Gay Rights: A Logical Progression of the Civil Rights Movement
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“Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I have a dream.
It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – ‘we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal’.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
The Civil Rights movement may have started out as a mission to improve the lives of the large population of African-Americans, but who would have guessed that King’s quest for racial integration would provoke the same quest for individual rights by another group of people, Gays and Lesbians. 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 King’s 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 unanswe...
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...ad 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 “Everyone’s 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.