The Rise Of The Gay Civil Rights Movement

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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 began banning works with any mention of homosexuality.
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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

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