Viktor Kerney

An Open Letter to Pastor Stacy Swimp

Filed By Viktor Kerney | December 10, 2014 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: African-American rights, civil rights, civil rights movement, history, intersectionality, Michigan, open letter, Stacy Swimp

stacy-swimp-michigan.jpgStacy Swimp,

Last week, you attended the Michigan House Commerce Committee meeting, where they discussed a bill that would ban discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. During the session, you mentioned that you were offended by the comparisons of the Civil Rights Movement and the LGBT movement.

You said:

"There's a comparison between the homosexual allegation of gay rights and black civil rights. And as a minister of the Gospel, and as a black American whose parents participated in the Freedom Rides -- my ancestors were slaves in plantations in the state of South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana and Mississippi -- I stand here today rather offended.

"I ask, has anyone from the LGBT community ever had to stand up or step off of the sidewalk whenever a straight person walked by? Lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender Americans have never been denied their voting rights, nor have they been denied the right to assemble. No one from the LGBT community has ever had fire hoses turned on them by the police department, they have never had to drink out of an LGBT water fountain.

"There is no record of LGBT -- homosexuals, lesbians being forced to sit at the back of the bus in an LGBT section."

I'm sure you are proud of yourself for derailing this bill, but I wanted to let you know that your entire argument is based on nonsense.

It seems you have the notion that only white people are LGBT and it's only "white thing." If you have watched TV or looked on the Internet, you will see that black people are a part of the LGBT community. In fact, many people of color make up the LGBT community, Stacey. It's not just a "white thing."

Also, you seem to believe that LGBT people haven't been discriminated against, attacked, or harassed for being LGBT. Seriously, Stacey, are you living on Earth? There are tons of examples from all over the world. From Uganda to Russia, we are consistently under attack through atrocious laws and leadership.

And here in America, not only do we face anti-LGBT assaults, we are murdered for who we are. For example, trans women are brutally murdered in high numbers year after year. And by the way, the majority of the murdered trans women are black.

we-the-people-constitution-rainbow.jpgThe discrimination we experience is usually found in laws designed to deny us our fundamental rights, like job protections, housing, benefits, and the right to marry. Actually Stacey, these battles are very similar to the civil rights battles in the 50s and 60s. They were fighting for similar issues and faced similar consequences. If you knew your history, Stacey, you wouldn't make such a foolish case against it.

And one more thing: Martin Luther King's speech on Washington wasn't just about black people, it was for all people. The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to move the country forward, to fight for justice for all.

Everything you are doing right now spits in the face of that message. Your speech that night deeply mirrored the hate speeches of the past.

Stacy, you proved to all of us that you have learned nothing from the Civil Rights Movement. You do not embody the spirit of that movement, nor do you understand the message it was trying to convey. If anything, you proved that your actions are not moving us forward to a better future, but keeping us from it.

So until you truly understand the true nature of the Civil Rights Movement, you have no right to speak about it in any public forum.

Best,
Viktor

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