By Eboné Parks
The Birmingham Times
Can two different struggles during two different time periods have similarities? Some believe the gay rights and civil rights movements are comparable.
Debate.org recently surveyed online users about the two movements. According to the results, nearly half of respondents believe the gay rights movement is similar to the civil rights movement; the rest believe the struggles are very different. Here are some comments from people on both sides:
“Yes, they are similar.”
- While it can’t be compared to slavery, the fact that people want rights denied to certain people based on their morals or beliefs makes both movements the same. During the civil rights movement, people considered black people inferior to whites. During the gay rights movement, people believe gay people are monsters that will convert their children. With all these religions preaching the doctrine of “love thy neighbor,” people should do just that—let everyone do what makes them happy and live their lives.
- I believe any oppression of people is all the same. I believe African-Americans experienced a different form of discrimination due to their skin pigmentation. If LGBT individuals were unable to hide their identity, the movements would have been synonymous in all regards.
- We may not have been enslaved, but does that mean we don’t feel hurt all the same by not being allowed to be with someone we love or facing danger because of it? Just because we didn’t endure years of hardship doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of discrimination for extremely illegitimate reasons that truly boil down to people’s blatant fear of change and allowing anything new to blossom.
- During the civil rights movement, it was stated over and over that the U.S. Constitution clearly states that “all men are created equal.” Although the fight for black rights may be more severe due to the act of slavery, it does not change the fact that “all men are created equal” and all citizens of America deserve equal rights and equal treatment. The gay rights movement and civil rights movement may be for two different causes, but in the end all those participating in either movement are fighting for the same thing—freedom.
“No, they are not similar.”
- The civil rights movement was based on a system of slavery and suppression that denied blacks and other minorities the rights of voting and holding certain positions in office. It was a much more profound movement that affected millions, as well as generations to come. The gay rights movement has an impact, but it’s nowhere near the extent of the civil rights movement.
- The civil rights movement was about gaining voting rights, public accommodations, proper school funding for minority schools, etc. … People are more accepting of those in the [gay rights] struggle than they were of blacks and other minorities who were part of the civil rights movement. Look at any footage of the civil rights movement and notice the extreme amount of violence there. You see little if any of this in gay pride parades.
- There is a big difference between fighting for rights as a gay person and fighting for rights as a person of color. People of color have no choice when it comes to letting everyone know the color of their skin is different. It’s a reality that exists day in and day out. The color of their skin is always out there for everyone to see.
- Gays have not been refused the right to vote or use the same water fountain. They were not lynched en masse. They were not forced to the back of the bus.