Friday, June 7, 2013

Being Gay in the 90's

The 90's started with Thomas and I starting our life together. I also embraced my sexuality and started coming out to more people. I wasn't as afraid or concerned anymore about what people thought. If they accepted me that was fantastic but if they didn't then I knew they weren't supposed to be a part of my life. We continued to experience changes during the 90's and things are getting better. Let's see what transpired during this decade.
AIDS Ribbon
  • President Bush delivers his first address on AIDS. The speech is interrupted by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force director Urvashi Vaid who accuses Bush of a lack of action on AIDS.
  • In Ohio, Cincinnati law enforcement warned the Contemporary Arts Center not to allow a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit to open. After it did, Director of the Center, Dennis Barrie, was indicted on obscenity charges.
  • Fashion designer Halston dies of AIDS at age 57.
  • Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida plays host to the first annual Gay & Lesbian Day.
  • First National Bisexual Conference held in San Francisco.
  • 1990 Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act passed; first law extending federal recognition of gay men and lesbians.
  • OutRage! forms in UK 
  • Dale McCormick became the first open lesbian elected to a state Senate (she was elected to the Maine Senate).

  • The first Pride Celebration is held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The event is called the Unity Festival and is held at Ski Roundtop.  In 1999, the event was moved to Harrisburg's RiverFront Park where over 3000 people attended.
  • Hawaii and Connecticut outlaw antigay discrimination.
  • In the Soviet Union, thousands of gays and lesbians attend a conference and film festival.
  • Hong Kong decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • Red ribbon first used as a symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS. 
  • Decriminalisation of homosexuality: Bahamas, Hong Kong and Ukraine.
  • Sherry Harris was elected to the City Council in Seattle, Washington, making her the first openly lesbian African-American elected official.
  • The first lesbian kiss on television occurred; it was on "L.A. Law" between the fictional characters of C.J. Lamb (played by Amanda Donohoe) and Abby (Michele Greene).

  •  The Fourth Display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
  • "Divas For AIDS" featuring The Weather Girls and Thelma Houston is held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum in Oregon.
  • New Jersey and Vermont enact bans on antigay discrimination.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act goes into effect.
  • k.d. Lang comes out in "The Advocate".
  • A Newsweek poll finds that 45% of those asked considered gay rights "a threat to the American family and its values".
  • The Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego is founded.
  • The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10.
  • Australia and Canada end a ban on gay people in the military.
  • Estonia and Latvia decriminalize homosexuality.
  • Althea Garrison was elected as the first transgender state legislator in America, and served one term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives; however, it was not publicly known she was transgender when she was elected.
  • Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival was held in Japan.

  • The THIRD March on Washington DC.
  • "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell" becomes U.S. Military Policy.
  • Sodomy laws repealed in the Republic of Ireland brought about by Senator David Norris.
  • Russia decriminalizes consensual male sodomy.
  • Norway enacts registered partnership civil union laws that grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adopt or marry in a church. 
  • Repeal of Sodomy laws: Australian Territory of Norfolk Island.
  • Significant LGBT Murders: Brandon Teena.
  • Melissa Etheridge came out as a lesbian.
  • The Triangle Ball was held; it was the first inaugural ball in America to ever be held in honor of gays and lesbians.
  • The first Dyke March (a march for lesbians and their straight female allies, planned by the Lesbian Avengers) was held, with 20,000 women marching.
  • Roberta Achtenberg became the first openly gay or lesbian person to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate when she was appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity by President Bill Clinton.

  • IKEA Furniture becomes the first company to air a television commercial in the US which featured a gay male couple.
  • The 1st Annual Deaf Lesbian & Gay Awareness Week is held in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • AMA denounces supposed cures for homosexuality/Canada grants refugee status to homosexuals fearing for their well-being in their native country. Israel’s supreme court defines gay-couple’s rights same as any common-law-couple’s rights.  Deborah Batts became the first openly gay or lesbian federal judge; she was appointed to the U.S. District Court in New York.
  • Gay Parade was held in Japan.

  • Inspired by Puccini's La Boheme, "Rent" the musical opens on Broadway. Winner of several Tony Awards, it was one of the first musicals to include a lesbian duet.
  • Sweden legalizes registered partnerships (a common-law marriage or civil union) with all the rights of marriage except for marriage in a church and adoption.
  • The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 
  • Triple combination therapy of drugs such as 3TC, AZT and ddC shown to be effective in treating HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS.
  • The Human Rights Campaign drops the word "Fund" from their title and broadens their mission to promote "an America where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of the American family at home, at work and in every community.
  • Gay Advice Darlington/Durham was founded by local gay and bisexual men, and has developed into a Charity that work with and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community of County Durham and Darlington.
  • Rachel Maddow became the first openly gay or lesbian American to win an international Rhodes scholarship.
  • President Clinton names the first-ever White House liaison to the gay and lesbian communities.
  • Owner of Fox Incorporated, Rupert Murdoch, announced that the company would begin extending domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees.
  • Rumours in St. Paul, Minnesota holds the "Grumpier Old Men" Auction.  The canvas seat backs of the directors' and stars' chairs were sold at auction to benefit Every Penny Counts, a fund for AIDS victims.
  • The Fifth Display of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
  • South Africa becomes the second country to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution.
  • Homosexuality decriminalized in Bosnia and Herzegovina (although Republika Srpska will finally remove homosexuality from its criminal code in 1998). 
  • The first lesbian wedding on television occurred, held for fictional characters Carol (played by Jane Sibbett) and Susan (played by Jessica Hecht) on the TV show "Friends".
  • Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), forbidding federal recognition of (and benefits for) married same-sex couples.
  • The Directorate of the Office of Church in Society of the UCC voted for "Equal Marriage Rights for Same-sex Couples.”
  • The Board of Directors of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries of the UCC voted for "Equal Marriage Rights for Same Gender Couples.” 

  • The first Capitol City Pride is held at Mears Park in St. Paul, Minnesota.  This marks the first year 2 separate Pride Celebrations are held in the Twin Cities.
  • UK extends immigration rights to same-sex couples akin to marriage.
  • Fiji is the second country to explicitly protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution.
  • Laws prohibiting private homosexual acts are repealed in Tasmania, Australia, the last Australian state to do so.
  • Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian, one of the first celebrities to do so. Furthermore, later that year her character Ellen Morgan came out as a lesbian on the TV show "Ellen", making Ellen DeGeneres the first openly lesbian actress to play an openly lesbian character on television.
  • South Africa becomes the first country to enact a constitutional ban outlawing sexual orientation discrimination.

  • Employment Equality Act introduced in Ireland, covering wrongful dismissal based on the grounds of sexual orientation.
  • Vriend v. Alberta - sexual orientation is read into the IRPA, Alberta's human rights act.
  • Gender identity was added to the mission of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays after a vote at their annual meeting in San Francisco. Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays is the first national LGBT organization to officially adopt a transgender-inclusion policy for its work.
  • Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay or lesbian non-incumbent ever elected to Congress, and the first open lesbian ever elected to Congress, winning Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district seat over Josephine Musser.
  • Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming.
  • The Executive Council of the UCC called for the "Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation". In this, they called for immediate passage of the Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998 and urged all United Church of Christ members to communicate support for this legislation to their congressional representatives.

  • McDonald's adds sexual orientation to its non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
  • President William Jefferson Clinton signs a proclamation declaring June as Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court rules that gay couples must be granted the same benefits and protections given married couples of the opposite sex.
  • California adopts domestic partner law.
  • France enacts civil union laws (PACS) accessible to same-sex couples.
  • The "Queer Youth Alliance" is founded in the UK.
  • Israel’s supreme court recognizes lesbian partner as another legal mother of her partner’s biological son. 
  • South Africa grants spousal immigration benefits to same-sex partners.
  • Steven Greenberg publicly came out as gay in an article in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. As he has a rabbinic ordination from the Orthodox rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS), he is generally described as the first openly gay Orthodox Jewish rabbi. However, some Orthodox Jews, including many rabbis, dispute his being an Orthodox rabbi.
  • Britain bans discrimination against transgender people.
Matthew Shepard (December 1, 1976 - October 12, 1998)
In these ten year we saw lots of positive changes. Plenty of laws enacted to protect Lesbians and Gays and their families. But we also experienced hate at its worst with the murder of Matthew Shepard. I am thankful for all the progress but I still can't help feeling like a second class citizen, especially when I see plenty of marriages ending for stupid reasons but I still can't marry the man I love. Maybe the next Millinneum will be the time that this all changes.

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