The Gay Civil Rights Movement

Improved Essays
he LGBT community saw many slow, but monumental changes during its ascent to the gay civil rights movement. At the start of the 20th century, homosexuality (as it was referred to at the time) was considered a mental illness and could land a person either in jail or a psychiatric hospital. As early as the 1910s, the gay community took strides in protecting themselves, while expressing and mingling with other gay people by means of inconspicuous gay clubs and bars.
During this time, drag shows were fairly common, but it was not out of the ordinary for the male performers to be viewed as simply performers and not gay men. The budding community continued its courtship with the arts through plays, movies and literature until 1935, when
censorship
…show more content…
This can all be credited to the massive increase of people in the metropolitan areas.
Ultimately these times during and after the war were instrumental in the gay and lesbian communities because they were able to know that there were people like them from other parts of the country.
By the early 50s, with a surge of liberalism and contemporary art, gay films and literature began being produced. It was around this time that Alfred Kinsey created the Kinsey scale, which was used to describe a person’s sexual orientation based on experience and found that there were approximately 20 million gay men and women. This scale, which rejected the idea of an either/or dichotomy of sexuality (Anderson). The aforementioned estimate was then a great source of hope amongst gay people; it showed that they were not a small minority as they once thought. However, with every advance, there’s a pushback; the era of McCarthyism, which lasted from the early to mid 50s, led to anything alternative to the norm (sexuality, feminist movements, and “dissidents”) being labeled as “communist” and thus punishable by law.
…show more content…
When the patrons of the bar and bystanders decided that they were not going to accept any further abuses and actively defend themselves, they committed the first monumental act of resistance in the gay rights movement. The riots (which lasted 5 days), became protests, and the protests became marches and soon pride parades. The level of visibility seen during this time was absolutely unfathomable just 10-15 years prior.
On June 24, 2016, President Obama officially designated Stonewall and the surrounding neighborhood as a National Historic Site. This is important because for over a century, the
American government shamed, harassed, abused, and refused to acknowledge the rights and civil liberties of American citizens, simply because of their sexual orientation and gender identity and this problem is still alive today. Wendy Stark, executive director of the Callen-Lorde Community
Health Center stated "The recognition of Stonewall as a national monument is an important step in recognizing our vibrant past and spotlighting the unique contributions LGBT Americans

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Homosexuals In America

    • 1274 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Homosexuals were jailed for displaying affection, they were seen as epidemics that would ruin children’s lives. But, what most Americans failed to realize is that they were doing more harm (conservatives/ anti-proponents). One night, would be start of change. According to Lucian Truscott IV, the author of, Gay Power Comes To Sheridan Square, “The forces of faggotry, spurred by a Friday night raid on one of the city 's largest, most popular, and longest lived gay bars, the Stonewall Inn, rallied Saturday night in an unprecedented protest against the raid and continued Sunday night to assert presence, possibility, and pride until the early hours of Monday morning.” I’m a faggot, and I 'm proud of it! ““Gay power!"…

    • 1274 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    The first one would be the sense of unity because when the riots first started to break out, crowds of people started to ban together and then other groups of people during the night or days after would come together with the others. As days of protesting and riots went on after Stonewall, the number of people increased and could be seen hand in hand as one giant wall. The second major concept to emerge was pride because for the first time, fighting back against decades of oppression was successful and can be looked at as the first achievement in the gay rights movement. It could have only emerged with crowds of people because it was very difficult for gay people to be publicly proud of who they are during this time because of society. Pride is now probably the leading idea in the gay rights movement.…

    • 2067 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Gay Marriage Arguments

    • 2179 Words
    • 9 Pages

    In cities such as New York City and San Francisco, the LGBT community has grown so fast that well known politicians and federal judges have started to show their support with future political compromises. Although certain states in the USA have legalized gay marriage, it’s unfair for the other half of millions of LGBT couples who live in states where gay marriage isn’t legal. The partial legalization of gay marriage in only certain states in the USA is a huge problem; it promotes discrimination and violates the human rights of the members of the LBGT community living in states where Gay Marriage is illegal. This partial legalization of gay marriage could contribute to the migration of the LGBT members into states where gay marriage has been approved. Statistics have been proven the members of the LGBT community have been already migrating; “According to a 2012 Gallup Poll, 10% of the people living in the District of Columbia, identified themselves as a member of the LGBT.…

    • 2179 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    demonstrated that gay and bisexual men with histories of childhood sexual abuse were more likely to report both unprotected anal intercourse, to derive fewer benefits from participation in prevention programs, and to be at an overall greater risk for HIV infection. This has help spread the HIV virus and even though homosexual males are the most likely to get HIV and AIDs this does not defend the media putting a negative influence on the public’s decisions on the official cause of AIDS. Many homosexuals have died of aids but it has affected many heterosexual people as well. In New York at CHIBPS they documented the risks of young homosexual and bisexual men ages thirteen through twenty nine. They spoke with them about homophobia and how they deal…

    • 1273 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Homosexuality was a crime for most of the United States history. As early as the 20th-century people were working discreetly until the Stonewall riots of 1969 for the acceptance of people who are gay in society. The Stonewall Riots were a major turning point for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. It was beginning of societal awareness of the persecution and needed rights of the LGBT community. This seminal conflict eventually led to increased social acceptance and legal rights for this community and by 2015, gay marriage became legal in all 50 states through these uncompromising efforts.…

    • 1745 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    According to Congress, the Marriage Equality Act was not passed until 2015 even though there had been a push for years that was left denied because it was riding off the decisions of straight white men in power, who this would never concern. Although this is a monumental step, there are others who do not have the right to be with those they love in marriage or at all. There is still discrimination even with this stride. According to the public records of the city of Orlando, two years ago, in June of 2016, there was one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history. 49 lives were lost and more than 50 were injured in the Pulse nightclub due to a hate crime on the LGBTQIA community.…

    • 1248 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    They began to seek change and as with most change the government was quick to crack down. This time period saw many states ban gay marriage in their constitution during the late 90’s. Many studies were published and as the studies and celebrities began to come out, society 's idea of what being gay meant. Being gay is not a disease, something to hide, or even something to shame. Being gay is being attracted to the same sex; that 's it.…

    • 1497 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gay Adoption

    • 1472 Words
    • 6 Pages

    A topic we often heard about but, don’t really pay any attention to is homosexual families. This topic has recently been attracting a vast amount of public attention and has stirred up many controversies that will be talked about in this paper. However lets talk more about the background behind the topic; just this year alone the LGBT community has made some astounding advancements in accomplishing equal recognition. On June 26 of this year same-sex marriage was legalized by a 5-4 vote by the Supreme Court. This made it illegal for a state to refuse to marry a same sex couple and gave the LGBT community the recognition they have long been waiting for.…

    • 1472 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This bill was distributed amongst government officalls which stated that the act of being gay was considered to be a mental illness, a dessees which needed to be dealt with. The bill also stated if any person engaged in this perverted action is considered emotionally unstable. Even though men and women like Harry Hay did not approve of this bill they still fought for their right to express their love interests. Harry was strong and steadfast on his goal of gay rights acceptance in congress and American society slowed down when Dwite Eisenhower signed an executive order number 10450 which placed homosexuals at the same security treat as drunks…

    • 1269 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    The queer community has always existed, and as long as it has existed, so has homophobia. The Stonewall riots were a direct result of the oppression of LGBT individuals, when a group of New Yorkers decided that they had had enough. The riots may have only been an isolated event, but the events that followed helped to shape history for LGBT individuals forever. Just years before the riots, these individuals were hiding “in the closet” and afraid to be themselves. It was the loud and open expression pioneered by the rioters, which helped form safer laws and spaces where the queer community could meet without fear of judgement.…

    • 1437 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays

Related Topics