For decades, organizations that advocate gay rights have been active and persistent. However, due to social and political restrictions, such organizations were forced to disband after it was established (www.pbs.org).
In recent years, gay movements and organizations have been more vocal, aggressive, and assertive. Gay rights organizations not only campaigned by writing and publishing articles but, they conducted events and other activities that encourage members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community learn, understand, and fight for their rights; and educate the general public. For decades, gay movements and advocates struggled and strived to be acknowledged and treated equally both socially and politically.
Many devoted their lives in order for their voices to be heard. Some even lost their lives fighting for the place in the society they rightfully deserve. One of the most famous names in U.S. gay rights movements was Harvey Milk. He was the first openly gay public officer to be elected in the city of San Francisco in the 70s. His election and death served as a catalyst of hope to the gay community not only in San Francisco but, to the entire nation, as well. Gilbert Baker, an artist, was inspired by Harvey Milk and designed “the Rainbow Flag” as a new symbol for the gay community (New York Times); a symbol that connotes pride, hope, freedom and equality. Each color on the flag relates to every individual in the gay community and their unique experiences: “Pink for sexuality; Red for life; Orange represents healing; Yellow for sunlight; Green for nature; Blue for art; Indigo represents harmony; and Violet represents human spirit” (Corr, S., San. Francisco Travel).
Members of the LGBT community encountered and faced many difficult situations which tested their understanding and acceptance of their own sexuality. During the 1940s, some experts considered homosexuality as a form of illness and experiments to find different forms and types of treatment to cure homosexuality were performed (pbs.org). Although in recent years, awareness and understanding of the LGBT rights are becoming more prominent, there were still many who chose to remain ignorant and close minded to accept their existence. But, because of those experiences, they learned how to be strong and face life’s challenges with pride and dignity.
This year, when the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in California it marked another milestone for the LGBT community. It paved the way for the members of the community to finally be together, acknowledged by the law and the society.
With the growing social and political support for LGBT members, they were able to manage and let go of the pains of the past. They were able to look and move forward to a peaceful and brighter tomorrow. That someday, the society not only in the United States but in other countries as well, will accept and understand them for who they are; because all people are the same; all people are one. THEY ARE WHO WE ARE.