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.