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See Article History Alternative Titles: Gay rights prior to the 20th century Religious admonitions against sexual relations between same-sex individuals particularly men long stigmatized such behaviour, but most legal codes in Europe were silent on the subject of homosexuality.
Beginning in the 16th century, lawmakers in Britain began to categorize homosexual behaviour as criminal rather than simply immoral.
In the s, during the reign of Henry VIIIEngland passed the Buggery Act, which made sexual relations between men a criminal offense punishable by death. In Britain sodomy remained a capital offense punishable by hanging until Likewise, in Germany in the early s, when the country was integrating the civil codes of various disparate kingdoms, the final German penal code included Paragraphwhich criminalized same-sex male relations with punishment including prison and a loss of civil rights.
Their first activity was a petition to call for the repeal of Paragraph of the Imperial Penal Code submitted, and The committee published emancipation literature, sponsored rallies, and campaigned for legal reform throughout Germany, as well as in The Netherlands and Austria, developing some 25 local chapters by He also helped sponsor the World League of Sexual Reformwhich was established in at a conference in Copenhagen.
Despite Paragraph and the failure of the WhK to win its repeal, homosexual men and women experienced a certain amount of freedom in Germany, particularly during the Weimar period, between the end of World War I and the Nazi seizure of power. In many larger German cities, gay nightlife became tolerated, and the number of gay publications increased; indeed, according to some historians, the number of gay bars and periodicals in Berlin in the s exceeded that in New York City six decades later.
Outside Germany, other organizations were also created. For example, in the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology was founded by Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis for both promotional and educational purposes, and in the United States in Henry Gerber, an immigrant from Germany, founded the Society for Human Rights, which was chartered by the state of Illinois.
Despite the formation of such groups, political activity by homosexuals was generally not very visible. Indeed, gays were often harassed by the police wherever they congregated. World War II and its aftermath began to change that.
The war brought many young people to cities and brought visibility to the gay community. In the United States this greater visibility brought some backlash, particularly from the government and police; civil servants were often fired, the military attempted to purge its ranks of gay soldiers a policy enacted during World War IIand police vice squads frequently raided gay bars and arrested their clientele.
However, there was greater political activity as well, aimed in large measure at decriminalizing sodomy. The gay rights movement since the midth century Beginning in the midth century, an increasing number of organizations were formed.
In addition, the United States saw the publication of a national gay periodical, One, which in won a U. Supreme Court ruling that enabled it to mail the magazine through the postal service.
In Britain a commission chaired by Sir John Wolfenden issued a groundbreaking report see Wolfenden Report inwhich recommended that private homosexual liaisons between consenting adults be removed from the domain of criminal law; a decade later the recommendation was implemented by Parliament in the Sexual Offences Act, effectively decriminalizing homosexual relations for men age 21 or older further legislation lowered the age of consent first to 18  and then to 16 , the latter of which equalized the age of sexual consent for same-sex and opposite-sex partners.
The gay rights movement was beginning to win victories for legal reform, particularly in western Europe, but perhaps the single defining event of gay activism occurred in the United States.
Nearly people joined a riot that lasted 45 minutes and resumed on succeeding nights. Now headquartered in Brussels, it plays a significant role in coordinating international efforts to promote human rights and fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons.
DeGrieck and Wechsler both were elected in and came out while serving on the city council; Wechsler was replaced on the council by Kathy Kozachenko, who ran openly as a lesbian, in —thus becoming the first openly gay person to win office after first coming out.
In Gerry Studds, a sitting representative from Massachusetts, became the first member of the United States Congress to announce his homosexuality. Barney Frankalso a member of the U.
House of Representatives from Massachusetts, also came out while serving in Congress in the s; Frank was a powerful member of that body and within the Democratic Party into the 21st century.
Tammy Baldwinfrom Wisconsin, became the first openly gay politician to be elected to both the U. House of Representatives and the U.
Harvey Milk posing in front of his camera shop in San Francisco, In Canada in Glen Murray became the mayor of Winnipeg, Manitoba—the first openly gay politician to lead a large city.
She was followed by Elio Di Rupo, who became prime minister of Belgium in The National Human Rights Commission Act, enacted in , established the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK). Under South Korean law, the NHRCK is an independent commission for protecting, advocating and promoting human rights.
The National Human Rights Commission Act explicitly includes sexual orientation as an anti-discrimination ground. towards gays from to Sponsored link. History of US military policies: a decent regard for the legitimate privacy and associational rights of all service members." will get done in the beginning but he's committed to following through with ending the policy against being openly gay in the military." 8.
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