The idea that there is a schism between various human rights issues is dangerous. While there is often a variety of reasons for the lack of basic human rights in differing groups, this does not mean they are unrelated. Nor does it mean that each individual struggle against oppression operates in a vacuum.
The belief that different human
rights movements should not work together is one of the single greatest
ways for any and all of those movements to be greatly hindered, or even
blocked entirely. For a group to say that it only wants the aid of
those fighting the same fight does nothing but strengthens the
opposition and reduce the support base of those working for their own
I mention this because of Erin Nanasi's recent post "Women’s rights and LGBT: It’s not a competition".
Both in her article and in the comments that follow, there is mention
that women are in no place to complain when the LGBT community has it so
much worse. There is also mention that for the LGBT rights movement to
join forces with women's rights and the atheist community would "cloud
the issue at hand".
These claims utterly ignores certain key facts, ones
that have consequences for all human rights groups. Whenever any group
of individuals has its basic rights under attack, those that look to
revoke these rights are rarely content to stop there. To those in any
of these groups who think that the fight for their rights is a stand
alone issue, I ask you this: Do you really think that they will be
content to stop with just one group?
Time and time again we have
seen such bigots and hate mongers use their successes in opposing or
removing the rights of one group as a test bed for future attacks. If
their backwards views can be accepted against one group, they will
quickly begin to branch out and start targeting other groups more openly
and with increased vigor.
The rolling back of women's rights has dire consequences for the
LGBT movement, and vice versa. For the more radical of a 'win' against
one group, the more bold they will become and the more they will want.
It tells them that just because rights have been established in the
past, there is nothing stopping them from stepping in and taking that
all away. If they succeed in their attack on women, what is to stop
them from more aggressive attacks against the LGBT community?
fact, the LGBT community has a lot to lose with the loss of rights for
women. By setting up such a standard, not only does it make future
attacks against them more likely, but it also reduces the influence of
half of its own population. When women's rights are mentioned, it is
not just straight women, it is every woman. This would be a set back
the LGBT community can not afford.
But the inverse is true as
well. Any gains in rights of one group can strengthen the cause of the
others. Any win for those who see all humans as deserving of basic
rights not only stop the advancements of the bigots, but it also frees
up many supporters to help in the fight for rights in other areas.
While this has, sadly, not always happened, we must not let dissension
from the past carry over into our future. With every win, those in
favor of rights have had other violations revealed to them for which
they can fight against. We cannot afford to be content with one area of
success and must strive for more as the forces against us never tire.
disgustingly large numbers of those in the LGBT community faced with
the possibility of rape, women's rights become even more vital. For if a
straight woman cannot get the proper care after being raped, what hope
will someone that the establishment sees as less have?
who claim that such a unified fight clouds the issues at hand, I will
admit there is some truth to this based on the nature of politics. It
is impossible to strive for all rights in one fell swoop and they must
be fought on a myriad of fronts. Sometimes, the establishment will use
the connection of one group to another against them, saying that they
are supported by 'immoral' individuals. But this misses that such
statements are attempts to scatter and dis-empower those who fight for
their rights. It is a move to shatter the support base and reduce the
number of voters in support of an issue. We cannot allow such tactics
to win because we believe that we have to play by their rules. We are
the ones who are in the right after all.
Now this should not be
seen as a statement in support of those who struggle in one area to drop
what they are doing and focus on something else. This would only
destroy what those groups have fought so hard for. Instead, I am
stating that the work of one group does not negate the work of another
and can help their ultimate cause in the end. The fight for human
rights is a universal thing, it is something everyone who has been seen
by society as less deserving wishes to correct.
So to every group
that has been pushed aside by those in power. To everyone who has had
their rights kept from them because of the beliefs of the religious. To
all that want more for their future, let us not fall into petty
quarreling that will only hinder us all. Let us fight side by side
against a common enemy so that, one day, none of us will have to be