In June 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. On May 31, 2011, President Barack Obama expanded the observance to include bisexual and transgendered individuals as well. Here are a few highlights of the LGBT movement's history.
Gay Pride Movement
The Gay Pride movement is often said to have started with the Stonewall Riots of 1969. During a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, patrons at the inn rioted and open protests followed. This marked a change in atmosphere in the LGBT community, as people publicly acknowledged their sexual preference.
The first Gay Pride march or parade happened in New York in 1970, according to Chiff.com. The site also lists 15 U.S. parade locations for 2011 and nine others worldwide.
The traditional ban on open gays in the military, called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was repealed this December. The Obama administration also publicly stated that the "Defense of Marriage Act" was unconstitutional, and the president instructed the Justice Department to withdraw their support of the act in court.
Currently being debated in New York, same-sex marriage is now legal in five states: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Iowa. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Washington, D.C. Same-sex marriages performed in other states are recognized in Maryland, New York and Rhode Island. Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois and New Jersey allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
According to the Hollywood.com's "The History of Gay Liplocks," the first TV kiss between men was supposed to have happened on Melrose Place in 1994, but advertisers threatened to pull funding if anything was shown on screen. A passionate kiss between men was first shown in 2000 on Dawson's Creek and a March 2011 episode of Glee is said to have raised the bar for future on-screen smooching.
Despite the recent advancements, there is still much persecution of the LGBT community, felt particularly among teens. In an effort to support LGBT youth in the face of the dramatic rise in bullying, columnist Dan Savage launched the "It Gets Better" site in September, 2010. After posting a video proclaiming that life does get better–and that teens should not give up–Savage inspired another 10,000 videos on the same theme in a two-month period. The videos are collected at itgetsbetter.org.