Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Illustration of Why Civil Rights Are Necessary

I just read this heartbreaking post at Clay Cane. Waris Grant's partner of 5 years, Jamall King recently died. While King was in the hospital, he instructed medical staff that Grant would be the one in charge of everything if he could not make decisions. King's parents took over instead and would not allow Grant to talk to medical personnel about King's status and condition, and after King died Grant was not invited to the funeral services. Here are some quotes from the post:

According to Waris Grant, "Jamall's situation in his last couple of weeks took a turn for the worse. One of his lungs had to be drained, which decreased his lung capacity. He had to be put on a restrictive mask that made a seal with his face and forced oxygen into his lungs mechanically. This procedure was only administered once. Jamall was informed that he would have to be placed on a respirator in an induced coma. As I stood there, I was stunned and saddened by this prospect since the doctors also advised him that people do not usually get off a respirator. Jamall and I spoke about this for no more than 5 minutes at the most -- a swarm of doctors and technicians came into the room to ask his decision. He agreed to the procedure since it seemed to be his last resort. One of the professionals in the room asked, 'Who is your next of kin or who do you want to be in charge while you are unconscious?' Jamall promptly answered while pointing to me, 'I want Waris to be in charge of everything.'" Waris was not in charge of everything. He lost all of his rights.

Waris also says, "Jamall had an identical twin brother, Jermell King, who died of HIV/AIDS complications seven years ago. His family has always said his brother died of cancer. Now, his family denies to any of his friends, whom are already aware of his status, that Jamall's illness was at all related to HIV/AIDS. They tried to prevent me from bringing his close friends, loved ones and even his caseworker to see him while he was hospitalized.

Waris continues, "Up until October 17th, which is more than a month after his death, Jamall still had not been laid to rest. My proposal for his final arrangements was refused by his family. It was refused out of prejudice and bias and up until 3 days prior to his mother's supposed arrangements -- I was still in the dark about the location of the venue. I was not invited. They thought I would divulge some closely guarded family secret and were under the impression that Jamall's employer would pick up the entire mysterious tab, therefore, me and all his friends were snubbed."

Imagine being in a relationship with your loved one for years and one day he or she is gravely ill or injured. If you are heterosexual and married (this couple would have married if they could have) you would not have the same worries a couple like this would have about somebody taking away your right to care for your partner in their time of need and to take care of any subsequent arrangements. Imagine standing by helplessly as the person's parents go against their wishes for medical care. Imagine not being allowed in to see your loved one. Imagine not having any say in funeral arrangements. Imagine being banned from attending the actual funeral. Imagine sharing a home with your loved one, but because the home was in your loved one's name, imagine the parents selling your home and all its belongings (this didn't happen in this case but someone in the comments for this post has a friend who experienced this). How can you be aware of all of this and still deny someone their rights? This has nothing to do with your personal beliefs about homosexuality. It is not your business nor your place to strip away basic civil rights of another group because you do not agree with their lifestyle. It is saddening that so many people are so shockingly and willfully ignorant about this.

For the full post and more information, click here.

6 jewels of thought:

LEX$ said...

honestly, i always found it funny how minorities can deny others their own civil rights. thats always made me laugh, especially those who were denied THEIR civil rights in the past.

Doc Brown said...

I agree with LEX$, Ive always thought that minorities should be the first in line to speak up for the civil right's of homosexuals.

African Americans have come along way in our fight, but in the grand scheme of things we as humans haven't accomplished anything until EVERYONE is given their own civil rights, and we've got a LONG way to go

Gem said...

I actually mentioned this in a previous post on Prop. 8. Many Af-Ams will cling to that Bible for dear life, overlooking the fact that the Bible was also used to justify slavery. The hypocrisy, it kills me.

Little Miss Nobody said...

I've heard of stories similar to this and it always saddens me. No one should be denied basic human rights, decency, or even respect for that matter because of sexual orientation.

People in general feel the need to have someone else to look down upon. Sometimes, I feel like "Gay" is the new "n*gger" in the aspect of saying you don't deserve equal rights and to be treated like a human being.

ChocolateOrchid said...

Damn. That's horrible.
I really wish that people would just get over themselves and let people be. It's terrible that the family felt it okay/right to do what they did. My heart goes out to Waris and others who have experienced this.

Alicia/InstantVintage said...


I hate this story. It makes me so sad.

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