Jump to main content. Jump to navigation. The President and this Administration are dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging LGBT communities across the country. Under the Obama Administration, agencies have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.
Desmond Tutu's long history of fighting for lesbian and gay rights
The first known organization working for gay rights in the United States was founded in Chicago to bring homosexuals together as well as educate legal authorities and legislators. Henry Gerber applied on December 10, , with six other men for a charter incorporating the Society for Human Rights, an enterprise modeled on German organizations. While serving with the army in Europe following World War I , Gerber had subscribed to German homophile publications and experienced the relative freedom for gay men in Weimar Germany. The society published two issues of its newsletter, Friendship and Freedom, financed almost entirely out of Gerber's pocket. But in the police raided Gerber's home and arrested members of the small organization.
All rights reserved. Universal Declaration of Human Rights , Article 1. What is sexual orientation? Sexual orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person.
The goal of full legal and social equality for gay men and lesbians sought by the gay movement in the United States and other Western countries. The term gay originally derived from slang, but it has gained wide acceptance in recent years, and many people who are sexually attracted to others of the same sex prefer it to the older and more clinical term homosexual. The drive for legal and social equality represents one aspect of a broader gay and lesbian movement that, since the late s, has worked to change attitudes toward homosexuality, develop gay community institutions, and improve the self-image of gay men and lesbians. Although homosexuality has been recorded in every historical period and culture, the gay and lesbian rights movement developed only with the emergence of a self-conscious, gayidentified subculture that was willing to openly assert its demands for equality. Until the s, virtually all lesbians and gay men were secretive about their sexual orientation and frequently shared the attitude of the general society that homosexuality was sick, sinful, or both.