The topic of homosexuality elicits many reactions. It is forever played upon in pop culture for it's shock value if nothing else. Some demonize it, holding things like religion as proving, "alternative lifestyles," to be wrong. Some have erotisied homosexuality as in many of Anne Rice's vampire novels. Some laugh at homosexuality or people who are homosexual, calling it, "weird". Some react violently, as in the case of Matthew Shepard. And yet others have gradually turned towards acceptance shown (debatably) in such movies as, " To Wong-Fu Love Julie Newmar" and " In and Out".
Pop culture has largely ignored "different" or "minority" groups, especially gays. However, during the 1980's new support/ religious and action networks arose (Mondimore 173). These groups did two important things of many, a) made noise b) fought for gay and lesbian rights and therefore screentime. From the shock of AIDS to the recently publicized hate crimes people are stepping out of the closet in record numbers. A friend described it to me as, " A choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, you can either let your fear eat you up inside or face it," he shrugged.
Alan Brinkley, author of The Unfinished Nation, speculates that the raid of police officers on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York started the effort to protect and create rights for gay Americans. The police would frequently taunt and harass patrons of the nightclub until one day when the crowd turned on the police and a riot insued. This caused a overall wakeup for both the police force and the nation for which it was televised (Brinkley 955).
While Hollywood pumps fictional stories such as the first televised lesbian kiss on Ellen, the real world is turning. While there are many cultures in the world that are accepting of gay people amongst them, there are many places and people that are still intolerant, and unaccepting. American Indian and many tribal communities accept their gay members. Even places such as most of Western Europe are more accepting than the United States. However, there are some places in the world, including instances in the United States where violence against homosexuals has reached an all time high.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that, " All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" (Amnesty Int'l...). Accordingly, human rights violations committed because of the victim's real or perceived sexual identity must be met with a concerted and sustained international response. Working with the help of 20 other countries from the belief that all people deserve equal protection under law, a growing international movement is taking up the challenge of protecting the dignity and rights of people everywhere who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transgender. A new program to aid in this is OUTFRONT, Amnesty International USA's program on human rights and sexual identity. This program is a response to the need for activists who...