“When discrimination against Blacks, Jews, and women, though prevalent, is no longer officially sanctioned, discrimination against homosexuals is condoned by both church and state.”

Two objectives

  1. Removal of laws and practices discriminating against homosexuals
  2. Acceptance of sexuality
  • Considered an ethnic minority
  • No permanent security
  • Excluded
  • Heterosexuals need to accept them as equals, not a sexual minority “Gay is good”
  • Rejection of opinions held by those in authority regarding homosexuality
  • That it is wrong just cause someone says it is
  • Transition from victim/criminal to self defining minority

Gay Liberation

  • Came from pervasive police harassment in 50s and 60s
  • Weakening taboos around the discussion of homosexuality
  • Anti-war movement gave an example for loud and proud demonstrations, something homosexuals could use later
  • i.e. 1970: homosexuals disrupted an American Psychiatric Association aversion therapy meeting


  • “new spirit of sexual freedom”-> non-conformity, sexual deviance becomes mentionable
  • Males want to challenge “macho” stereotype
  • Females rethink traditional sex roles-> experiment with sexual pleasure


  • 1890s: WWII: homosexual emancipation
  • 1896: first org. dedicated to ending discrimination against homosexuals (Magnus Hirschfeld-> Scientific-Humanitarian Committee
  • 1895: trial of Oscar Wilde
  • Publicized homosexuality
  • Created fear among homosexual Englishmen, due to his fate (65)
  • 1903: petition repealing P.175 of German penal code illegalizing homosexuality received 6000 names, not removed till late 60s.
  • 1921: Institute for Sexual Research
  • 1923: World League for Sexual Reform
  • All destroyed by Nazis, before their reign gay cafes, bars, clubs and social groups flourished
  • 1928: The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • First portrayal of lesbianism
  • WWII: poor treatment of homosexuals in war brought them together
  • Post-war to Stonewall Riot of 1969: homophile movement
  • 1950: Mattachine Society (masked singers) -> referring to the anonymity of homosexuals
  • Wanted to create group consciousness about homosexuality
  • Illegal across the United States
  • Newspapers supported purges of homosexuals
  • Medical researchers had interesting rehabilitation techniques (lobotomies, castration, and electric shock) (68)
  • Homophile movement-> love of same
  • Members of Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis
  • By removing the word sexuality from thetitle the focus would hopefully shift from sex acts to the individual people
  • 1965: first protesting occurred outside White House, Pentagon, State Department, Independence hall in Phili.
  • New Years 1965: San Fran Costume Ball benefiting Council on Religion and Homosexuality
  • Barricaded by police
  • 500 homosexuals, ministers and wives entered the ball defying the police.
  • Beginning of the decrease in isolation forced upon homosexuals who were now supported by progressive heterosexuals
  • Only about 5000 members
  • Greenwich Village bar populated by drag queens and lesbians
  • Raided by police-> patrons threw cans and bottles as they were angry at the police for invading their privacy
  • Resulted in a 2 night riot: 2000 vs 400 police
  • Symbolic end to the victim status of homosexuality
  • “Gay power” graffiti began to occur in Greenwich Village
  • GLF (Gay Liberation Front) and GAA (Gay Activist Alliance) were formed
  • GLF-> coalitions with other progressive groups
  • GAA-> single issue stance, influential in movement
  • Activists no longer feared being “out”

Gay and lesbian Liberation

  • Declaring their personal preferences was a radical political movement
  • Sexual self-determination= fundamental human right
  • Could not be forced back into the closet as they had poured out in masses
  • Pink triangle symbol-> from what male homosexuals were forced to wear in concentration camps/Nazi Germany
  • Creating laws that protected those who were out from discrimination (job and housing)
  • 1978: Proposition 6
  • San Francisco and across California
  • Needed to defeat Briggs initiative
  • Would require schools to fire homosexuals or any teacher who speaks positively of homosexuality in class
  • Implied that homosexuals could not be trusted with children
  • Homosexuals in San Fran feared persecution
  • 1972: Harvey Milk moves to San Francisco with lover Scott Smith
  • Runs for Supervisor 2x and does not get elected (1975 and 76)
  • Opens Castro Camera where he will campaign from
  • 1977: Anita Bryant launches modern anti gay movement
  • 1978: ELECTED into public office along with first Asian, and first black woman in public office. Along with future murderer Dan White
  • Prop 6 by Briggs: Ban Gay teachers
  • Heterosexual parents, teachers etc speech. Nov. 7 defeated
  • Wrote his Will in anticipation of his assassination.
  • Assassinated by Dan White in Nov. 1978, November27. Along with George Moscone (mayor)
  • Dan White considered a hero by anti gay activists
  • First gay person elected into office (supervisor)
  • United the gay community-> candlelit ceremony from Castro district to city hall
  • Campaigned against Briggs
  • Assassination lead to the White Night Riots
  • Dan White charged with manslaughter, served 5/7 years
  • California rule said people who killed officials could suffer the death penalty…
  • Ticked off 5000 homosexuals -> march -> riot
  • Police were not allowed to fight rioters, so they went into Castro district and beat pedestrians, invaded a gay bar
  • The Gay community continues to struggle to this day to ascertain equal rights under law and societal values
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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