Race isn’t more legitimate than sexuality.

David Chase,
New York, NY.

Apparently some people feel that “all oppression is not equal”. My experience as a gay white man unfortunately has not always been one of solidarity with non-gay non-white people.

Growing up as a child in Woodstock, NY in the 60’s and 70’s I was brought up to be supportive of all struggles for civil rights. Of course it was racially based discrimination which was most in the news at the time. But since becoming an adult and coming out of the closet, what I’ve found is that some members of the same racial minorities whom I supported and still support in their struggles, do not support me in mine. Some of them feel perfectly free to make the most horrifying anti-gay statements in public without recognizing that if you substitute “black” for “gay” they are saying the same things as were being said about non-white people in the 60’s and 70’s.

It is very hurtful to be told that the extensive suffering of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of society which is still happening today is not legitimate, that only racial discrimination is “real” and that the LGBT community has somehow “hijacked” the civil rights movement. To be told that “You’re white so you could ‘pass’ and avoid discrimination, just don’t act gay in public” denies my human right to live an open, honest and truthful life, and denies the very real fear and hurt I and others have suffered as gay people no matter what my race.

I expect that there are many who will read this Race Card and say “There they go again, gay people hijacking the conversation about race” but I can’t hear the word “race” without thinking about discrimination, and I can’t think about discrimination without thinking of myself. All I can say in closing is that until we are all free from discrimination, none of us are truly free.


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