In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California and one of the first in the country. He was assassinated one year after winning the election but during this time he helped pass the first gay rights ordinance in the country that protected people from being fired for their sexual orientation. In 2009, Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Marsha P. Johnson was on the frontlines of the Stonewall riots and is considered a transgender pioneer. After the Stonewall Riots, she and Sylvia Rivera became leaders in the community opening the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, which helped transgender youth. Sylvia Rivera was also one of the activists involved in the Stonewall Riots in 1969. She joined forces with her friend Marsha P. Johnson and fought for the rights of many marginalized groups. In 1978, Gilbert Baker created the pride flag using the colors of the rainbow. He adopted eight colors for the stripes, each color with its own meaning, including hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. The rainbow pride flag was first flown in San Francisco on June 25, 1978 for Gay Pride Day. Larry Kramer was an activist during the AIDS crisis, working to raise awareness of the disease gay men were facing around the country. In 1981, he created the Gay Men's Health Crisis Organization, which was the only group devoted to helping those affected by HIV/AIDS.
The list does not end here. There are so many others in the community who contributed to LGBTQ+ activism throughout the years and who work both on the front lines and behind the scenes to achieve social change. Significant progress has been made in LGBTQ+ civil rights which has dramatically improved the legal protections - but challenges remain.
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How the LGBTQ Community Builds Resilience Through Activism: Ken Kidd Shares His Story - video length: 3 min