The LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and all other unnamed sexualities, sexes, and genders that do not fall under the named categories) community can be found in every period of human history, but it wouldn’t be until the early 1900s when the community would take prominence in, at the time, one of the world’s superpowers: the United States of America.
The 1900s was characterized by constant war and the American fear of communism, and as a result, American morale was hitting an all-time low; following World War II, it became necessary to boost American morale at any cost. Thus came the idea of the “nuclear family” or the “American Dream”: a straight white couple, two-and-a half kids, a house, a dog, and a white picket fence. Many white people interested in this idea moved southward; minorities who realized they weren’t a part of this “dream,” including the gay community, went northward. This can partially explain the development of very liberal, LGBTQIA+ friendly areas like New York City’s Greenwich Village.
The 1950s and 1960s started to bring out much more LGBTQIA+ works thanks to the Beat generation giving the community a voice and a chance to protest injustices against them (homosexuality was a criminal act back then). This opportunity gave rise to prominent activists/celebrity figures like:
Even for these people, it was difficult to get the message out to a world not interested in hearing from them. Gay former CNN correspondent Edward Alwood has written extensively about the LGBTQIA+ community, one of his most prominent books being Straight News. Alwood recalls a time where an activist interrupted news anchor Walter Cronkite’s news broadcast to protest gay rights. Following the legal battle of CNN and the protester, Cronkite sought to be more fair in his news coverage to do more stories related to the LGBTQIA+ community. This led to live specials such as “OUTREACH: LESBIANS AND GAY MEN" in 1976.
The LGBTQIA+ community’s voice has not always been present in media (particularly in a fair way), but thanks to the work these featured pioneers and more, the community has passed through the formerly impassable barriers. Protests such as the Stonewall riots (1969) on Christopher Street gained national media coverage and set the stage for the legal and social protection of the LGBTQIA+ community, helping shift the way the community is covered and perceived by our media outlets. This has led to modern day stars in PR and publicity like Simon Halls. Activism continues to communicate these messages to the people of today, in the hopes that the world will both never forget and rise up from the difficult history of the LGBTQIA+ community.