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Lesbian and Gay Rights

Updated on November 6, 2012

Personal Experience

When I was sixteen years old, I came out and told my family and friends that I was a lesbian. Three months later, my thirteen year old brother came out as well. There was some backlash to this, but not near as much as there no doubt would have been had we grown up twenty years or so earlier. Most people didn't act surprised or didn't seem to care about our sexual orientation. I've heard many people refer to our generation as "the Will & Grace generation" because gays were portrayed so much in the media during our formative years that being around homosexuals became just another part of life. The people who seemed to have issue with my sexual orientation were the older generation, mainly a few of my teachers. For most of my junior year of high school I had been involved in the early childhood education program and held a student teaching position at the local preschool and one of the fourth grade classrooms. I went from being the top student in the program, loved by all of the teachers, to being shunned by most of the staff until I felt so unwelcome that I finally resigned. I spent the rest of my senior year and much of my earlier adulthood battling depression even though most of my friends and family were very supportive of my lifestyle. It took several years to bounce back and be happy with who I am and I find with each passing year, less and less people judge me based on my sexual orientation.

Political Steps Forward for Gay Rights

Between 200-2007

  • Vermont became the first state to legally recognize civil unions between gay couples
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws were unconstitutional
  • Same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts
  • Civil unions became legal in Connecticut and New Jersey
  • The House of Representatives approved a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals

I'd like to point out that this is the point Barack Obama was elected, and how much more gets accomplished for gay rights from here on out.

Between 2008-2012

  • A New York State appeals court unanimously voted that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York
  • The Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry
  • Same-sex marriages began to be officially performed in Connecticut
  • The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejected the state law banning same-sex marriage. Twenty-one days later, county recorders are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
  • New Hampshire is the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage
  • President Obama signed a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits
  • Congress approved a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia
  • The U.S. Senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell
  • New York passes a law to allow same-sex marriage
  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment
  • Washington state became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage
  • Maryland became the eight state to legalize gay marriage
  • President Barack Obama endorsed same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
  • President Obama is re-elected and democrats gain control of the senate. This can only mean good things for gay rights!

How Far We've Come!


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    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Hi, Dawn and welcome to Hubpages. I'm are you're already discovering what a friendly place it is, where good writing is applauded and appreciated! Scanning through the hubs you''ve written, I can tell I'm in for a treat as I read more.

      This hub caught my eye for it's forthright title. It's well written & you're courageous to choose to tell your story & to take pride in who you are. I'm glad you lived through the downer when you were punished for it.

      It's your personal business and right and those associates who liked & respected YOU for yourself one day and rejected you the next when learning of what wasn't their business one way or the other in the first place should be ashamed of themselves. No one has a right or any business judging another.

      I was born - in Texas - in 1932. Then there was no prejudice toward gays. It was just never spoken of, written about or acknowledged at all. The closets must have been jam-packed like sardines!

      I'm heterosexual and would not appreciate it if my sexual orientation were a matter for public scrutiny, approval or disapproval, or cost me my job or determined where I could live or not or marry or not. It's nobody's business but my own.

      (There is even prejudice toward elderly people!! ;-) What's wrong with people?)

      By the way I have a granddaughter in Indianapolis with her two beautiful, brilliant, late-teenage biracial children and another granddaughter near Bloomington with her toddler and a new one on the way, also biracial. My bigoted daughter, their mom, must be beside herself. Parents can "train up a chid i the way (they think) he/she should go" but when it unfolds, it will be the way the child chooses & is geared to go. Brainwashing is not a permanent wash, and will wash-out unless the child has internalized it and found it fits.

    • Rfordin profile image

      Rfordin 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for sharing your story. I must say that I've always been interested in the connection of siblings and being homosexual. As a bisexual myself in a loving lesbian relationship presently I am happy that we have come a long way towards acceptance.

      Back the "it runs in families" idea....

      I have 2 gay friends (one male, one female) both have siblings that are also homosexual . To hear that your brother is also homosexual is very intriguing to me on the psychological side of things (I'm a psych nut). I can't help but wonder if it's because we are a more accepting society or if homosexuality really does "run in the genes". Most likely a combination of both.....

      Again thanks for sharing your story with us.


    • moonfairy profile image

      moonfairy 5 years ago

      hi and welcome to hubpages! Thanks for an insightful hub and for sharing your story.....bravo to you =) voted up and awesome!!

    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      Hi dcollins3,

      That was quite open and courageous of you to come out in the open. Would like to hear more from your point of view. I'm not surrounded by many gay people. Welcome to hubpages

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great hub on you personal journey and on the history of gay rights in the US. Gay rights in Europe and beyond are quite a different story, unfortunately. Voted up

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Extremely interesting and well written hub.

      What I can't figure is why gays want more government control over their lives.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi dcollins3. Welcome to hub pages. Your hub is open and refreshing. Keep at it, it is hard work sometimes. I am reading some of your other work and it is excellent. Thank you.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness young lady, you are as open as a book, and I love it!!!

      So glad you joined HubPages; we need a fresh voice like yours. Bravo!

    • profile image

      thechronicler 5 years ago

      Excellent hub, voted up and shared! Thanks for sharing your personal story--that takes courage especially when you encountered others' ignorance and bigotry--and detailing how much progress has been made in the past handful of years. We've come a long way in the past twenty years.