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All the colors of the rainbow

By |2017-10-31T07:53:26-04:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

When Coretta Scott King died Jan. 31 the world lost a critical voice in the fight for equality, and the LGBT community lost an important ally.
In remarks King made while accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Human Rights Campaign several years ago she said, “I’ve always felt that homophobic attitudes and policies were unjust and unworthy of a free society and must be opposed by all Americans who believe in democracy.”
Though King was not the only African-American to support equal rights for LGBT people, King’s support had the weight of civil rights history behind it. Hers was not a voice or viewpoint easily dismissed.
“In my travels I still get comments from people who say I shouldn’t be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice,” King said at the HRC ceremony. “Well, that’s basically the same thing they told my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr., when he began to speak out against the Vietnam War. He responded to the charge by saying, ‘I have fought too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concerns. Justice is indivisible.’ Like Martin Luther King Jr., I also feel that justice is indivisible and that it is just plain wrong to allow discrimination against any minority. The civil rights movement that I believe in thrives on unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.”
As we observe Black History Month it is important to remember and give thanks for our allies in all segments of society, but especially among people of color. Sexual orientation and gender identity know no racial, ethnic or religious bounds, after all. And just as people deserve protection based on these categories, LGBT people deserve protection as well.
Though there has been vocal opposition in people of color communities against LGBT rights, especially regarding the issue of marriage equality, it is important to remember that the coverage those opponents receive does not show the whole picture.
In conjunction with Freedom to Marry Week this week, a coalition of LGBT groups announced a new initiative to raise the profile of people of color who support marriage for same-sex couples.
“The right-wing has perpetuated the idea that people of color are overwhelmingly against marriage for same-sex couples – it is important that people see this for what it is – a half-baked myth that needs correcting,” said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal.
While Coretta Scott King was outspoken in her support, there are many more less vocal supporters of equality. And there are others who can be moved to support if we reach out to them and tell them our stories.
“I believe that racist, anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic attitudes, all spring from the fears and insecurities of people who feel inadequate,” King said at the HRC ceremony. “Sometimes these fears are expressed as hatred, repressive legislation and even violence. It’s been said that violence comes from hatred, hatred comes from fear, fear comes from ignorance. Therefore educational outreach is essential for human rights groups who want to eradicate bigotry.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Coretta Scott King lived her life in a way that carried on his legacy for all of us. “I believe with Martin that conscience demands that freedom-loving people will have a policy of zero tolerance for persecution and repression of anyone or any group of people,” she said.
While this country has a history marred by discrimination and injustice against minority groups, we must keep fighting for a more beautiful future that is alive and possible in all of us.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.