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Timeline of the gay liberation movement

 During the 1960s


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The 1960s was a decade of counter-culture movements: anti-racism, anti-segregation, anti-sexism, anti-Vietnam war, pro-hippy, and anti-capitalism. These helped to create a climate which allowed gay liberation groups to gain strength.

  • 1962: Illinois became the first state in the U.S. to repeal its "anti-sodomy" laws.
  • 1963: A gay rights demonstration occurred at the Whitehall Induction Center in New York City, NY. Discrimination in the military was protested. This was the first significant gay rights demonstration in the U.S.
  • 1965: Starting in April, Frank Kameny of Washington, DC, organized regular Homosexual Reminder Days on the ellipse across from the White House. Their main goal was the employment of gays and lesbians in the federal civil service.
  • 1966: The Student Homophile League at Columbus University in New York City, NY, was founded. It was the first known gay student organization.
  • 1969: During the 1960's, some police forces in North America engaged in an quasi-legal form of gay bashing on a regular basis. This often took the form of violent police invasions of gay bars. The latter had been forced to sell liquor illegally, since they could not legally obtain a license. The assaults were generally conducted with a minimum of resistance on the part of the bar owners and their gay patrons. However, on 1969-JUN-27, an unusual event took place: During a routine raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar in New York City, NY, some of the gays, lesbians, transsexuals and others -- even onlookers -- fought back by throwing lipstick, beer cans and similar missiles at the police officers. This backlash and several subsequent nights of protest became known as the "Stonewall Riots." It represented a major turning point in the Gay Liberation movement. 1,2
    "...the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis organized the city's first ever 'Gay Power' rally in Washington Square. On July 27, 1969, speeches by Martha Shelley and Marty Robinson were followed by a candlelight march to the site of the Stonewall Inn. Five hundred people people showed up..." 3
    Also in 1968, the Gay Liberation Front was organized at a meeting at Alternative U. in New York City on 1969-JUL-31.

References:

  1. "The Stonewall Riot and its Aftermath," at: http://www.queertheory.com/
  2. Jerry Lisker, "Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad," The New York Daily News, 1969-JUL-6. Online at: http://www.yak.net/ 
  3. "Stonewall: The historical event," at: http://qrd.tcp.com/

Copyright © 2002 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-JUL-23
Latest update: 2008-DEC-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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