The Gay Rights Movement Essay

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The Gay Rights Movement The history of the gay rights movement goes as far back as the late 19th century. More accurately, the quest by gays to search out others like themselves and foster a feeling of identity has been around since then. It is an innovative movement that seeks to change existing norms and gain acceptance within our culture. By 1915, one gay person said that the gay world was a "community, distinctly organized" (Milestones 1991), but kept mostly out of view because of social hostility. According to the Milestones article, after World War II, around 1940, many cities saw their first gay bars open as many homosexuals began to start a networking system. However, their newfound visibility only backfired on them, as…show more content…
"By 1973, there were almost eight hundred gay and lesbian organizations in the United States; by 1990, the number was several thousand. By 1970, 5,000 gay men and lesbians marched in New York City to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots; in October 1987, over 600,000 marched in Washington, to demand equality" (Milestones) Over the next two decades, half the states decriminalized homosexual behavior, and police harassment grew less frequent and obvious to the public. Also in 1975, it became legal for gays to hold federal jobs. However all this headway also made room for more opposition. In 1977, Anita Bryant was so successful at obtaining a repeal of a recent gay ordinance in her home state of Florida that by 1980, a league of anti gay clubs had come together to make a force, led in part by Jesse Helms. The AIDS scare that began in the eighties did not help the gay image either, but more citizens joined their ranks in order to combat the oppression and fund a search for the cure, so in the end it actually made the movement stronger. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2000), by 1999, the anti-sodomy laws of 32 states had been repealed, and in 1996 Vermont granted its gay citizens the right to same sex marriages. Gay rights has come a long way as a social movement, and though it still has a long way to go, it makes a good topic to analyze the process of the social movement.

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