The Evolution Of LGBT Rights In Cincinnati And America

Jun 12, 2019

In 1969, New York City Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar known for its gay clientele, just as officers had done many times before. But this time, the LGBT patrons had had enough and fought back, resulting in an iconic moment in American history and a turning point in the gay rights movement.

Twenty-four years later, Cincinnati voters would approve a charter amendment prohibiting legal protections for the city’s LGBT citizens, disheartening local gay rights activists and stalling two decades of incremental progress that took place while haunted by the AIDS crisis.

Eleven years later, the charter amendment returned to Cincinnati voters, who, this time, reversed their previous decision.

In the 50 years since Stonewall and the 26 years since Article 12 of the city charter was adopted, the evolution of LGBT rights, life in America and here locally has been significant. Same-sex marriage is legal, openly gay politicians serve in office – with one running for president – and there are even rainbow-colored crosswalks on local streets.

How did it all happen?

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss are three local activists who were part of the fight for LGBT rights in Cincinnati in 1993 and 2004, Michael Chanak, Scott Knox, and Delaine Adkins. And we are also joined by journalist and author Charles Kaiser, whose book The Gay Metropolis traces the story of LGBT life in America through the decades, from the 1940s to the present, and is now in a new edition in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

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