Do Blacks Sympathize With the Gay-Rights Movement?

Some gay-rights activists say that their struggle is not comparable to the civil rights movement, blogger Tara Pringle Jefferson writes at Loop 21. But comparisons persist.

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Gay-rights parade (Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images)

In an entry at Loop 21, blogger Tara Pringle Jefferson weighs in on the ongoing question of whether the struggle for gay rights is comparable to the civil rights movement. She interviews gay-rights activists who say that the two movements are not comparable at all.

... According to the latest data, 58% of Americans think that LGBT couples should be accepted by society. But when it comes to black respondents, the number drops to 49%.

Currently, only a handful of states will grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, with another smattering of states recognizing varying levels of rights, from civil unions to domestic partnerships.  But as the fight for marriage equality gains momentum, with more Americans supporting same-sex marriage than opposing it and legislation pending in several states, some have drawn comparisons to the civil rights movement.

Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization that fights to eradicate racism and discrimination in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, said she understands the comparisons, but it’s really not an apples-to-apples situation.

“Do we (the LGBT community) get hosed down and dogs sicced on us? No,” Lettman-Hicks said. “But we’re comparing how our community is treated, from a so-called civil society—the overt discrimination and bigotry. No one should be able to understand that better than black people in this country, and that is the root of the comparison. But you can’t compare the plight of the movement, the centuries of oppression that black people in this country had to face.”

Read Tara Pringle Jefferson's entire blog entry at Loop 21.

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