Fifty Years Since Stonewall

by Expanded-Mind 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • Expanded-Mind

    Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. From their depictions in ancient myth (that are brought to life on the silver screen in modern retellings) to the less-sensational, yet stirring biopics of sometimes seemingly mythical, but actual flesh and blood persons who have helped shape our world, there is certainly no shortage of heroic women and men. Chances are, however, that it is the unsung hero that has likely had the most impact on our lives. And for many of us, but sadly not all, those first heroes might be our mothers and fathers or other guardians, who first lovingly nurtured us.

    As we grew from infancy and expanded our horizons by venturing out into the world, through school and other social functions, we found that the heroes in our lives increased; there were teachers, athletes, musicians, or other artists who held that honor. As we got even older, there may have even been heroes who had a more spiritual or political influence in our lives (I am reminded, with a smile, of Alex P. Keaton’s near worship of President Ronald Reagan on “Family Ties”).

    Each of these heroes filled a need for a specific time in our lives. And regardless of whether they were fictional or real, they all had something in common: the ability to inspire, each in their own unique way, helping us muddle through the trials and tribulations (and sometimes just the mundanity) of life.

    Fifty years ago this month, an event occurred that changed the course of American, even world, history. A group of women and men, patrons of the Stonewall Inn, and their supporters, engaged in a protest that would come to symbolize the fight against oppression and discrimination that had been the lot of those identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer. June, known by the LGBTQ community as “Pride Month,” celebrates the collective contribution these brave heroes embarked on in the infancy of this fight for equality. Their protests, induced by chronic police raids on establishments that catered to the gay community, including the Stonewall Inn, were admittedly far from peaceful. But these heroes had reached the tipping point. Reacting to what they viewed as injustice, they echoed the words of Popeye of cartoon fame: "That's all I can stands - I can't stands no more!"

    It wasn’t solely at the Stonewall Inn that these heroes had to face oppression and discrimination. Sadly, for most, it was a daily occurrence, happening in their families, their workplaces, their places of worship, and from the government. “Don’t tell,” rather than “don’t ask, don’t tell,” was likely how these heroes who had been silenced by societal and legal norms managed to live day-to-day. Many Americans have never had to face such dire circumstances.

    Still, the fight didn’t end fifty years ago… it is ongoing. And contrary to some commentary, no person that is LGBTQ wants more protections or rights than their straight brothers and sisters. They seek the same legal assurances so that:

    · They can live their lives authentically, be themselves and love whomever they love, without fear of verbal or bodily harm.

    · They no longer have to fear being denied housing, being fired from employment or losing healthcare benefits. MERELY FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE.

    I am deeply indebted to those patrons of Stonewall and their supporters, as well as the multitudes of other brave women and men who, prior to and after Stonewall, have risked their freedom (and sometimes their lives) to live authentically. Because of these heroes, the world I inherited is a bit more tolerant, accepting and safe. But, as we know from daily news headlines, the fight is far from over: There is a long struggle ahead in this fight as we seek equality for all.

    “It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.”

    Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

    Todd AKA ExpandedMind

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  • cofty

    Surely the fight for acceptance and equal rights is over in liberal western democracies.

  • Expanded-Mind

    Hi, Cofty... sadly, this does not appear to be the case, at least not in the United States. In my opinion, under the Trump Administration, there has been a constant fight to undermine LGBTQ rights, in spite of Trump’s campaign promises to be a friend to and support of the LGBTQ community.

    This Administration has actually been attempting to roll back protections that LGBTQ Americans already have, including preventing those who are transgender from serving their country in the military. There are some who fear that this administration may fight to reverse marriage equality in the United States. Here’s a detailed list compiled by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation):

  • cofty

    That list mostly seems to be about issues surrounding the law as it affects people with gender dysphoria and about allowing others the right to exercise their religious freedom.

    There is a supply and demand problem with advocacy groups. They can never honestly admit the massive progress that has been made already and must constantly exaggerate the issues.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Stonewall did much good, once upon a time.

    But now, as Cofty suggests, the fight for equality and acceptance is over, making Stonewall redundant in the West.

    However, Stonewall *could* advocate for sexual freedoms in other countries and regimes around the globe.

    There are 11 countries that currently punish consensual gay sex with the death penalty. I suggest Stonewall start from there ...

  • Expanded-Mind

    Cofty and/or LoveUniHateExams:

    Hi! I ask this sincerely: In what sense is the fight for acceptance and equality over, in particular, in the United States?

    Would either of you mind expounding on that thought?

    In spite of some remarkable progress made over the past fifty years, this statement, to me, seems to be at odds with current experiences of many who are LGBTQ.

    I’d appreciate hearing your reasoning on this. Thanks!


  • cofty

    I live in the UK so I can't comment on the situation in the USA. In western Europe equal rights for gay people is guaranteed under law.

    Gay people are very well represented in the media and in storylines of mainstream drama.

    What freedom do gay people not yet have in the USA or any other liberal democracy?

  • LoveUniHateExams

    I also live in the UK and Cofty is pretty much spot on.

    AFAIK, the situation for homosexual people in the US is very similar to the one in western Europe.

    @Expanded-Mind, in what sense is the fight for gay rights and equality still a pressing issue in the US?

  • Expanded-Mind

    Hi, Cofty and/or LoveUniHateExams!

    A majority of states don’t have explicit laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. – ACLU

    The number of hate crimes motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias has remained relatively steady, from a high of 1,256 in 2010 to a low of 1,097 in 2014. Since 2014, the total number has increased every year. – NBC News

    Trump’s administration started rolling back two controversial legal provisions related to the Affordable Care Act: protections against discrimination based on gender identity, and based on the termination of a pregnancy. – The Atlantic

    The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law. – The New York Times

    The United States Supreme Court has allowed President Donald Trump to enforce his policy of banning certain transgender people from the military. –

    There has been concern that the Trump administration might try to have judges put in place that could potentially overturn marriage equality in the USA. According to “Donald Trump lamented the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision during a Fox News appearance and suggested that strategic Supreme Court appointments could overturn that ruling”.

    “lawmakers from both chambers of Congress launched yet another attempt, introducing the Equality Act of 2019, a sweeping measure that would ban discrimination in areas ranging from housing to public accommodations (a realm that includes public bathrooms as well as bakeries, two areas of recent contention). –
    As I’ve already stated, no one is denying that things have changed in significant ways since Stonewall 1969 and I for one am grateful for this. But, there is still a fight for acceptance and equality, at least in the United States.

  • cofty

    Again you seem to be almost entirely focussed on the legal rights of people who suffer from gender dysphoria.

    That is a different topic from the rights of homosexuals - despite the best efforts of pressure groups to conflate the two.

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