Essay On The Stonewall Riots

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The Stonewall Riots: A Turning Point in American History
The Stonewall Riots were the defining moment for the gay rights movement. Prior to the Stonewall Riots, homosexuals were not treated humanely, but rather as outcasts devoid of any rights. The origin of discrimination against homosexuality dates back to Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle believed “everything existed to have a purpose.” Although Aristotle never concluded that sex was for reproduction, Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas believed the natural goal of marriage was the bearing of children, and any other purpose for sex was unnatural. Due to the belief that God created the natural world, anything “unnatural” was sinful. Because homosexuals cannot reproduce, the act of homosexuality was deemed sinful. Homosexuals and their sexual orientation were viewed as abnormal by society.
Amongst many in the medical community, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Homosexuals were routinely institutionalized and became the recipients of unethical practices including lobotomies and castrations. Some were given drugs that caused violent reactions to condition homosexuals to avoid romantic relationships with those of the same sex. Many institutionalized homosexuals attempted suicide because of the barbaric repercussions that arose from being gay.
The media’s portrayal of gays was a picture of perversion. Homosexuals were looked upon in disgust, uneasiness and fear. Schools taught children that being homosexual was one of the greatest offenses one could commit. Many books, newspaper articles, and other documents were published to convey homosexuals as disturbed individuals.
Homosexuality was illegal in every state except Illinois during the 1960s. When gay individual...

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...rtheless, the tragedy triggered the creation of the Matthew Shepard Act that was signed into law on October 28, 2009. This act expanded the United States Federal Hate Crime Law to include crimes “motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.” Recently, one of the most popular youth organizations voted to lift the ban on gay youth wishing to become members of The Boy Scouts of America on May 23, 2013.
The riots at the Stonewall Inn catalyzed the gay rights movement by taking the fight into the streets of Greenwich Village. Members of the gay community today have liberties that they might not have had otherwise. Although these rights and freedoms continue to be challenged by many, the Stonewall Riots were a landmark battle in the war for equal rights that is still being fought to this day.

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