The Gay Rights Movement
Forty years before World War II, the first organization promoting education about homosexuality and the abolition of laws against homosexuality was founded in Germany. However, the Nazis’ rise to power ended the homosexual rights movement in Germany, and about 50,000 gay men were sent to death camps (Schoofs, 1997).
Not until the 1950s did people in the United States found organizations for homosexual men and women, despite the conservative atmosphere of the time. The Mattachine Society had chapters in many cities and provided a national network for support and communication. The Daughters of Bilitis, an organization of lesbians, published a journal called The Ladder, which contained fiction, poetry, and political articles. The goals of both organizations were to educate homosexual and heterosexual people about homosexuality, increase understanding of homosexuality, and eliminate laws discriminatory to homosexual individuals (Katz, 1976).