Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hello World: Gay Pride versus The Closet (2)

By Miriam B. Medina

(Continue from Page: 1)

“By 1915, one participant in this new gay world was referring to it as “a community distinctly organized.” For the most part hidden from view because of social hostility, an urban gay subculture had come into existence by the 1920s and 1930s.”

It stayed like that for awhile, communities forming, until shortly after World War II when many homosexuals tired of hiding and began to publicly come out of the closet. Many gays remained in their home towns rather than moving to find these sub cultures, deciding to start one of their own whether their friends and family lived nearby or not. Across the nation in the 1940's, many cities saw the first gay bars pop up. Of course, there were ramifications, bigots, threats, violence, many gays were ostracized, Known homosexuals began getting fired from government jobs by the mid '50's. Eisenhower, the President, had to issue an executive order to stop homosexuals from being fired from government jobs, though the bigotry continued, and many were forced to hide their true identities. While it might be “illegal” to fire them, the FBI began running surveillance on known homosexuals.'

By the 1960's, as with the rest of society, many oppressed people began to fight back, and in 1969 in Greenwich Village, what became known as the Stonewall Riot became a rallying cry for many homosexuals, as narrow minded police were harassing a number of known gay bars. Here is an account from the New York Times.

"HUNDREDS OF YOUNG MEN WENT ON A RAMPAGE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE, shortly after 3 A.M. yesterday after a force of plain-clothes men raided a bar that the police said was well known for its homo-sexual clientele.Thirteen persons were arrested and four policemen injured.”

It was a travesty and many homosexuals were tired of being pushed around. They decided to unite in many cases and fight for the rights America owed them. By 1973, over 70 gay and lesbian organizations existed in the United States, organizing to fight for common rights they deserved but were not afforded, today these unions number by the thousands..

Since that time in the early '70's, all states have decriminalized homosexual behavior, and Federal agency and local police harassment has been largely held in check. But here we sit wrestling with the question of gay rights still, 100 years removed from the turn of the twentieth century, many homosexuals forced to stay in the closet, to hide their identity to avoid public ridicule and humiliation, rejection from family and friends. They can still lose their jobs for silly reasons, reasons a heterosexual would not be dismissed for. They still get bashed, beaten up and tormented in many instances.

Most don't want to stay in the closet, they just don't know how to come out, and the longer they hide their true nature, the harder it is to come out. Even family members turn on homosexuals. Oh, most family members just put up with it, like they have a diseased or deranged child, but they don't truly want to believe it or accept it. I can only imagine the despair homosexuals must feel when revealing themselves to their parents. Like they've let their family down for simply being who they are or for falling in love. It's appalling.

To be continued: Hello World: Gay Pride versus The Closet (3)

Miriam B. Medina is an EzineArticle Expert Author at Platinum level

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