Does Civil Rights Refer To Everyone?

  • Category: Social Issues
  • Words: 898
  • Grade: 93
Does Civil Rights refer to Everyone?
        "When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "˜Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'". This is just one excerpt from Martin Luther King's most famous speech ever. This is the speech that stimulated many people's minds, and made them want to be equal. This was the icing on the cake for the Civil Rights Movement. This was the time when blacks and whites finally joined together to make peace. Everyone was proclaimed equal on this great day at the Lincoln Memorial. Or, was this speech made for everyone? Martin didn't day anything about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgenders in his speech. I wonder if he would have gotten the same unbelievable praise if he did include gays in his speech? Although people don't know, because of the way gays are treated by society, they have been forced to use much of the rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement to fight for equal protection under the law. According to Webster's Dictionary, civil rights is defined as the nonpolitical rights of a citizen, especially: the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to U.S. Citizens by the thirteenth and fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress. Well, sexual orientation is not included by the thirteenth and fourteenth Amendments. So, I guess one can say that sexual orientation is not a civil right. Well, I tend to differ. I believe that sexual orientation is a civil right because people are judged unfairly because of their sexual lifestyle.
        I've learned that gays and lesbians have been around for a very long time. On the other hand, people in America were not really open about it. But, in the year 2000, being gay or lesbian is something you see all of the time. People are no longer ashamed of their sexual orientation. Gay pride is so popular, they even have their own flag. When I look at gay communities, I see them as happy people. I never knew of all the prejudices they have to endure.
        When the word "prejudice" comes to mind, I only tend to think of the way that African Americans were treated before the Civil Rights Movement. But, now I've come to realize that many other types of people have to deal with the same type of things. It might not be as bad as making them sit in the back of the bus, or in the balcony of the movie theatre, but discrimination still happens. Many gays deal with discrimination on the job, in school, or even in church. Many heterosexuals don't believe that gays are normal people. Because of this, they tend to treat them different than others. For example, gays had to fight for their right to be in the U.S. Military. People thought that gays could not hold a gun right, or they might "spread their disease" to other people on the squad. Because of this discrimination, the military now have the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Meaning that their sexual orientation is private and nobody's business. That problem has been taken care of, but many other problems still exist.
        Gays are stereotyped to look and act a certain way. Many jobs will not hire people because they look or act gay. Meaning, there is a chance the person looking for the job could be a homosexual. Many employers see them as a disturbance in the workplace. The good thing about it is that lately, everyone tends to follow by the "don't ask, don't tell" rule. It keeps a lot of the problems out.
        Another subject that is a problem is that whether gay marriages are really marriages. Gay marriages are illegal in many states. Gays are protesting for the right to be married legally. Blacks and whites could always marry legally. So, the gays are having to deal with different types of discrimination. Fortunately, many states are changing the law.
        If you noticed, all of the example I gave had a good ending. This is because gay rights are spreading. People are finally coming to realize that gays are regular people too, and should be treated as such. In conclusion, I believe that anytime anyone is discriminated upon, and has to fight for equality, they are fighting for civil rights. So, sexual orientation is indeed a civil right. Maybe one day we will all be able to go the Lincoln Memorial and watch Ellen the generous give a freedom speech for everyone, and I do mean everyone.
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