BerkeleyprideRecently I did an interview with a political newspaper where I was asked if the gay rights movement was comparable to the 60’s Civil Rights Movement.

While I believe that you can compare the gay rights movement with the movement for civil rights led by Blacks, that doesn’t mean that they are identical, because they are not.  There are just as many differences as there are similarities.

The common denominator between the two movements is discrimination, one for sexual orientation and one because of race. 

While I think that it’s justifiable to compare the two movements in the debate over equal rights for lesbians and gays, when it comes to African Americans, it does everyone involved a disservice when this message is not delivered by the Black same-gender loving community.

Now I know the gay leadership loves to make this comparison in their “outreach” to Blacks, but I feel it does more damage than good.

You have to remember that the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s was driven by the discrimination and prejudice faced at the hands of whites.  That’s something that isn’t easily overlooked. 

Whites still primarily drive the movement for marriage.  When you watch CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc., Blacks, Latinos, and Asians are not the ones representing the gay community.  No, it’s still a white male, and to some extent, white female driven movement, and yes, I do believe this to be intentional.

The other reason that I believe this comparison shouldn’t be made by non-Blacks is that the gay leadership by and large still ignores Black gays and at the end of the day doesn’t really have the best interests of Black at heart.  This is the reason why marriage continues to dominate the so-called gay agenda and the gay community is nowhere to be found on issues important to minority communities.  The only thing that Black gays can do for the Leadership is be their Black faces and spread their message of marriage for everyone. 

I don’t think so.

In 2004, the Reverend Jesse Jackson declared that the fight of gays and lesbians wanting to marry should not be compared to the fight African Americans faced for civil rights.

He said, “The comparison with slavery is a stretch in that some slave masters were gay, in that gays were never called three-fifths human in the Constitution and in that they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote.”

Now why do you think Jackson felt comfortable enough saying this?

Because Jackson, like the rest of Black America, has been influenced by the media presence of the gay leadership that is and continues to be, white using what they perceive to be the suffering of Blacks to justify their movement.

The movement for marriage will never make the strides that it is has in mainstream America with Blacks until the gay leadership realizes several things.

One, marriage is not the biggest issue for Black gays.

Over and over again, I witness gay organizations trying to brainstorm on how to get more Blacks to the table on the issue of marriage, and time again they come up short.

Marriage has never been number one on the Black gay agenda, instead we’re more interested in fighting homophobia in our communities. Which is not to say that we don’t want the right to get married, but we also want affordable housing, employment, universal healthcare, more funding for HIV/AIDS programs in our communities, and social security reform.  We’re equally, if not more concerned about fighting homophobia in the Black church.

The second reason that the marriage movement will never resonate with Blacks is that the gay leadership is not in a position to tell us what we need to do in our communities.  The gay leadership by and large is not Black and did not grow up in our communities and therefore continue to only be guestimating on what will and won’t work instead of letting those from the community address the issue our way.  What may work with whites doesn’t necessarily transcend into the Black community and that seems to be a hard fact for the gay leadership to swallow.

Those of you who read my articles frequently know that I write on this issue a lot.  Well, it’s because the gay leadership continues to ignore the cries of those like me in the community where it relates to Blacks.  Here in California, I’m about at my wits end in dealing with one particular gay group and before it’s all said and done, it could get nasty.  Why nasty?  Because I am not so particularly inclined to roll out the red carpet welcoming a group that has no business in my community and on any other issue, isn’t even concerned about Blacks. It always comes down to having to fight in the Black community for being gay and having to fight gays to be Black.