The Civil Rights movement may have started out on a mission to improve the lives of the large population of African-Americans, but who would have guessed that Kings quest for racial integration would provoke the same quest for individual rights by another completely different group of people, this time the Gay and Lesbians of society. The quest for equal rights by people, who had unjustifiably been repressed for hundreds of years, would spur and give rise to another group of citizens.
While their backgrounds may be totally different, their purpose remained the same as it remains for all members of American society; Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff clearly show that the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century was followed by the gay rights movement in the latter part of the century. Their methods, arguments, and conclusions clearly resemble Kings and it seems as if they probably took a lot from him to base their own arguments for their own cause.
It seems that King would have supported their cause or at least the ways in which they fought to get the freedom and the rights that they so naturally deserve. The Civil Rights movement of the mid 20th century was a time of great social change in America. Many people such as Martin Luther King Jr. , decided at this time that they could not wait any longer for justice. The racial discrimination and segregation had reached unbearable and intolerable heights that had been hurting the African-Americans in more ways than one could even imagine.
They suffered from violence, in their community and by others, as well as extreme poverty and lack of a sufficient education system. King believed that no one deserved to be treated this way, since, after all they were American citizens just like the White person next to him or her. King argued and asked why Black Americans are not considered equal in a society that they have lived in for a long time, and when they had the ability to participate in it, they were denied these rights.
The question remained unanswered for a long time, the only real answer being that their skin color was different and the only thing that distinguished them from the White people in society. It seems so inconceivable to even think that such a large group of society would be denied of their natural rights as citizens just because of the color of their skin. The Gay Rights movement that occurred later on in the century shared many things in common with the Civil Rights movement.
Most importantly, both movements struggled to gain rights for peoples who had been discriminated against because of something that they themselves cannot help or change and for something that had no relation to the rights that they desired. While the Civil Rights movement sought to bring about rights for African-Americans who were born with a darker skin color, the Gay Rights movement sought to gain rights for people who were born homosexual and could not explain why or how they became so. There was no choice in being a Black-American as there was no choice in being attracted to people of the same gender or being homosexual.
Therefore, as American citizens, they were not making an illegal or immoral choice but rather they were just being the person they were born to be. In addition, by being African-American or Gay, they did not give cause or reason to be stripped or limited of their rights by society as a whole. Whatever, these people were, above all they were American citizens. A major difference however between the tow movements was the very fact of the skin color issue. While there was no way to really tell by a persons appearance whether he or she was really homosexual, one could clearly distinguish who was Black and who was White.
In other words, while a homosexual person could hide or mask their sexual orientation for the most part in public, African-Americans could not hide their skin color generally. However, this begins to raise the question and the issue of the closeted homosexuals and their involvement in the movement. Because they either have no desire to come out or are too afraid to proclaim their homosexuality, many gay people are forced to keep their mouths shut so that a smaller percentage are subsequently pushed to voice the outcry of those who cannot participate.
While this might be fine in some cases, it is not beneficial to this movement because if the community is seen as so small, then no one will really want to be bothered by their issues. However, since African-Americans had no way of hiding their Blackness they were forced to step into the public spotlight and make their voices heard by society. Their presence became so strong that at a point no one could deny them of their natural rights any longer. Another thing that created an issue for the Civil Rights and the Gay Rights movements were the stereotypes that exist and had to and continue to be challenged.
African-Americans are usually stereotyped as dangerous or drug dealers etc, and gays are usually stereotyped as promiscuous, or always in search of random sex, not being able to hold back. The problem with these stereotypes is that much of them could be resolved or changed if these people were given the same freedoms as the other people in society. Maybe if the gay people in society were given the opportunity to get married we could eliminate the idea that they are all promiscuous because now they have the opportunity to settle down and be faithful to one person.
Also, if they dont believe their monogamy is useless, then we could probably prevent the spreading of disease too. If African-American were able to be given equal opportunity always in any job, they might not feel the need to act in illegal ways to get money by either stealing or doing unethical forms of business. In the end it seems that all of these stereotypes come as a result of these people being denied the opportunities and rights they so absolutely deserve as citizens.
While other groups or people may act in the ways stereotyped by these groups, they are not denied anything based upon these acts. When one really considers these groups it seems almost apparent that they would be unhappy in certain ways. Both probably going through an uncertainty of their futures, and whether or not they would be victims of violence or harassment at some point in time. Whether they will be stopped or persecuted by the police unjustly and even whether they will be able to get descent jobs that they deserve.
The denial of these groups of their personal individual rights as American citizens denies them the happiness that they could have. The methods the Civil Rights movement and the Gay Rights movement used to get their messages across were first used by Gandhi and then adopted by King. Consequently, the people involved in the Gay Rights movement also adopted the same principles and methods. King continued the two words synonymous with him and his inspiration, Gandhi, non-violence and civil disobedience. King saw that the only way to really succeed was to fight the violence without violence.
He believed that violence just bred more and more violence and the more rational methods to open the lines of communication were the non-violent and civil disobedient methods. This King believed was the Sword that Heals. Marches rallies, boycotts, and other non-violent methods led to progress. Just as King practiced, the Gay Right movement also practiced these two methods or non-violence and civil disobedience. Just as King believed, they too believed that there existed laws in society that were just and many that were unjust and had to be opposed.
King successfully succeeded in doing away with the Jim Crow Laws, poll taxes, tests, and other segregating laws that were completely unjust. Now the Gay Rights activists had the same mission, and when the mayor of Los Angles passed a law allowing them to be discriminated against in the workplace, the only thing to be done was protest it. Therefore, they took to the streets in protest and in some ways made the city come to the standstill in order to voice their opinion and show their presence. The city could not function in its daily life because of them.
Michael Nava, Robert Dawidoff, and Martin Luther King Jr. , probably would have agreed Everyones liberty suffers when individual liberty is denied to a class of citizens. Both the Civil Rights movement and the Gay Rights movement shared common issues in terms of control over who they naturally are, and what they could do to overcome the oppression. Moreover, it seems that the Gay Rights movement was a logical outgrowth of the Civil Rights movement and it seems almost certain that King would have approved of the two gay authors causes in general as they probably took a great deal from King to make their cause.