Friday, November 27, 2009

How Gay Rights Intersects With The Feminist Movement

"Marriage between a man and a woman underwent a transformation during the women’s movement, which laid some of the groundwork for the gay marriage movement."

Heidi Moyer writes:
Those in the movement to legalize gay marriage have occasionally compared their effort to the civil rights movement as they fight to overcome homophobia and bigotry. It is understandable since the civil rights movement was powerful, spellbinding and successful in many ways. Furthermore, the similarity between the ban on gay marriage and the ban on interracial marriage is impossible to ignore. Unfortunately, comparing oppressions is often a counterproductive exercise that leads to tensions among people who should be allies. 
However, the gay movement does share some common cause with the women’s movement that is often overlooked. I don’t know which came first, the suspicion of women for not being like men or the distrust of gay men for being like women, but I do know that the two are linked. 
I don’t blame the gay activists for preferring to compare themselves to Freedom Marchers rather than bra burners. It makes no difference that bras were never burned. Despite being a stunningly transformative campaign, the women’s liberation movement remains easily ridiculed. 
For most of U.S. history, women lost their identity when they married. They merged with their husbands like a little stream flowing into a big river. The feminists of the women’s movement fought hard to change the institution of marriage and free women from being defined by a husband. 
It was only as a result of the modern women’s movement that married women gained the right to work after marriage, to get credit in their own name without a husband’s approval, and to get a divorce and child support if the marriage didn’t work out. READ MORE