Struggles For Gays And Lesbians Essay

1919 words - 8 pages

Struggles for Gays and LesbiansOf all controversial topics that spot our society today, few can rival with the sensitive nature of homosexual rights. Ever since the late 1960's, when gay and lesbian rights adopted a more activist approach for their acceptance, the advancement of gay and lesbian rights have been an arduous path that has met much resistance from the general public and government alike, yet has also gained much acceptance from different sectors of the same source.Some of the earliest records of homosexuality in the history of the United States indicate that it was once a crime punishable by death. In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law that would mandate castration for male homosexuals, and mutilation of nose cartilage for homosexual women; the irony of this is that Thomas Jefferson was considered a liberal. Two hundred and twenty four years later, this barbarism was put to an end with the coming of the Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas. This became the law that ended criminalization of same sex intercourse.In 1951, the first national gay rights organization is founded. A small group of gay men formed the Mattachine Society. They drew their inspiration from traditional Italian street comedy, mattacini. The small group of lesbian women formed their group, the Daughters of Bilitis, which was derived from an 1874 poem, "The Song of Bilitis". Both of these groups did not and ultimately could not participate in much activism due to the constraints of social acceptance at the time.However, in the late 1950's, the American Law Institute, an organization founded in 1923 that has long been one of the most influential legal organizations in the country, issued an opinion that stunned many people. They felt that victimless crime laws, such as the laws that criminalize homosexual behavior between two consenting adults, should be abolished. In 1961, Illinois agreed, and shortly followed by Connecticut in 1969. Most states actually ignored the recommendation, and continued to treat consensual homosexuality as a felony, along-side the likes of sexual assault, and sometimes with prison sentences for as long as twenty years.In 1969 is when gay and lesbian rights were considered to have really gained momentum. This was the year in which the Stonewall Riots took place. When the New York Police Department raided a Greenwich Village gay bar and began arresting employees and drag performers, they were swiftly met with the resistance of some 2,000 gay, lesbian, and transgender supporters. They were forced into the club which prompted the following of 3 days of rioting. A year later, LGBT activists in many major cities across the country would begin holding pride parades in commemoration of that revolt, which is why we see these pride parades as of today every June.In 1973, the gay and lesbian community would receive a boost for their cause from the American Psychiatric Association. Far back in the study of psychology, considered by many to have been...

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