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New York Daily Photo: Gay Liberation Monument
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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Gay Liberation Monument

"This sculpture by George Segal (1924-2000) honors the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) rights movement and commemorates the events at the Stonewall Inn opposite this park that gave rise to the movement." Thus reads the plaque at the Gay Liberation Monument in Christopher Park in the West Village. George Segal (1924-2000) is a well known sculptor and this work was inaugurated in 1992 after 12-year battle of controversy and opposition (a cast of the sculpture installed on Stanford University's campus in 1984 , faced a decade of vandalism and beatings). The Stonewall Inn is just out of view to the right in the photo. If you are unfamiliar with the Stonewall Riots in July of 1969, you can read about them here. Many consider the events of that summer pivotal in the Gay rights movement. It's hard to imagine that 38 years ago, men were being arrested, harassed and beaten by police, simply for being gay - many of the arrests were made with charges for indecency. And yet arguments for legalization of homosexuality go back hundreds of years. English scholar Jeremy Bentham wrote an essay as early as 1785, at which time homosexuality was punishable by hanging. Much progress was made from 1860 - 1933 in Europe and Germany with activists like Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Magnus Hirschfeld, Ann Rüling and Helene Stöcke, but most of the gains were lost with the rise of Nazism. Progress in human rights, unlike those in technology, can be very S L O W ...


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