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Monday, October 7, 2013

Gay History Month and People Who Fight for Gay Rights

Gay history is rich with tales of people overcoming, battles won, and great strides made but those are woven with tales of abuse, anguish, and death. Growing up in Texas in the 70's there were many uplifting stories of gay pride, nor were there any positive gay role models. Harvey Milk came into office in 1977, using his position to get his voice heard. If you haven't seen the movie Milk, it's worth the two hours to watch it.

But there are many more who served nameless in the move to make gay rights just human rights. The Stonewall Riots introduced a change in the way gay people reacted. They fought back against discrimination. All it takes is one to say no to make a difference. The Stonewall Riots are an important turning point in freedoms for gays.

Peter Tatchell, cofounder of Outrage, is all over the place fighting for gay rights. He has boldly gone where others fear to tread. For his efforts, he's been treated badly, beaten, and now has brain damage. His radical pursuit of freedom isn't always understood or appreciated, but he is one of the biggest fighters for gay rights.

Chad Griffin served under President Clinton and founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He is currently the president of the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC works to bring equal rights to all. Their job is tireless, but hopefully it won't be never ending.

Lt. Col. Victor J. Fehrenbach, without him Don't Ask, Don't Tell might still be in place. He won a reprieve when tagged to be kicked out of the military. He serves his country with honor, showing others that gay men are honorable, upstanding members of the community.

Mary Daly fought oppression for women, identifying the themes that show how males have tried to oppress females throughout history. Her work to gain respect for women and lesbians is often overlooked.

There are many people who've worked hard to bring about change. You may never know their names, or what they've done, but they are doing their part to bring extend rights for all. As you go through this month, I encourage you to search out information on gay history and see how far we've come and how far we have to go.

2 comments:

Erin O'Riordan said...

I feel very uncomfortable with the term "gay history month." It's LGBT History Month. Gay men may have been the earliest and most visible speakers for the movement, but that doesn't mean lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals should be invisible.

Damien Callicott said...

Yes, I'm older & have been around for most of the movement. I remember when "GAY" included us all. It was not till later that our own community decided it needed to segregate itself. I understand an individuals need to be stand out amongst the rest but are we not all GAY people (Happy LGBT). Personally I loved when it was the gay community and we seemed to have been so much more cohesive then. For we we will always be the gay community which includes LGBT peoples.