Portraits of Change Committed Allies Speak Out for Gay Rights
by Ira Adams contributing writer
It’s now part of the history books... Opponents of equal marriage throughout the nation descended upon California last fall and poured millions of dollars into influencing the public to ensure the success of their measure: Proposition 8. And while our community fell short of achieving the level of involvement needed to secure equality at that time, since the passing of Proposition 8 and its being upheld by the state Supreme Court this spring, the LGBT minority has rallied together to renew our collective sense of purpose. We’ve revitalized our vision and the necessary determination to ultimately prevail. For the moment we may be left with the bitter taste of defeat in California, but other recent victories help to remind us that change is on the horizon.
have been focused on the goal ahead, we have in recent years gained several strong and sometimes unexpected advocates: hopeful reminders of the dawning of a new era for gay rights. Their efforts are not to be overlooked,
The black church must not be refuge for those who want to scapegoat and use violence on any community, including the gay and lesbian community.
While many within the LGBT community
as their important contributions will likely reshape the landscape of the LGBT Equality Movement in the years to come.
What makes these individuals so remarkable is that they have decided to take a step off the sidelines, often reaping little or no benefit, risking professional standing and perhaps more. They have chosen to take a stake in the issue of human rights. The following is a brief introduction to just some of these influential allies. Coretta Scott King Taking the helm of the American Civil Rights Movement after her husband’s April 1968 assassination, Coretta Scott King spent her life working on behalf of Women’s Rights and advocating equality for the African-American and LGBT communities. On numerous occasions she openly voiced her support for the LGBT community and called upon civil rights leaders and the African American community at large to advocate for LGBT rights. Speaking out at Chicago’s historic Palmer House Hotel in April of 1998, King stated that “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood... This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.” She understood the unique challenges facing the LGBT community and saw parallels between the philosophies of those individuals who have sought to suppress both the African-American and LGBT minorities. In her now famous 2003 speech at the 13th annual ‘Creating Change Conference,’ King publicly likened the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1950’s and 60’s to that of the current gay rights movement. “I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people. ...But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, to make room at the
Heartland in Gay America