Saturday, April 4, 2009

Civil Rights and Gay Rights

Hello All,

It’s going on 10:00 p.m. and I’m tired. Usually this is the time I am full of energy, but I haven’t had my nap today and I didn’t take an energy pill. I did do a boatload of household laundry and the yard today, so I did accomplished something. I try not to overwhelm myself if it isn’t necessary.

Despite my fatigue, I really wanted to get this blog out to you today. As a bi-racial, half African-American, gay woman, I feel that April 4th is a significant day in history. That was the date of Martin Luther King’s assassination over 40 years ago. Shortly after, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 marking the textbook year end to the civil rights movement.

Now, the exact year may vary depending on who’s answering, and some will argue that the movement is still an ongoing process. Sometimes it is hard to change a reality that existed for many years. Not many people like change, but after a while, people will get use to it. I find many similarities with the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement.

Both groups of minorities have had a difficult time finding equality in the “land of the free”. Just as African-Americans fought in wars defending this country and not getting equal treatment and respect in return, so have gay people. Just as interracial dating was once illegal, so was homosexuality. And just as many Americans of different backgrounds fought against the blatant prejudices that existed less than half a century ago for African-Americans, currently we have many people standing up for the gay community.

We are progressing as a nation. Not only is homosexuality no longer considered a crime, there are several states that have legalized gay marriage. Yesterday, Iowa became the third state to legalize same-sex marriages following Massachusetts and Connecticut. There are other states that allow civil unions, but that is not equivalent to marriage. As human beings and American citizens, we are fighting for the same rights as any other American citizen.

I think the most important thing to remember is that sometimes changing a system which is not reasonable takes a fight. There are different ways to fight for equality. A thing to remember is that it takes persistence. Not everyone may agree with you, but if you take the time to help people understand your perspective, you may just win a few people over. And with enough won battles, justice will prevail.

I wish you much peace and happiness.

:) The Gay Mentor

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