This is the second of a two part series. Here is part one.


What I learned from Selma in terms of the LGBTQ Rights movement-

I wanted to put some ideas out there as to what I learned from watching Selma as it relates to today’s LGBTQ Rights movement. In most every way, there was nothing specifically gay or LGBTQ related in the film, so this is all my own thoughts based on how the film influenced my imagination. What I would hope might happen would be a dialogue where different people might look forward and consider what looking back may suggest to them.

1) Every rights movement happens within a continuum, and is impacted heavily by the context as well as the specifics of the time in which it is happening.

Too often, I hear leaders within the LGBTQ leaders talk about our movement and our agenda (there really is an agenda called full equality) as if it were some abstract theoretical issue that can be logically thought through. These sentiments may be true in a way, but the failure to look at the cultural dynamics of any given place and time means that we fail to attend to the illogical elements. These are the things that come up and are the real impediments to progress. Fear, confusion, insecurities, ad other elements challenge looking at everything logically.

The context of any struggle is as meaningful as the seriousness of the issue itself. I’ve thought about this for quite a while, but a recent discussion on Facebook helped solidify these ideas (in as much as they reflect solid ideas). One of the things I grasp from the film Selma, was the way in which the specifics of the town and the people, and the history of that community played a huge role in the power exercised by the white power structure, and that made it different in unique ways from other localities and other possible situations. Within the LGBTQ Rights movement, we must confront the influences of the context every bit as much as we must confront the basic inequality issue.

2) Today’s social media and constant news cycle environment make it difficult to take actions that allow for the whole of the country to care and become engaged in seeking Justice.

There was a time in our collective past, where most everyone watched the evening news and read the daily papers. These singular news sources created a pathway for the sharing of images that allowed a galvanized response to the horrors of the March that came to be known as them Bloody Sunday and that generated the surge of individuals who came to Selma in response to King’s summons. Today’s opinion-based media and social media decentralized distribution of facts as well as opinion challenges our ability to use that type of public momentum.

3) In the film, there was a tremendous outpouring of support for the Black residents  of Selma, as people in the North watched them savagely beaten and abused.

This came across, not as Northern outrage about a lack of voting rights, but rather an outrage that human beings were treated with such rage and violence.

Today, we don’t see the LGBTQ community as a whole abused and the recipients of such violence. We can name individual incidents— many in fact— but we don’t have such overt and mass exhibitions of violence against LGBTQ’s as a group. In 1965 was this a general outrage, or was the recent passage of the Civil Rights Act part of it? And what if anything may that suggest about today’s LGBTQ movement? AS marriage equality spreads so quickly across the United States, will it set a stage for greater expressed outrage over other types of discrimination and homophobia? Or, because there are no images of mass violence, we will struggle to generate adequate support in the mainstream culture to confront homophobia and there way it harms especially queer youth?

What are some ways you felt the movie suggests ideas for today’s LGBTQ Rights movement?

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