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gay pride flag
The Gay Pride Flag first
flew over San Francisco's
Gay Pride Parade in 1978.

Although gay and lesbians have most likely been around even before the history of sex was recorded, it wasn't until 1973 that the APA American Psychiatric Association) declared homosexuality as a natural part of human sexual orientation.

Using studies and research to refute the ideas that the gay lifestyle was "curable", the APA finally and officially struck homosexuality off its list of recognized mental illnesses.

It was a landmark victory for the fledging gay pride movement, which in the 1960's had joined both the civil rights and women's liberation movements in a long overdue fight for equal justice under the law.

Before and since the APA statement on homosexuality in the 1970's, attitudes on same sex relations have in the ebb and flow of history undergone enormous changes.

Beginning with the Greeks who saw homosexuality as a right of passage into heroic manhood to a complete turnaround in in the Middle Ages (when even heterosexual behavior was considered sinful) the Renaissance age reversed course again to celebrate the classical nude, and in the process produce masterpieces of overt homoeroticism.

In yet another notable landmark, the 19th century Victorian era was a return similar to the medieval --mixed with a dose of medical and scientific disapproval. In some quarters it even raised the possibility of genetic "cleansing" as a societal ideal — put in horrific practice a century later with the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

Today, there are openly gay celebrities who serve as role models for gay youth and teens who, despite the strides in equal rights for all, still suffer within a society that echo Victorian attitudes condemning bisexuality and homosexuality.

Clearly, with AIDS still thought of as "heavenly retribution", the struggle for gay rights is far from over as the politics of same-sex marriage (and the rights of transgendered people to fully express their innate sexual preferences) is still capable of making headline-making news.

Although more rights have been won in recent years including gay marriage in some countries and US states, widespread prejudice and homophobia is still experienced by many gays and lesbians worldwide who continue to be denied equal access to employment, housing, health care services or opportunities for military service.

also see -> Gay Pride Parade NYC | Gay-Friendly Travel

More about gays, society & history around the Web:

Answers to Your Questions For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality - Detailed FAQ from the APA with information about psychological and medical establishment findings on sexual orientation, the impact of prejudice against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, gay and lesbian parenting issues, and related resources.

Homosexuality and bisexuality - Religious guide to the gay lifestyle and how it is impacted by religious and moral beliefs with discussions on gay marriage and parenting, gay politics, and related topics.

Homosexuality - Wikipedia - Extensive overview including homosexuality and society throughout history plus modern attitudes and controversies, psychological findings, related studies, and more on the gay liberation movement.

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