There has been an unprecedented achievement of power in the homosexual movements in the United States within the last couple of years. These movements have fought tooth and nail over the last decades to make the straight America to accept and embrace their sexuality as normal form of sexual expression just like them. They have traversed the whole country trying to make people accept and embrace their sexuality and also to understand that being a homosexual is just as normal as being straight. Over the years they have been met with mixed reactions from the public with many expressing their anger and displeasure towards gay people while others have openly embraced gay people as normal people without prejudice. The last couple of years have been a major achievement to the homosexuals not only here in the United States but the world over with many countries accepting gay marriages and the introduction of gay rights that are supposed to safeguard their welfare within the society.
Though a few countries have not co-operated in this issue most countries now accept homosexuality and marriages between homosexual partners are allowed making it a huge achievement compared to a few decades ago when homosexuals had to hide their activities from the public for fear of being ridiculed or worse being prosecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation. A few countries throughout the world have however not accepted the fact that homosexuality is a normal thing and this has made them to pass very punitive laws meant to punish any citizen who might be involved with homosexual activities. Most countries mainly from Africa and a majority of Islamic countries are openly against homosexuality and this is evidenced by their tough laws against homosexual activities some even calling for death penalties for those found engaging in any form of homosexuality.
In the United States today homosexuality is widely accepted with the gay rights continuing to be passed on a daily basis. Unlike the past when gay activities were done in the dark today most gay people have come out in the light not embarrassed by their sexuality and urging the public to accept them like ordinary human beings with nothing special except their difference in sexuality. Tracing homosexuality movement roots in the United States we find out that the date back to 1950s when advocate Harry Hay dedicated his life to start an organization that would be used to fight for gay rights and also to help overthrow several laws that were against sodomy in the United States. Over 60 years later we can comfortably say that his dreams of having the rights and freedoms of homosexuals respected and accepted in the society have been achieved (Socarides, 1995).
There has been opposition against homosexuals in the United States with many people publicly showing their anger and displeasure for homosexuality though the trend has been slowing down in recent years. The public opinion towards same sex relationships has been sharply divided among the public leading to contradictory views among the public ever since. According to the 2010 survey by the General Social Surveys it was found out that over 44% of American population believed that homosexuality was wrong while 41% suggested that the behavior was not wrong and the rest having a middle ground opinion. Between 1973 and 1991 there was a slight change in public opinion towards homosexuality with most people openly against it but after that many began to accept homosexual behavior and by 2010 the attitude had changed from 72% who were against homosexuality in 1991 to 44% who said homosexuality is wrong in 2010 (General Social Surveys 2010). The issue of gay marriages also has elicited sharp reactions from among the members of the public and according to the research over 46% was with the agreement that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry while 40% were against that notion of granting homosexuals rights to marry. This research was carried out among adults living in households within the United States and the data collected by the NORC at the University of Chicago.
The Mattachine society that was originated in 1950 by Harry Hay went on to grow from a group of five men to several thousands of members over the period of years of its existence. Its activities spread to some states such as California inspiring chapters in Washington DC New York City and Denver among other States in the country (Cory, 1951). From the early struggles of the Mattachine group other groups of organizations began to crop up supporting and fighting for human rights and freedoms. The growth of same sex expression has been witnessed mainly in urban areas more than in rural areas. During the world wars in 1940s many homosexuals moved to several cities within the United States such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York among other Cities and this is one of the reasons to explain the higher number of gays in these cities than in rural towns within the country (Dannemeyer, 1989). This has contributed to the fact that these major cities have a higher population of gays and lesbians compared to the urban towns where many have not yet come to the terms of gays and lesbians rights.
In 1948 Alfred Kinsey in his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male talked about the researches he carried out on the American public and the results were shocking to many. After interviewing over 10, 00 white American men he found out that over 37% of them had engaged in homosexual activity after adolescence (Miriam, 2005). From his book it was realized that homosexuality was even more common that it had been thought to be. During the cold war era of the 1950s there were high cases of homosexuals being prosecuted in government positions with many homosexuals fired from their jobs for the fear of political disloyalty (David, 2004). During this time homosexuality and communism were linked together before the American public making it hard for most homosexuals to secure jobs in public places (Katz, 1976). During this time most politicians called for commitment to religious principles discouraging the efforts of homosexuality.
Today in the United States more and more people are increasingly embracing homosexuality thanks to the efforts of gay rights organizations that have fought tooth and nail over the past to ensure all gays and lesbians live in a free America where they are not afraid to express their sexuality. They have largely been successful with most court cases going their way for example it is now possible for a gay couple to adopt a child. This is something that most of us would not have believed to happen a few years ago. Most churches have come together and support gay freedoms and they are able to get legally married in churches today. Some churches have gone to the extent of ordaining bishops who are openly gay and this shows a great form of maturity in the American public compared to some years ago when most gay people had to hide their activities behind closed doors for fear of being ridiculed or worse prosecuted by the public.
Since the year 2003 homosexual activity between consenting adults and adolescents of close age has been legal and this is after a series of lobbying by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT0 rights within the United States. As at now over sixteen states within the US have legalized same sex marriages and these marriages are legally recognized by the federal government. Today over twenty one states have forbidden any form of discrimination that might be based on sexual orientation seventeen other states also criminalize any discernment that can be based on gender identity. The federal government is also not left behind with several laws calling for the punishment of those who engage in hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual (Miriam, 2005).
Between 2011 and 2012 a commission (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) was formed to look into the issue of discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and trans genders in the work place and their recommendation was any form of discrimination on these selected group of individuals should be classified as a sex discrimination and this led to violation of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2013). In September 2005 the state of California became the first state legislature to pass same sex marriages setting a precedent that has been followed by several other states. This law was eventually vetoed by the then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and in 2007 it was passed into law. Several other states have gone on to pass these laws ever since with the latest being in Illinois and Hawaii which became the fifteenth and sixteenth states respectively to recognize same sex marriages.
The success of Gays and Lesbian movements over the past have made homosexuality more acceptable among the American public especially in bigger cities such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco and many more compared to rural town USA. Daughters of Bilitis which was the first rights organization fighting for lesbian rights was formed in San Francisco in 1955 and by 1959 it had grown to other cities such as Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. Several other organizations have been formed in the past such as the Gay Liberation Front, Lesbian feminist group, student rights movements, Queer Nation among others that have been involved in the fight for homosexual rights over the past few decades (Bullough, 2002).
The living conditions for gays and lesbians has greatly changed over the past 50 years with life getting better for them than it used to be before. Today most gays and lesbians are able to freely express themselves in public compared to the earlier years. Many have come out to proclaim their sexuality in the open and more homosexuals are getting married on a daily basis; something that no one thought would be achieved 50 years ago. The laws have made it a possibility for these same sex couples to adopt children in some states within the United States. From this study we can say that the rights groups that have been involved in these fights have been successful and this might be the reason why homosexuality is now facing a little less opposition compared to the kind of opposition that was witnessed over 50 years ago (Miriam, 2005).
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