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The fight for Gay civil rights started with the arrest of writer Oscar Wilde. He was arrested and sentenced to hard labor for two years after being found guilty of being homosexual. In 1895 homosexuality was seen as criminal and unmoral. His arrest ignited many progressives and homosexuals to fight for the acceptance of homosexuality (Escoffier, 2008). The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was the first gay rights movement, founded in 1897 in Germany. This movement inspired Henry Gerber, a German immigrant to found the “Society for Human Rights” in 1924. This is the first documented gay rights organization in the U.S.. gay rights groups like the Mattachine Foundation and Daughters of Bilitis managed to have newsletters and publications in the 1950’s however their efforts were setback because the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. President Eisenhower signed an executive order banning gay people from federal positions (, 2017).

There was progress made in the 60s for the LGBTQ movement. In 1961 Illinois, the state where “Society for Human Rights” was established almost 40 years prior decriminalized homosexuality. California aired its first documentary about homosexuality called “he ejected”. In 1965 John Oliven coined the term “transgender” to describe someone who was born in the body of the incorrect gender (, 2017). LGBTQ individuals were still subject to unjust treatment and persecution. LGBTQ people gathering was even considered disorderly at the time. Many bars would not serve LGBTQ patrons in fear of being shut down. In 1966 the Mattachine Society became inspired by sit ins occurring in the south. In New York City they staged a “Sip in” in which they would declare themselves gay, then wait to be turned away so they could sue for unjust treatment. This gained publicity quickly and reversed anti-gay liquor laws (, 2017). On June 28th, 1969 9 police entered The Stonewall Inn. They started to harass some of the patrons there eventually leading to the Stonewall Riots. Patrons and residents of the area protested for five days. This lead to the begging of the Gay Liberation Movement. The Gay Liberation Front was formed by members of the Mattachine Society. They were the first group to publicly advocate for equal gay rights (History, 2018). Similar groups also started to protest. In 1970 on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots the first Pride parade was held in 3 different cities, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

The 70s came with increased activism and acceptance of LGBTQ individuals. The New York Supreme court ruled that a trans woman could play tennis as a woman. A few openly LGBTQ individuals held public office positions. In 1979 the first National March on Washingotn for Lesbian and Gay Rights happened. In the 80s and 90s the LGBTQ community was heavily affected by the outbreak of AIDS. They fought to improve the lives of those living with AIDS and HIV. This then the LGBTQ community has gained marriage rights, hate crimes committed because of sexual orientation would be punishable by harsher sentences. Homosexuality was federally decrimalized. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was suspended. Transgender people are able to join the military. Transgender children are able to join the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (CNN, 2019).

These Legislative and societal changes are relatively new, a lot of them happened within the last 20 years and aren’t completely absolutely. Same sex marriage has been Decriminalized then re criminalized then decriminalized again. People in the LGBTQ community still receive discrimination everywhere including the workplace. There are anti hate and discrimination laws but they aren’t strong enough to really protect LGBTQ people. Possibly including LGBTQ issues in school may help educate people on topics like gender preferences/neutrality, sexual orientation and LGBTQ history. An issue that still exists for the LGBTQ community is that the LGBTQ label groups a lot of people with different identities together, they’re issues get lumped together, some forgotten and that’s not fair. Movements like Feminism and Black Lives Matter often exclude people who identify as LGBTQ. An issue that I often witness is the number of homeless LGBTQ children and adults. Many trans people and children fear for their lives in shelters sometimes they’re turned away because of their gender specific. Lots of LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes leading them use drugs and crime to make a living. LGBTQ Americans are three times more likely to be incarcerated (Williams Institute, 2018).