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LGBTQ Issues

The gay rights movement originally focused on the rights of homosexual men and women, but it has since come to advocate equal rights for bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals in addition to gay men and lesbians. The movement began in the late 19th century and has continued into the 21st century. Organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, along with individual activists such as Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, and Larry Kramer, increased the movement's visibility and contributed to its efforts to promote human rights and fight discrimination against LGBTQ persons. The issues of primary importance for the movement have included repealing antisodomy laws, combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic, securing marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, and lobbying governments for nondiscriminatory policies in employment, housing, and other areas of life.

LGBTQ Issues Encyclopedia Articles

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Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage, the practice of marriage between two men or between two women. Although same-sex marriage has been regulated through law, religion, and custom in most countries of the world, the legal and social responses have ranged from celebration on the one hand to criminalization on the...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
same-sex marriage
Gay rights movement
Gay rights movement, civil rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals; seeks to eliminate sodomy laws barring homosexual acts between consenting adults; and calls for an end to discrimination against gay men and lesbians in employment, credit...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
Gay Pride: Amsterdam 2008
Stonewall riots
Stonewall riots, series of violent confrontations that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, between police and gay rights activists outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. As the riots progressed, an international gay rights movement was born....
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
The Stonewall Inn
Romer v. Evans
Romer v. Evans, legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court on May 20, 1996, voided (6–3) an amendment to the Colorado state constitution that prohibited laws protecting the rights of homosexuals. It was the first case in which the court declared that discrimination on the basis of sexual...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
Bowers v. Hardwick
Bowers v. Hardwick, legal case, decided on June 30, 1986, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld (5–4) a Georgia state law banning sodomy. The ruling was overturned by the court 17 years later in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down a Texas state law that had criminalized homosexual sex...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
Magnus Hirschfeld
Magnus Hirschfeld, German physician who was an important theorist of sexuality and a prominent advocate of gay rights in the early 20th century. Hirschfeld was born to Jewish parents in a Prussian town on the Baltic coast. He first studied modern languages and then medicine, obtaining a doctoral...
Biography
Magnus Hirschfeld
Edmund White
Edmund White, American writer of novels, short fiction, and nonfiction whose critically acclaimed work focuses on male homosexual society in America. His studies of evolving attitudes toward homosexuality and of the impact of HIV/AIDS on homosexual communities in the United States were significant...
Biography
White, Edmund
Harry Hay
Harry Hay, American gay rights activist who believed that homosexuals should see themselves as an oppressed minority entitled to equal rights. He acted on his convictions and in large measure prompted the dramatic changes in the status of homosexuals that took place in the United States in the...
Biography
Harry Hay
Larry Kramer
Larry Kramer, American playwright, screenwriter, and gay rights activist whose confrontational style of advocacy, while divisive, was credited by many with catalyzing the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. Kramer—the second son of a lawyer and his wife, a Red Cross official—spent...
Biography
Larry Kramer
Harvey Milk
Harvey Milk, American politician and gay-rights activist. After graduating from the New York State College for Teachers in Albany (1951), Milk served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and was discharged in 1955 (Milk later said that he was dishonourably discharged due to his homosexuality, but...
Biography
Harvey Milk posing in front of his camera shop in San Francisco, 1977.
Lawrence v. Texas
Lawrence v. Texas, legal case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (6–3) on June 26, 2003, that a Texas state law criminalizing certain intimate sexual conduct between two consenting adults of the same sex was unconstitutional. The sodomy laws in a dozen other states were thereby invalidated. The...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
José Sarria
José Sarria, Latino American drag performer and political activist who was the first openly gay person to run for public office in the United States. (He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors—the legislative body of the city and county—in 1961). Sarria was the only...
Biography
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), byname for the former official U.S. policy (1993–2011) regarding the service of homosexuals in the military. The term was coined after Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993 signed a law (consisting of statute, regulations, and policy memoranda) directing that military personnel...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
U.S. President Barack Obama signing the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” December 22, 2010.
Homosexuality
Homosexuality, sexual interest in and attraction to members of one’s own sex. The term gay is frequently used as a synonym for homosexual; female homosexuality is often referred to as lesbianism. At different times and in different cultures, homosexual behaviour has been variously approved of,...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues
Wolfenden Report
Wolfenden Report, a study containing recommendations for laws governing sexual behaviour, published in 1957 by the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution in Great Britain. It was named for Sir John Wolfenden, the chairman of the committee. Using the findings of psychoanalysis and social ...
Encyclopedia / LGBTQ Issues

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