Gay Rights Essay

Submitted By momme0311
Words: 1066
Pages: 5

I am so thankful that I do not remember a time when I would have to hide who I loved. Gay men and women have been around since the beginning of time, it’s just that they had to stay in the world’s closet. I am a gay woman and I am very thankful for the gay men and women before me that have fought this war to have equal rights. I want to take you back to where the gay movement began…. It was December 10, 1924 and Henry Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights, out of Chicago. This was the first gay-rights organization as well as the oldest documented in America. But due to political pressure the society soon shuts down. Between the 1920’s and the 1970’s homosexuality was classified as a mental illness. Many things happened in the gay-rights movement during this time… Harry Hay founds the first national gay-rights organization on November 11, 1950. It was called the Mattachine Society. The purpose of this group was to eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice, and bigotry, and to help integrate homosexuals into mainstream society. Now because at this time homosexuality was concerted as a mental illness, there was a senate report made titled “Employment of Homosexuals and other Sex Perverts”. This report states that homosexuals constitute a security risk to the nation because and I quote, “those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons”. The American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental illness in April 1952. They listed it as a sociopathic personality disturbance in the first publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Following this release many professionals in medicine criticized the categorization due to lack of scientific data. Just a year later President Eisenhower signs Executive order 10450, this bans homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. The Daughters of Bilitist was formed in San Francisco in 1955. This was the first lesbian rights organization. It was often shortened to DOB. How they got their name is very interesting. The name was chosen for it obscurity. Del Martin and Phyllis was a lesbian couple that had been together for years. They told another male gay couple that they had no lesbian friends so they introduced them to another lesbian couple. The four of them formed this group. The name was chosen in the second meeting, both words in the name stand for something. The word Daughters was chosen to evoke association with other American social organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and Bilitist came from a French poet, Pierre Louys, it was the name given to his fictional lesbian character in Sappho. The DOB was formed to hold social functions and provide alternatives to lesbian bars and clubs which were frequently raided by police. They were special pins so they were easily recognized by other members. Let’s jump ahead ten years. The members of the Mattachine Society go into the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village in New York. At this time the New York Liquor Authority prohibits serving gay patrons based on the reason that they were disordley. So the society stages a “sip-in”. The president of the group, Dick Leitsch, and other members tell the bartender that they are gay. They were immediately refused service. So the Mattachine Society sued the New York Liquor Authority. No laws were overturned but the New York City Commission on Human Rights declares that homosexuals have the right to be served. Soon many riots ensued. In the 1960’s the gay community really started to fight back. The first gay pride parade was held on June 28, 1970. Thousands of members from the LGBT community marched through the streets of New York to Central Park. Now gay pride parades are held every year all over the country. 20 years after homosexuality is put into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American