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This photographic timeline of gay rights shows we’ll never stop fighting for equality

Saint Anthony Falls bridge lit up in colourful lighting

The saying goes a picture speaks a thousand words, and this couldn’t be more evident than when it comes to the gay rights struggle. Long before the days of social media, photography was used as a powerful tool to document, tackle and inspire the issues that have shaped and defined our world.

In the early 20th century artists such as Wilhelm von Gloeden and Berenice Abbott began to use photography as a tool to project messages on sexuality. The media and public soon followed and photography became a form of propaganda in the fight for sexual equality.

Causing controversy, making a stance, redefining sexuality and depicting the progression of the gay rights movement, these photographs define the journey over the past 70 years.

1965: Protesters picketing in front of the White House over federal employment restrictions.

An old photo of a group of people advocating for gay rights.

1969: The Stonewall riots marked the tipping point in the gay rights movement; patrons of New York’s Stonewall Inn said enough was enough.

A crowd of people gathered around a police officer advocating for gay rights.

1969: The Gay Liberation Front marches on Times Square, New York City.

A group of people holding up a gay rights banner.

1970: Demonstrators Tom Doerr and Marty Robinson during the Gay Activists Alliance sit-in at New York State Republican headquarters in NYC.

Two men advocating for gay rights while seated next to an American flag on the floor.

1970: Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day parade demonstrator Donna Gottschalk holds a poster saying ‘I am your worst fear I am your best fantasy’.

A woman advocating for gay rights holds a sign that says i am your worst fear i am your best fantasy.

1971: Protesters march on Albany in New York, stating ‘Gay is Good’.

Two people supporting gay rights by holding up a sign.

1973: Demonstration at New York City Hall in support of gay rights bill “Intro 475”.

A group of people holding umbrellas in front of a sign advocating for gay rights.

1977: Activists parade up Sixth Avenue in a Lesbian Feminist Liberation march to guarantee homosexuals their civil rights, New York City.

A group of people holding signs advocating for gay rights.

1987: Washington D.C, police arrest a demonstrator attempting to block the entrance to the Supreme Court.

A group of people advocating for gay rights laying on the ground in front of police officers.

1993: More than 1 million people march in Washington D.C for Lesbian, Gay and Bi equal rights and liberation.

A large crowd of people gathered in front of the Washington Monument to advocate for gay rights.

1994: Activists carried a mile-long rainbow banner to Central Park as part of a “continuous path of freedom, marking the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.

A group of people advocating for gay rights walking down a street with a large rainbow flag.

2001: Two men marrying in Amsterdam, in the first month after the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

A man is showing support for gay rights by shaking hands with a woman.

2004: Massachusetts legalizes gay marriage and becomes the first state to give same-sex coupes the right to marry.

Two men displaying gay rights by kissing in front of a crowd of people.

2012: President Barack Obama says he now personally endorses same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News.

President Barack Obama is giving a speech advocating for gay rights in front of an American flag.

2015: U.S. Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.

A man holds up a rainbow flag advocating for gay rights in front of the supreme court.

2016: Prince William appears on the front cover of gay magazine, Attitude, stating that no one should be bullied because of their sexuality.

Prince William showcases gay rights on the cover of Attitude magazine.
Two men embracing in front of a lake with colorful paint on their faces, symbolizing gay rights.