that be would want to deny the rights of homosexuals, who’s to say that somewhere down the line they won’t try to deny my rights?

I’ll say it again. I’m a firm supporter of equal rights for all people.

With that said, I do not believe that the struggle for gay rights is tantamount to the Civil Rights Movement. I actually wish people would stop comparing the two.

I think that because the Civil Rights Movement happened more than 50 years ago and my generation (and younger) weren’t alive during that time, it doesn’t seem as momentous. Mass media would have us believe that the issues and conditions which gave birth to that movement no longer exist. This is only partly true. The Civil Rights Movement was a fight for basic human rights. African-Americans were treated as sub-humans. We were second-class citizens. When we demanded equal rights, we were beaten, maimed, murdered, jailed, bombed and hosed.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I have yet to turn on my television and see people protesting equal rights for gays be subjected to the same treatment. No one is denying gays their right to vote. To eat, travel, or go to school separately. No one is stringing gays up in trees.

The struggle for equal rights for gays is not about human rights at a basic level. Yes, gays are not allowed to be legally married in the majority of states and yes gays and lesbians are still tormented in neighborhoods across America. That I am not denying.

What I won’t agree with is the rights of gays and lesbians today are being abnegated similar to African Americans prior to the 1960s. Nope. Can’t do it. Simply refuse to.

When people try to parallel these two events I’m actually lightweight offended.

16 thoughts on “All (Wo)Men Were Created Equal

  1. I Am Your People

    I agree with you that gay rights and the rights Black people were fighting for aren’t the same at all for all the reasons you mentioned. I actually think they’re hurting their cause by comparing the 2 situations, since many Black people find the comparison insulting

    Reply
  2. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

    I am for the right’s of gay Americans simply because I am a member of a group that at one time that was oppressed. I actually have issues with those who fail to see the struggles of other groups after they too were not far removed from strife.

    However, I don’t think gay rights and racial rights are the same. I’m offended by the clumsy comparisons of the two by activists and the media on both sides. Your Third Reich analogy was apt. The reduction of rights only works when scare everyone including those who aren’t oppressed.

    Reply
  3. Shondriette

    “When people try to parallel these two events I’m actually lightweight offended.” #ThatIsAll

    Reply
  4. Nell

    I would whole-heartedly agree, except gays were – and still are – beaten while trying to peacefully protest, as well as murdered. Aside from the persecution of gays I am close with, there was Matthew Shepard. Brandon Teena. Harvey Milk. Anita Bryan and the Teachers Union. Stonewall. And how up until the 1970s, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    The civil rights movement will always be monumental and should never forgotten nor taken for granted. However, I do think gay rights is a movement that, even if it’s not considered the same by many, should be taken just as seriously.

    Reply
    1. MadScientist7

      ” However, I do think gay rights is a movement that, even if it’s not considered the same by many, should be taken just as seriously.”

      see i don’t disagree with this. which is exactly why i emphasized it in my post. i still don’t think the two are comparable.

      Reply
  5. Brownbelle

    “No one is denying gays their right to vote. To eat, travel, or go to school separately. No one is stringing gays up in trees.: <— This right here! I support gay rights because like you said, once you decide it's okay to persecute one group, everyone who falls outside the mainstream is in danger. And while I get WHY people make the comparison, it's not the same. Although it's hard to explain that without starting a game of Oppression Olympics, you managed to do so and I will keep your words in mind next time this comes up in discussion.

    Reply
  6. gemmieboo

    ive already told you this before but i like the post and agree with you.

    as a supporter of equal rights for all ppl – including those the gay community is asking to have – i do have a problem with them comparing the gay struggle to racials ones. theyre NOT the same, nor do they need to be. we can advocate for equal rights without equating different historical struggles. its not necessary.

    that said, i really wish the black community (esp churches) would stop condemning and shunning gays. using the bible as a way to outcast them. cuz we know how that worked out for slaves smdh

    Reply
    1. MadScientist7

      see gem, i completely agree with you on the church issue. i could write a whole series of posts about how black churches like to use the bible to their benefit to outcast people and tell them they’re going to hell while sinning up a storm themselves.

      Reply
      1. gemmieboo

        even more than that – which is all true – so many of these church “leaders” are being completely NOT Christ-like. Christ didnt shun or push people away. in fact, he spent time with them, dined in their homes, healed them, WASHED THEIR FEET! like, if Jesus can love and care for the so-called bottom dwellers of society, whoTH are you to put yourself above them. FOH with that bigotry.

    2. NicknotNikki

      Oddly enough.. my pastor and his wife just held a seminar on the church’s response to gays.. they’re trying to educate people to the fact that we are supposed to love everyone.. The closed-mindedness of “way back church folk” make me violent.. especially considering I live with one of them (my mom).. Even more interesting that I’m waiting for my brother to come out the closet..

      Reply
  7. NicknotNikki

    “So I have to ask myself, if the powers that be would want to deny the rights of homosexuals, who’s to say that somewhere down the line they won’t try to deny my rights?”

    THANK YOU!!!!!!

    This pretty much sums it up for me…

    Reply
  8. hirandnow

    I don’t think that seeing parallels and commonalities between the movements is particularly wrong. There are clear differences in the intensity and pervasiveness of the bigotry POC faced in the 60s and what the LGBT community faces today, but there are also similarities worth comparing. The fact that the right to employment, housing, public accommodations etc. can still be legally denied to LGBT (especially trans* people) in many states is a similarity. The fact that there are still hate crimes that target LGBT people (especially trans* POC) and children are bullied in schools because of who they are, is a similarity. No there aren’t separate drinking fountains for LGBT people, but the lessons learned from The Civil Rights Movement are certainly applicable to this particular civil rights movement for LGBT rights.

    It does bother me, as a person of color, when white LGBT people try to appropriate The Civil Rights Movement and say that they’re exactly the same… that’s not their argument to make and it IS a false equivalency. The fight for racial equality isn’t over yet, so calling LGBT rights “The Civil Rights Movement of our era” is just a slippery slope to the oppression olympics.

    On the other hand, as a queer person, when POC are offended by mere comparisons between The Civil Rights Movement and the LGBT rights movement I get lowkey offended because I don’t see how comparisons tarnish the legacy without some ingrained homophobia/transphobia. Especially since I don’t see as much upset around immigration protests and other movements using language from The Civil Rights Movement or making comparisons. I get lowkey offended when POC would rather argue about the legacy of The Movement than work together for the future of ALL of these intersecting movements for social justice. Rights for LGBT people to make a living, use public facilities, not be targeted for violence by civilians or police, and secure their families under the law ARE civil rights and human rights at a basic level.

    Side note: a few people who were involved in The Civil Rights Movement would disagree with your assertion about the lack of similarities, like Bayard Rustin and Coretta Scott King.

    Reply
  9. Anon

    I actually disagree–to an extent–with your post. I just remember Andrew Shepard, a young man who was beaten and hung on a fence to die back in the late 1990s. I think about the young African man who was beaten almost to death and then burned alive because of his sexual orientation. I remember the young black teen who was beaten by an Atlanta gang because he was gay. (Unfortunately the names of these black men evade me, a testament to the media culture’s efforts to publicize crimes against black people. I digress. That’s another post.) These people were killed because of who they were and how they identified themselves. Just as blacks were considered second-class citizens, homosexuals were psychologically deemed as being a mental disorder, and therefore whether intentionally or not) were considered second-class citizens. There are many analogous cases that should not be ignored based solely on the fact that one is race: an obvious phenotype while another is sexuality: not so obvious and can be hidden.

    Reply
  10. CHeeKZ Money

    But…. I just looked up basic human rights, and marriage is actually on there.

    Also the fact that people protest not without fear of a firehose or being hung from a tree is a testament to the civil rights movement. I don’t see it as a reason to distance ourselves from other movements.

    Reply

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