This Past Tuesday the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all 20 member countries in Central and South America must legalize same-sex marriage (at best confer the legal rights associated with it).
The Court was established in 1979 by the Organization of American States, which are a comprised of several countries in Central and South America. It is the judicial enforcer as outlined in the American Convention on Human Rights, a document that outlines provisions for “personal liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man.”. Currently the there are 20 countries which include: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.
The court reached it decision when Costa Rica asked the court for its opinion on if property rights extended to same-sex couples. Seven Judges from the court said that member nations “must recognize and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex.” The ruling is legally binding to all member countries, in-affect legalizing same-sax marriage (or rights associated with it).
There was no language on how each country needed to go about legalizing marriage equality - and there doesn't appear to be a deadline for doing so - the court rebuffed evangelical and conservative political forces opposing LGBT rights in Central and South America.
The Court also ruled that Costa Rica must allow transgender people to change legally change their name and gender marker on government-issued identification documents. While this is clearly a monumental win for LGBT rights, several of the countries listed above have policies forbidding members of the LGBT community to donate blood, adopting children, joining the military or having access to housing, employment and public accommodations.
June is officially gay pride month, and for many communities around the country and world we come together to honor the past, live in the present and fight for the future. It is easy to forget how much we as culture has had to overcome in order to live our lives as we see fit.
Gay Pride is a time for us to come together and celebrate life in general. To show our pride in not only ourselves, but also to remember the past, those in history who give up so much so we could hold hands in public, and even get marries. There was a time that being gay (homosexual) was a crime, and the punishments could range from prison to inhuman medical procedures. Several countries around the world have legalized gay marriage, and removed laws that prevent us from being ourselves, however, for many they still struggle to just have basic human rights.
So, as we get out flags and banners, we should be thankful and supportive of our community!
Here is a timeline provided by infoplease that put together a timeline of the gay rights movements in the United States.
The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country's earliest known gay rights organization.
Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, revealing to the public that homosexuality is far more widespread than was commonly believed.
The Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization, is formed by Harry Hay, considered by many to be the founder of the gay rights movement.
The first lesbian-rights organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis, was established in San Francisco in 1955.
The Daughters of Bilitis, a pioneering national lesbian organization, is founded.
Joe Cino, an Italian-American theater producer, opens Caffe Cino. Caffe Cino is credited with starting the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. Six years after Caffe Cino opens, it hosts the first gay plays, The Madness of Lady Bright, by Lanford Wilson, and The Haunted Host, by Robert Patrick.
Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco.
The Stonewall riots transform the gay rights movement from one limited to a small number of activists into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance. Patrons of a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, fight back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots.
The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
Harvey Milk runs for city supervisor in San Francisco. He runs on a socially liberal platform and opposes government involvement in personal sexual matters. Milk comes in 10th out of 32 candidates, earning 16,900 votes, winning the Castro District and other liberal neighborhoods. He receives a lot of media attention for his passionate speeches, brave political stance, and media skills.
San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appoints Harvey Milk to the Board of Permit Appeals, making Milk the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk decides to run for the California State Assembly and Moscone is forced to fire him from the Board of Permit Appeals after just five weeks. Milk loses the State Assembly race by fewer than 4,000 votes. Believing the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will never support him politically, Milk co-founds the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club after his election loss.
Activists in Miami, Florida pass a civil rights ordinance making sexual orientation discrimination illegal in Dade County. Save Our Children, a campaign by a Christian fundamentalist group and headed by singer Anita Bryant, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history, 70% vote to overturn the ordinance. It is a crushing defeat for gay activists. [Read More]
Source: "The American Gay Rights Movement: A Timeline." Infoplease. Sandbox Network, Inc., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.
Images: Grey Villet. Gay Rights - Early Days of The Movement 1972. Time Magazine.
As I get older I find myself looking back on my life and I begin to wonder, what if? Or maybe I should have? Regardless it’s not easy to reflect on my life and not have some regrets. However, I’ve learned to always move forward, learn from my past. As the baby boomers move to midlife or “golden years” we as a culture tend to forget about the sacrifices they made so we could enjoy the very freedoms we have now. That because of them we are able to hold hands in public, travel as a couple, live together, and even marry.
How many times have we’ve been out and look at someone who is older and make rude comments, say they’re just to old, I would never be with someone that old? Anyone in the LGBT community who say’s they’ve never behaved this way, I would have to call bull shit.
In a recent study conducted by The Gill Foundation for SAGE a national organization that advocates for seniors in the LGBT community indicated that LGBT elders more often live alone, are childless, have smaller social networks, and have financial concerns. Another major concern is the fact that LGBT elders are being forced back into the “closet” as they enter long-term care facilities, mostly out of fear of being mistreated; and their fears are based in reality. Another study by The Williams Institute found that many LGBT elders face a wide range of treatment in long-term senior housing; such as pricing, requirements, and availability. It is a very sad fact that those of the Stonewall generation are being forced to go back into the “closet”, something they have fought. It is not only unacceptable, but a wakeup call for everyone in the LGBT community and those who support our community.
I came across an organization while at New Orleans Pride a few years ago, and was impressed that there was an organization dedicated to the senior members of the LGBT community. NOAGE strives to bring awareness and understanding to the community; by providing social and educational events, legal services, and health education to professional providers.
“TWe are here to provide needed services across the generations; regardless of their sexual ordination”. Jim Meadows, Executive Director, NOAGE
NOAGE’s goal is to provide a safe environment for the elderly members of the LGBT community to socialize and access needed services. It’s important to know that they strive to reach out to the entire community as a whole. Established 5 years ago, NOAGE has quickly grown into a major resource for the community.
I believe it’s important to honor and respect the senior members of the LGBT community, to listen to their stories and cherish the past. As I stated before it’s a fact that some within the community tend to degrade and pass over them without giving a thought to what they had to endure so that we could live as we do now. Just remember that once their gone, their perspective of the past go’s with them and are forever lost. So, I challenge you to put your preconceived notions behind you and let them know they are still valued.
NOAGE which is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit relies on the public's support and donations go directly to the services they provide. If you would like to join NOAGE there is a $25.00 membership, become a volunteer, or for event information contact NOAGE, call (504) 517-2345, or at email@example.com. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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