Milestones in the American Gay Rights Movement


Milestones in the American Gay Rights Movement

December 10, 1924 The Society for Human Rights is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. The society is the first gay rights organization as well as the oldest documented in America. After receiving a charter from the state of Illinois, the society publishes the first American publication for homosexuals, Friendship and Freedom. Soon after its founding, the society disbands due to political pressure.

1948 Biologist and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. From his research Kinsey concludes that homosexual behavior is not restricted to people who identify themselves as homosexual and that 37% of men have enjoyed homosexual activities at least once. While psychologists and psychiatrists in the 1940s consider homosexuality a form of illness, the findings surprise many conservative notions about sexuality.

November 11, 1950 In Los Angeles, gay rights activist Harry Hay founds America’s first sustained national gay rights organization. “

After administering psychological tests, such as the Rorschach, to groups of homosexual and heterosexual males, Hooker’s research concludes homosexuality is not a clinical entity and that heterosexuals and homosexuals do not differ significantly

December 15, 1950 A Senate report titled “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government” is distributed to members of Congress after the federal government had covertly investigated employees’ sexual orientation at the beginning of the Cold War. The report states since homosexuality is a mental illness, homosexuals “constitute security risks” to the nation because “those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack the emotional stability of normal persons.”

Over the previous few years, more than 4,380 gay men and women had been discharged from the military and around 500 fired from their jobs with the government. The purging will become known as the “lavender scare.”

In an attempt to change public perception of homosexuality, the Mattachine Society aims to “eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice and bigotry,” to assimilate homosexuals into mainstream society, and to cultivate the notion of an “ethical homosexual culture

erican Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance in its first publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Immediately following the manual’s release, many professionals in medicine, mental health and social sciences criticize the categorization due to lack of empirical and scientific data.

April 27, 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, banning homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. The Order lists homosexuals as security risks, along with alcoholics and neurotics.

September 21, 1955 In San Francisco, Dominikaner kvinne som sГёker ekteskap the Daughters of Bilitis becomes the first lesbian rights organization in the United States. The organization hosts social functions, providing alternatives to lesbian bars and clubs, which are frequently raided by police.

erican psychologist Evelyn Hooker shares her paper “The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual” at the American Psychological Association Convention in Chicago. Hooker’s experiment becomes very influential, changing clinical perceptions of homosexuality.

January 13, 1958 In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) magazine “One: The Homosexual Magazine.” The suit was filed after the U.S. Postal Service and FBI declared the magazine obscene material, and it marks the first time the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexuals.

July 4, 1965 At Independence Hall in Philadelphia, picketers begin staging the first Reminder Day to call public attention to the lack of civil rights for LGBT people. The gatherings will continue annually for five years.

April 21, 1966 Members of the Mattachine Society stage a “sip-in” at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village, where the New York Liquor Authority prohibits serving gay patrons in bars on the basis that homosexuals are “disorderly.” Society president Dick Leitsch and other members announce their homosexuality and are immediately refused service.


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