Gay Rights Movement Essay examples

Submitted By ellengriffith8
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Gay Movement in America Mostly everyone these days know a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individual. America is currently divided between those who approve gay rights, including gay marriage, and those who do not. Even though there are still plenty of Americans who oppose the idea of homosexuality, the LGBT community has certainly come a long way since World War II. The gay community, after being discriminated against for many years, has slowly but surely gained acceptance in the nation, and America has gradually opened up its eyes to accept people for who they are rather than who they love. While same-sex relationships have dated back to early civilization, the modern debate over gay rights has heightened in the last century, and recently taken a political dimension (Same-Sex Unions). Tension over gay rights has particularly increased over the last 50 years, post World War II. What is comes down to is several things; whether being gay is or is not a choice, and whether homosexuals deserve equal rights as heterosexuals. Historical framework surrounding the issue backs both sides. Supporters and protestors alike use documents such as the Bible and the U.S. Constitution to provide evidence for their argument. While society attempts to figure out the right answer, the individuals who are the subject of the dispute have often suffered from judgment and harassment. The National Youth association estimates that 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school (Gay Bullying). Campaigns like “It Gets Better Project” and “NoH8” have made an effort to reach out to gays and support them in a society that has been hateful and discriminatory towards them for a long time. It is important for society to understand the history and intention of gays before they choose an opinion on the issue.
The 1950’s brought extreme discrimination towards gay people, who were constantly brutalized by police and the public alike. Not only were gays ostracized from their families and communities, but also in 1953, gays were officially banned from the military. President Eisenhower passed a law that legalized the right to fire an employee, simply because they were homosexual. The report claimed that since homosexuality was a mental illness, they constituted security risks. During this time, almost 5,000 gay men and women were fired from their government jobs (Timeline). Most companies joined in on the purge, and the U.S. Postal Service even placed tracers on suspected homosexuals’ mail in order to gain evidence to arrest them. This law, which caused what is known today as the “lavender scare,” stood until 1993. Thousands of gays were wrongfully kicked out of armed services and a lot of them were unfortunately dumped in port cities, including San Francisco. Many of them felt too embarrassed or disgraced to go home, so they stayed there (Same-Sex Unions).
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, California, America’s first national gay rights organization was formed. Harry Hays, a gay rights activist founded the Mattachine Society to change public views on homosexuality, and to ‘“eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice and bigotry,” to assimilate homosexuals into mainstream society, and to cultivate the notion of an “ethical homosexual culture.”’ This organization, however, was mainly underground due to the fact that they were not legally allowed to do much activism; small victories were not celebrated publicly, and members of the organizations could only advertise by posting flyers in areas where gays were known to congregate (Ford). The Mattachine Society was only one of many gay rights groups founded in the 20th century. Another important organization was the Metropolitan Community Church, which was founded because other churches condemned gays. Today is still the largest LGBT religious organization in the country (Timeline).
Perhaps the most pivotal moment in the gay rights movement was the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in June…