The Cult of Melinda

The gAyTM is closed! No gay rights, no gay $$$!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gay v. Black

This post is not meant as a pissing contest. However, a lot of people get offended by the comparison of the Gay Rights Movement to the Civil Rights Movement because apparently LGBT people haven't suffered enough. So, I'd like to inform all of you about the suffering of LGBT people throughout American history in comparison to some of the events of African-American history.

Until 1865, African-Americans were enslaved in the U.S.

Until 1873, homosexuality was punishable by death. After 1873 and before in many states, being gay was punishable by imprisonment and the seizure of all of your property. Homosexuals continued to be arrested and imprisoned just for being gay until the latter half of the 20th century. Consenting sexual activity between two adults of the same gender was a felony in some states until 2003.

Due to pseudoscientists like Freud, homosexuality was considered a mental illness in the late nineteenth century and throughout most of the twentieth century. Untold thousands of gay people were confined to mental institutions against their will. "Treatments" included lobotomy (removal of part of the brain), electroshock, psychotropic drugs, aversion therapy, hypnosis, cocaine solutions, saline cathartics, the surgical “liberation” of adherent clitorises, injections of of strychnine, castration, sex gland implants, threats of physical violence, nausea-inducing drugs, psychotherapy, and much, much more.

African-Americans are segregated by law until the 1960's.

LGBT people could not be segregated for 2 reasons: 1.) We are less visible. 2.) It was illegal for gay people to congregate in most parts of the country.

Until well into the 1970's and 1980's, there were a variety of anti-LGBT laws on the books. In addition to the previously mentioned sodomy laws and laws against congregating, there were laws against LGBT people dancing together, wearing clothes of the opposite sex (even if you were trans), working in a variety of jobs (military, government, teaching, etc.), immigrating to the United States, and so much more.

LGBT Americans were frequently the subject of police harassment and brutality. The Stonewall Riot, which happened 40 years ago this month, was just one of many acts of resistance against this brutality across the country. The police and FBI often investigated and/or infiltrated LGBT groups and reported members to family, employers, neighbors, etc. Being outed by the police/FBI destroyed tens of thousands of lives. During the McCarthy era, the federal government conducted witch hunts to find homosexuals working in the federal government. The military also conducted such witch hunts to find gay people in the ranks and imprisoned many of those they found. Again, these actions destroyed tens of thousands of lives and careers.

African-Americans were and are frequently targeted by violent extremist groups, both as individuals and as a group. In the United States, attacks against African-Americans are called hate crimes under the law (local, state and federal). Attacks against the African-American community, such as church burnings, are considered domestic terrorism.

Attacks against individual gay people have included tens of thousands of acts of vandalism, arson, harassment, assault, rape, murder and lynching. In most states, these acts are NOT considered hate crimes. Federal law does NOT consider these acts hate crimes. Attacks against the gay community have included the assassination of gay leaders, the bombing of gay establishments, the burning of gay establishments, the firebombing of gay establishments, attacks on gay-positive churches, etc. In many cases, these acts have not been punished as acts of terrorism.

African-Americans continue to struggle with discrimination, despite the fact that it has been illegal for decades.

In 32 states and under federal law, it is still legal to discriminate in employment based on sexual orientation. DADT requires discrimination against LGBT people in the military. In 38 states and under federal law, it is still legal to discriminate in housing and public accommodation based on sexual orientation. It is illegal in most states for gay people to adopt children, even if the biological parent is their legal spouse.

Only 6 states allow gay people to marry. Due to DOMA and dozens of state laws/constitutional amendments, none of the other 44 states or the federal government acknowledge legal marriages between people of the same sex, which denies same-sex married couples access to thousands of rights and benefits including the right to make medical decisions, the right to child custody, the right to visitation in hospitals, the right not to testify against your spouse, the right to sponsor your non-citizen spouse for a green card, the right to make funeral arrangements for your deceased spouse, the right to collect your spouse's social security benefits, the right to file taxes as married, etc. This often requires same-sex couples to pay additional taxes on everything from income to health care to homeownership, to pay thousands of dollars for legal documents approximating a small handful of the purposes of marriage (like medical decision-making), and to confine their lives to those states where they have legal protection.

African-Americans fought for a long time to get their rights. The organized struggle for legal equality for African-Americans began effectively as a meeting of 32 black leaders in 1905 and ended in 1968. The part commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Movement lasted from 1955 to 1968.

The LGBT community has been fighting against anti-gay discrimination as an organized movement since 1950 and will turn 60 next year. The gay equivalent of the Civil Rights Movement (including civil disobedience, marches, legislative lobbying, legal cases, etc.) began in 1969 and continues to the present day. It's been 40 long years.



Blogger Canardius said...

Part of the difference was something you mentioned earlier in your post. You are less visible. No one can tell you to use that water fountain over there instead of this one over here just by looking at you. [You might look a bit overly masculine to some, but you do -- ahem -- have some pronounced feminine features as well. Just like Micah, for all his inner Queenness, could pass for enough of a male to be assigned as my roommate at UNO all those years ago.]
It seems race has always been the elephant in room that is New Orleans, and after Katrina fewer and fewer people want to ignore it just to look at the furniture. They look at the influx of blacks trying to build housing projects in St. Bernard, and thus ends discussion. Where the situation with GLTB has a subtlety to it that blacks don't see. Yes, the idea is the same -- group A sees group B different and doesn't like them. But here group B can hide. In this case group B could blend in and get by -- they just quite rightly don't feel they should. But that's not an option on skin color. Even though many are mixed here -- I myself descend from a mulatto marriage between Pierre Cabaret de Trepy and a slave. [I've wondered if I ever run for office here if I could use that to help ease the race problem, but then our current President is also mulatto, and that doesn't seem to be helping race relations.]

But mulatto isn't a census option anymore; it's either black or white. It's alot harder to tell gay or straight. The blacks, in my opinion, have gone Democrat ever since LBJ gave them the Civil Rights acts of 1964 / 1968. The far left socialist leanings of the Dems can only help them, as they started in this country with nothing.

12:48 PM  

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