A difference in difference

Gay is not the “new black,” even if the struggle is similar

In modern America, we have made some great strides in giving gays the same rights as âÄúeveryone else,âÄù but even with the progress we have made, they are still seen as second-class citizens. With all this discrimination and hatred toward homosexuals, some feel as though their struggle for equality is similar to other minority groups. A common saying is, âÄúBeing gay now is like being black in the past.âÄù I do agree that there are some similarities between the fight for gay rights and the fight for civil rights, but I completely disagree with the notion that âÄúgay is the new black,âÄù because there are some inherent differences. To begin, I must ask: Are you gay? It is not the answer to this question that is important but rather the fact that the question has to be asked. For blacks, no one asks whether or not we are black. Society has determined what black is. The main point I am making is that if gays donâÄôt want to be discriminated against, then they donâÄôt have to tell people they are gay. Gays donâÄôt have a genetic difference that changes their outward appearance. If a gay employee is scared that his new boss will not promote him because he is gay, all he has to do is not tell his new boss. But if a black employee is scared that his new boss will not promote him because of his race, all he can do is work hard to prove to his boss that he is worth promoting or prepare a lawsuit. I am not saying whether this is right or wrong. I am not saying that gay people should have to hide their sexual orientation or that the majority of society should change its belief and be more welcoming to gays. All I am arguing is that the option is there. I am not gay, but I do sympathize with gaysâÄô struggle for equality. I do this not only because I am a black man who has personally experienced discrimination but also as a human being who believes that all people should be entitled to equal rights. But I cannot agree that âÄúbeing gay is the new black.âÄù This column, accessed via UWire, was originally published in the University of Illinois Daily Illini. Please send comments to [email protected]