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LGBTQ Social Movements

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Gay Pride Signs

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

LGBTQ Nation: Protest News

10 Life Lessons I've Learned From an LGBT Activist

 

From Pride to Protest

 

LGBTQ Pride Month events around the country are usually marked by celebratory parades featuring floats, dancers, and celebrities. And they've been especially joyous in recent years, following the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage. But, recently, the parades have shifted from pride to protest.

 

"We've converted the parade, floats, and fun to a march for civil rights,” Said Brian Pendleton, a Resist March organizer.

 

 

The celebratory tone of recent LGBTQ Pride marches from San Francisco to Istanbul have been undergirded by an atmosphere of political expression and protest.

 

"Vulnerable communities are under attack right now, and they’re suffering systemic oppression, including transphobia, homophobia, and racism," said Natalie James, an organizer at the New York City Pride march.

 

When parades and pride marches become protest rallies, and allies and advocates become activists, the message and tone evolve from celebration to demonstration. The focus is on defending LGBTQ rights and resisting efforts to take them away.

 

But, it can’t stop there. As one protest organizer said, "When do we stop becoming activists and when do we start becoming leaders?"

 

 

The leader of LA's Resist March, Brian Pendleton, believes the event is taking a page from LGBTQ history to face the future of American politics. "This idea that we're getting back to our roots as a protest organization rather than as a parading organization feels right," he says. And Pendleton hopes that when people participate in a march to resist, they can walk away proud.

 

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

Chicago Tribune: Gay Pride Parades Across the Nation

Rainbow Riots: LGBTQ Voices From Uganda

ABC News: Pride Marches Marked by Protests

YouTube: New York City Pride Parade Highlights

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

Reuters: Washington DC Gay Pride Draws Thousands

 

LGBTQ Social Movements

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) social movements are activist efforts that advocate for the acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people in society. In these social justice movements, LGBTQ people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is now generally called LGBTQ rights, sometimes also called gay rights or gay and lesbian rights. In the past, it was referred to as gay liberation.

 

 

These protest are aimed at institutions that discriminate against LGBTQ people. The demonstrations can target individual companies or organizations or they can, of course, target state or federal government.

 

Although there is not a primary or overarching central organization that represents all LGBTQ people and their interests, numerous LGBTQ rights organizations are active worldwide. The earliest organizations to support LGBTQ rights were formed in the 19th century.

 

 

A commonly stated goal among these movements is social equality for LGBTQ people. But there is still denial of full LGBTQ rights and there is much work still to be done. Some have also focused on building LGBTQ communities or worked towards freedom for the broader society from biphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. There is a struggle for LGBTQ rights today. LGBTQ movements organized today are made up of a wide range of political activism and cultural activity, including lobbying, boycotts, parades, street marches, protest rallies, social groups, concerts, film, art, media, journalism, and research.

 

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I Wish I Could Have Been That Brave Kid

Stunning Photo of Courageous Boy

92 Year Old Woman Holds Same Sign for 30 Years

Zach Wahls' Speech to Iowa House of Rep

Dance Party Protest

 

Stand Up and Fight

 

“Burst down those closet doors once and for all. And stand up and start to fight.”

-Harvey Milk

 

"A right delayed is a right denied."

-Martin Luther King Jr

 

“Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy. It is absolutely essential to it.”

-Howard Zinn

 

“When injustice becomes the law, resistance becomes a duty.”

-Thomas Jefferson

 

 

"I believe in social dislocation and creative trouble. We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers."

-Bayard Rustin

 

"Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice? Or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?"

-Martin Luther King Jr / Letter from Birmingham Jail

 

 

"By any measure, LGBTQ people are targets of discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. More people are being murdered because of their sexual orientation than for any other bias reason. Our young people are still routinely bullied in schools. The examples of injustices in the area of partner and family recognition are too many to list. America is in the midst of another ugly chapter in its struggle with the forces of bigotry. People of good will can either rise up to speak for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender Americans, or look back upon themselves 20 years from now with deserved shame."

-Matt Foreman / NGLTF Executive Director

 

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

-Jimi Hendrix

 

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays
Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
National LGBTQ Task Force

Human Rights Campaign

Southern Poverty Law Center

Campus Pride

Trevor Project

 

LGBTQ Activism

 

People who engage in civil disobedience should understand the risks involved, and most do. As a long-time political organizer from the 1960s onward, as an anti-war, LGBTQ, anti-racism, social justice activist, I have studied the philosophies and strategies of the abolitionist, suffrage and first-third wave feminist, union workers, civil rights, and other progressive movements. 

 

For example, we in ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) conducted highly visible demonstrations, often involving acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in which we on occasion placed ourselves at risk for arrest and even injury. ACT UP New York, as an early example, staged a sit-in on Wall Street in 1987 during rush hour to protest price gouging by pharmaceutical companies for antiviral drugs.

 

 

Our purpose was not to make nice. It was, rather, to make people uncomfortable and angry. We wanted to cause inconvenience by waking people up to realities around us. We challenged not only the status quo, but the complacency and, yes, the collusion of the so-called bystanders who would rather not have been inconvenienced by having to face the injustices surrounding them. 

 

In our AIDS activism, we not only challenged traditional means of scientific knowledge dissemination, but more importantly, we questioned the very mechanisms by which scientists conducted research, and, therefore, we helped redefine the very meaning of science.

 

 

The legislative tactics used by an increasing number of states to discourage nonviolent peaceful protest will have the reverse effect since it will empower increasing numbers of people to stand up to these injustices.

 

Joining together with my remarkable, dedicated, and steadfast friends in acts of civil disobedience has continually made real for me Margaret Mead’s insightful and stirring statement: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

 

[Source: Warren J. Blumenfeld / LGBTQ Nation]

 

NPR: From Pride to Protest at LGBTQ Parades

NBC News: Pride March Turns Into Protest

Chicago Tribune: Gay Pride Parades Across the Nation

Info: LGBTQ Pride Parades

ABC News: Pride Marches Marked by Protests

YouTube: New York City Pride Parade Highlights

Rainbow Riots: Freedom

Reuters: Washington DC Gay Pride Draws Thousands

Info: LGBTQ Activist Organizations

Rainbow Riots: Equal Rights

 

Gay Liberation

 

On June 27, 1969, New York's Stonewall Inn bar was raided by police, launching the now-famous Stonewall Riots.  This event is said to have been the beginning of the movement for Gay Rights or Gay Liberation.

 

The Gay Liberation movement of the late 1960s through the mid-1980s urged lesbians and gay men to engage in radical direct action, and to counter societal shame with gay pride. In the feminist spirit of the personal being political, the most basic form of activism was an emphasis on coming out to family, friends, and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. In this period, annual political marches through major cities, usually held in June (to commemorate the Stonewall uprising), were still known as "Gay Liberation" marches.

 

 

It wasn't until later in the seventies (in urban gay centers) and well into the eighties in smaller communities, that the marches began to be called "gay pride parades." The movement involved the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities in North America, South America, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

Gay Liberation is also known for its links to the counterculture of the time, to groups like the Radical Faeries, and for the gay liberationists' intent to transform or redefine fundamental institutions of society such as gender and the nuclear family. In general, the politics were very radical. In order to achieve such liberation, consciousness raising and direct action were employed.

 

 

While HIV/AIDS activism and awareness (in groups such as ACT UP) radicalized a new wave of lesbians and gay men in the 1980s, and radical groups have continued to exist, by the early 1990s the radicalism of Gay Liberation was becoming eclipsed in the mainstream by newly-out, assimilationist, white gay men who stressed civil rights and mainstream politics.

 

Wikipedia: Stonewall Riots (New York)

Stonewall Riots: Beginning of the LGBTQ Movement

Things You Missed in History: What Was the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot?

Wikipedia: Compton’s Cafeteria Riot (San Francisco)

Before the Riot at Stonewall, There Was a Sit In at Dewey's

 

Stonewall Riots

 

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

 

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups in the US sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall Riots.

 

 

 Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.

 

 

After the Stonewall Riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the US and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

 

PFLAG Founder Dies

Jeanne Manford Raised the Flag for Intolerance

12 Year Old Mexican Boy Faces Down Protesters During March

I Wish I Could Have Been That Brave Kid

Stunning Photo of Courageous Boy

92 Year Old Woman Holds Same Sign for 30 Years

Zach Wahls' Speech to Iowa House of Rep

Dance Party Protest

 

Remembering the Early Pioneers

Photo Left: PFLAG Moms, Mrs. Elizabeth Montgomery and Mrs. Jean Manford, show their support during the 1974 Pride Day Parade in New York City. Photo Right: PFLAG Dad, Dick Ashworth, a founding member of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG,) marching on June 3, 1974.

 

In 1972, Morton Manford was physically attacked at a gay rights demonstration in New York. Morty’s parents, Jeanne and Jules Manford, saw the attack on a local newscast and witnessed the failure of the police to intervene. Their outrage turned them into activists. The concept of PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York’s Pride Day parade. After many gay men and lesbians ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, Jeanne decided to begin a support group. Approximately 20 people attended the first formal meeting held in March 1973 at a local church.


 

In the next years, through word of mouth and in response to community need, similar groups sprung up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these support groups met for the first time in Washington, DC. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding President Adele Starr.

 

In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), then comprising some 20 groups, changed from a federation to a membership-based organization and was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1990, following a period of enormous growth, PFLAG hired an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and consolidated operations in Washington, DC. In 1993, the word “Families” was added to the name.
 

 

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