Here is Part Four for your reading pleasure. It is educational too, ya know? ;P
In 1969, The Stonewall riots transformed the gay right movement from one limited to a small number of activists into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance. Patrons of a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, instead of submitting to the countless and relentless harassment from the police, fought back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots. The riot was subsequently known as the `Riot that sparked the Gay Revolution'.
Following Illinois in 1960 and Connecticut in 1969, there came a rush to decriminalize homosexual acts in all the other states in USA. The decriminalization of homosexual acts in England and Wales in 1967 also triggered similar responses in other countries in Europe.
The fight for gay rights continued in the form of peaceful rallies and intellectual debates for many years. In 1973, after intense lobbying by gay right activists, The American Psychiatric Association finally removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders. And for the first time in history, homosexuality is no longer regarded as a disease to be treated, but a normal variant of human sexuality to be celebrated as well as to take pride in.
In the span of two decades, the USA had witnessed 4 gay marches that pressed for social change. The first, known as the 1979 March, marked the tenth anniversary of the Stonewall riots and came in the wake of the lenient jail sentence given to Dan White for the assassination of openly gay San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk. The First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 14, 1979 was an historic event that drew more than 100,000 people from across the United States and ten other countries. The first march succeeded in drawing attention to the civil rights of homosexuals and in 1982, Wisconsin becomes the first state in the U.S. to pass a gay civil rights law protecting the rights of her homosexual citizens.
The 1987 March, the second national March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights was held on October 11, 1987. It attracted more than a half million people from all over the USA. Triggered by the AIDS epidemic in USA, many of the marchers were angry over the government's slow and inadequate response to the AIDS crisis.
The 1987 march succeeded in bringing national attention to the impact of AIDS on gay communities. In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, a tapestry of nearly two thousand fabric panels offered a powerful tribute to the lives of some of those who had been lost in the pandemic. It was the first display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Each quilt represented a person died of AIDS. Each of them a memorial to a unique life filled with love and joy. Since then, the AIDS Memorial Quilts had been unfurled for public display in most major cities and many local chapters of the NAMES project had been formed all over the world.
The '87 march also spurred the dynamism of the AIDS movement, leading to the passage of Ryan White AIDS Care and the ADA (American Disability Act). The U.S. Congress passes the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act to provide help for people with AIDS who do not have health insurance or other resources. The ADA included AIDS as a disability and thus allowed people suffering from AIDS to claim for social support and compensation when they were no longer fit enough to work.
The date of the march, October 11, has been celebrated internationally ever since as National Coming Out Day to inspire members of the LGBTQ community to continue to show, as one of the common march slogans proclaimed, "We are everywhere."