Separate but equal wasn’t okay then and its not okay now.

One thing most people can look into history and recognize as morally wrong is the separate but equal act that encouraged racial segregation. We look at this act many years later and see its uncountable flaws, but, in its time, this was seen as an okay thing. Now we know it was wrong. Most people wonder how their grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. could have seen this entire population of people as inhuman or less valuable. In today’s society, people still feel this way. However, most people have moved from hating the black community, to hating the LGBTQ community.  A lot of the same people who cannot fathom hating a person because of their skin color, are also the people who feel that gays should not receive the same rights as straight people. I want to say this plain and simple. How is hating a person for their skin any different from hating a person for their love?

“He seems like a nice guy but I don’t like him simply because he’s black. I have a problem with black people. I don’t like blacks and I never will.”

This statement would be a shock to hear from someone in modern times. Most people would frown on the person who feels this way. While personal opinions should always be respected, people need to understand that not everyone feels that way. In the times of separate but equal, people who disliked blacks didn’t want to share their facilities. They felt that as long as the facilities for the black community were equal to that of the whites, it would be fair and there was nothing wrong with that.

In the statement above, replace the word “black” with “gay.” do you feel the same way as you did when it was about black people? is this statement still completely ridiculous?

I don’t even know for sure that the current state of LGBTQ rights can be called separate but equal. It’s not separate, and it’s surely not equal. The gay community is expected to have all of the same responsibilities as the straight community. Both communities live in the same world, by the same rules. They use the same money, work the same jobs, and shop at the same stores. They watch the same television shows, listen to the same music, and look up to the same celebrities. Yet gays are still second class citizens. They can’t get married, they can’t adopt children, they can’t even donate their blood to help someone who really needs it.  Gay youth can’t express themselves in school because they fear the reaction of their peers. These youth can’t take the one they love to their prom because they fear for their safety.

Is it really fair that these kids can’t have the same high school memories as their straight peers? Is it fair that a gay couple, who have been together for years can’t tie the knot? Is it fair that a man can’t donate his blood to people who need it simply because his sexuality its inaccurately associated with a disease? Is it fair that a gay couple can’t adopt a child in need of a home? Is it fair that a gay couple should have a harder time buying a home or apartment because of who they love? Is it fair that many gay youth are thrown out on the streets with nowhere to go after building up the courage to come out to their parents? What if it was you?

There are days dedicated to supporting and spreading awareness of the LGBTQ community. First, is the National day of silence. This day is celebrated by remaining silent for the duration of the school or work day. This silence is representative of silence that the LGBTQ community lives in because if they speak about being gay, they will be oppressed. They will be freaks. They will be sub-human. They will be second class citizens.

National “Coming Out”day is a day to inspire closeted LGBTQs to come out of the closet, to come out of hiding. It is a day to encourage these people to show their true colors and to be themselves. Why is it that only the LGBTQ community has to hide for a portion of their life and eventually work up the courage to finally out themselves? Why don’t straight people ever have to reveal themselves as straight? Because being straight is “normal” and being different is unacceptable. Is that fair?

Why do we let society teach our children that some love is right, and some is wrong? Why can’t love just be love? What’s wrong with loving someone of the same gender? Why is different always wrong? How can you say being gay is a choice? Why would so many people choose to be a target? Why can people fight for freedom only to be told they can’t marry the one they love?Why is this still happening today? Why can’t we learn from the civil rights movement for racial equality? Why can’t we learn from the women’s rights movement? Why can we teach our children to learn from their mistakes but not learn from our own? Why can’t we all be free? Why can’t we all be individuals? Why can’t we all be ourselves?

We are all meant to shine. We are all beautiful.

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