LGBTQ Political History from 1960 to Now
The previous article covered the history of the LGBTQ political movement from the 1920-1960. This second piece will explore political actions by the LGBTQ group during the second half of the 20th century.
The Daughters of Bilitis
This group was the first lesbian civil and political rights group in America with founders Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in 1955. They chose the name from a collection of poems by Pierre Louys called Songs of Bilitis, which is based on the female character whose the lover of Sappho (the female Greek lyric poet).
The group started in San Francisco as a meeting place for lesbians and held public forums, teaching people about homosexuality while providing support for the community of single, partnered, and lesbian parents. The group was shut down in the early 1970s but is still known for their commitment to foster understanding in and out of the community.
Compton’s Cafeteria Riot
In the Tenderloin district of San Francisco on August 6, 1966 a police officer grabbed a drag queen in an attempt to arrest her, but the drag queen threw coffee in the officer’s face. A riot began immediately following the event in one of Gene Compton’s Cafeteria style resturants due to the prior unfair treatment by police, getting arrested for minor offenses including dressing in drag and blocking the sidewalk.
After the incident the cafeteria banned trans women, leading for the LGBTQ Tenderloin community rebelled by picketing the establishment and breaking the repaired windows. This riot at the time received no news coverage but is recognized as one of the biggest riots against police brutality for the LGBTQ community.
The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence
Forming in 1979 a group of four gay men were trying to stir some excitement in the Castro community and decided to wear retired nun habits. They realized their presence brought joy, while initiating social change they draw attention to queer discrimination and religious hypocrisy.
The group also promoted safe sex and informed on the dangerous effect on drug use, raising money for AIDS research and community related causes. The group has only grown and has chapters all over the world, while still in operation.
These are only a couple of groups that helped to spread awareness for acceptance in the LGBTQ community and for more on the history of the LGBTQ movement, check out the video above.
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