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English 11 Research Paper

1463 words - 6 pages

The fight for gay rights has always been going on in America. The purpose of the gay rights movement was to earn equal rights for homosexual couples which were denied to them because of the belief that it was “wrong”. But in the early 1900’s homosexuals became more outspoken about their right to be equal. In 1951 the first gay rights organization is formed by Harry Hay, who some consider the founder of the Gay Rights Movement. In 1962 Illinois became the first state to decriminalize relations between two men with consent. But the most progressive act took place on July 24, 1969 during the Stonewall raid. The Stonewall was Mafia run bar that acted as a secret gay bar at night. “...The sons and daughters of postal workers, welfare mothers, cab drivers, mechanics and nurse aids… We all ended up at a place called the Stonewall”(Mcgarry).The mood of the bar was already uptight from the death of famous gay rights activist Judy Garland three days previous. At first the raid went standard and everyone cooperated. But as police began arresting cross-dressers the crowd became agitated and restless. As one detainee escaped a police car the crowd grew violent and attacked police. The attack sparked a 6 hour long riot. “a number of things were happening simultaneously. There was no one thing that happened or one person, there was just… a flash of group -of mass- anger”(Mcgarry). By the end of the riot, eighteen drag queens had been arrested and thirteen police were injured. “For the first time gays were written about in history but not as a joke or some doctors experiment but as people”(McGarry)
. One of the most famous gay activists was American politician, Harvey Milk. In 1972, tiring of his investment job in New York city, Harvey Milk moved to San Francisco and opened a camera shop in the gay community. Although he knew that he was gay all his life, Milk had chosen to keep his sexuality a secret from most people. But in the years before Harvey moved to San Francisco he had befriended countless number of gay radicals. In San Francisco his life as a politician expanded. As Castro Camera grew so did Harvey’s voice in his community. In 1973 Harvey decided to run to San Francisco Board of Supervisors but with little experience could not compete and lost.Two years later, after getting better backing in the political world, Harvey ran again and narrowly lost but won with help from Mayor George Moscone and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. Inaugurated on January 9th, 1979, Harvey Milk became the city's first openly gay officer. Although he talked about gay rights, Milk planned to tackle issues from child care to housing to the homeless issue. Milk’s rise to power had come at good time in the gay community. Many Psychiatrists still believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder.With help again from Mayor Moscone Milk managed to get seven other gay officials into high-profile positions. Dan White, a Vietnam Veteran and former police officer , served as Mayor...

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