Sunday, 15 November 2009

American groups outside the mainstream

Established in Chicago in 1924, The Society for Human Rights was an American homosexual rights organization. It was the first recognized gay rights organization in the United States, however, the group were ceased a few months after forming after the arrest of several of the Society's members. Despite its short existance, the Society is recognized as preceeding the modern Gay Liberation movement. The goals and purposes of the Society was outlined as "To promote and protect the interests of people who by reasons of mental and physical abnormalities are abused and hindered in the legal pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed them by the Declaration of Independence and to combat the public prejudices against them by dissemination of factors according to modern science among intellectuals of mature age. The Society stands only for law and order; it is in harmony with any and all general laws insofar as they protect the rights of others, and does in no manner recommend any acts in violation of present laws nor advocate any manner inimical to the public welfare." The aims outlined here have now become a reality but the "mental and physical abnormalities" reference to homosexuality would be an unacceptable descrption today as attitudes to homosexuality have become more accepting.

A more contemporary American group outside the mainstream is Feminists for Life. Established in 1972, the group describes itself as "shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination, and nonviolence." For a modern group, FFL attitudes are within a minority but the some of the issues including abortion are strongly condemned and protested about not only by their group but many others too. However, the group is met by much opposition, especially from pro-choice activists mainly due to the group lacking compassion for modern female rights such as birth control. The FFL and its old-fashioned beliefs remain in a minority and will not ever be likely to shift attitudes on a major scale.

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