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We're Here, We're Queer, and We're in the Public Record! The LGBTQ Movement and Life as Seen Through Government Information

Political Pride

When the personal is political

For generations, LGBTQ people have depended on one another for family and home life. During times of hostility, LGBTQ people chose to create their own “family” out of friends, lovers, partners and supportive non-LGBTQ people. It was through these chosen families that political organizing began in the 1950s and 1960s through social institutions, meeting places like bars, and organizations like the Daughter of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society.

The Mattachine Society publication ONE was challenged as obscene and in 1958 the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, opening a door for the LGBTQ community to begin organizing. In a further victory for free speech and homosexuality, the Supreme Court ruled, in Manual Enterprises v. Day (1962), that magazines with photographs of nude male models are not obscene. By June 1969, a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, sparked several nights of resistance by the local gay community marking the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. But it was not until some 30 years later that President Bill Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

This page shows some ways the LGBTQ community has built a culture and community that is intrinsically linked to political organizing and activism.