This paper is about gay rights movement. The history of the gay rights movement goes as far back as the late 19th century. It is an advanced movement that seeks to change current norms and gain acceptance within our culture. Over the past decades, being gay was something no one talked about. People saw it as a stage that was very unmentionable and society did not accept but thanks to the media, more and more celebrities have come closer over the years. Soon people became accepting of the gay community and their lifestyle. Being openly gay, transgender, lesbian, or bisexual in the community can lead to discrimination. Gay rights have come a long way as a social movement, it makes a good topic to analyze the process of the social movement.
“Journalists may have thought that they were protecting gay peoples’ privacy or protecting the viewing public, but the images only contributed to negative stereotypes that cast gays as sinister and frightening” (Alwood, 2015, p. 17). By 1970 gay and lesbian organizations happened all over the United States and in other countries all over the world. However, gays and lesbians are still fighting for equality in 2009. The issues are enormous and widespread, with same – sex marriage at the top of the list. In this world that we live in today one might be surprised to learn how many countries are accepting of gays and lesbians, as well as how many are not. The world has made progress within the last decade regarding this issue, but not enough.
We need to take steps to protect and balance of gay rights movement. The United States is a country that is more favorable towards gay men and lesbian women, but not completely. And same – sex couples can now legally get married and adopt children in all 50 states. Apart from it, there are not many laws that protect gay rights. Everyday gay people are being fired, refused promotion, left without a job, or some other form of discrimination. It is not because they do not qualify for the job it is because they are gay. However, public relations played a vital role in the early stages of the gay rights movement. “Leigh Moscowitz has shown that gay and lesbian public relations professionals played an important role in the contemporary battle over gay marriage” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12).
Previous studies have shown how editorial norms worked against the gay and lesbian movement in the 1950s and 1960s but Alwood’s study shows how gay and lesbian objectors began to achieve editorial norms. “Now gays and lesbians have fought their way into the democratic process of rights – based legislation and have made real social gains” (Ashley, 2015, p. 28). After fighting gays and lesbians get their rights, like marriage, parenting and, they get respect from people. Moreover, they are also doing jobs even without discrimination. “Gays and lesbians had to progress a self-concept and establish as a movement” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12). As Bernstein et al. (2018) examine debates over the relationship between lesbian and gay identity and its impact on goal choice within social movements. “The marriage – equality movement magnifies hopes and anxieties about the future of gay and lesbian communities, politics, and culture” (Bernstein, Harvey, & Naples, 2018).
For Bernstein et al. (2018), “possessing a gay identity is practically meaningless… The notion of ‘gay’ as a noteworthy or identifying characteristic is being abandoned; it has lost all definition”. “Support for gay rights around the world has been one of the fastest growing social movements in the history of the world” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 154). Because if people will support for gay rights movement than other people will encourage from other people and gay men will get their rights very easily in the future. “They concerned with how activists perceive the impact of same – sex marriage on the strength of lesbian and gay collective identity because identity influences a movement’s ability to mobilize” (Bernstein, Harvey, & Naples, 2018). “Gays and lesbians did not face the same degree of discrimination as African Americans given that homosexuality is largely a self-disclosing minority” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12).
“Recent reports document social, legal, and political abuse of Nigerian gays, with punishments extended to the families of gays and all who support gay rights” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 160). Gay advocates emphasized homosexual marriage as an unconventional to ‘immature’ forms of sexual appearance, including both unidentified sexual encounters and short – term relationships” (Vider, 2017). “Wicker continued to generate publicity in New York in the spring of 1966, turning journalists’ attention to the city’s blatantly discriminatory liquor regulations. Although it was not against the law to serve alcoholic beverages to homosexuals, the liquor authority consistently denied licenses to bars that catered to gay men and lesbians” (Alwood, 2015, p. 16).
“The importance of family is sacrosanct in the Arab community, making it nearly impossible for gays to be accepted” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 160). “By the early 1950s, gays began to view themselves as a social minority as outlined in The Homosexual in America by the pseudonymous Edward Sagarin, whose perspective was influenced by the NAACP” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12). “If homophile advocates could not eradicate regulations and social preconception against gay men, marital creature comforts could at least make gay people more mature and less visible” (Vider, 2017). “It argues that gay and lesbian activists employed fundamental communications strategies from the earliest years of their movement as they wrote and distributed news releases, developed media contacts, and conducted media tours” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12).
“Individuals are strongly pressured by their families to marry and reproduce their own families as soon as they are done with school, both in the U.S. and in their home countries. To avoid such pressure, gay individuals may stay in school longer, focus on a career over marriage, and become socially unattached overachievers as a result” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 160-161). “The broadcast featured Wicker with five other gay men who engaged in a rambling ninety – minutes discussion of promiscuity, police harassment, social responsibilities of gays and nongays, and the men’s careers” (Alwood, 2015, p. 14). “Gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies were nevertheless exceptional” (Vider, 2017, p. 697). “Middle Eastern gays either split fully from the family, which is very rare and would mean a complete break of the individual from his or her community, or lead double lives, negotiating and renegotiating their sexual identities within the context of the family” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 161).
“The trouble for many gay men and lesbians of the 1950s and 1960s was in balancing a variety of affiliations” (Vider, 2017, p. 709). “Although early gay and lesbian activists in the 1950s and 1960s had no formal training in public relations, this study shows how they intuitively understood the concepts of press agentry and issues management. They adopted strategies that contradicted stereotypical images that showed gays as sad, hopeless, mentally disturbed individuals who posed a threat to society” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12). “Asian cultures have a more nuanced impact on gay behavior, also affecting the implementation and acceptance of the Rulings among these ethnic groups” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 161). “Scholars have shown how news media were complicit with the police, the military, religious leaders, and antigay psychiatrists in perpetuating negative images that produced a hostile atmosphere” (Alwood, 2015, p. 11).
Gay rights movements include the mass organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people to call for acceptance and equal treatment in their corresponding civilizations. “Singapore and Malaysia are more restrictive, instituting laws in the 1990s to eradicate Western liberal influence, pointedly in the form of punishing gay behavior. Such punishments range from fines, canings, and refusal of employment to public ostracization and imprisonment” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 162). “Some scholars have implied that the movement began in 1969 by emphasizing the Stonewall riots in New York City” (Alwood, 2015, p. 11). Gay rights movements are phenomena of the ninetieth century.
“The 1970s introduced some reforms such as the ability to retain their own names and receive alimony, yet married women were still legally prevented from certain jobs and from demanding equal pay” (Carole & Jurkiewicz, 2014, p. 163-164). “The gay rights movement was well – organized by 1969 and its leaders had adopted fundamental public relations strategies to make their concerns known to American society” (Alwood, 2015, p. 11). According to much of the human history, most humanities punished open homosexuality by imprisonment and death. In fact, gay men and women in New York City could not be work for alcohol in public due to liquor commandments that considered the gathering of homosexuals to be “unsystematic.” “Frightened bar owners posted signs saying, “If you’re gay, stay away” (Alwood, 2015, p. 11).
There were number of goals of gay rights movements, which they wanted to achieve. Below is the list of those goals:
- Ending job discrimination
- Media hiddenness
- Church and military discrimination
- Increasing legal right for LGBT people
- Increasing acceptance of LGBT people
In the 1973, the American Psychiatric Association eliminates homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. There are other achievements of gay rights movement below
- Less discrimination and harassment
- Greater visibility
- New economic opportunities for gay – oriented businesses (bars, bathhouses, discos, restaurants, etc.
- A much larger and pleasant gay world
Nowadays, people of the same sex can buy houses (if they have money). Public relations played a vital role in the early stages of the gay rights movement. “Gay and lesbian activists of the 1950s and 1960 had no formal training in PR, they made a concerted effort to influence public opinion using fundamental public relations strategies more than a decade before the Stonewall riots that marked the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement” (Alwood, 2015).
“In late 1971, two years after the Stonewall riots in New York sparked the modern gay rights movement in America” (Villet, 2012). “Like the NAACP, the early gay movement took an accommodationist approach toward gaining understanding and gaining support of greater society” (Alwood, 2015, p. 12). Gay social movement is a social movement that advocates for LGBT people in society. Gay right movement called homosexual rights movement or gay liberation movement, that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals.