The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
Although best known for her crusade for women's suffrage, Susan B. Anthony spoke out on a range of feminist issues.
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
Androgyny, a psychological blending of gender traits, has long been embraced by strong women, soft men, members of queer communities, and others who do not easily fit into traditionally defined gender categories.
A cultural crossroads between Asia and Europe, Russia has a long, rich, and often violent heritage of varied influences and stark confrontations in regard to its patterns of same-sex love.
Bill Clinton expresses appreciation for his award.
On April 20, 2013, the 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards were presented in Los Angeles. The evening's most controversial moment came when the new Agent for Change Award was presented to former President Bill Clinton. Other recipients of awards included the independent film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the NBC comedy series The New Normal, and the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives. In addition, attorney Steve Warren received the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which honors an openly glbtq member of the entertainment or media community for his or her work toward eliminating homophobia.
The event, which was hosted by actress Drew Barrymore, included many celebrities. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron presented the Kolzak Award to entertainment lawyer Steve Warren, while Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence presented the Agent for Change Award to former President Clinton.
The choice of former President Clinton to receive the first Agent for Change Award was a controversial one and the former president seemed aware that not everyone in the audience approved of his being named an "agent for change."
As President, Clinton's relations with the glbtq community were decidedly mixed. Despite the appointment of openly gay and lesbian officials, the issuance of anti-discrimination executive orders, increased funding for AIDS, the increased prominence of gay men and lesbians in the Democratic Party coalition, and his support for gay-positive legislation, he is also remembered for having signed into law two pernicious pieces of legislation. One established the military policy that banned openly gay and lesbian servicemembers, Don't Ask, Don't Tell; the other, the Defense of Marriage Act, barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Defenders of Clinton point out that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law was intended as an improvement over the previous policy that banned gay people from service altogether and that the law was also supposed to preclude the witch hunts and capricious enforcement that came to characterize it. Still, Don't Ask, Don't Tell caused great damage to gay and lesbian servicemembers and proved very difficult to change.
DOMA is an even more problematic part of Clinton's legacy, since it is clear that he signed it in 1996 for crass political reasons. It is currently under consideration by the Supreme Court of the United States.
In an editorial in the Washington Post on March 8, 2013, the former President repudiated the law and urged the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. While gay advocates welcomed his recognition of the discriminatory nature of the law, many also pushed back against his attempt to revise history, as detailed here.
David Mixner, for example, observed that "Clinton took the wrong action in 1996 and he did it for purely political reasons. That is the truth of the matter." He pointed out that "While [Clinton] talked about his pain in signing the legislation, his campaign team immediately created radio ads and started running them throughout the South. In those ads, they proclaimed and celebrated Clinton signing the legislation."
Given Clinton's failure of leadership, many activists criticized GLAAD's choice of him as the first recipient of the Agent for Change award.
Clinton seemed aware of the criticism as he accepted the award. Indeed, he could hardly have not been aware since at one point, when he was discussing DOMA at about 5:35 in the video below, a heckler yelled out, "You signed it!"
Clinton began by saying that GLAAD and its supporters deserved the award. He also told the audience "you are the true agents of change . . . I believe you will win the DOMA fight, and I think that you will win the constitutional right to marry. If not tomorrow, then the next day or the next day."
He added, "I supported and tried to pass ENDA [Employment NonDiscrimination Act] without success. We still need to pass that. We still need to fight bullying and we need the right kind of immigration reform that doesn't discriminate against anybody."
He also praised his daughter Chelsea and attributed to her "a profound impact in many ways on the way I see the world," including "how we should all treat each other regardless of our sexual orientation or any other artificial difference that divides us."
Uncharacteristically subdued, the former President concluded his speech by acknowledging that he may not deserve the soubriquet "agent of change": "You are the agents of change. I'm getting this award tonight because I was the object of your affections--or not, as the case may be."