Four months before Rosa Parks refused to vacate her bus seat to a white man in 1955, she attended a retreat at the Highlander center in Tennessee, where she took a workshop alongside blacks and whites on school desegregation. More than a half century later, the Highlander center is still training soldiers in the fight for equal rights. Only now the battleground has shifted. Last January, four dozen gay and lesbian activists gathered for a center retreat overlooking the Smoky Mountains to get inspiration on how they could show—not just tell—America that their rights are being violated.
But how? There are no “heterosexuals only” Woolworth counters where gays and lesbians can protest segregation; even Woolworth itself is long gone from the U.S. “We needed to create the urgency and critical mass to stop the injustice towards our community,” says Robin McGehee, a mother of two and cofounder of the civil-disobedience group that was formed during those five days in Tennessee, called GetEQUAL. “What are our lunch-counter images?”
Before BOTH groups get defensive and start yanking and pulling me and the rest of mine (i.e. lgbts of color), allow me to throw out some thoughts You can either take or leave these thoughts, but they are MY observations.
To the African-American community - Yes the lgbt civil rights movement is the same as the African-American civil rights movement. Just because the conditions of injustices are different do not make the injustices more palatable. Remember before you throw out Bible verses against the lgbt community that Bible verses were used to justify slavery and segregation. You should be flattered that lgbts are copying the work done in the 50s and 60s just like African-Americans back then copied the work of Gandhi. You see, no one group has the patent when it comes to fighting for their rights.
To the lgbt community - Gay is NOT the new black. And don't ever say some dumb shit like that ever again. It's counterproductive and it keeps you from educating yourself on the nuances of the African-American struggle. Yes the struggle for lgbt equality is similar to the African-American civil rights movement, but that does not mean it excuses you from taking into account the different nuances between the two. And above all, stop making it sound so simplistic. Marching was only part of the story. Behind each march was a plan as to how said march would affect the movement as a whole, which proves that marching alone without a game plan will get you nowhere. And remember that you all don't have to get along. Goodness knows those working in the African-American civil rights movement didn't. But they learned to work together. Educate yourselves on how this was done.
To both communities - As an lgbt of color I have to say from the heart that BOTH of y'all are getting on my damn nerves. The irony is that lgbts and African-Americans are similar in terms of history. If you would stop fighting, you would learn this. Also don't ignore the ignore the needs of lgbts of color in your community. Don't assume to know who we are or what we want. Ask us. Lastly, as an lgbt of color, let me say that I will NOT make a choice between my racial heritage and my sexual identity. I embrace both. But when I feel that the lgbt community is wrong, I will say so. And that also goes for the black community.
I am not a commodity, I am person who is uncompromisingly black and unapologetically gay. Deal with it.