Equality should not just be a term spewed out like magna from an active volcano, but an actual practice. History has shown that equality has to be fought for unless one is an upper-class white male. The women’s movement battle for the right to vote in the early 1900’s, established equality to half of the population that was excluded. The racial movement to end segregation changed the lives of an uncountable number of people, both black and white. The again women’s movement of the 1960’s—1970’s, extended a women’s right to choose about her own body in cases of abortion and birth controlling devices. These are only where the equality begins to sew a clean, invisible line to hem the nation.
However, there are still millions of people unspoken for across the nation. Equality does not mean equal treatment for some people, but not for others: so we elaborate on the rights of those gays and lesbians. Equality should tell us to treat them as equal human beings, not lesser citizens underneath any and all laws. We deny them the right to get married, gawk at them in public situations where the “normal” couple next to them is cooed over. I hear stories of schools that will let their gay and lesbian couples in for free to dances (and other social events), as long as they take a picture for the yearbook: and this is not equality either. They never asked for the special treatment to be stared at, photographed, or even to receive free tickets: and therefore they deserve the same dignity as everyone else, not the photographed proof that their school promotes equality, but solid evidence. A gimmick only makes those willing to be accepted, pushed to the farthest stretches of the crowd, as they are stripped of their individuality and made animals in a zoo. If every “straight” couple received a free ticket, was photographed and then everybody stared, people would debate over the ethics of the situation, but at least there would equality for the whole school and not just one group of people.
Equality does not mean rolling over to appease one minor group of people, or making up for the lost time, but instead the act of treating everyone and each individual with an equal amount of respect and integrity. We are now a country dominated by a sea of minorities, and equality for each “minority,” signifies their greater role in the “majority.” Equality is not a word, but a fully fledged force.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.