When I was a kid, “in the closet” had nothing to do with where we hung our coats. It had to do with hiding the sex lives of people who weren’t straight heterosexual, who weren’t like the rest of us. The situation was so extreme that the pianist Liberace, who was homosexual, sued a journalist for libel when he said so… and won. Now, just a half-century later, we’re straight, gay and a lot of nuanced places between and the closet is for coats. It’s a giant step forward anyone can be proud of.
by David Stone
A Roosevelt Island Daily Feature Article
And that’s what Pride Month is all about: celebrating how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and how much further we have to go.
It started with a riot. In June of 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The patrons fought back, and for six nights they took to the streets, clashing with police in what came to be known as the Stonewall Riots.
The riots were a watershed moment in the fight for gay rights, and on the first anniversary of the uprising, gays and lesbians marched through Manhattan to commemorate the event. The following year, cities across America held their own marches and, in June of 1971, the first official Pride parade was held in New York City.
Today, Pride Month is celebrated around the world, with parades and festivals in major cities on every continent. And while the focus is still on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, it has become a celebration of diversity for everyone.
About Legislation Protecting Gay Rights
The Stonewall Riots in 1969 were a watershed moment in the fight for gay rights, and since then there has been a gradual but steady progression of legislation protecting the rights of LGBT people. Here are some of the major milestones:
• 1971: The United Nations removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
• 1973: The American Psychiatric Association follows suit.
• 1977: Harvey Milk is elected as the first openly gay person to hold public office in the United States.
• 1986: The US Supreme Court rules that homosexual relations between consenting adults in private are not a crime.
• 1996: The US Defense of Marriage Act is passed, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
• 2000: Vermont becomes the first US state to legally recognize same-sex civil unions.
• 2003: The US Supreme Court strikes down sodomy laws, ruling that they are unconstitutional.
• 2004: Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
• 2009: The US Pentagon announces that it will lift the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.
• 2015: The US Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide.
These are just a few of the major milestones in the fight for gay rights. Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to keep fighting for a world that is more inclusive for all of us.
Who Opposes Gay Rights Gains?
There are still many people who oppose gay rights, and they often do so for religious reasons. They believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that gay marriage is an attack on the traditional institution of marriage.
Some believe that homosexuality is a choice and that people can and should change their sexual orientation if they want to. They argue that gay rights are special rights that give homosexual people an unfair advantage.
Whatever the reason, there are still many people who oppose gay rights and equality for LGBT people. Pride Month is a time to stand up to them and show that we’re not going anywhere. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going to be denied our rights.
The Future of the Gay Rights Movement
The future of the gay rights movement is looking bright. With more and more countries legalizing same-sex marriage, and the US Supreme Court recently ruling that it is a constitutional right, it seems likely that we will see even more progress in the years to come.
There is still much work to be done, however. There are many countries in the world where being gay is still illegal, and in some places, it can even be punishable by death. There is also a lot of discrimination against LGBT people, both in laws and in society.
But the progress that has been made so far gives us hope for the future. Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, and to look forward to a future where everyone is treated equally, no matter who they love.
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