During the 60’s homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Mainstream religion morally condemned gay men and women. The act of homosexuality, even it private was a criminal offense and was punishable with up to a life sentence in prison. The riots at the Stonewall Inn started a progression that is still evolving in contemporary society. There is still a significant amount of discrimination and misunderstanding associated with the LGBTQ community. The progress provides hope; however, our modern society needs to embrace the minority community and the differences in support instead of discrimination.
In the 1960’s being gay was a crime. “Illinois repeals its sodomy laws, becoming the first U.S. state to decriminalize homosexuality” (WGHB). In 1966, New York City Commission on Human Rights found that homosexuals have the right to be served in public establishments. Society was not ready to accept the LGBTQ community or their differences. “Homosexuality breaks the rules; it is seditious and unnatural because it runs counter to the family and the fundamental values of capitalist society” (Milligan, 3). The politics is that homosexuality cannot harm product children, and that makes it morally wrong.
President Clinton was an advocate who promised to change laws to support the LGBTQ community. “The Human Rights Campaign also reports that 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted state hate crime legislation that includes protections against violence motivated by sexual orientation bias” (Gays and Lesbians). Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004. “Since then, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont have followed suit. Other states have passed laws allowing for same-sex civil unions” (The Movement). Since then the Supreme Court has ruled to legalize gay marriage in the United States; however, some states are fighting to appeal this ruling.
The events of the Stonewall Inn started the progress of accepting the LGBTQ community. “The success and failures of gay political activism did much to influence the reception and fate of the Stonewall Inn – and changed the kind of club it would be” (Carter, 13). There were few places where the gay community was able to join and public and be them. “A revered landmark for American gay rights activists, Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn has undergone several transformations in the decades since it was the focal point of a three-day riot in 1969” (Then and Now). Today, the Stonewall Inn represents a turning point it social acceptance.
In modern day society, we are addressing and accepting the transgender community.
“With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice” (Townsend). According to Justino “The Transgender Tipping Point.” “Not everyone who is transgender transitions, and for some people, transitioning does not involve hormones at all” (Segal). However, some need hormones for their development to become who they are inside.
Now, Caitlyn Jenner has come out on the cover of Vanity Fair.Laverne Cox star in Orange, it the New Black, talks about her journey of being born a man but is a female inside. “Some folks, they just don’t understand. And they need to get to know us as human beings. Others are just going to be opposed to us forever” (Steinmetz). The celebrities who are expressing their journeys are providing insight for society to understand who they are.
The progression provides hope; however, our contemporary society needs to embrace the minority community and the differences in support instead of discrimination. “So if there is a message I have to give, it is that I’ve found one overriding thing about my personal election, it’s the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it’s a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope” (The Hope Speech). Society has a long way to go to accept people for who they are and embracing cultures differences. “In the past twenty-five years, we have all been witness to an astonishing flowering of gay culture that has changed this country and beyond, forever” (Harlin). Society is still evolving, and in the next decade, hopefully, society will eliminate such biases based on sexual identity and orientation.
- Carter, David. Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution. Print.
- “Gays And Lesbians”. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Harlin, Ken. “Stonewall 25: Cases 1-2”. Columbia.edu. N.p., 1993. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Jusino, Teresa. “Laverne Cox Talks Caitlyn Jenner, Privilege, And Trans Representation”. Themarysue.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Milligan, Don. “The Politics Of Homosexuality”. N.p., 1973. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Segal, Corinne. “What Hormone Therapy Means For Transgender People”. PBS NewsHour. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Steinmetz, Katy. “The Transgender Tipping Point”. TIME.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 4 May 2016.
- “The Hope Speech : Harvey Milk | From Dana’s Guests | Danaroc.Com”. Danaroc.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- “The Movement For Gay And Lesbian Civil Rights”. Boundless (2015): N.p. Web. 4 May 2016.
- “Then and Now: Stonewall Inn through the Years | PBS.” American Experience. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- Townsend, Megan. “Timeline: A Look Back At The History Of Transgender Visibility”. GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Strategist. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.
- “WGBH American Experience. Stonewall Uprising | PBS.” American Experience. N.p., 2016. Web. 4 May 2016.