The ongoing LGBTQ rights movement saw one of its biggest victories in the landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized same-sex marriages in the United States. This decision was affected by not just scientific understanding of homosexual persons, but by artistic portrayal, demonstrations, and previous judicial decisions regarding homosexuality. The course of the American LGBTQ rights movement seems to run parallel to that of the German gay rights movement of the early 20th century, with a coming together of science, law, and art leading to change, both public and political. This paper highlights the work of Magnus Hirschfeld, a Polish-born sexologist who championed the German gay rights movement, as well as Charles Silverstein, an American therapist who helped to get the diagnosis of homosexuality removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). The topics of conversion therapy and the so-called “bathroom bills” in states such as North Carolina are discussed as parts of the movement which are not yet resolved, which will likely require a multi-faceted movement combining artistic, scientific, and judicial understanding of LGBTQ persons in order to effect change, and inspire future generations of queer people to help effect such change.
First Advisor Department
German, Russian, and East Asian Languages
Second Advisor Department
Liner, Lucas, "Coming Together: How Science, Art, and Law Affect Change in the Treatment of LGBTQ Persons" (2017). Honors Projects. 223.