Is Gay the New Black?

In response to the simultaneous election of a socially liberal President and the passage of Proposition 8, which was supported by more than 70% of the African-American community (most likely many that voted for Obama) the question has been raised about the similarities between Gay Rights and Black Rights. Here are  five quick reasons why I say no:


  1. There is not a consensus if homosexual attraction is nature or nurture (most likely it is a mix)
  2. The history of American homosexual persecution (which is tragic) does not have near the same depth as the enslavement and persecution of blacks
  3. Blacks in America were seeking legitimacy has human beings not the right to marry one another
  4. No black person could somehow hide there blackness (except a few of those who were 1/16 black, but even they were often considered black)
  5. No individuals thought blackness was a sin (they thought it may be a curse and that blacks were subordinate)
  1. The struggle of Gays does have some parallels to the struggles of black folk to gain their civil rights. However, I must agree with you, I’m not comfortable with the linkage of the two. As a Christian, I don’t think homosexuality is right and I don’t think that marriage should be redifined. But also being Christian, I don’t think anyone should be persecuted for what they beleive or who they are. I also think that there should be some mechanism for Gays to share property, etc. So again, I agree with you, Gay is not the new black. I cannot choose not to be black.

    • candycain
    • December 15th, 2008

    #3 seems a bit too simplistic. I’ve noticed that when people bring up civil rights in relation to “gay rights (marriage),” they usually draw the correlation to anti-miscegenation laws. Which ties in to #4–you cannot choose your ethnicity/race, but it can be argued that you can certainly “choose” the person you fall in love with. Consequently, whom you “choose” to fall in love with can be a person of your own race. And they had seemingly very valid reasons why the mixing of races should be prohibited–“the inferiority of blacks wasn’t just through social oppression. They were born that way–it was obviously biological. Therefore, the mixing of an inferior race and a superior race to procreate children–can only end badly. Blacks still have the right to marry, but they can marry someone of their own race.” I’m sure arguments such as that one were used often enough (as a side note, such arguments are still used today–as the shunned corners of scientific research persist on the biological/genetic inferiority and superiority based on race).

    Tying in civil rights completely to “gay rights” is another matter entirely. Their progression, their target population, the degree of the rights/freedoms they seek are a bit different–and I think people are more often prone to taking the emotionally-fueled stance (from both sides of the fence). But there is a connection between all forms of “civil rights” that have been fought throughout history–inclusive of the rights of ethnic minorities, of women, etc. It ties into the “oppression” (I use that term lightly, as the degree of oppression does vary) imposed on a certain group, is imposed on by a powerful majority. It’s why–IMO–it was expected that blacks–who may have been generally liberal enough to vote for Obama–would still vote against something that has to do with the rights (or privileges, whichever way you see it) of homosexuals. Heterosexual blacks are very much a majority in this case.

    Hope I didn’t rant too much. Interesting blog you have here–it makes for good reading and critical thinking.

  2. I think this is a thought-provoking post, Josh. I struggle with it. I don’t think the two are parallel in comparison, but I do think that the challenges that many homosexuals face today are similar to those that AA faced 40 years ago. The derogatory language and attitudes that are pervasive in our cultures towards the gay community and the challenges to overcome those negative and judgemental attitudes are huge. A small example is throwing the word “gay” around in everyday language as a joke. We are trying to be intentional to not use that word jokingly in our home, particularly now that I have children. I don’t want them to grow up with the preconception that gay = bad. We will teach them what the bible says about promiscuity (for both gays and straight), but I really want to try to avoid planting and ideas of superiority in their minds about homosexuals.

    • Holly, thanks for the reply. I agree, I believe that overcoming derogatory aura of our country was and is a signifcant struggle for the Homosexual community. But it makes cringe when someone tries to equate “gay” rights with “black” rights -I have encountered a number of folk to try to do that with me. I do believe that it is easy to say that Gay and Black struggles are not identical. Because it is so easy, it is also easy for people to disregard the rights that homsexuals have as humans. I also hate throwing around the word “gay”. The scary thing about tossing that word around is that it has become an unthinking act. Gay = Stupid, Gay = Annoying, Gay = x,y or z. Many don’t consider the ramifcations of utlizing that word in those contexts. Words hold incredibly value in my mind so it bothersome for me to her others – especailly Christian brothers and sisters flippantly toss of demeaning language.

      The belief that homosexuality (as far as engaging in that commuity) is a choice and a sin further complicates any comparison for me. The balance between the love that saves one from scoffers and judgers and the love that says go and sin no more is, in my mind, the tension of Christianity.

    • fasnico
    • December 17th, 2008

    Gay is definitely not the new black…the difference is that black is a race and gay, homosexual behavior is an moral thing not a race thing as black definitely Gay behavior is not the new black

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