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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gay LA Part I & Stonewall Uprising

I found the reading and documentary this week to be completely eye opening. For one, I have never until now known anything about the history of gay rights (at least before the 2000's), gay movements, etc. Just like how some may argue white people have white privilege, maybe the same thing can be said about those who are straight. Straight privilege. Maybe the reason I wasn't aware of these huge events in LGBT history and the strict laws and opression the community used to face is simply due to the fact that I am straight living in what one may argue as a predominately straight society. And it is a huge disadvantage to the gay community for most of society to not even acknowledge the pain and suffering it took to get here today. History must be learned in order for it to not repeat itself, and I fear that a lot of those who openly oppose the LGBT community today is due to ignornance. Ignornace of the past, ignornance of things that they can't or are not willing to understand, and ignorance to the possibility that love can exist in all forms. (or often times, a low IQ and a lot of self-hate.)
What I found most interesting about the reading and the documentary was the fact that the LGBT community was more often than not portrayed as sexual deviants. I don't think any of us can imagine a modern day world where it's illegal to publicily hold hands with someone you love, dress the way that makes you feel comfortable, and make love to the person you loved or felt a mutual sexual attraction to. This was life back then for the LGBT community and of course with these kind of laws, and not to mention the societal stigma of mental illness and sinfulness, people are going to react and retaliate. There's a psychological concept  where when you label someone a certain way and bascially eliminate any posibility in that person's mind that they are anything other than what you label them as, they will naturally act according to that label. Since the LGBT community was constantly told they were mentally ill sexual deviants, why would they feel they need to prove this type of society otherwise? It was truly tragic to read how many people were unwiling to fight for their rights because they actually thought there was something wrong with them, they were afraid of being arrested or harrassed, or they were afraid of ridicule from their community, often leading to job loss.
It took a few great leaders to gather the LGBT community and remind them of their worth and lead some huge historic movements, like the Mattachine society and Sisters of Bilitis.
One day, I would like to see a world where major historic organizations like the ones above and events like the Black Cat and Stonewall uprisings are given the recognition they deserve and are common knowledge so that it doesn't take having to take an LGBT studies class in college to have to learn about them for the first time.

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