Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Gay Culture in the 1980s

'The Sexual Revolution (the 1960s-1980s), also known as the time of sexual liberation marked a time,
that involved the rejection of typical gender roles. It was a social movement that challenged what individuals had previously seen as sexual norms' (Crooks, 2011)

Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Poster, San Francisco, 1983

During the 1980's the overt cultural, social and political rise of the LGBT community was becoming a prevailing trend that everyone in the USA held a opinion influenced to create a perception upon 'gay cultural identity' . With cities such as San Francisco, expanding along and becoming the hub of west coast artistic, social and political liberalism the growing 'gay' community flourished. For many gay Americans living in areas such as San Francisco, the concept of 'identity' was clear cut as they could present and infuse themselves within a strong community that was active in fighting anti-discrimination laws and social sentiment. 

However, the open community that allowed one to express one's identity, in these areas (other rural conservative and traditional areas were mainly not places for thriving gay communities), they still were exposed to the equally expansive counter groups, who promoted anti-gay agendas and sought to influence at the highest levels to persecute and restrict homosexuals, both male and female, whether on religious lines, social ignorance, or their preconditioned ideologies, they strongly advocated [institutional] homophobia both mentally and physically.

For the homosexual individuals fighting against a social majority and sexual equality, the conditions that impacted them even to the point that they knew they could be murdered just for maintaining a same sex orientation. for example political activist and promoter of the LGBT community, Harvey Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors, was murdered by Dan White in November, 1978. Fortunately, before his murder Milk helped mobilize gay and lesbian activists throughout the state to defeat anti-gay Proposition 6, a proposed piece of legislation that would prohibit teachers who were gay from working in California. The early 80's gay individuals maintained a social statue inferior to that of the ideal heterosexuals even the US Army, who had declared homosexuality to be “incompatible with military service” in 1982, (they were forced to admit in 1989 that gay recruits were just as good or better), however they were tolerated...Then AIDS happened.

Legacy of the discovery and ensuing pandemic of AIDS, decimated the gay community and the use of objective fledgling research, (which created a link between gays and AIDS) , by prominent public figures, both political and religious, made their anti-discriminatory rhetoric hard hitting and manipulated the spread of the disease to attack a minority group.inspires anti-gay crusaders like the Rev. Lou Sheldon, who will found the Traditional Values Coalition in 1981. Pat Buchanan, communications director for President Ronald Reagan, called AIDS, first identified in 1981, "nature's revenge on gay men.

GRIDS , (gay-related immune deficiency syndrome), which became the norm, attacked all homosexual and even those diagnosed who where straight though affiliation became a gay 'leper', the legacy of this side of the pandemic has been contemporary show in works like The Dallas Buyers Club (2013).

'gay men had to find ways of preserving gay identity and creating a community that could withstand the physical and psychological threats facing it' 
Des Harmon, The Culture of AIDS

Sources :

Southern poverty law Center (2005)

Crooks, R., & Baur, K. (2011). Our sexuality (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: The Sexual Revolution Wadsworth. 

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