The LGBT Movement The history of the movement from Stonewall through Gay Marriage, Gender Identity and Transgender Issues
To start; a few questions… The gay rights movement burst on to the political scene in 1969. Why then? What were the social conditions that fostered the appearance of this new social movement? What gains have this movement made in changing laws and attitudes? How has the movement evolved? What are some of the important debates within it?
LGBT Movement: A Brief History A Definition: “…the formation of durable organizations and community groups that promote a liberal agenda of equal rights and inclusion, premised on a conception of gay men and lesbians as a clearly demarcated social group with a fixed, ethnic-like identity.”
An LGBT Timeline The 1950’s • In the 1950’s the Homophile Movement emerged first in New York City, with the Mattachine Society promoting assimilation politics. This is the first appearance of the gay political movement. Although largely unsuccessful, this movement laid the groundwork for the rise of the militant faction of the LGBT Movement.
Timeline (continued…) The 1960’s • The 1960’s foster liberal ideas about sexuality. In 1969, three days of rioting ensue when police bust a mobster-run gay club, Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village. This is considered the symbolic beginning of the gay movement…
…more timeline… The 1970’s • In the 1970’s, the Gay Liberation Front splinters, and is composed of largely white, middle class enclaves. • Creation of National Organizations: National Gay Task Force, Gay Rights National Lobby, Human Rights Campaign. The movement attempts going into popular politics; Carter and the Democratic Party fail to push forward gay rights plank.
…even more timeline… The 1980’s • Ronald Reagan voted into office for two terms, followed by George H.W. Bush for one term. • The rise of the first challenge to the gay rights movement: the New Right (Moral Majority) • The emergence of the AIDS epidemic. Reagan, the media, and the New Right label it as the “gay disease”. This galvanizes previously uninvolved gay men into the activist role.
…and last, but not least… The 1990’s • The 1990’s social movements include those of racial politics (minorities previously not in movement), sexual expression, and the split between left/right political entities within gay communities. • The repealing of gay rights, including the fighting against gay marriage is the most recent obstacle.