The Times, They Are A Changin’

June 29th is the anniversary of the Stonewall riot. Why is that important you may ask? Stonewall represented the turning point for many of the rights we now have as LGBTQ people. But that seems to be all about to change with the reversal of Roe v. Wade on June 24th. 2022.

The times, they are a changin,’” – Bob Dylan

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

A Brief Timeline

1714 – The colonies and colonial militias enacted Sodomy laws that would stay on the books in most states until 1925.

1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof ,are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

1907 – Magnus Hirschfeld, Jewish German physician and sexologis testifed in court that homsexuality was part of the plan of nature just like “normal love.”

1933 – 1945 – Roughly 100,000 German homosexual men were rounded up and placed in concentraton camps along side Jewish People. They were designated by Pink Triangles on their clothing. They were also some of the last to be released due to German Criminal code stated homosexual acts were illegal between men.

1952 – U.S. Congress passed and Harry Truman signed into law the Immigration Act that barred “aliens afflicted with psychopathic personality, epilepsy, or mental defect.” Congress made it clear that this was targeted towards homosexuals and sexual perverts. That same year, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance that could be treated.

1953 – Executive Order 10450 was issued by President Eisenhower banning homosexuals from working in federal government, stating they are security risks. This would not be overturned until 1993 with the creation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by President Clinton.

1954 – Brown v. Board of Education. Unanimous decision that determined that separate was not equal in schools and violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Thusly, overturning  Plessy v. Ferguson that declared separate was equal, under the law.

1958 – One v. Olesen. Without any arguments, the Supreme Court decided that the first amendment free speech acts protected the publishing and distribution of “One Magazine.” Up until this decision, the postal service had the right and power to open any magazine they felt was “obscene, lewd, and/or lascivious.” They also had the unchecked power of keeping lists of people who received these publications. Some of these lists included the gay men that received “One Magazine,” a publication by the Mattahine Society.

1966 – Compton Cafeteria Riot. In San Francisco, transgender and drag queens reacted to ongioing harassment by the police. This riot allowed for the creation of the National Transsexual Counseling Unit to be formed, in support of transgender people. 

1969 – Stonewall Riots. In response to unprovoked police raids on an early Saturday morning, ovr 400 people, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgerder, and straights protested their treatment and pushed the police away form the area. This was one of the defining moments for LGBTQ Rights. 

1973 – Roe v. Wade passed. THis gave women a right to privacy protected by the Fourteenth Amendment and gave them a choice regarding abortion.

1977 – Anita Bryant created the “Save Our Children” group to protest Dade County’s ordinance that prevented discrimination against homosexuals and forced it to be change. The LGBTQ community reacted and boycotted the Florida Citrus Commission products. This boycott was backed by gay and lesbian activists like Harvey Milk. In 1980, the Florida Citrus Commission removed Bryant as their spokesperson and Date county singed an new ordinance into law prevention discrimination. This was one of the first times that LGBTQ people realized how much politcal power they wielded.

1979 – National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay RIghts. Over 100,000 people marched on DC in support of LGBTQ rights. 

2003 – Lawrence v. Texas. In Kansas, a 6-3 vote ruled to reverse the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick ruling that allowed the government to decide that what two consenting adults did in the privacy of their own homes was illegal. This new ruling decriminalized sodomy and oral sex between consenting adults and was protected on the fourteenth amendment.  

2010Barack Obama repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” This in effect gave any LGBTQ person the right to serve openly in the military. 

2013 – Hollingsworth v. Perry/California Proposition 8. Ultimately, a decision was made that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and that same-sex couples could legally be married in California. U.S. v. Windsor/Repeal Defense of Marriage Act. A 5-4 vote ruled that defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

2015 – Obergefell v. Hodges. A 5-4 vote that the Fourteenth Amendment gave the fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry, using the Due Pricess Clause and Equal Protection Clause.

2022 – Roe v. Wade was overturned and Justice Clarence Thomas states that Lawrence v. Texas  and Obergefell v. Hodges need to be reversed, as well. 

Photo by Derek French on Pexels.com

The Importance of Roe v. Wade

One can argue that this case has sparked so many more debates, in its short existence. The decision grants the Constitution of the United States to protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion. This decision, essentially, gave control of their bodies back to women. It removed many federal and state abortion laws. This ruling allowed the Fourteenth Amendment to give women a fundamental right to privacy.

This year we saw the reversal of that decision. The Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that the right to an abortion was not “deeply rooted in the Nation’s history or tradition,” nor considered a right whe the Due Process Clause was rarifited in 1868. This created a huge debate on many other issues that may not have existed when Due Process was ratified. Rights like contraception, interracia marriage, and same-sex marriage. This is where the floodgates opened for Justice Thomas to say these rulings, also, needed to be looked at.

Citizenship and Equal Protection

In 1869, the United States Government ratified the 14th Amendment. This newly ratified amendment granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, including former enslaved people, and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection under the law.” This amendment goes further to ensure that no State can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. It also states that no person can be denied equal protection of the law that lives within the state’s jurisdiction. 

This Amendment has been the backbone of many civil liberty laws that have passed in the United States. With Clarence Thomas questioning the validity of any laws enacted under this Amendment, it allows others to question the very protection of LGBTQ and all people of this country. 

By revoking laws like Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, it essentially takes away the very rights we as LGBTQ people have been fighting for since the beginning of this country. It goes further to allow people and any government in the United States to treat us less than equals. It allows anyone to see us as less than human.

One thing to remember here is that if Lawrence v, Texas is overturned, it will affect more than just the sex lives of LGBTQ people. This law changed the view of sodomy from illegal to legal among consenting adults in the privacy of their own houses. If you enjoy oral sex or anal sex, as a heterosexual, you would, again, be commiting an illegal act that a State representative could arrest you. 

Queer Political Power

A conservative estimate says that only about 7.1% of the American population is LGBTQ. The more sad truth is that we may never fully know how many LGBTQ people are in the United States. No matter how far we have seemed to come in our fight for rights, we are still targets. You only have to look at the mass shootings like Pulse Nightclub or that varied right wing extremist groups that still actively target LGBTQ people at pride to know we are still not safe to be out. This is one of the main reasons why our census results skew to the lower side. 

With that being said, 7% of the population can have a major effect on how it is shaped by simply pulling support, whether that is votes or dollars, from places or people that do not support us. 1977 is a prime example of that. LGBTQ people joined together to boycott the Florida Citrus Commission and the support of Anita Bryant. By us simply speaking out against and pulling our dollars from buying Florida orange juice, we rallied enough people to our cause to force them to remove Bryant as their spokesperson and to reinstate the ordinace that Dade County had in place to prevent discrimination of LGBTQ people.

The very proof that citizens can force rapid change by where they choose to spend their money or who they support. It is time for us to realize that power once again. If the Supreme Judges will not continue to support the rights of minorities like women, people of color, and LGBTQ people, then we need to remove our support of them and ensure that our money goes to support those that do. This enacts change in ways that simply speaking out does not. 

A Razor’s Edge

We are standing on the precipice of great change, in our country. We stand and watch as bigots and warmongers are rising in power. Their poisoned words drip off the tongues of those that know how to whip a crowd into a fevered response. They play on sentiments and emotions, making them believe that many of us are deviants here to take away their rights or force others to be like us. 

We live in an age where we need immediate gratification. We post our daily lives online in the hopes it will generate enough likes to make us feel like we matter. We are ruled by emotion and the lack of understanding, we live in a world where intelligence is not prized because it means we think for ourselves. Those in power would rather have the citizens of this world be told what to believe and how to vote, this is to ensure that we are ruled in a manner they feel is best for us. 

Whether real or implied, we live in the Matrix, a world that was created by others to keep us trapped in a way of thinking that allows us to be manipulated however those that rule see fit. The news media reacts to what they are told is important and broadcasts it to the masses. We, in turn, see it on the news, read it online, or have it screamed at us over the airwaves and believe that it is unquestionable truth. Those of us that think for ourselves and challenge what we are told are still labeled as dissidents and a threat to the very way of life of the world. 

We are on the razor’s edge that will decide the fate of our country, again. It will remove rights from those the government deems less than others. It is a step towards the government deciding what is and is not right for its people. This country was founded on the principle that the government should be afraid of the people and not the other way around. 

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