Mattachine Movement Essay

Mattachine Movement Essay:

Being different has always posed certain problems. Be it mental, physical, or cultural distinction, people different from others oftentimes suffer from prejudice and misunderstanding, trying to unite in small groups where they find understanding and compassion. One of the most distributed categories of «different» people is homosexuals. These group has probably suffered more than others from their distinction from the majority. That is why homophile people united in a society trying to struggle for their rights. The first serious movement of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender individuals was founded in Los Angeles, USA, in 1950. The organization, named the Mattachine Foundation, was the first significant step of gay people towards freedom and recognition.

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The leader of Mattachine Foundation, Harry Hay, chose this strange name deliberately. Mattachines originally were French community of young men who expressed protest against pressure of lords by conducting festivals with peasants in seventeenth century. The Mattachines were wearing masks in order to preserve anonymity. Harry Hay and his gay friends believed that gay people are similar with French medieval peasants, hiding faces and struggling with oppression. The major goal of society was to achieve recognition for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. From there the abbreviation GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) came from, giving birth to the most famous global movement of homosexuals.

The major activity of Mattachine Foundation in the beginning of 1950-es was creating discussion groups for homosexuals in order to communicate, share experience, thoughts, and problems. The movement became popular very soon, as great number of gays felt necessity to communicate with each other. Very soon the foundation turned from simple club of interest to a social organization, starting to publish bulletins on relevant gay issues and conduct social activity. The Mattachine movement had several purposes emphasizing the recognition of social rights of homosexuals as well as struggling against discrimination of gay people. Besides, the organization planned to develop positive homophile culture. Soon the foundation gained certain power in society and was able to participate in law issues, discussing gay rights with politicians as well as fighting with police provocations of homosexuals. The activity of organization lasted for 3 years, before the article was published referring Mattachine founders to communist party. The society was shocked, and most of leaders of Mattachine Foundation had to abandon their positions in community.

In 1953 the new leaders changed the name of community to the Mattachine Society, officially introducing the renovated social organization. However, the goals of new leaders differed soundly with initial purposes of founders. The Mattachine Society planned to integrate homosexuals into society rather than develop culture and struggle against discrimination. More and more members left the society. From the middle of 1950-es the society lost its popularity and power. Although the Mattachine Society operated up to 1960-es, the organization never had such power as it had in the beginning of 1950-s under the leadership of Harry Hay and his friends.

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