The Stage

1950s-1960s: Homophile Movement

Organizations demanding respect and equal rights for people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation emerged in the United States in the 1950s. Early groups used the term “homophile,” meaning “loving the same,” to describe themselves. The terms “homosexual,” “homosexual woman,” and “sex variant” were also used. Most activism remained at a local level in the 1950s and 1960s and focused on providing safe social environments, addressing workplace and housing discrimination, and encouraging medical, legal, and other professions to adopt a more sympathetic view of homosexuals.

The Ladder, Jan. 1959. Human Sexuality Collection.

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