It wasn't long ago when gays were the ones rioting and fighting on the streets.
Remember the Stonewall Riots, when LGBT citizens finally stood up to the raids of gay bars by police officers? Those riots are what led to the formation of the country's most historic LGBT victories since that early June morning in 1969. They led to Harvey Milk being elected. They led to federal non-discrimination policies being enacted. They led to same-sex marriage finally seeing legalization in states across the country.
I have sat among my LGBT peers and heard them dismiss Ferguson or Mike Brown as issues of not direct importance to them. After all, since they aren't black, racial issues aren't really their problem. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Any time an American citizen, no matter what creed, color or background faces brutality and victimization, especially at the hands of law enforcement, we all need to take notice and stand up.
Crimes against minorities affect all who have been victimized. Instead of ranting or liking a photo on Facebook or having a discussion over coffee about Ferguson or any of the numerous examples of unfair treatment of black citizens, LGBT citizens need to take to the streets alongside black protestors.
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We, as LGBT citizens, have been beaten. We have been jailed without probable cause. We have been victimized not because of our actions but because of who we are. LGBT citizens know, at least in broader terms, what the black community is facing in Ferguson's wake. We know what it's like to fear law enforcement, to have to literally fight for our right to exist.
For minorities, every day is a fight for legitimacy and respect, and unfortunately, black citizens are still fighting this fight, as are gay citizens. We need to realize that our fights, while different, are very similar as well. We need to forget the idea that these fights are separate and we need to work together to advance both ethnic minority rights and LGBT rights together.
Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamRCentralFloridaFuture.com.