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The Path to Gay RightsHow Activism and Coming Out Changed Public Opinion$
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Jeremiah J. Garretson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479822133

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479822133.001.0001

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The Spread and Intensification of Gay and Lesbian Identities

The Spread and Intensification of Gay and Lesbian Identities

(p.69) 3 The Spread and Intensification of Gay and Lesbian Identities
The Path to Gay Rights

Jeremiah J. Garretson

NYU Press

The historical narrative of the book starts in this chapter through a recap of the primary events in LGBTQ movement history in the United States leading up to the 1990s. The origin of the concept of ‘homosexuals’ in the medical research of the late 1890s, the firing of lesbians and gays during the Cold War for fears of communist association, the founding of Mattachine society, the development of distinctive lesbian and gay subcultures and urban communities in the 1970s, and the rise of AIDS and the LGBTQ community’s response in the form of ACT-UP in the 1980s are all discussed. ACT-UP’s response to the crisis proved to decisive turning-point in LGBTQ history. The chapter ends by presenting data showing that, by targeting the national news media, ACT-UP normalized media coverage of AIDS and LGBTQ issues, leading to increases in coming out.

Keywords:   Social movements, LGBTQ, lesbian, gay, bisexual, activism, AIDS, lavender scare, ACT-UP, Identity

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