Gay activism in the 1970s

Rebecca J. Rosen recalls "the transformative decade between Stonewall and AIDS", an age of activism whose "improbable unveiling" began with a riot sparked by drag queens.

At its core, that transformation was about visibility. During those years, there was the first gay television movie; a sexy on-screen kiss between two men in Sunday, Blood Sunday; and the release of Cabaret, which has been hailed as the first movie that "really celebrated homosexuality." There were gains in politics too: Edward Koch, then serving in Congress, "became one of the first elected officials to publicly lobby on behalf of the homosexuals of Greenwich Village," Kaiser writes. Gay Pride Week was established. Perhaps most significantly: In December of 1973, the board of the American Psychological Association voted 13-0 "to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders."

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  1. tre says:

    They (specifically Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson) called themselves "drag queens" and "transvestites" but would fit better into the term "trans women" within how we contemporarily understand gender. They weren't stage performers and it wasn't just about how the dressed; they lived their lives as women.

    "Sparked by drag queens" doesn't quite portray the situation to a contemporary audience like "sparked by young, poor trans women of color."

  2. I always find it fascinating that some of the greatest advances are often made in response to an attack. The article mentions Anita Bryant who, although temporarily successful, helped create an organized opposition. And while the shooting of Harvey Milk was a tragedy I wish had never happened it did help propel LGBT rights forward--although I think things still would have moved forward even if he'd lived.

    Most telling, though, is the picture at the top of the article of a man holding a sign that says "We are your children." Even though there are still too many parents willing to throw their LGBT children onto the street the opposition to LGBT rights is losing ground because they're not targeting individuals. They're going after families.

  3. So is the collective noun "A riot of Drag Queens?"

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