If I’m assigned a paper on Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement today, it is because of increasing acknowledgement of concerned minorities in the contemporary society. If there is an acknowledgement, it is largely because of the movement emerging in the late twentieth century with New York’s Gay Libertarian Front as its earliest forms. Some of the political claims of this movement include homosexual’s privacy, choice, freedom and civil rights (Chasin 3).
Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement refers to a collective effort to protect the rights of minorities like homosexuals in terms of freedom of expression, choice to choose the partner and liberty of leading their lives unfettered by the conventional standards of society. Concerning Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement, the point of uniqueness is its profound coalition with multiple fields. At times it is reckoned with a stand point pertaining to morality and religion, at other times it is associated with the manifestation of state laws and the policies against homosexuals.
Still other times it relates to the pathological and social dimensions. Therefore, the essence of this movement if associated with only one frame of thought cannot provide a holistic comprehension. However, in shaping the movement political and economic factors are considered to play the most important role (Chasin, 2). Apart from the movement’s agenda focussed to obtain the rights of people with homosexual or bisexual orientation, the supporters of Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement also advocate the rights and bashings against the transgendered individuals.
The factor that associates the two types of people is the similarity in terms of unacknowledged identity on sexual grounds. Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement can be analyzed to have a two dimensional approach. At one hand, the movement is focussing on a broader level by tracing commonalities between homosexual and heterosexual individuals while at the other hand, the same movement is penetrating into more specialized areas to address the commonalities within the smaller entities. The Gay and Lesbian Rights Movements is a unique identity movement in terms of challenges too.
It is because the movement to be effective requires breaking the long learnt cultural barriers. Since it consists of a minority of unconventional people, it has made a strategic shift in addressing the issues in order to make their potential enemies their allies. To make this possible, the movement has turned from addressing the differences to addressing the similarities between gays and straight people (Bernstein). Apart from the attempts to achieve equal rights in general, many types of gay and lesbian movements have emerged with a more focussed agenda.
Considered as one of the major workplace issues in 1990s, Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement at Workplace emerged to further focus the agenda of the movement in terms of specific goals to be achieved. Emerging around 1970 and 1980s the driving force behind this movement was a belief that state is not the only hindrance in the pursuit of equality since corporate sector too has policies that are predominantly against gays and lesbians working in the concerned organizations (Raeburn 23).
An augmenting force behind the effectiveness of Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement rests in the opposition it faces. Opposition and back lashing from various institutions and people is a primary reason for this movement to pursue its effort. For instance, the marriage ban on same sex marriage in the year 2008 was considered as a source of inspiration for the gay supporters to continue their fight (New York Times). Similarly around the same time, the comments of Pope Benedict against gays and lesbian to be a deviation nature sparked the spirit of the movement (The Express).
In opposing claims like nature vs. nurture, what the proponents of Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement address is the role of nature. Stated differently, the claim of the movement is that the sexual orientation of individuals is not a matter of choice, but nature. This point of view has been elucidates by the writings like ‘Zami: A New Spelling of My Name’. The writer being a homosexual provides an autobiography narrating the incidents where heterosexuality even if tried was impossible because of the sexual orientation the writer possessed.
Through the work of Gay and Lesbian Rights movement, the taboo related to homosexuality has debilitated in the contemporary world and themes of homosexuality are constantly adopted in media. In this context an important example is the growth of literature and films with themes pertaining to homosexuality. The achievement of Gay and Lesbian Rights Movements are evident not just by increasing awareness through media, but also through constructive legislative changes across the globe to maintain equal rights for homosexuals. One such example is the constitutional changes to allow same sex marriages.
Netherlands in 2001 being the first to allow gay and lesbian marriages led the same changes in Belgium and Canada in 2003 and the United States later in 2004 (Lahey 9). Although, same sex marriages has its merits of providing equal opportunities, maintaining peace through application of legislative justice and providing better conditions for orphan or illegitimate children as they are adopted by the same sex couples, such marriages are not devoid of some negative corollaries. Some disadvantages claimed by the opponents of same sex marriages include its detrimental effect of children adopted and parented by same sex parents.
Since the children of gay and lesbian parents cannot relate to their peers in terms of family orientation, there are immense chances of their choosing introverted attitude towards the society. Even after a continued struggle to ensure gay rights, gay bashings continue to exist as a constant reminder for the movement to carry on the struggle. There is not just an existence of gay bashings but the underreporting of such incidents by the governmental bodies further perplex the matters to be addressed and tackled by the movement.
According to Donald Altschiller in his book ‘Hate crimes’, the cases of gay bashing reported by FBI in the year 2001 was 1555 in number. This figure was considerably variant from the statistics provided by the National Coalition of Anti Violent Program which consisted of 2210 cases pertaining to gay bashings in the same period (27). The evidence of gay bashing as a hate crime is not just restricted to the ordinary members of the society, but many representatives of regulatory and controlling bodies like police are reported to treat the gay and lesbian minorities more or less the same way.
With all the purpose specific and unified approaches, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement also manifests a contradiction in its own embodiment. At one hand, it strives for the rights of minority of homosexuals while at the other hand it represents a bias in itself. The female of members have been an active force of the movement ever since its inception, but they are assigned a secondary status in the pursuit of achieving their rights. Some other contingencies in the movement include a philosophy of lesbians that female homosexuality is utterly different from male homosexuality just like general human sexuality for men and women.
The proponents of this philosophy believe that this difference is also because lesbianism is attached to feminism while male homosexuality is not (Cruikshank 4). Works Cited Alderson, Kevin. Same-Sex Marriage : The Personal and the Political. Canada: Insomniac Press, 2004. Altschiller, Donald. Hate crimes: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio Inc. , 1999. Bernstein, Mary. “Celebration and Suppression: The Strategic Uses of Identity by the Lesbian and Gay Movement. ” American Journal of Sociology 103. 3 (01 Jan. 1997): 531-65. ERIC. EBSCO. Capella University. USA. 10 May 2009 <http://ezproxy. library. capella. edu/login?
url=http://search. ebscohost. com. library. capella. edu/login. aspx? direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ572627&site=ehost-live&scope=site>. Chasin, Alexandra. Selling Out : The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market. US: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001. Cruikshank, Margaret. The gay and lesbian liberation movement. New York: Routledge, 1992. McKinley, Jesse. Marriage Ban Inspires New Wave of Gay Rights Activists. New York Times. 10 December 2008: 23 Pope speech sparks new gay rights row. The Express. 24 December 2008: 7 Raeburn, Nicole C. Changing Corporate America from Inside Out : Lesbian and Gay Workplace Rights. US: University of Minnesota Press, 2004.