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Top 5 Milestones In U.S. LGBT Rights Of The Past 20 Years.


What have been the biggest events over the past 20 years for the LGBT community?


Being from Maine and now living in Florida, I may have a different list of influential events than others in the United States, some positive, and some negative.  If we were to think of the positives, the advancements, could we narrow down the national milestones of the past 20 years to five? recently did so. Here they are for your consideration. Do you agree with its choices?



- a significant event or stage in the life, progress, development, or the like of a person, nation, etc.


Milestone 1: Ellen DeGeneres, 1997


Ellen DeGeneres came out in 1997 on her ABC self-titled series "Ellen."  Who better to come out to than the sexy Laura Dern, oh, and the whole airport, and, yeah, the entire world. Not only did Ellen put herself out there back in 1997, she's been doing it every weekday, too.


Milestone 2: Marriage Equality in Massachusetts, 2004

With the court case Goodridge vs Department of Public Health, 2004, marriage equality began in the United States.  Civil unions were allowed in Vermont in 2000, but not marriage.  Julie Goodridge and Hillary Goodridge were lead plaintiffs in the Massachusetts court case that eventually led to a 2004 decision allowing same-sex marriage in the state. The above video is from ain interview in May of 2015


Milestone 3: "Brokeback Mountain", 2005

Ennis and Jack, Heath and Jake.  Could this movie be made today and could it do as well at the box office or with critics?  I am not sure. I think 2005 was just the right time and these were the right actors to get the message across that men can love men and it can be powerful, emotional, and heartbreaking. Yes, I teared up at the end of the above clip.  I knew the shirts were coming.


Milestone 4: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", 2011

A ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military, first introduced in 1993, was repealed under President Obama.

The act meant service members could reveal they were gay without fear of investigation or being discharged.

It also allowed service members who had been previously discharged under the ban to re-enlist. -


Milestone 5: Gay Marriage Legal, 2015

This next video is a little "School House Rocks" without the music, but it gets the point across. Thanks Zack Humphries.



One of my highlights during my trip to Cincinnati (which I covered in Cincinnati Makes 'Top 10 Best Of' List Again. I'm Sold! and 'Fellow Travelers' - A Gay Opera About Forbidden Love During McCarthyism And The Lavender Scare), was to be in a small group of 12 individuals to hear James Obergefell discuss the whole history of Obergefell v. Hodges.  We were all so mesmerized while sitting in someone's living room and having THE Mr. Obergefell tell us his story, starting from when he met his husband all the way up to modern day.  I'll never forget that day. 


Were there other positive accomplishments that were more influential than the five listed above?  

There's a big difference between events and milestones.  I could definitely think of several events that have been influential in the landscape of LGBT rights, the death of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998 would be one.  His death shook all of us all, nationwide.  He would have been 40 yesterday, December 1st. 

When I was in Houston last month, I visited the Houston Eagle and the bear bar upstairs.  As part of the ceiling, there was the mural pictured below.  My straight friend asked me who a couple of the people were on the mural and I said I didn' t know for, "each of our cities and states ave different people that broke through barriers and others that were killed for being gay.  I am sure they are up there for one of those reasons."  When I came back from the restroom, I found her busy on her iPhone searching down those individuals I didn't know.  She informed me that I was right, this one had been killed and that one had broken a barrier.

We have come a long way in just a short 20 years.  There's a lot more to do, but when looking back at our milestones, we should be very proud of our accomplishments.

Each community, city, and state could generate a list of milestones, events, deaths, and legislation.  Is the above an accurate list for the United States as a whole?  What milestone(s) would you add?