“Homophobia Is Like Racism and Anti-Semitism” – Coretta Scott King
Coretta Scott King, the wife of the civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., was a prominent figure in the struggle for equality and justice. In addition to her work in the African American community, King was also an advocate for LGBT+ rights. She believed that the fight for civil rights was not limited to race, but extended to all marginalized communities.
King’s support for LGBT rights began in the 1980s when she spoke out against the discrimination and violence faced by the community. She believed that everyone deserved to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. King was particularly vocal about the importance of protecting the rights of LGBT youth, who often face bullying and harassment in schools and other settings.
“For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people. … I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people, and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.
Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence, that spreads all too easily to victimize the next minority group.
Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the civil rights movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.” – Coretta Scott King widow of civil rights icon the Rev. Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr. at Lambda Legal’s 25th. Anniversary
In 1994, King delivered a landmark speech at the annual convention of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In her speech, she called for an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and urged the black community to support their struggle for equality. She also spoke about the intersections between the civil rights and LGBT rights movements, saying, “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.”
Coretta Scott King’s support for LGBT rights was not without controversy, and she faced criticism from some members of the black community who saw the issue as a distraction from the fight for racial equality. However, King remained steadfast in her beliefs and continued to speak out on behalf of the LGBT community until her death in 2006.
Coretta Scott King was a courageous and compassionate advocate for LGBT+ rights. Her support for the LGBT+ community was rooted in her belief that all people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that the struggle for civil rights extends to all marginalized communities. Her legacy continues to inspire activists fighting for equality and justice today.