The Stonewall Riot of 1969

Decent Essays

While it was barely a kernel of activism against the immense backdrop of advocacy during the 1960’s and 70’s, the gay liberation movement was one of the most important challenges to the hierarchal structures of accepted moral and scientific thought. Functioning as a minor footnote within the context of a substantial political arena comprised of the issues of war, race and a raging women’s liberation movement, gay liberation in the late twentieth century still sought to impress upon the marginalizing and sectarian constructions that subjugated gays to an imposed peripheral existence of personal and public abhorrence. The Stonewall Riot of 1969 signaled the start of a substantial social movement, the dissemination of which would permeate the gay community and call into action an assault on the mechanisms of social order, public legislation and cultural dispositions that sustained a framework of persecution against homosexual men and women. The efforts of gay liberation activists during the sexual revolution of the late twentieth century made possible the near expulsion of constraints on sexual expression and gave way to a new rhetoric of pride and affirmation. For some gay men and women, just being a homosexual in the late 20th century meant being a part of the movement- no political agenda necessary. Sexual politics, after all, have a visceral quality that isn’t easy to ignore, which D’Emilio and Freedman attest to when they recognize that “gayness itself symbolized an

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