There's More to Life than Gay Rights

Benedict By Benedict, 5th Dec 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

The heated public discussion, debate and even drama over gay rights, especially marriage, masks the fact that throughout our society there are groups of people, namely the disabled, who suffer far more than your average LGBT person. Why are they forgotten? Discrimination is discrimination, yet our society has routinely placed the agenda of the gay community well ahead of any other. Being gay can attract horrendous vilification, sure, but homophobia is but one form of ignorance in society.

Comparing Lives

Just for a moment, imagine a scenario:

James is a lawyer, a very good one, in fact. He has worked for the local District Attorney's office for five years. While the salary is smaller than what he would get in some areas of the corporate world, it's more than sufficient for a nice, comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle. He has no children and lives with his boyfriend Simon in Manhattan.

Madeleine, by contrast, finds it hard to even keep a job. Each morning her assigned carer, or her mother if she can, helps her dress herself. She has cerebral palsy and each day can be a struggle. Socialising is hard and with her disability, the prospect of a long-term relationship, let alone marriage, seems slim to her. Even something others take for granted, such as controlling her bladder, can be nigh on impossible.


I am by no means saying that homophobia is an extinct form of discrimination. There are those in society who do indeed suffer, some regularly, from taunts, bullying or even, less commonly, horrendous violence. Nonetheless, in the Western World, at least, this is a declining trend.

My point is that with the rise of social tolerance in many quarters, being gay nowadays does not in itself produce the same sort of stigma it did 50 or even 20 years ago. Most gay relationships, even if marriage is often prohibited, are not persecuted. I myself have many friends who "came out" well before I even met them.

I am not stretching the truth here to suggest that disability is actually "less out in the open" than being gay nowadays. I see gay actors or gay characters on TV and in films, hear gay or bisexual musicians and see endless activism and campaigning on behalf of gay rights. But where is the activism and campaigning on behalf of the disabled?

Believe it or not, having a non-straight sexual orientation is typically far less disadvantageous in life than having a disability such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or spina bifida.

Why can't society accept this? It does not prevent people tackling issues of gay discrimination but it does require us to get a sense of proportionality about the general problems in this world.


Disabilities, Disabilities And Children, Disabled People, Elderly People, Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Political Correctness, Politics, Senior Citizens

Meet the author

author avatar Benedict
I'm an unconventional young man with a predilection for saying and doing what I feel.

I seek adventure and abhor most forms of political correctness.

I crave travel, debate politics and love life.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
6th Dec 2011 (#)

Life is rarely fair. We should not bash others no matter what, be it sexual orientation, disability, or color of their skin, but some might argue that many people use these things to their advantage while the common man is nothing more than "common".

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