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Homosexuality - Past and Present Perspectives

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Homosexuality in the US

The Mattachine Society was the first political establishment in the US for homosexuals. The underground liberation crusade, was founded in 1950, by a man named Harry Hay. He was well aware of the escalating oppression and coercion of homosexuals. They couldn’t go to the police, as the law enforcement dehumanized and assaulted them the worst. Many people who revealed their sexual orientation, were terminated from their jobs, and shunned by family and friends. (Ford, 2013).

Employment bias was, and still is the most adverse discrimination gay[3] people encounter, second to physical aggression and cruelty. Unlike employment laws preventing discrimination of ethnic or racial minorities, there is no protection for gay people. (Ford, 2013).

Homosexuality and mental illness

Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association believed “homosexuality was a mental illness.” (Hickey, 2011). No other theory was even proposed; therefore, it was documented in the DSM-II[4] as a mental illness, and regarded as one.

When gay activist in San Francisco opposed this, and more “came out of the closet,” (Hickey, 2011). the APA executive committee became progressively more disconcerted with their viewpoint, and by 1974 homosexuality was removed, as a mental illness from the DSM-II.

The most interesting part of this was there was no new research or revolutions that impelled The APA to remove it from the list. Instead, gay people began protesting, and became empowered because finally they were heard. Since the APA didn’t want a prolonged battle that would attract more attention to the “gay community,” in general, they moved rather quickly to take homosexuality off the DSM. To save face, the APA made up some excuse about “new research” that found homosexuals to be satisfied with their sexual orientation, and there seemed to be no distinction between their mental statuses, and were just as stable and normal as non-homosexuals. (Hickey, 2011).

Gay rights

Anti-discrimination laws and “gay rights,” became victorious in some cities, during the early 1970s. Harvey Milk, an openly gay man, was elected as San Francisco’s City Supervisor from District 5, in 1977. (Ford, 2013). However, that same year, anti-gay believer, Anita Bryant started her campaign against homosexuality, in Dade Country, FL. It obviously had enough supporters that it rescinded legal defenses for gay people, in Miami. It led to other referenda to abolish rights for homosexuals in numerous cities. (Ford, 2013).

John Briggs, California’s senator, induced an effort to disallow homosexuals from becoming public school teachers, in 1978, but, the action was beaten due to public deliberations between Briggs and Milk. Gay rights won in California! However, a few weeks later Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor Gore Mascone, a gay rights advocate were murdered by Dan White, the former city supervisor. (Ford, 2013). He was given a very light sentence by an all “straight” jury.


Despite the fact we are much more broad-minded as a society about gay people, in many aspects things haven’t become much better. Violence, damage of property and businesses of gay people is getting higher, according to the FBI. Crimes perpetrated against homosexuals are getting more violent and lethal. Many states are still trying to revoke anti-discrimination laws, or outlaw laws that don’t even exist yet, just so gay people have no recourse for amending anything that might concern them. (Ford, 2013).

While more people have come “out,” they feel a sense of emancipation in many ways. However, it also makes them easier victims for “gay bashers,” and other groups who discriminate and hate those that are different from themselves.

Isn’t there a proverb that says “Love thy neighbor?” Yet, millions of people have amended it to say “Love they neighbor . . . as long as he isn’t gay!”


Ford, M. (2013). A brief history of homosexuality in America. Grand Valley State University. Retrieved from

Hickey, P. (2011). Homosexuality: The mental illness that went away. Behaviorism and mental health. Retrieved from

Rictor Norton, A History of Homophobia, “The Medieval Basis of Modern Law” 15 April 2002, updated 15 June 2008 .

Separating sexual rights from reproductive rights. (n.d.). The Free Library. (2014). Retrieved Mar 16 2015 from

Slick, M. (n.d.). What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry. Retrieved from

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (First published 2002, substantive revision 2011). Homosexuality. Retrieved from



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