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Black Lives DO Matter, but so do LGBT Ones
I may be part of the majority, but...
Here's the deal: I believe all lives matter.
I can only imagine how frustrating it is for indigenous people, or black people, or Asian people, or Muslims - any marginalized group, really - to be confronted daily with centuries-old stereotypes by what seems to be every sector of society. I can't say for certain I know what it feels like, because I'm not in that situation; as a middle class white Canadian girl, I can only accurately speak about what I believe and what I've seen from history, both my own personal history and the history I learned in school.
I know that every single racial or religious group has undergone terrible tragedy, and it's changed the face of our world as we know it in many respects.
But I also know that right now, there are people who are a part of every race who are dealing with incredible prejudice and fear simply because of who they love.
It's long been a misconception that being a member of the LGBT community is a choice. Somehow, people figure that those who identify along the LGBT spectrum simply wake up one morning and say, "You know what, I'm going to be lesbian...transgender...bisexual..." or whatever the case may be. That is simply illogical - as illogical as it is that one day you'll simply wake up and decide you're going to grow wings.
Being a member of the LGBT community isn't unique to the North American culture. People on virtually every continent have identified as being LGBT, and they potentially face death, sexual violence, or some nameless brutality.
Nigerian citizens who are believed to be gay can face a 14 year prison sentence. In the northern areas of the country, according to Wikipedia, people who are homosexual could face death by stoning. Only 30 percent of the population there believe that education, housing and healthcare should be made available to those who identify along the LGBT spectrum.
Prior to the Sochi Olympics in Russia, much was made of the new anti-homosexual propaganda laws, which stated that homosexual literature could not be disseminated to minors.
76 Crimes says that ILGA - the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - recently listed 73 countries where sexual activity by anyone along the LGBT spectrum is considered illegal. If one includes Russia and Lithuania, there are 77 countries where homosexuality is illegal in one respect or another.
The recent shooting at Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed simply because they identified as LGBT should have given everyone pause. It wasn't just gay white people - it was women, men, Latinos and Latinas, black people - it was almost a melting pot of individuals that were gunned down because they were gay or supported those that were.
So, what can we learn from all of this?
First of all, LGBT issues affect everyone, regardless of religion or race.
I recognize that several racial and religious groups have undergone tremendous tragedy over the last 2 millennia. Whether you're looking at the era in which rich white people owned slaves, or black people were denied personhood or voting rights, or the Holocaust (let's be mindful that the Jews, Jehova's Witnesses, Gypsies, the disabled and the LGBT community were among those who were persecuted and killed then), or even the way in which innocent Muslims were persecuted in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001, you would have to be blind to not recognize that there's been a lot of persecution of a lot of different races and religions.
I'm all for human rights, but why aren't we fighting for human rights for all instead of just sticking within our own little groups? In some respects, it's like the different cliques we run into in high school - each group wants what's best for them, rather than considering that working together will allow everyone to get a little piece of the action.
Why not equality for all?
A relatively new movement...has it been misinterpreted?
According to www.blacklivesmatter.com, the movement began in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Among other things, the site says Black Lives Matter:
- "affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum;"
- is a tactic to (re)build the black liberation movement;
- helps to generate conversation about how "black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state." The site further states that the movement is designed to highlight how black lives are deprived of basic human rights and dignity.
Now, with such noble ideals - ideals which are, in some ways, quite common to other organizations - it could be possible in some respects to unite with similarly minded groups to promote a common goal. People are stronger together, so why not unite?
There's a time and a place...Toronto Pride wasn't it
Black lives matter. They really do. People of color have been among the most marginalized societal groups for centuries - anyone with even just a slight knowledge of history knows that. However, to completely upend a Pride parade, which also celebrates a societal group that is highly marginalized in spite of the progress we have made over the years, is completely wrong, as it essentially states that one group is more important than another. The LGBT community comprises people of different races and religious beliefs, and quite often, being LGBT can lead to being shunned or killed in the name of those beliefs. Why not work together for a common good rather than working towards your own best interests?
Black Lives Matter Disrupts Toronto Pride
Homosexuality is illegal here...
- 77 countries where homosexuality is illegal | 76 CRIMES
Updated May 28, 2016 76+ (really more like 77 or 79) countries with anti-homosexuality laws The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, lists 73 countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, g