NY Senator Ruben Diaz Is Not Feeling The “Gay Versus Black Debate”Tagged with: African-American Bayard Rustin Civil and political rights LGBT Michael Bloomberg New York Same-sex marriage United StatesShare6
05/29/2011 – by Cynthia S. Wright
With all the attention same-sex marriage equality has been given in New York, one senator has spoken out against all the fuss surrounding same-sex marriages and how they align with the black civil rights movement. Diaz’s outburst stems from NY mayor, Michael Bloomberg who gave a speech linking black civil rights with the current struggle for marriage equality.
You can probably guess on what side Mr. Diaz’s allegiances lie being that he is both a black man and old enough to recall the civil rights era. In a statement, released on Thursday, Diaz goes in on how he is tired of seeing black civil rights trivialized by marriage equality.
“There is no just comparison between America’s struggle to overcome the evils of slavery and the promotion of the lifestyle of homosexuality. It is preposterous for Mayor Bloomberg to degrade and minimize the plight of African-Americans in this civil rights struggle by equating it with the effort to push to legalize homosexual marriage.
Black leaders should not allow Mayor Bloomberg or anyone else trivialize their suffering and their history!”
Now, now Diaz – even though as a black woman – I do understand where you are coming from, but as a gay female (one looking to get married next year), your analysis is not completely on point. Are the two struggles identical? No, they are not – with relatives born and bred in the South, I have heard plenty of stories of the segregation and abuse some of them had to endure during the civil rights era. The hoses, the attack dogs, being bludgeoned with billy clubs not being able to go to certain places unless there was a designated spot for you. As a black person today, I can’t image that – even though I do feel a form of racial segregation still exists in the society, the obvious use of it that my grand-parents and older relatives witnessed is something I can’t begin to fathom.
So for that, I do understand why Diaz feels the way that he does. In his logic, you can’t change the fact that you are black – so to be ostracized for such is a horrible thing is illogical and hurtful. Where as (in his mind), being gay, it was your choice to do something against the “mainstream.” So, why should it be lumped together when it is obvious that a person is black, where as with being gay it isn’t necessarily so clean cut.
Although, it is has been well documented that LGBT’s members helped the civil rights fight, Bayard Rustin being one of the key players that helped fight injustice towards blacks, was bullied and in some ways bashed for not only his race but for who he chose to love unashamedly. How quickly that is forgotten in order to promote a skewed view of societal politics.
I will be the first person to tell anyone that being gay is not a choice, due to the fact that the issues I faced being a lesbian are not the same types of prejudices I face as a black woman. My gayness is not apparent and it something you wouldn’t know about me until we engaged in a conversation; I can’t hide the fact that I’m black. However, I have struggled with both, not necessarily equally but at the same time being called out and made to feel less than for being your authentic self – Diaz and others like him should understand how it feels to be the “scapegoat” for those narrow minded, bigoted folks that are afraid of change and of losing “control.”
As a black, gay woman it bothers me to see my race not aligning itself with the LGBT equality. The black community would be an extremely positive ally; once they got over pushing those away who are also seeking freedom to be who they are without fear of being harmed or threatened. Showing support would not take away from black civil rights because even though integration still happened – racism has not gone away. If minority groups took the time to stand together in opposition to anyone’s civil right being taken away – things would have been handled a long time ago.
this is a great article-i hope all of her black brothers and sisters stop fighting against equality and get on board. It is religious brainwashing that keeps the black against gays; the brainwashing runs deep. A simple study of history shows gays have suffered just as much as blacks-yes, gays were killed, gays were tortured, gays were beaten-that suffrage enough is reason to compare the murual struggles. Freedom denied to one group is freedom denied to all.