Take Home Essay Assignment

1819 words - 7 pages

Take Home Essay AssignmentMaxine AugustowitschProfessor Nuzhat AbbasHUMA 024 3ZNovember 1, 2012Homosexuality has been depicted as part of human nature since mankind first learned how to draw on their cave walls. It is how society reacts to this homosexuality however, that has vastly changed since these times. Homophobia is not something that one is born with, but rather something that one is taught. Society has treated the gay community with the utmost disrespect and cruelty since man decided to make laws, and the gay people have been fighting for their rights ever since. It was not until the Stonewall Riots however, that this fight began to turn in favour of the gay community. The Stonewall Riots created a completely unique identity for the gay community as they represent the first civil uprising from the gay people, they inspired many more gay rights movements, and they have left a lasting legacy whose effects can still be seen today.For one to understand the significance of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and what a pivotal effect it had on the gay rights movement, one must first understand the times such events took place in. Society during the mid-twentieth century had deemed homosexuality as unnatural and perverted and those who practiced homosexual activities were treated with the utmost disrespect and cruelty. Homosexuality was not seen as an individual's choice, but rather a mental illness which was believed to be cured through 'conversion therapy' meetings with mental health professionals to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality. Many gay people of this time hid their sexuality to avoid this humiliating treatment while often living double lives. If one was to present themselves as openly gay, they would immediately be fired from any jobs and titles they held, were usually removed from their families, and were publicly humiliated with their name and picture in local newspapers. Schools began teaching the youth that homosexuality was a contagious disease and they must avoid gay people at all costs to avoid contamination, while commercials and other advertisements of the same nature were created to warn the public. Homosexuality was not a subject one openly spoke about and the gay community was undoubtedly an oppressed minority, but still the gay community increased their visibility in society through minor organizations supporting gay rights. However, it wasn't until the Mattachine Society and the Daughter of Bilitis (DOS) that these types of organizations saw any significant success. The Mattachine Society was formed in 1950 by Harry Hay whose ultimate goal was to improve and secure the rights of the gay community. The Mattachine's meetings took place in secret while members used aliases to avoid public humiliation, should the organization's information and records be confiscated. The organization was later joined by the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) in 1955 as the only real gay organizations in the United States. Unlike the Mattachine Society...

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