JUNE ISN’T ALL about the colorful festivities of Pride Month only! It commemorates how far we’ve come in society and the movements that sparked an open conversation among the general public. We can see how far the community has come through these liberating changes through the years! 

Scientific Humanitarian Committee (1897) 

Photo courtesy of People’s World

According to The Legacy Project, The Scientific Humanitarian Committee was the very first organization made that represented the concerns of the LGBTQIA+ community. Thus, from 1897 to 1933, the institution always fought for the rights of our queer brothers and reformed against any anti-repressive laws that sought to ban homosexuality. This is all thanks to Dr. Magnus Hirschfield, the founder and outspoken advocate for sexual minorities.

“Soon the day will come when science will win victory over error, justice a victory over injustice, and human love a victory over human hatred and ignorance,” says Hirschfield. Hence, he encourages people, even in today’s times, to come to the point of understanding and respect towards those who have different outlooks on sexuality. Therefore, thanks to the SHC, it took a significant step in promoting equal treatment for everyone. 

Order of Chaeronea (1897) 

Photo courtesy of WordPress

Because discrimination was very high during the 1890s, it was challenging for homosexuals to communicate openly with one another for fear of being ostracized and singled out by the community. Thus a secret society called Order of Chaeronea was created so that members of the gay community could share their feelings and opinions in an underground form of fashion led by George Cecil Ives. 

Though reading this portion may seem very off-putting since it implies just staying in the closet, in a way, it was a resemblance of the gay sector to continue proving their rights and sentiments of their community, proving to society that their kind of love is not a crime and must not be punished by the political institutions. 

Institute of Sexology (1919) 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Institute of Sexology was a research institution and non-profit organization established in Berlin, Germany, whose responsibility was to campaign for the progressiveness of the LGBT community. This was also headed by Magnus Hirschfield, who pioneered topics such as same-sex love alongside his co-founders Arthur Kronfeld and Friedrich Wertheim. 

Though the institute fell victim to the Nazi book burnings during the authoritarian regime of Adolf Hitler, it has forever left a mark on the LGBT sector because of its aim in educating the public, according to Robert Beachy in his book called “Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity.” Luckily enough, the institute was revived at the universities of Berlin and Frankfurt. 

First Homosexual Movement (Germany, 1933) 

Photo courtesy of History.com

From the late 19th century to 1933, the very first homosexual emancipation movement was assembled in Germany. This is due to the high rise of criminalization towards same-sex alongside the persecution of homosexuals. You could say that thanks to the era of Enlightenment, professionals such as writers and sociologists began to criticize these kinds of viewpoints. 

According to Laurie Marhoefer in the book “Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis,” what started as a tiny crowd has become a powerful movement, all thanks to well-known researchers supporting homosexuals. Hence, volunteerism in the war and revolution was successful thanks to the emotional motivation the gay community felt that led them to experience freedom. 

Homophile Movement (1960) 

Photo courtesy of NBC News

This was when the concerns of the LGBT minorities started to get even more recognition thanks to the existence of organizations that led to the homophile (the term was usually utilized during the fifties to the sixties, but presently, ‘homophile’ isn’t used as it’s deemed outdated and derogatory) movement. According to the Library of Congress, the said movement was born out of World War II and included all levels of society – from the grassroots scale to the global level. 

Well-known organizations such as the Mattachine Society, ONE Incorporated, and the Daughters of Bilitis gave significant contributions, such as tactics and media, to lessen discrimination against gays and lesbians. Thus, the best part of the movement itself is that its members cover almost all of the political spectrum. 

Gay Liberation Movement (1969) 

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

If the Homophile movement was taking strategic measures in promoting their advocacies for the LGBT, the Gay Liberation Movement took more of a radical approach. The Bill of Rights Institute can support the social movement’s notion, and there were instances that gays and lesbians resisted police arrest on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. 

Because of this, the Gay Liberation Movement created radical actions in society, taking down laws that ought to discriminate against people like them. As a result, people’s education about discrimination became more prevalent, and the movement continued to walk on the streets to spread awareness of the issues. 

LGBT rights movement (1972-onwards) 

Photo courtesy of Time.com

During this point in history, the LGBTQIA+ community has expanded a lot more when supporting the rights of other sexualities such as bisexual, transexual, queer, intersex, and asexual. Also, several leaders have stepped up to represent their marginalized sector, such as Harvey Milk, the first gay man to be elected into public office from California. 

Not only were several countries, such as Netherlands and Iceland, that recognize same-sex marriage but other histories were also made, such as the very first Pride March in Asia. According to the Foundation for Human Rights, laws banning homosexuals and lesbians have decreased thanks to the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law. 

In the end, the social movements of the LGBTQIA+ community have started from just a group of people secretly fighting for their rights to now finding pride in coming out of their comfort zones to do what is just – these people have come a long way. Their stories will be continuously told as we push forward in time. That being said, happy pride and remember the movements that led to this moment.   

(with Mauri Fernandez)


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