SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders. This week: What historical event do you feel was integral to the LGBT movement within the last 40 years that may not have received the attention it deserved?
The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, held on October 11, 1987, is known as “The Great March” because of its size (estimated at 750,000) and the significance of the two issues that coalesced the lesbian and gay communities – the Reagan administration’s ignoring the AIDS crisis and the Supreme Court Bowers vs. Hardwick ruling upholding anti-sodomy laws. As an attendee, I came away from the March with a much clearer understanding of the power of our collective voice – as did a quarter million future leaders, activists and role models, which helped to propel the equality movement forward.
— David Jobin, executive director of The Stonewall National Museum & Archives
Following candidate Jimmy Carter's 1976 public opposition to discrimination against gays and lesbians and President Carter's historic 1977 meeting with gay and lesbian activists at the White House, in 1980, the United States Democratic Party became the first major political party in the U.S. to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank. While we have moved on to progressively identify the issue as LGBT rights, it should be deeply appreciated that Democrats have embraced our community over 30 years ago, while the Republicans still have yet to do. As we engage in politics, we owe it to ourselves to support candidates and political parties that promote the LGBT community having an equal seat at the table of American Democracy.
— Justin S. Flippen, J.D., Wilton Manors City Commissioner
Two things/events come to mind. First: founding of MCC Churches in 1968 by Troy Perry Before Stonewall he realized gay & Christian are not exclusive. From 12 people in a small house in California MCC Churches are now world wide sharing a simple message of love, social justice and liberation. MCC's have been on the forefront for change worldwide. Second are our LGBT community centers where ever they exist. From hosting meetings, holding classes, engaging seniors and youth they are our centers.
— R. J. Hadley, community activist and blogger
The massive national and international coming out of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is the most unheralded historic event in the past 44 years. There is nothing in human events to which we can compare it. Each and every one of us created this moment by putting a face on the issue to our parents and siblings, our bosses and fellow factory workers, our spouses and children, and our congregations. Imagine a time lapse video of the U.S. In which every coming out was recorded with a purple pin in the map.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist
"In 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder was integral the modern LGBTQ Rights movement. Equally important, in December of 2012 when transgender and gender non-conforming individuals were also no longer classified as a mental disorder. It was impossible to push for Equal Rights when living under the stigma of a diagnosis of being mentally ill." - Lee Rubin, Blogger and Community Organizer http://lgbtsfaevents.blogspot.com