Gay Rights Movement Research Paper

Good Essays
Robert Reno
Professor James Richardson
WHO-1030-271
16 April 2015
The Gay Rights Movement: Moving Mountains
Although great strides have been made in the recent past, homosexuals have faced many hurdles in the fight for equal rights. From hate crimes to legislative tyranny, the homosexual community has strived to become socially accepted and ascertain the same rights afforded to them as by the Constitution of the United States of America. For over five decades, many organizations have been created to facilitate this fight and many continue today. When building a home, one must first lay a foundation, as is true when beginning the fight for freedom. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the many groups formed to bring freedom and equality
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A local bar in New York’s Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn was the target of this routine police raid. At this age in time, it was still considered socially unacceptable to be gay. There were no laws protecting homosexuals and brutal force was used by the government officials. This all began as police were leading bar patrons outside to a waiting patrol car. Outside the bar, tempers flared and anger soon took control. The mob of people began throwing bottles toward the building and police officials. Soon, the building was set ablaze and this riot carried on for several hours before the crowd was contained. This movement quickly grew from a small group of activists into a widespread protest. (Hall, Simon. “The American Gay Rights Movement and Patriotic Protest.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 19.3 (2010): 536-562.)
The Stonewall riot became known as the movement that started it all. Many claim these protests to be the beginning of resistance. After the Stonewall riots, organizations began to develop in cities all over the country. It is said that the fifty or so organizations that existed in 1969 grew to “more than eight hundred four years later, and tens of thousands of gays and lesbians became actively involved in the gay rights movement.” (Hall 546) It was then that gays and lesbians began to show pride for who they were born to
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One organization in particular, the “Student Homophile League” formed at Cornell University in 1968 laid the groundwork for gay and lesbian independence. Cornell University wasn’t the only university to develop these organizations. Many other universities across the country began to mobilize and join the militant groups of activism for equal rights. It was not easy for students to form organizations such as these despite acceptance from other non-gay groups. Cornell University refused to grant SHL approval until they received a list of all members. This posed a problem due to several members agreeing to join if they remained anonymous. For the first year SHL had to perform “underground” and the following year Cornell University agreed to grant the group administration. It was then however, that the group had met a crossroads. Once approved, word was out and the local paper compiled a story about the group. This was found to be very displeasing to the public and the group came under much scrutiny. Eventually SHL went from being a very small group of people due to the majority of gay and lesbian students not wanting to be identified as homosexual to gaining ground. This was due in part to a decision to advertise to the general public and open the group from a private venue to come one, come all. The turnout astounded founder Stephen Donaldson. Included in this group were students who

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