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Lesbian history has long been tossed into the category of "Romantic friendship", tracked back to the Renaissance, being ever so properly misrepresented by the word "friendship”. The acceptance of lesbianism has gone down a long, difficult road. Today the road is somewhat easier to travel.
In 1892, suffrage supporter Mary Grew described her life with Margaret Burleigh, shortly after Burleigh’s death, as a friendship with a closer union than most marriages. Among their abolitionist and suffrage connections, it was always known that they shared a home and a bed.
Susan B. Anthony felt that along with the right to vote came, which came 14 years after her death, an acceptance that women were equal to men and should be considered so in every area of life. Anthony was openly with her lover Emily Gross in 1896.
In 1920, the 19th amendment was passed
giving women the right to vote.
Women are finally equal !
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act made gender discrimination illegal creating a brighter world for many women, which many lesbians decades earlier paved the way for.
Both Martha Elliot and Ethel Dunham, a lesbian couple, succeeded in times where many women were unable to. Both women began John Hopkins Medical School together in 1914, a class of 11 women and 84 men.
The Oberlin College, Ohio, yearbook of 1920 illustrated 32 women identifying themselves as lesbians. They were members of the Oberlin Lesbian Society, poetry writers.
Protests by homosexual organizations often fell on deaf ears throughout the 50’s and 60’s until the Stonewall Riots which took place in Greenwich Village, New York in 1969. These riots forced the media to look at these activists groups, making them visible and newly understood. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the United States.
The rainbow flag became a popular symbol of LGBT pride by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The colors symbolize life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony (blue) and spirit (purple). The love of two women is just as natural as a rainbow.
In 2000 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that gay and lesbian families reside in 99.3 percent of all counties in the United States. This is in absolute contrast to the 1990 census, that counted gay and lesbian families living in only 52 percent of U.S. counties. This is said to be because more gay and lesbian families are willing to identify themselves on these surveys.
Catholics oppose gay marriage because they believe that marriage is only a union held between a man and a woman for life. Today thousands of Human Rights Activists are rallying in support of Proposition 8 (same sex couples right to marry) targeting Mormon churches, which are huge supporters of Proposition 8.
Showtime Series “The L Word” is a well-liked lesbian themed series representing the lives of lesbian women and their friends.
Christine Quinn is the first woman, openly gay Speaker of the New York City Council. As Speaker she has brought a refreshing point of view to the diverse challenges facing New York City's communities side by side with the Mayor of New York City.
On Wednesday, November 12, 2008 Connecticut ruled same sex marriages legal joining legislation which Massachusetts already has in place. New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire have civil unions and California has domestic partnerships, which are similar.
I believe as time goes by the rights of lesbians will improve. Barack Obama, our newly elected President, supports full civil unions that give same sex couples the same rights as married couples, including health and insurance benefits, as well as property and adoption rights. This is a step in the right direction for CHANGE and acceptance.