In response to a major homosexual scandal that gripped Portland at the end of , the state legislature strengthened the sodomy law in , extending its maximum sentence in the penitentiary from five to fifteen years and expanding the definition of what constituted an act of sodomy. Beginning in the s, gays in a few places in the United States began to push back against such laws and prejudice and to demand better treatment. Seattle gays, for example, created their first homophile group in Gay Liberation in Portland also led to the formation of local organizations such as the Second Foundation, which on May 7, , opened the first gay community center in Oregon. Over the years, the cause was at times halting as the gay movement also experienced setbacks, backlash, and defeats. Even the conservative backlash against gays, which began in the s and reached new heights in the s, moved gay rights forward, causing those involved in the movement to become better organized and attracting larger numbers of heterosexuals to the cause.
LGBTQ Rights Milestones Fast Facts
History of Gay Rights Movement in U.S.
The gay rights movement in the United States has seen huge progress in the last century, and especially the last two decades. Laws prohibiting homosexual activity have been struck down; lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are now allowed to serve openly in the military transgender individuals were allowed to serve openly from until March , when a new ban was put in place. And same-sex couples can now legally get married and adopt children in all 50 states. But it has been a long and bumpy road for gay rights proponents, who are still advocating for employment, housing and transgender rights.
The society is the first gay rights organization as well as the oldest documented in America. After receiving a charter from the state of Illinois, the society publishes the first American publication for homosexuals, Friendship and Freedom. Soon after its founding, the society disbands due to political pressure. While psychologists and psychiatrists in the s consider homosexuality a form of illness, the findings surprise many conservative notions about sexuality.
LGBTQ is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal, or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don't experience sexual attraction. It is the first documented gay rights organization.