Gay Liberation Movement

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Can an individual of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community truly be accepted into today’s society? People disagree whether gays, lesbians, and transgenders should have the same rights as heterosexuals. As one side believes that regardless of sexuality everyone should be treated equally, others think that a homosexual lifestyle breaks traditional values and it’s not morally ethical. Discrimination against LGBTQ residents, same-sex marriage, and same-sex adoption have been a motivator of the LGBTQ in their fight.

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People of the LGBTQ community have been longing for acceptance from family and friends and appeal to our nation’s leaders and politicians, as to our own President, Donald Trump.

Dating back to ancient history, many well-known leaders, dictators, and mythological gods like Athena and Hercules have had several same sex lovers. The colonists in early America placed an emphasis on family life and procreation, and those engaging in homosexual acts were seen as running counter to these efforts (“LGBT Rights Timeline”). Lesbian women were punished less severely than homosexual men (“LGBT Rights Timeline”). About the beginning of the 1900s is when people started to take the initiative to fight for the rights of LGBTQ community. Around the early 1920s the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was formed partly to defend the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people (“LGBT Rights Timeline”). In 1924, the Chicago Society for Human Rights was founded by Henry Gerber and believed to be the first gay rights group in America (“LGBT Rights Timeline”). Up into 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) one of the largest psychiatric organizations in the world deemed homosexuality as a mental illness or sickness. In the summer of 1978, the rainbow flag was created and would later be an international symbol of LGBTQ rights (Branson-Potts A1).The abbreviation LGBT came into use in the 1990s (Karson).

Significantly, over the next 40 years the LGBTQ community continued to fight for their rights as equals. The 1960s is were events like the gay liberation movement really took its toll on the “traditional” values of the American people. The civil rights and women’s rights movement that demanded equal rights for oppressed groups served as a model for the gay liberation movement and embolden homosexuals to disclose their sexual orientation (“LGBT Rights Timeline”). Also known as the gay rights movement their reign of action began in the U.S. with the stonewall riots of 1969. The gay liberation movement is a social and political movement created in the late 1960s to urge gays and lesbians to engage in a more direct attack and counter shame societal outlooks using events like gay pride and parades. They advocated for equal rights for gay men, lesbian women, bisexuals, and transgenders calling for an end of discrimination against all who associate themselves with the LGBTQ. Their methods of action were coming out, direct action, consciousness raising, and civil resistance. The growing number of anti-gay organizations and the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which helped their opponents block legal protection for gays and lesbians, slowly became an obstacle for them.

In fact, statistics show that most kids, teens, and even young adults find “coming out” as one of the biggest milestones with dealing with the LGBTQ identity. Coming out is term which describes an individual who self-discloses their homosexual sexual orientation or gender identity to either a close family member or peer. LGBTQ youth are often targets of discrimination, struggle with depression, and face a greater risk of homelessness (Guerra B1). LGBTQ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other group in America. According to Education Week magazine (2017), signed into law in 2012, California’s FAIR Education Act requires all students to learn about the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, as well as people with disabilities (“LGBT Timeline”). An estimated 88 percent of LGBTQ youth of color say they dealt with discrimination in the past year (Guerra B1). Nearly half of young people who have self-identify as LGBTQ have contemplated suicide, compared with 11 percent of youth who do not identify as LGBTQ (Guerra B1). An estimated 35 percent “had devised a plan, and 25 percent of LGBTQ youth say they had attempted suicide, five times the rate of non-LGBTQ youth” (Guerra B1). Similar challenges have plagued the older generations, almost one-third of 33 percent of LGBT adults ages 50 to 75 have been diagnosed with depression (Guerra B1). Emotional and mental issues are an obstacle for all LGBTQ residents of all ages.

The “traditional” definition of marriage excluded gay and lesbian couples, leading to an intense same-sex marriage debate that raged for many decades. Many states hardly recognized homosexual marriage and roughly some didn’t care about the subject matter as a whole. Same-sex marriage is the marriage of two persons of the same sex or gender, entered into a civil or religious ceremony. In the United States, same-sex marriage was made legal in all fifty states by the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015 (Karson). Prior to the Obergefell case, same-sex marriage was legal in at least thirty-eight states, Guam, and the District of Columbia, in addition some states still held restrictions on some LGBTQ rights. This ruling established the right to marry for all persons in the United States and its territories (Karson). It was hard-fought victory for those who believed that homosexual couples deserve the same marriage right has heterosexual ones. Americans are still not quite sure that same-sex marriage is a right, or that a same-sex marriage is equal to a “Bible-approved” straight marriage (Curry B5). Gay people have been fighting for their families and challenging the exclusion from marriage since Stonewall (Bonauto and Wolfson 11). Fourteen percent of the U.S. population now live in states that either have the freedom to marry gay couples or honor out-of-state marriages of gay couples (Bonauto and Wolfson 11). Same-sex relationships and marriages have significantly altered family law, by leading to new formal relationship statuses and incorporation of the principle that both of a child’s legal parents can be of the same sex.

According to same-sex adoptions statistics, more and more couples are adopting in today’s society. In fact, same-sex couples are four times more likely to be raising an adopted child than a heterosexual couple. Some states granted full adoption rights to homosexual couples, while others banned it entirely or only allowed the partner in a same-sex relationship to adopt the biological child of the other. Laws forbidding adoption agencies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation have led to a retrenchment in religious adoption services in some states (Gershman). Adoption in the U.S. is currently in a state of flux and statistics on total number of adoptions nationwide are hard to come by (Gershman). Religious objections to same-sex couples and anti-discrimination laws have escalated since same-sex marriage was ruled legal back in 2015. Some found that enforcing anti-discrimination rules “will not help a single child in need find a loving home” (Gershman). But they would remove highly capable providers from the system based on their sexual orientation, sadly, taking away a home for a vulnerable child. According to Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News (2018) she stated that in this battle of same-sex adoption kids do have the fundamental right to loving parents and a safe home. The number of children in need of foster care is increasing in most states. And around eighty percent of those who try to foster a child give up within two years (“Foster the People”). About 120,00 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted (“Foster the People”).

Knowledge of the LGBTQ community varied amongst respondents to a survey of facts and opinions. Ten people were surveyed for both portions. Ninety percent of participants did realize that courts have prohibited states from banning gay adoptions. Fifty percent of the respondents did not believe that some states had granted same-sex couples full adoption rights. Only (20%) knew when same-sex marriage was legalized. All correctly guessed (100%) that LGBTQ youth faced discrimination when dealing with their sexual identity. Most people (60%) knew what the gay liberation movement was and when it was created. Only a staggering 10% knew how many states legalized same-sex marriage before the case of Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015.

For opinions, 90% agreed that LGBTQ history should be taught in schools around the world. Amazingly, a hundred percent of respondents agreed that individuals should be treated equally and be accepted for who they are regardless of their sexual orientation. Most people (80%) agreed that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children regardless of sexual beliefs for a deserving foster child to have a loving home. Most (90%) agreed that America and other countries should be more open to new things and ideas instead of being stuck in their own ways. A hundred percent agreed that marriage should be between two people who love each other regardless of gender or sex.
From the data shown above, overall most people aren’t aware of the issues going around in today’s society and events that happened in the past. But most were willing to learn and change their views on what type of rights the LGBTQ community should receive. Most hardly knew any knowledge of the gay liberation movement but agreed that everyone should be treated equally no matter your sexual orientation. For example, some people were shocked that only a couple years ago that same-sex marriage was legalized in all 50 states. The ideas and thoughts of some respondents definitely changed on how they viewed themselves and the LGBTQ community. As people look at discrimination of the LGBTQ residents, same-sex marriage, and same-sex adoption, they ask, “Can an individual of the LGBTQ community truly be accepted into today’s society”.

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Gay Liberation Movement. (2021, Mar 18). Retrieved from