Gay is the new black: The Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century

Gay is the new black: The Civil Rights Movement of the 21st Century

Andy Ha, Staff Reporter

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a huge civil rights movement among the African-American community. Around this time, there was segregation and racism throughout communities. African-Americans fought for their basic human rights, which they eventually achieved. But has the Civil Rights movement ended?

Today, in the 21st century, there is a new Civil Rights movement going on that has the world divided in many different ways. The Civil Rights movement within the gay community is going strong and striving every day. The gay community is fighting for the right to marry, the right to be protected, and the right to be equal among others. People from a normal everyday school teacher to the president of the United States have an opinion on the Civil Rights movement going on. Some are for it, some are against it, and some just don’t really have an opinion.

Several factors determine people’s strong beliefs about this issue. For some, it is all about their religious beliefs where they stand by their belief that homosexuality is a sin. Others have different reasons to be for or against gay rights

Journalist and author Michael Joseph Gross, who inspired this article, wrote an article for the December 2008 issue of Advocate magazine that is titled “Gay Is the New Black.” In the article, he discusses the parallels between the civil rights struggles of the gay community today and the African-American community back during times of segregation. He focused on the issues during the time where Proposition 8 had just passed in California, and people were taking strong stances on both sides of the issue. He was discussed the effect of Proposition 8 and the fight with the gay community on equality between all citizens. He said in the article, “We gave into another post-election temptation, too. Many drew a simple parallel between our struggle and the black civil rights movement. Signs at protests said, ‘I have a dream too,’ ‘Welcome to Selma,’ and’Gay is the new black.’”

History teacher Dan Price, says that the two civil rights movement aren’t the same. “There are some parts that are similar, but the rights being fought for and the environment of the situation is different. Back then, it was a fight to be a citizen. Now, it’s a fight for equality between citizens.” Mr. Price, though, has no formal opinion on the matter because he does not keep up with the current events of the civil rights movement right now. He does have an opinion on gay marriage though, saying that, “If the law allows it, then it should be allowed.”

Sophomore David Willingham says that it is the same though. He approves of gay rights and says of the comparison, “I feel like people say that racial preference is more important than sexual preference, but it’s still discrimination. It’s still the same.”

No matter what one’s sexual preference is or the pigmentation of one’s skin, discrimination is discrimination. People are dying and/or have died from these civil rights movements, whether it’s from a hate crime or suicide. But how long is it going to take for America to realize this? People are suffering and being punished for who they are, which isn’t right or fair. A citizen is a citizen, despite being of a different race or sexual orientation.