National Black Justice Coalition | Is Marriage for Same-Sex Couples a “Civil Right”?
Some Blacks are offended when LGBT people equate the movement for marriage equality for same-sex couples with the African American civil rights movement.
When white LGBT people overshadow the voices of Black LGBT people and discuss the ability to marry as a matter of "civil rights," some Blacks may feel like the comparison diminishes the stain on our nation that resulted from centuries of slavery, lynching, segregation, and discrimination. We should remember, however, that many LGBT people are members of our community, the Black community, and were an integral part of our Black civil rights movement.
Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), Deputy Director of the 1963 March on Washington, was an openly gay Black man. In his position as advisor to Dr. King he is credited as the true logistical mastermind of the event. ... Though the FBI pressured March organizers to abandon Rustin, they recognized the essential quality of his leadership and stood behind him. ...
"When I picketed for Welfare Mother's Rights, and against the enforced sterilization of young Black girls, when I fought institutionalized racism in the New York City schools, I was a Black Lesbian. But you did not know it because we did not identify ourselves, so now you can say that Black Lesbians and Gay men have nothing to do with the struggles of the Black Nation. And I am not alone.
When you read the words of Langston Hughes you are reading the words of a Black Gay man. When you read the words of Alice Dunbar-Nelson and Angelina Weld Grimke, poets of the Harlem Renaissance, you are reading the words of Black Lesbians. When you listen to the life-affirming voices of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, you are hearing Black Lesbian women. When you see the plays and read the words of Lorraine Hansberry, you are reading the words of a woman who loved women deeply."
Visionary writer Audre Lorde, from her essay entitled "I Am Your Sister."
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