Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What I'm Learning About LGBT Rights From The Civil Rights Movement(s).

I'm reading a book called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Its not a book I would typically read but am glad that I am. Its captivating and I find myself wanting to dig deeper into the message. 
One of the main themes so far is civil rights. Particularly black rights and the discrimination that is still prevalent in our judicial system. I read this as a white male who grew up in Tornado Ally hopscotching both sides of the Missouri River until I was 15, when we moved to Washington State. I am also a gay male who has experienced serious discrimination of my own on several fronts. So I parallel my current fight with other civil rights "fights". 
This realization that I have much in common with the other minority communities (which if we look at ourselves collectively, the straight white male is the minority) has caused me to start studying their history. Where better to start then in my prisons law library.
Which, made me feel dumb because I know nothing of law and I don't understand what's going on. I look for defined law terms and it sends me to specific cases. Cases in which I don't know how to interpret. But I furrow my brow and scribble notes so I don't feel completely inadequate. 
What I have managed to figure out is that we are revising standards that were written for a debased mindset. Let me explain. 
Interracial coupling. Some courts deemed it criminal and called interracial children "mongrels". This applies to me because all three of my children are interracial. I dare anyone to refer to them as mongrels... This was the viewpoint of our lawmakers and it stemmed from the same men who followed Christianity and Puritanical beliefs. They believed in race purity, the proof is in their viewpoint above. 
I mean to say this, if our ( I mean Americans) can evolve past our forefathers beliefs on race purity then I believe we can evolve past beliefs in LGBT discrimination. Don't believe its happening? Talk to any number of correction officers in Washington state, the most liberal state in the country. While many are equal opportunists there are a few infectious individuals who hang onto ancient beliefs that LGBT people are less then and a disease on society. To them, having to recognize me as equal is just as absurd and unlikely as abolishing slavery. With this difference being African Americans cannot conceal their skin color whereas LGBT people can sometimes remain undetectable. 
The same racism that plagues the black community and Asian community and Muslim community is also being practiced against the LGBT community. 

That's what I'm learning about. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

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