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Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Issues – Equal Rights Not Special Rights for Gays

Gays: Seeking Equal Rights Not Special Rights

On October 6, 1998 two men took Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, about a mile outside of Laramie Wyoming. These men took him out to a split-rail fence, tortured him, then tied him put onto the fence, and left him for death. He was found late the next day by two bikers, 18 hours after the attack. When the bikers first saw Matthew tied to the fence, they thought that Matthew was a scarecrow, but realized that it was a person. Matthew remained in a coma until October 12, then died at 12:53 a.m. Matthew always was a peacemaker he wanted gays to be treated like everyone else not as a minority. Matthew once said, “If I could get two people–one straight, one gay–who hate each other to be respectful of each other, I would have done something good” (Miller). He wanted homosexuals and heterosexuals to see eye to eye, which almost seems impossible.

Homosexuality has been common in many cultures throughout history, but not always known. When it came about in society many religions thought it as sinful. As a result, being gay or lesbian was a crime, punishable by death. In the twentieth century homosexuality took a turn around. As a result gay bashing became common in America. In November 13, 1986 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a boy admitted that he and his friends hunted gay men down and beat them with baseball bats (Opposing View Points, “Homosexuals are an…”). It seems that this issue of discrimination of gays is too extreme. Society needs to know that homosexuals are fighting for civil rights, not special rights. They want to be treated equal in the workplace, in housing and in public accommodations.

In November of 1992 Colorado tried to pass an amendment against homosexuals gaining special rights. The purpose of the amendment was to deny homosexuals special rights, through any of Colorado’s state branches or departments or any of its agencies. When this amendment was passed civil liberties groups and gay rights groups around the nation called for a boycott of Colorado. Consequently, the state lost about $40 million in convention and tourist business. In 1994 the Colorado Supreme Court declared that the state’s anti-gay rights measure, Amendment 2, was unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy states, “We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else.

Rappaccini’s Daughter Essay: Solitude/Isolation in the Story and Hawthorne’s Life

Solitude/Isolation in “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and Hawthorne’s Life

In the Nathaniel Hawthorne tale, “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” we see and feel the solitude/isolation of the scientific-minded surgeon, Dr. Rappaccini, likewise that of his daughter, Beatrice, and finally that of the main character, Giovanni. Is this solitude not a reflection of the very life of the author?

According to A.N. Kaul in his Introduction to Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, the themes of isolation and alienation were ones which Hawthorne was “deeply preoccupied with” in his writings (2). Hawthorne’s personal isolation from people from 1825 to 1837 was probably due to his lifelong shyness among people. This reluctance to freely socialize may have been a result of a foot injury: “an injury to his foot at the age of nine reduced his physical activity for almost two years” (Martin 16). Wagenknecht says in Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Man, His Tales and Romances that this accident “reduced him for over two years to a state of invalidism that probably contributed toward developing his taste for reading” (2). Or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s shyness was perhaps due to the death of his father when he was but four years old. Regarding the impact of this death upon Hawthorne, Edmund Fuller and B. Jo Kinnick in “Stories Derived from New England Living,” say:

When the news came of his father’s death, Hawthorne’s mother withdrew into her upstairs bedroom, coming out only rarely during the remaining forty years of her life. The boy and his two sisters lived in almost complete isolation from her and from each other (29).

The Norton Anthology: American Literature states that as a college student at Bowdoin College “shyness caused him to try to evade the obligatory public declamations” (547). It continues:

Hawthorne’s years between 1825 and 1837 have fascinated his biographers and critics. Hawthorne himself took pains to propagate the notion that he had lived as a hermit who left his upstairs room only for nighttime walks and hardly communicated even with his mother and sisters (547).

Henry James, a contemporary of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who knew him socially, had lots to say about Hawthorne’s isolation and shyness in his book Hawthorne:

. . . this region to be of a “weird and woodsy” character; and Hawthorne, later in life, spoke of it to a friend as the place where “I first got my cursed habits of solitude.

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