so i was surfing across fellow blogger aliza hausman’s blog [yeh, cuz she really needs me to send traffic her way. lol…] and i came across this blog about gay rights which, like a gajillion posts and discussions before it, argues that the gay rights and civil rights movements are pretty much synonomous.
but they’re really not.
now im not gonna bore you with the requisite i support gay rights/some of my friends are/im not homophobic cliched qualifying statements. im just simply going to respond to this article and state why.
this isn’t about playing the who’s been more oppressed game. as a friend of mine [both gay AND black, no less] once stated “oppression is oppression is oppression”. which is true. you cant tell someone if they’re oppressed or not or if one group is more oppressed than another. [although you really can, but that’s a philosophical discussion beyond the paramemters of this post]. but anyhoo, are the two movements similar? most definitely. but a dog and a bear are also similar. they both have fur, claws, growl, and walk on four legs. but anyone can see that they are very different animals.
so relevant to this discussion point by point:
1) “I’m for gay rights but … you can’t compare being Black to being gay.”
this is true. you cant. and no, this statement isnt implying that there are no gay black folk. its merely comparing instances of being discriminated against solely by virtue of being gay or black. a gay person will never [again, by virtue of being gay alone] be pulled over for “fitting the profile”, or driving a car deemed too expensive. there was never gay slavery, “straight only” laws, or people being firehosed for being gay. gays were never denied the right to vote, nor did they have to fight for citizenship. yes there were influential members in the framework of the civil rights movement, but they were part of the civil rights movement by virtue of being discriminated against for being black, not for being gay.
2) No, you’re not getting it, I didn’t choose to be Black and I can’t hide being Black.
also true. being black [in most cases] is an extremely and constantly visible marker which evokes discrimination and prejudice instantly. in cases of white gays, being gay largely does not revoke or trump inherent white privelege to the average passerby. ppl dont clench their purse when a gay man/woman enters an elevator. even once they do find out said person is gay. its not about “choosing” anything either way.
3) That’s my point, almost exactly, you can tell when someone is Black usually, but you never know if they’re gay! Well unless they’re really flamboyant or something.
well sure this is a little f*cked up that some black folk are mad that gays can “pass”, but that doesnt mean its any less true. see the profiling comment from above. also, black folk have a “thing” about passing. see the past few decades of hair straigheners, good/bad hair, dyes, skin cremes, nose jobs, paper bag tests, and every member of the jackson family.
4) Okay, I get that, but doesn’t it piss you off when they use the Civil Rights Movement for their movement?
yes, the “us/they” thing is usually derogatorily laced. but what is essentially meant is “they” as in by dint of solely being homosexual, not to the exclusion of those who are both black AND gay. those who are black and gay who use the civil rights movement as a reference to the gay rights movement are addressing the fact that they are homosexual, not necessarily anything “black” attached to it.
at the end of the day, in no way am i insuinuating/advocating that the gay rights movement is any less of a valid movement or that rights arent deserved. its just a very different battle than the civil rights movements but with similar tropes that resonate across both. as i quoted earlier, oppression is oppression is oppression. also, its ok to believe the two are not equitable. surprisingly enough it does not mean you’re a raging homophobe or the straight equivalent of a well-meaning white person in 1955 raised by racist parents or someone who wishes for all “the gays” to burn in hell.
well except for perez hilton. b/c he’s f*cking annoying.
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