There are many people around the world who face violence and inequality simply because of who they love, how they look, or who they are. While this discrimination can take the form of physical abuse, it also has lead to the denial of basic rights like health care, lack of jobs and housing, domestic violence, abuse against children, and denial of family rights and recognition.
Have you ever wondered how it all started? This timeline traces the origin of the LGBTQ+ movement and the events that have shaped it over the years.
In 1896, the world's first gay magazine is launched in Berlin, called Der Eigene ('The Self-Owning').
Magnus Hirschfeld, a German physician, founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in May 1897 as a subset of Berlin's Institute for the Science of Sexuality - the first gay-rights organization in the world to lobby for the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender people, with a focus on legal representation.
Let’s move ahead to the Stonewall riots that takes place in 1969 in New York City. The last years of the 1960s are very contentious, as many social/political movements including the Civil Rights Movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the anti-Vietnam War movement, are active. Inspired by the spirit of rebellion in the air, the stonewall riots soon turn into the most significant event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights. The riot is a show of strength against police brutality, where LGBT individuals are often monitored, arbitrarily rounded up, tortured and humiliated in prisons.
Moving ahead to the 2000s, in a landmark judgment, the Delhi High Court strikes down the provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, holding that it violates the fundamental right of life and liberty and the right to equality as guaranteed in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court of India declares transgender people as 'third gender', affirming that the fundamental rights granted under the Constitution of India will be equally applicable to members of the transgender community. It also gives them the right to self-identification of their gender as male, female or third-gender.
"I am what I am. So take me as I am."
On September 6, 2018, in a landmark verdict, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India, read down the controversial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code: a 158-year-old colonial law that criminalized consensual gay sex.
The bench that included the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, Justice Indu Malhotra, Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, and Justice DY Chandrachud mentioned how majoritarian and popular views cannot dictate constitutional rights and that denial of self-expression is like death.