The gay liberation of the 70s, when the gay rights movement began in earnest, is much different than that of later years. Whereas the common thread of today’s gay rights organizations is that they are just like everyone else and want to be integrated into society, the gay liberation movement rejected traditional society. Many activists at that time believed that it was inevitable that the gay rights movement would die when the world became fully bisexual, removing the boundaries of sex and gender that had existed until that time (Smith 1999, 43-44).
The reasons behind the drastic change from the 70s to the 80s are complex, but on of the factors was almost certainly the Charter of Rights and freedoms. This changed the logic behind rights claims, as it opened up new avenues for approaches, most of them focusing on equity with heterosexuals. This change brought gay rights into the mainstream discussion, and in an attempt to make it more palatable to a general audience, the more controversial discussions (such as the one described previously around age-of-consent) were left off the table (Wa...
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...and want to be given their own unique path.
It is clear then that gay rights is not one singular issue, and changes and evolves throughout time. If you asked a gay activist in 1960, 1970 1980 and 2015 what gay rights meant to them, and what specifically they wanted to achieve the answer would be different for each one. Issues that gays and lesbians have brought to the table have changed over time, and often cases was debated during their time within their own circles. Rights for LGBT people then cannot be seen as a monolithic force, slowing moving towards its ultimate goal, but as a movement in flux where new ideas and thoughts are brought in to be discussed and debated. There is no singular idea of what gay rights means, and no universally agreed upon end goal, instead there are a multitude of ideas clamouring for purchase in a world too held back by rigid thought.
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