Originally Posted by Keshet
I chose to disagree. MLK spoke about an issue during another time in history. We can learn a lot from that history but situations of the times do not exactly compare. Besides, I had spoken to an African-American Christian who happens to be from a fundamental denonimation about the civil rights movement and the GLBT rights movement. We had a diversity class together which was part of my required college studies.
She informed me that many from the African-American community are very much offended by the comparison because in many of their eyes someone can choose not to be GLBT. "Someone who is born 'black' can't change that!", were her exact words. She listened with compassion to what I shared but she stated it doesn't change how many (straight African-American) of her own community feels about the issue.
The thing is who is our MLK? Who is speaking up for us now?
I used to wonder if what MLK had to say had any bearing on the struggle for civil rights that we face as LGBT people. I started listening to his speeches and reading his writing. As some of the quotes above indicate, he has a lot to say to us, not just about civil rights activism but the inner transformations that need to occur to make equality a reality.
I'm glad MLK did not say, "Ghandi worked in South Africa and India, his activism is of no use to us today." I'm glad that Mandela did not say, "King is useful in the American context, but has nothing to say to our civil rights movement in South Africa". We need to build on the shoulders of the greats and also allow the search light of their activism to shine on ours.
Some African American people find the use of MLK by the LGBT community to be offensive. During the Hate Crimes Bill debate, it was fundamentalist African American ministers that objected. This is a minority of the African American community. The great African American civil rights activist Representative John Lewis stood with us during the Hate Crimes Bill debate. Here is a link to his speech in the House on May 3, 2007:
Coretta Scott King, the wife of MLK, also supported gay rights. You can read what she said here:
During the Hate Crimes debate, the NAACP chastised the African American ministers for their opposition of the Hate Crimes Bill. These ministers were very vocal about disliking the use of MLK for the LGBT civil rights struggle.
MLK's legacy is for the human race because justice is for all human beings. His legacy was historically lived out in the African American community, but his ideas are the property of the human race.