Two Men Don’T Make A Right

America’s homosexuals earn good incomes and exercise political clout. Why do they want to be treated as an oppressed minority?

Some gay-rights activists think there is a helpful analogy between the experiences of gays and blacks as oppressed minorities. Thus they are following a “civil rights” strategy for promoting acceptance of homosexuality.

Responds Kay Coles James of the Washington D.C.—based Family Research Council: “I have known former homosexuals, but never any former African-Americans.” James, an African-American, does not see anything helpful about comparing the two “minority groups.” She cites Gen. Colin Powell who called the comparison “convenient but invalid.”

Civil-rights legislation is a way of guaranteeing certain freedoms. But those freedoms often have a cost: Campaigns designed to help people be treated like everyone else have a way of backfiring. Instead of blending in, minorities are marked as “different,” frozen in a victim mentality, and fixed in a permanent posture of supplication. Will homosexuals really want to pay that price?

Strangely, part of the answer came recently from Andrew Sullivan, the openly gay editor of the New Republic. In a special section of that magazine, Sullivan and other gay writers called for an abandonment of the civil-rights approach. Sullivan faulted the civil-rights strategy because it is based on two faulty assumptions: “that sexuality is equivalent to race in terms of discrimination, and that full equality of homosexuals can be accomplished by designating gay people as victims.”

Sullivan, the gay, white male, is as quick to point out the differences between race and sexual orientation as is James, the straight, black female. “Unlike blacks three decades ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.