Monday, November 2, 2009

Civil rights, but just for me

I was going to begin this post be talking about Mohandas Gandhi. I was going to chastise Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and new leader of the civil rights organization Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), for her hateful pronouncement, recounted in The Guardian: "I know down in my sanctified soul that [MLK] did not take a bullet for samesex unions."


I was going to point out that Gandhi, who is said to have inspired MLK, did not take a bullet for black Americans. His cause was the oppressed people of India. But the universal truth of his message--resistance to tyranny, nonviolence and the fundamental equality of all people--was as applicable on the North American continent as the Asian one. Bernice King's father realized that. How small and hateful and contrary to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi it would have been if, during the height of the U.S. Civil Rights movement, a surviving family member had proclaimed that "down in their souls" they were certain that Gandhi didn't take a bullet for Negroes to ride on the front of the bus.


To my surprise, while doing a little research on the martyr known as "The Great One," I discovered that, though time has cemented Gandhi in the public consciousness as a loving but determined champion for world equality. He may well not have supported civil rights for all marginalized people.


From Wikipedia:


Some of Gandhi's early South African articles are controversial. On 7 March 1908, Gandhi wrote in the Indian Opinion of his time in a South African prison: "Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized - the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals."[14] Writing on the subject of immigration in 1903, Gandhi commented: "We believe as much in the purity of race as we think they do... We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race."[15] During his time in South Africa, Gandhi protested repeatedly about the social classification of blacks with Indians, who he described as "undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs".[16] It is worth noting that during Gandhi's time, the term Kaffir had a different connotation than its present-day usage. Remarks such as these have led some to accuse Gandhi of racism.[17]

and...

In 1906, after the British introduced a new poll-tax, Zulus in South Africa killed two British officers. In response, the British declared a war against the Zulus. Gandhi actively encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts in order to legitimize their claims to full citizenship. The British, however, refused to commission Indians as army officers. Nonetheless, they accepted Gandhi's offer to let a detachment of Indians volunteer as a stretcher bearer corps to treat wounded British soldiers. This corps was commanded by Gandhi. On 21 July 1906, Gandhi wrote in Indian Opinion: "The corps had been formed at the instance of the Natal Government by way of experiment, in connection with the operations against the Natives consists of twenty three Indians".[22] Gandhi urged the Indian population in South Africa to join the war through his columns in Indian Opinion: “If the Government only realized what reserve force is being wasted, they would make use of it and give Indians the opportunity of a thorough training for actual warfare.”[23] In Gandhi's opinion, the Draft Ordinance of 1906 brought the status of Indians below the level of Natives. He therefore urged Indians to resist the Ordinance along the lines of satyagraha by taking the example of "Kaffirs". In his words, "Even the half-castes and kaffirs, who are less advanced than we, have resisted the government. The pass law applies to them as well, but they do not take out passes."[24]

I was wrong about Gandhi having a message of world equality. At least early in his life he believed that some people are more equal than others.


What is it about us that makes us fight for our own freedom and equality, but sit comfortably with the bondage and oppression of others? Even the man heralded as one of the world's greatest civil rights leaders believed "all men are created equal"...but for those over there.


My discovery convinced me of two things:


The greatest battle for marginalized peoples may not be the biases of the majority culture, but the way those biases are embraced by minority cultures. How much stronger would all of the equality movements be if we were working together to cement the idea that EVERYONE, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, ability, etc., deserved basic human rights and respect? Instead, we learn to hate ourselves, while fighting to demonstrate our superiority over other marginalized people. We fight each other over scraps. We fail to leverage our own dehumanization as a tool to empathize with the dehumanization of others. Instead, we seek to demonstrate, as Gandhi once advocated in South Africa, "See, majority, we're just like you. The pair of us are equally better than those people." I deserve rights; they do not.


The fight for equality and human rights might well be over if marginalized people worked together. But we do not.


I think, this is also true: it does not matter what Gandhi thought of black people or what Martin Luther King thought of gay people. For all the deification, they are both just men, fallible men--men of a different time and place (Mohandas Gandhi was born in the 19th century, for goodness sake.), men who were just as influenced by the biases of their day as any of us are, men like those who wrote "all men are created equal" and yet owned men, women and children as property. Do we even know whether MLK would have approved of a woman (his daughter or no) as head of the SCLC? His views and treatment of women were not exactly enlightened. That Gandhi did not believe in the inherent equality of all brown people; that King may not have approved of gay marriage--I couldn't care less.


TODAY matters. It matters that we come to understand that "divided we fall" in the battle for human rights. It matters that we learn that if you are not about justice for all, you are not about justice and that a civil rights organization that does not advocate for across the board human rights is not a civil rights organization. (This goes as much for homophobic black civil rights groups as it does for gay rights groups that marginalize people of color and transgender people.) And that a civil rights leader who takes time out from advocating for equality to call out who, in fact, should not be equal, is not much of a leader at all--pedigree be damned.

25 comments:

Monica Roberts said...

Sadly, that's not just a Black problem, it's a universal problem.

Gay people have done the same to trans people. Back in the late 90's then head of HRC Elizabeth Birch once stated about trsngender inclusion in ENDA, "It will happen over my dead body." and some people in the gay community STILL harbor those attitudes.

!&# said...

This could potentially be very damaging to both movements but not because anyone is obligated to support same sex marriage.

I appreciate complex views about marriage, and African American churches have maintained that marriage as a social and religious institution has meaning, and meaning communicates values. I'm not interested in marriage. I think it's a shortcut around larger issues of social inequality.

The mainstream lesbian and gay civil rights movement appropriates black civil rights history while not really having any visible solidarity with the causes that are at the top of the black agenda. Perhaps this statement comes out of a sensitivity to this?

The movements for LGBTQ* and black power/civil rights have not had a comfortable history with each other, but there have been moments when the movements have had brilliant synthesis: Huey Newton's speech in 1970 about women's and gay liberation, the collaboration of black and gay communities in Chicago to elect Harold Washington. I'm sure we can list plenty of others.

It does not bother me that Bernice King can't support gay marriage, but it does bother me that she doesn't enunciate a vision where marginalized communities can not only deal with each other but actually begin to work to support each other's struggles. Given that her knowledge comes from her "sanctified" soul leads me to believe that this is not a political or tactical rejection of same sex marriage but a moral and religious rejection of people with same sex affections.

(I have the flu, so I apologize for rambling and bumbling.)

MacDaddy said...

Afican Americans, victims of oppression by the majority society, should know better. But, here, Bernice has chosen to ignore the statements by her mother in favor of same-sex unions and side with the majority society and other ministers at SCLC.

I'm what some people would call middle class. I got a little chump change lying around. But, Tami, I promise I will never give any donation to any organization, white or people of color, that does not support same-sex equality.
Blessings.

Beckie said...

Chris Rock's satirical "Head of State" came to mind while reading this post. Throughout the film, someone would declare, "God bless America, and no place else." I'm very disappointed to read what Ms. King stated. It is this type of deformed thinking that (IMO) has a greater negative effect than any blatant racist or marginalizing act. But then again, she has never really been more than a ceremonial figure head to me. She sounds silly; and yet I know many who will take her statement to heart.

au napptural said...

I absolutely disagree. It's wrong for the LGBT to try and hijack King's message. He was a black baptist preacher and no doubt utterly would be against this. But more to the point it signals the very deepest level of white privilege that they would try to make a martyr to an important cause nothing but a ventriloquist's dummy to advance their agenda.

They know King wouldn't favor this and to try and use his name to further this is especially indecent when one considers the rampant racism within that movement. From proclaiming gay the new black, consistent erasure of LGBT POC,the blaming of the failure of prop 8 on black Californians, never mind the millions of whites who voted against the measure or not at all, the wearing of purple klan robes, the vitriolic response to the black church's independence, and lack of any real coalescing with black partners, except to use them.

It is not only a severe disrespect of King's religious beliefs, morals, and legacy, but of his living family for them to claim to know his intentions better than his own daughter. King never said Gandhi was for the rights of black Americans, but that his legacy inspired him. If the LGBT community wants to say that then fine. He inspired lots of people. But they have no right, none, to contradict directly what he stood for.

If he had been for gay rights wouldn't he have supported his fellow Civil Rights Leader, Baynard Rustin, coming out? Sure, but when the outing of his sexuality threatened the integrity of the movement both Rustin and King agreed he should step aside.

The black community has consistently been decried as sexually monstrous, from the Jezebel myth to the supposed giant privates of black men to the rapist myth that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of black men. So pardon us if we choose not to ally with the newest form (in the eyes of the mainstream) of sexual abnormality. But we recall our history even if others chose to ignore it.

Crusader said...

Thanks for the very educational article!

Yvonne Rathbone said...

So right on! Thank you!

Crusader said...

Yes, I remember that HRC issue very well, as I publicly chastised HRC for not including transgender in their lobbying efforts.

I have always included transgender people in my civil rights battles (and activism columns) since the early 1980s.

Hortence Littella said...

Thank you, Tami, for always bringing these complex issues forward through your writing. The collective struggle for equality and justice is waged in our hearts and minds as well as in the public spaces of churches, media, boardrooms, classrooms, etc. It's easy to look "out there" and see all the things that need to change. It can be scary to look into my own heart and see where my compassion fails and my humanity dies. I feel for the leaders whose actions are judged after the fact as tainted by their own moral failings. Real visionaries, like Mohandis Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ultimately connect with and share a transcendant love for humankind that ultimately overwhelms their human prejudices. Why are people so ready to be surprised that a leader is imperfect and human? And why are people so ready to embrace those human imperfections over the gift of those leaders' transcendant messages of compassion and love?

Jacob said...

@au-napptural:

We constantly bypass what historical figures actually believed in favor of the spirit of what they stood for in their time.

Did any of the founding fathers mean to say that non-land-holding, non-white, non-male people should vote in elections and guide the course of the nation? Very few would have agreed with that premise. But compared with the prevailing view at the time, the view that ordinary citizens should decide these matters did stand for liberation (for a few). So we extend the meaning to correct the historical blindspot, but still in the spirit of the original plan for our nation: black men should vote; all women should vote; there must be no impediments to a citizen's access to the polls.

Whether or not King would have supported equal rights for our gay citizens himself, we have learned a great truth from him that applies to the cause.

!&# said...

I am sympathetic to au napptural's concerns, but there's a very crucial fact that's been overlooked. Black men and women's bodies and sexualities have been maligned and described in monstrous ways. This is actually a common element of the way dominant racist culture views LGBTQ people too! The Jezebel myth and the lesbian spinster, the giant member of black men and the ugly, unmasculine bodies of gay men, and the black male rapist and the child molesting gay man are all lies from the same oppressive bag of tricks.

Jennifer said...

Tami,
So many people have already said elements of what I believe/would say that I just want to let you know how much I appreciated your very thoughtful take on this issue and the reminder to us all that these revered icons of civil and human rights were also fallible human beings.

I also think that your post and some of the above comments raise all sorts of questions about ownership and appropriation--is it "right" to take the words and/or sentiments of one person who is so closely linked with a specific group and apply those words/sentiments to an entirely different group/situation? I understand au napptural's feelings that there could be an element of privilege exerting itself, and there has been a history of queer rights activists either ignoring or marginalizing concerns of people of color.

But...shouldn't the ideas be larger than the man or men or group? If the heart of the matter is oppression, as you have pointed out, then understanding the way that oppression intersects and gets linked may be one of the most liberating acts we can all engage in.

msladydeborah said...

Tami,

I cannot think of one progressive movement during my life time that did not have some manner of flaws.

Leaders of movements are human beings. The flaw factor is built into all of us. No one is perfect and no cause is void of imperfections.

I think that it is up to people who are open minded enough to realize that equality is a right that has to encompass all people from different walks of life. It seems like it would be easy to forward that idea and make the necessary adjustments. But this nation doesn't honestly work that way. People who are supportive of Gay Rights will have to work towards securing them legally. Eventually the society will catch up with the idea. Or the ones who are not pro-equality will continue to be disgruntled.

Cindy said...

I'll start with this was a great post Tami, and the comments are also a worthwhile read...most of them.

I recognize that the fight for equal rights for LBGT has moments of being visibly white and visibly racist. The fight for racial equality is ongoing within every community, but it is happening. It is happening because of strong voices within the gay community, voices of every color. The fact is that large numbers of the gay community HAVE come out in the fight for racial equality.

Gandhi and MLK were larger than their time and they continue to speak to an ever growing audience. We are able to look beyond their weakness as mere men and see the greatness they inspire. The gay community is not hijacking MLK, but recognizing the universal truth of his focused mission. There are comparisons to the black civil rights movement because there are obvious similarities. Spewing hate at one another is what the white male power establishment wants. If minority groups are effectively pitted against one another, then there is much less for the majority to do.

MLK loved Rustin and needed him in the fight. They both knew given the time that public knowledge of Rustin's homosexuality would be a negative distraction. The notion of "gay rights" in they way we know it today didn't exist at that time. This was less about MLK being against gay rights and more about focusing on the task at hand. There is no need to flip this around into an MLK hated gays diatribe.

My rights don't diminish another's. Someone's right to marry doesn't negate another's. When everyone is truly treated equally then EVERYONE will benefit. The fact is that LBGT do not have equal rights. Gaining the right to marry brings a huge number of basic rights that are just not available otherwise. The remainder will free float from there.

corinnajune said...

I am kind of surprised at the views of Martin Luther King Jr's daughter, when one of my favorite quotes (it's been on my myspace page for several years) is from his wife:

"[My husband] believed that none of us could be free until all of us were free, that a person of conscience had no alternative but to defend the human rights of all people. I want to reaffirm my determination to secure the fullest protection of the law for all working people, regardless of their sexual orientation ... it is right, just, and good for America." Coretta Scott King

Red said...

@ Tami,

This is a great post and I've forwarded it on to my friends and colleagues in the refugee and immigrant women's right's groups.

As Cindy said, "My rights don't diminish another's."

Each social movement builds on the work that came before -- regardless of the intentions of those who came before. Gandhi inspired the US black civil rights movement, which inspired the US women's rights movement of the 1970's which inspired the Asian American rights movement, and now we have the LGBTQQIPA movement. Of course life isn't this linear and certainly the people in each movement are flawed.

The point is, however that it's necessary that we keep moving forward, and as allies to one another in the larger fight for human rights for all.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Bernice King has a right to her opinion on this matter. To me the issues of racial minorities and the issues of GLBT is not the same, and I don't feel comfortable when GLBTs attempt to make it sound like being Black is on the same par as being gay. GLBTs do not have to disclose their orientations, but most people of color can't "hide" being their race. Besides, how do we know it's not just another way for white males to usurp superiority again.

Crusader said...

How ironic that the person who says blacks cannot hide their race posts the comment as ANONYMOUS. Give me a break. Discrimination is discrimination. All of it is wrong and usually against the law. I didn't know there were "levels" of discrimination. Are blacks on one level, Hispanics on a different level, women on yet another level, and LGBTs somewhere else. I don't get it.

Cindy said...

Anonymous Post: "GLBTs do not have to disclose their orientations, but most people of color can't "hide" being their race." This is a stupid hate filled argument. Blacks who "pass" know what it is to hide their race...to hide a major segment of their life. They know the toll on the psyche and spirit. GLBT are hated, discriminated against in all ways, beaten, raped and killed because of who they are. A simple act of holding hands can bring about violence. These things happen whether they are out or not because assumptions are made. Assumptions because GLBT cannot "hide" who they are as easily as people believe. It's the argument that my pain is worse than your pain. Shouldn't we care that people are suffering regardless of the reason and without imposing a hierarchy? Why don't you want everyone to have equal rights? What is gained by continued oppression of any one group of society?

There are more similarities in the suffering of GLBT and African Americans than there are differences. Teasing apart the differences is a wag the dog distraction.

Anonymous said...

I thought name calling and personal attacks weren't allowed here at this, but yet here someone did that...and then ya gotta wonder why some choose to be anonymous?

My statement is neither "stupid" nor hate filled, and those who are making such comments are merely virtual bullies. Just because someone doesn't agree with one's opinion doesn't mean the opposing opinion is any less valid. Perhaps gay rights would be more accepted if some people didn't constantly shove it down the throats of others under the guise of "civil rights!" I still assert that Bernice King and anyone else, anonymous or not, has as much right to an opinion as those here who think they're being so intellectually honest by signing their names!

Tami said...

Anon,

Yes, Bernice King has a right to her opinion, but people of good conscience have a right to call her on that opinion and how it contradicts her professed commitment to civil rights.

And I have to say, I try to balance allowing all voices to be heard here with the need for creating a safe space for like-minded people to communicate. Dissenting opinions are welcome, but this isn't the place to argue that people who want the same basic rights as other human beings are "shoving their needs down the throats" of others, as if a desire to be treated humanely is something people should be measured and cautious about. I, for one, am glad that the courageous people who fought for me to be treated equally as a black woman did not temper their actions for fear of offending people who opposed my humanity.

That, in essence, is what this post was about: The need for all marginalized people to draw on their own experiences to empathize and support others. It is hypocritical to think civil rights is just for me and other oppressed people should shut up and stop imposing upon me with their calls for equality.

au napptural said...

Starting with Tami, sorry, I was so caught up in my social issues rant I completely left out my comment to you. At what point does the nebulous issue of gay rights overshadow the agency of the church and ppl's personal beliefs? Because the last time I checked these ppl weren't saying 'stone them' but that the Bible says in several distinct places that homosexuality is wrong. Don't they have a right to express their faith as they see fit?

To Jacob, no one believed or believes that those slave holding, racist, anti Native American, sexist, xenophobic "founding fathers" were for anyone's equal rights, so stop the madness. If you look at Shay's Rebellion, not even ten years after the ratification of the Constitution, you'll see they weren't even for the rights of all white men, only the property owing, middle to upper class ones. Ppl are trying to be "nice" when they say things like this, but nice sickly sweet words that clog up ppl's ears so they can't hear the truth or plug their mouths so it can't get out have no place in this discourse. Those founders' beliefs can be seen in their own actions and words (see the Constitution for the the 3/5's compromise, a proviso for counting slaves as 3/5's of a person for census purposes. Really clarifies that they weren't seen as complete humans, let alone future citizens, by this nation. For additional reading, try Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, in which there's a diatribe on the supposed inferiority of the mental and physical endowments of blacks, which I believe was about the same time he was carrying on his infamous affair Sally Hemmings, his slave.)

Monica brought up an excellent point, which I neglected to mention the first time. I've studied gay rights and that 'T' in GLBT is a very recent addition. From the beginning, the leadership has been trying to suppress the "rogue" elements of promiscuity, transgender people, and intersex rights, in favor of a much more non-threatening mainstream image. Which segues nicely into my next point.

MLK wasn't excluding gay people for fun. He also didn't allow any communists, separatists, or any one with the slightest left leaning proclivities in his groups' activities. Why? Look at the time frame. This was the middle of the Cold War ,and while King was a political strategist extraordinaire for using U.S. hypocrisy against the country on the world stage to make great gains he realized the same tactic could work in reverse. His movement had to be above reproach, in terms of the morals of the day, which included no homosexuality and no communism.

Macdaddy...just because we have all been oppressed doesn't make us allies. And I for one am so glad we are not jumping into the same old "oh, oppression makes us equal" trick bag (most of us anyways...). You see what happened with women's lib right? All the white women cared about was raising their privilege level to that of white men. They wanted to use black women to swell the ranks, boost their credibility, and cosign their lunacy. In order to get a seat on their holy movement train we were supposed to rabidly condemn the misogyny of black men, while they explain the environmental, emotional, etc. reasons for the misogyny of white men, and try to educate them because they are worth the effort. Where's the effort for black men? You must erase your self and your WOC issues to focus on the "universal" white women issues, unless of course it's special interest time and they throw in some WOC with the trans/lesbian diatribe, because WOC aren't real women in their eyes. Just replace white women with white gay men and WOC with POC LGBT and you got the gist!

Side point- because one part of your identity is othered doesn't automatically bequeath you consciousness. In other words, white male plus gay still equals privileged, and I don't think I want to spend my time raising that last identity to full privilege rights, so I can be yet more oppressed.

au napptural said...

Side point- because one part of your identity is othered doesn't automatically bequeath you consciousness. In other words, white male plus gay still equals privileged, and I don't think I want to spend my time raising that last identity to full privilege rights, so I can be yet more oppressed.

!&#-NO! We are not comparing oppressions over here! I was having my own special black person moment. This is what I am talking about. In political science, it is referred to as structural fundamentalism, or trying to equate different institutions that serve different purposes within a state, i.e. comparing a president to a prime minister. But the underlying intent, while good, ignores basic important differences in impact and meaning, like you are doing. Don't do that.

Crusader and Cindy, lovely how y'all could band together and attack Anon on a personal level. Speaks volumes for the respect you actually have for others' opinions.

Jennifer...where do I begin? I'll condense. Basically, you are saying that it's cool for a group of largely white men (referring to leadership) that routinely suppress minorities, women, and opposing perspectives to gain more power, to usurp the words of a black man expressly against said movement all in the equality and unicorns...UGH! Supposed equal rights believers like you just frustrate me. This is completely circular logic. You can't stamp out oppression by favoring one over another. Additionally, despite what you may think oppression isn't all separate water fountains and not being able to get married. Not having your voice valued and respected is a huge part of it and for a privileged group, however partially disadvantaged, to ventriloquise a civil rights worker is the very embodiment of this idea.

Finally, I understand what Anon. is saying. This movement is like no other I've ever seen, in that it seems to oppress as it goes. It has to come from a place of privilege. There is a lack of a founding tradition (I don't mean Stonewall ppl), I mean a tradition of personal work. It is not enough to attempt to steal someone else's tradition, though Lord knows it was certainly familiar. Where is the dues paying? All I see is vitriol aimed at all dissidents, no matter what the logic. Not like the quiet dignity of the original Civil Rights Movement. Where is the alliance? Although a new letter joins the acronym every day where is the real commitment to equality? It's not there if you aren't gay, white and male (even lesbians are suspect). Forget all POC and non gay members of the "alliance". What about their civil rights?

au napptural said...

In the Jennifer section that should have read: Jennifer...where do I begin? I'll condense. Basically, you are saying that it's cool for a group of largely white men (referring to leadership) that routinely suppress minorities, women, and opposing perspectives to gain more power, to usurp the words of a black man expressly against said movement all in the NAME OF equality and unicorns...UGH!

P.S.- doing something in the name of something (i.e. equality) doesn't make it right. Remember the Crusades, Atlantic Slave trade, colonization, imperialism, and several genocides? All in the name of Christianity. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

cathy said...

app-natural, you point out how these movements exclude certain people when you yourself are doign exactly the same thing. QUEER PEOPLE OF COLOR EXIST! So, what gives you the right to criticize the history of some of these movements for excluding certain people when you do the exact same thing? The majority of queer people are of lower income than the average population, more than half of us are not men, many of us are people of color, disabled, immigrants, etc. Gay is not a priviledged group! Yes, a white gay male still has white male privilidge, but a hetero cisgender black woman still has heterosexual and cisgender priviledge. How does giving a gay person equal rights worsen your oppression?

As to the church thing, freedom of religion means freedom not to be denied legal rights for not following a certain religious sects beliefs. Ms. King has a right to her bigoted beliefs, but the moment she tries to enact them into law she is violating the right of others to have the same freedom of religion and beliefs.

"The movements for LGBTQ* and black power/civil rights have not had a comfortable history with each other" Huey Newton actually wrote a very strong support of gay rights calling out black panther leaders who were using anti-gay rhetoric. Has there been tension between movements sometimes? Yes, but that does not mean we have never worked together. There was a very outspoken lesbian contingent of the panthers as well. But I guess under your view these lesbians asking to be treated as equal to their straight sisters makes them anti-black.

"a group of largely white men (referring to leadership)" LGBTs aren't more white or male than anyone else and the HRC is extremely unpopular within the queer community (see the counter HRC protests at the recent march and the refusal of many groups to work with them). One organization with a lot of financial power given by the democratic party does not represent the entire queer community.

"Because the last time I checked these ppl weren't saying 'stone them' " In many cases, they are. Hate crimes against LGBTs are up this year and denying us civil rights is an act of hate and oppression. You do not get to force your beliefs on everyone else and if you think bigotry does not harm a community, you are deluded. They harm us and they harm the most vulnerable of us especially. Trans people, poor people, people of color, the disabled within the LGBT community are often the first targets that bigots go to when it comes to firing, eviction, denial of education, beatings, rapes, and murder. Go and talk to an actual gay person, and I doubt you'll be able to find one who hasn't themselves experienced or witnessed such abuses. Tell my friend who was brutally raped and infected with HIV because she was a lesbian that treating her like a fucking human being diminishes your rights.

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