As the New Left emerged in the 1960s, many gays and lesbians began organizing around the idea of liberation–freedom to express their sexuality however they desired without harassment by police. The riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1969 galvanized the gay liberation movement. When police officers attempted a routine raid of the bar, hoping to catch people of the same sex dancing together or wearing gender-inappropriate clothing, the bar’s patrons rebelled and fought back against the police.
The 1980s saw an increase in gay activism. Organizations such as ACT UP and Keith Haring and other artists fought to move AIDS into the forefront as an issue affecting not only gays, but all Americans. Their success resulted in stronger AIDS education and awareness.
The gay and lesbian communities continue to struggle to gain civil rights in America, including the ongoing effort for marriage equality, gay adoption rights, and anti-discrimination laws that include gender variance.