LGBT+ Rights Movement between 1960-1980

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This secondary source depicts the very first LGBT+ Sit-In in 1965. This source gives crucial information that connects the methods of protests of the LGBT+ Rights Movement to other Humanitarian Movements such as the Civil Rights Movement. These types of connections may suggest a reasoning for the quick successes of the LGBT+ Rights Movement quick acheivements with the legalization of same-sex marriage only decades later after the start of the movement, while other movements took almost hundreds of years to see major progress.

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The fact that the LGBT+ community was able to observe quicker progress within a shorter timespan suggests that society as a whole improved due to the presence of all humanitarian movements prior to the LGBT+ movement, or the protesting methods utilized by these humanitarian movements were so effective that when the LGBT+ Movement adopted similar protesting methods, all the limitations from the protests were eliminated and able to be applied much more imlactful manner.

This secondary source depicts the history of the LGBT+ Rights Movement within a concise timeline. My question was to answer what methods were used by minority groups throughout the American LGBT+ Rights Movements between 1960-1980 This source was able to inform me on all the major events that showed acts of protests over the discriminatory laws faced within the time period.

It discusses events such as the Stonewall Riots, the debut of the Film The Rejected which first depicted gay men and women in media for the first time ever. Events such as these brought the topic of LGBT+ into the light, which sparked various protests throughout all communities who then gained inspiration from other successful human rights movements leading to events such as the Dewey’s Diner Sit-Ins which can be compared to the many Civil Rights Sit-Ins during Jim Crow America, or The March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation which can be almost directly compared to The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom or the many student walkouts during the Chicano Movements throughout the 1970’s.

These events have similarities and they were able to prove effective in combating the issue of discrimination effectively on a legal standpoint, but proved aggravating for the society that wanted to remain the same. This source was able to supplement crucial information to make these connections with other protests enacted by other movements of the time.

When answering my research question, I plan to compare the contributions of the Civil Rights Movement toward the successes of the LGBT+ Rights Movement in the United States between the years 1960-1980. This investigation will research the similarities and differences of the methods of protest utilized by the LGBT+ Rights Movements in the United States of America between the years 1960-1980 to other United States Human Rights campaigns prior to this movement.

Methods of protests investigated included riots, sit-ins, marches, peaceful protests, public forums, and the use of media at the time. Although this investigation will be focusing on the peak of the LGBT+ Rights Movement, I will also be referencing specific events and dates from the Civil Rights Movement ( 1954 – 1968). References to how present day (2018 – 2019) was affected by the LGBT+ Rights Movement will be made, but will not be utilized to support the investigation. These events will be used to compare the methods used in the LGBT+ Rights Movement that took inspiration from these other movements to further impact their cause.


The United States Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual (LGBT) Rights Movement was a movement prominent throughout the mid 1900’s that set the goal of banning sodomy laws over all the United States, and banning discrimination on the basis of sexuality and/or gender identity. This movement hit its peak in the 1960s through the 1980s with immense amounts of participation amongst all genders and age groups advocating for equal rights.

This movement has since then brought the banning of sodomy laws in the US, legalized marriages of the same sex/gender, and is currently finishing the fight against LGBT+ discrimination through normalization of LGBT+ citizens and bringing awareness to the hardships faced within this community. These goals could have not been achieved without people fighting for these human rights. Before the LGBT+ Movement, there were other movements fighting for their rights .


The first form of protest that proved effective during the LGBT+ Rights Movement was the Sit-Ins. These Sit-Ins were popularized within Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Sit-Ins were specified specifically at a diner called Dewey’s in which they were well known for profiling their customers and refusing to serve any customers who resembled the characteristics of a ‘homophile’. These characteristics were completely subjective, and placed many stereotypes of a queer person, making it very easy to mistake a person’s sexuality.

Out of all the Dewey’s within Philadelphia, 2 of them were the frequent meeting spot of LGBT people throughout the 1960’s. The primary demographic of the protesters sitting at the diner were teenagers protesting for their rights to service at the diner despite their sexual orientation or their gender identity. On April 25, 1965, three teenagers were arrested under the basis of disorderly conduct. There was a demonstration shortly after these arrests disturbing hundreds of patrons.

There was another Sit-In at the exact same location on May 2, 1965 and although there was police presence at the establishment, no arrests were made, and the Dewey’s location removed their policy on sexual profiling their customers; and later removed this policy throughout all establishments. This Sit-In proved many things; it proved that this policy is not government mandated, the public’s eye can be changed, and how effective this form of protest proved for gaining equality in the smallest quantity. This form of protest proved effective in gaining even a small amount of equality, but this form of protest was adapted from its success in the civil rights movement.

In 1960, many young African-American Students staged a Sit-In at a segregated lunch diner in Greensboro, Jim Crow North Carolina. The students were faced with violence and arrest charges for being in a whites only establishment. This went on for years until it became a legal obligation for diners to serve African-American customers once segregation was made illegal. Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Movement did not benefit as much from this method of protest than the LGBT+ Movement.

Not only did young adults participate in these Sit-Ins. An LGBT activist group called the Mattachine Society participated in “Sip-Ins” throughout many bars in New York City in 1966. In these “Sip-Ins” they went into a known homophobic tavern called, “Julius”. When this group arrived into the tavern and quickly informed the bartender that they were homosexuals and demanded service.

During this time, Mayor Wanger set the goal of removing homosexuals from new you’re city by banning all establishments from serving to LGBT people through undesignated profiling. This organization seemed the help of the American Civil Liberty Union to open a case to ban this discriminatory policy, and it was a success. The Mattachine Society was able to legally expose the government on their purposeful discriminatory laws.

The use of Sit-Ins during the Civil Rights Movement proved effective in later usage by allowing the LGBT+ Rights Movement to further evolve from the original idea, and benefit further from the effects to achieve many successes in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community. Although there were many more protests that were adapted by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community, the use of Sit-Ins had the quickest effect and pushed for a great impact later in the future.

History is defined as the preservation of information so that the past may not forgotten. Historians document and discuss about these events of the past to hypothesize and create conclusions which give us an insight on behavior, culture, and trends of the past and how they evolved into the customs we have today. One major limitations of this is that these hypotheses and conclusions are purely theoretical since these claims are being made by a person who may have a bias, or has limited resources.

In my essay, I couldn’t find much documentation of the events that took place during the LGBT+ Rights Movement. I had to focus my primary sources to photos taken of people protesting, or interviews or newspaper articles about what they were doing to protest. Many secondary resources were necessary to serve as a supplemental guide to further support the primary resources.

I decided to focus on protest practices from the civil rights movement since there were so many forms of protest utilized througSexual orientation hout this movement and it is the longest running humanitarian movement. This would have allowed me to look through various forms of protesting, and allowed me to weigh the impact of each one with the goal of finding a form of protest that had a greater impact on the LGBT+ Rights Movement.


  1. “”Dewey’s Lunch Counter Sit-In.”” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Accessed December 3, 2018.
  2. Editors, “”Gay Rights.”” June 28, 2017. Accessed December 3, 2018, 2019.
  3. Editors, “”Greensboro Sit-In.”” HISTORY. March 07, 2019. Accessed December 3, 2018, 2019. %1$s&share=
  4. Morgan, Thad. “”The Gay ‘Sip-In’ That Drew from the Civil Rights Movement to Fight Discrimination.”” HISTORY. November 6, 2018. Accessed December 3, 2018. %1$s&share=
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LGBT+ Rights Movement between 1960-1980. (2019, Jan 28). Retrieved from