Tag Archives: Jim Crow

An Open Response To Marriage Equality and The Traditional Civil Rights Movement

First let me say that I am not angry. I’m happy that you have taken any time at all to consider the topic of marriage equality. My only concern is that you don’t have all the facts. The facts are out there. And the correlations between the African American fight for equality and the fight for LGBT rights are more numerous than you think although there are some very basic differences.

POPULATION
Your claim that the LGBT community only comprises 2% of the population is incorrect. It is a widely held belief that the LGBT population percentage is approximately 10%. It’s interesting to note that a Gallup poll taken in just October of 2012 indicates that 3.4% of the 120,000 respondents to the question “Do you identify as gay or lesbian?” answered in the affirmative while more people, 4.4%, refused to answer or said they didn’t know!
If we made a graphic of the United States, according to this poll, and put a smiley emoticon on the map where every LGBT person was and a smirk emoticon where all the undecideds were…there would be more smirks than smiles staring up at us. The headline should have read, and I mean this literally, More Americans Than Not Do Not Know WHAT the Fuck To Do.
However I fail to see why any percentage of the population having the same rights as the majority denied them is a reason for continuing discrimination. If there were only two of us we should be afforded the same rights to happiness, shouldn’t we?

RELIGION
Nowhere in any discussion of marriage equality has it ever been stated that LGBT people want religions to be forced to marry same-sex couples. We want and deserve to have our relationships and families recognized by the government in the same lawful manner as any opposite-sex relationship. We deserve it because we are Americans. We don’t need any other reason.

JIM CROW
Marriage by any other name does not smell as sweet. It also does not make any logical sense. Separate but equal? I should not have to explain this at all so I am not going to.

PREJUDICE/HATE/VIOLENCE
The sad truth about the difference in hate crimes committed against people of color and the LGBT community is that people of color are obvious targets for bigots but the LGBT people who are attacked need to declare themselves in some way. Hate crimes against the LGBT commuunity have risen over the past few years while all other hate crimes have declined. That’s the FBI statistics. The Southern Poverty Law Center published a page you can read which concludes The bottom line: Homosexuals are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR and HARVEY MILK
Both of these men fought hard for minorities at a time when, as hard as it may be to believe some times, the vocal majority of Americans decried their communities. I am white. Dr. King spoke for me as well. He spoke for all Americans. And yes, he was motivated by his own community’s struggle but Dr. King was so much more than a voice for one community. He was the voice of a true, free America. And while his own voice was silenced by hate, his spirit and objectives were continued by millions of other Americans including his friend and confidant Bayard Rustin who was openly gay.
Harvey Milk was a voice for equality not just for the gay community in San Francisco and for gay teachers all over the state of California but for the elderly and for immigrants. He was the very first openly gay elected official in the nation. He was murdered by firearm as was Mayor George Moscone inside city hall in San Francisco in 1978.
If you are truly interested in the history of minority rights in the United States I urge you to read Randy Shilts’s excellent book The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk or see the brilliant documentary The Times of Harvey Milk which is largely a film of the book in documentary style.

CONCLUSION
When all of these factors are stacked neatly next to one another with racial equality on one side and LGBT equality on the other there is an obvious correlation between the struggles for equality of all Americans. African-Americans in particular should be standing with their LGBT brothers and sisters in the fight for equal rights for all Americans. When the similarities of the work required by different communities to gain equality is pointed out shouldn’t people say, “Really? I should learn all I can about those people!” Instead of, “OH NO! I am not like those people!” I believe the former should be true but the fact that the latter was your reaction proves your argument’s fallacy.

On a personal note, I am glad you are thinking about the issue. Now please take the next step and educate yourself with verifiable facts. Indianapolis is my hometown too. One of the reasons I moved was because of anti-gay hatred and bias. Indy is filled with it just like it’s filled with bigots who don’t like blacks. I know where you come from. I know the devastating effect the Indianapolis Public School system has had for decades on the urban community there and how whole communities have been uprooted by “Urban Renewal” and “Gentrification” downtown. Please take some time and learn about my struggles.


%d bloggers like this: