Why the Fights for Racial Justice and LGBT Equality Are Inseparable | Kulture Kritic
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Why the Fights for Racial Justice and LGBT Equality Are Inseparable

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Why the Fights for Racial Justice and LGBT Equality Are Inseparable

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Civil rights hero Bayard Rustin once said, “God does not require us to achieve … the good tasks that humanity must pursue. What God requires of us is that we not stop trying.”

Known as a man with purpose and heart, Rustin, who was an openly gay black man born in the early 1900s, knew about segregation, injustice and discrimination early on. He could easily have stopped trying.

Instead, he became one of the first voices of outrage and is recognized as the key organizer of the first Freedom Rides and the 1963 March on Washington. Later in life it was clear he saw his fight against homophobia as inseparable from his fight against racism. As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on two marriage equality cases this week — Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California’s Proposition 8, and US v. Windsor, which challenges Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — we would do well to remember the example of Bayard Rustin.

The myth that African Americans and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are two separate — even hostile — communities has been a recurring narrative in recent years, especially from religious conservatives. In 2011, for example, documents from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage revealed its plan to “drive a wedge” between the LGBT movement and communities of color. Leaders like Bayard Rustin remind us that our movements have overlapped all along, especially through LGBT people of color.

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  1. Haile

    March 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I think that when one stands up for injustice one stands up for injustice every where. As long as we see injustice perpetrated against one single person we cannot rest .If you want to build a strirway to heaven you have to be prepared to travel alone.

  2. bobbyjones

    March 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    This may come across wrong, but it’s not intended to be taken in a bad way, BUT… Here’s the thing that separates the two: When you see a black person, you see a black person. When you see a gay person, you don’t necessarily see a gay person. Get me?

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