From the beginning of the LGBT civil rights movement, there has been an intracommunity debate concerning strategies and tactics to effect legal and social change. On one end of the spectrum, the lesbian and gay organizations of the 1950s—the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis—advocated an assimilationist strategy that sought tolerance rather than full acceptance and integration. The tactics to affect this strategy are best described as conservative and conventional—to look and act as “straight” as possible in order to convince courts, legislatures, and the public that lesbians and gay men should be left alone rather than fired from their jobs and criminalized for their intimate conduct. On the other end of the spectrum, the protesters at the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969, advocated for liberation along many axes—gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class. The Gay Liberation Front, inspired by the Stonewall Riots and formed shortly thereafter, embodied this liberation-based strategy. Its tactics are best described as confrontational, intersectional, and anti-assimilationist. This Article will refer to these two approaches as Conformist and Visionary.
Kyle C. Velte,
From the Mattachine Society to Megan Rapinoe: Tracing and Telegraphing the Conformist/Visionary Divide in the LGBT Rights Movement,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol54/iss3/6