Why Should I Care About Gay Rights by Bob Meyerson

I think the first response to that is to question the very idea of “gay” rights. I think the proper context
is “civil” rights. And therein lies my answer to the question. I grew up in a largely ethnic area, where
my religion was in the minority. I was not just a Jew, I was, (depending on the protagonist of the
moment, a “dirty jew,” a “cheap jew,” a “Christ Killer,” a “commie jew,” and a few other hopefully
forgotten terms. I had a grammar school principal of German origin who had lost a son in the war,
“fighting for YOU people.”

In the 1960’s I became one of millions of marchers to secure civil rights for African Americans. My
own Mother could not understand this….”You’re not a N—-r, let them fight for themselves…it’s not
your fight.”

But it WAS my fight. I don’t know if it was my own background of being on the receiving end of
bigotry…..I’d like to think I had come to this simply because it’s right…but we are all creatures of our
own experiences.

I was probably typical in that while I was aware of gay people, (only we didn’t use the term ‘gay.’
There were other non-nuanced terms, most insulting and crude,) it was only in the past twenty years
or so that they were more than just a blip on my radar. I began to find that some of my co workers
and friends were ‘not the same.’ And in sharing friendships, I began to understand and empathize
with some of the daily struggles and insults these people were undergoing….and there is nothing
heroic or self sacrificing in my conclusion that the LGBTQ communities deserve every degree of
freedom that I enjoy….that racial minorities deserve….that EVERYONE deserves. To live and love
in peace. These are not “special rights.”

These are civil rights….rights for humans, whomever they may be. For me there can only be one
stance on the subject. And if I cannot understand that these struggles are simply a matter of right
and wrong, and if I don’t do what I’m able to right those wrongs, then I myself do not deserve those
rights. I guess it’s too complex for many….for me it’s just the right thing to do…not heroic, not even
noble….just the right thing to do. The selfish truth is that I must live with myself, and bigotry of any
kind is not compatible with that.

–Bob Meyerson