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THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION: GAY LIBERATION MOVEMENT
The most recent social phenomenon to impact on and contribute to the sexual revolution was the gay liberation movement. Kinsey's report that homosexual experiences were relatively common among the heterosexual men and women in his sample, and that approximately four percent of American men and two percent of American women were exclusively homosexual, had a devastating impact on our sexual stereotypes. Prior to that time, Americans pictured the typical male homosexual in terms of the feminine parody, complete with lisp, limp wrist, and a swishy gait. The female homosexual stereotype, although less well-defined, was frequently cast in terms of the woman who was masculine in appearance or manner. It became increasingly clear to a previously disbelieving public that there was no simple relationship between sexual preference, on the one hand, and general appearance and behavior, on the other. In fact, the vast majority of exclusively homosexual men and women were, except for this one behavioral dimension, indistinguishable from the most heterosexually oriented (that is, "normal") individuals.
During the 25 years from 1950 to 1975, homosexuals came "out of the closet," organized into a sociopolitical entity, and actively promoted legislation that attempted to end their persecution and establish their rights to practice their own sexual preferences.
In this manner, the gay lib movement joined the general spirit of protest and new thrust for openness that characterized the sixties. The effort to establish homosexuality as a matter of personal preference and to remove it from the category of the unnatural and perverse achieved a measure of success in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association officially agreed to remove homosexuality from the category of abnormal behavior.
Although it is clear that this judgment has not filtered down to all elements of our society, the gay liberation movement has been instrumental in a general redefinition of abnormal sexuality and in advancing the principle that any form of sexual behavior is normal as long as it is engaged in by consenting adults.
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