Go back in time

Gay and lesbian Mainers revisit the last 25 years
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  June 24, 2009

mccormick main
 EXULTATION Longtime gay-rights activist Dale McCormick celebrates as Governor Angus King signs "An Act to End Discrimination," May 15, 1997. Portland Senator Joel Abromson, the bill's sponsor, is directly behind the governor. CREDIT From the Annette Dragon Papers, LGBT Collection, Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, USM Libraries.

To see more photos from Maine's gay-rights activist history, go to the "Future of the Past: Reviving the Queer Archives" exhibit of Annette Dragon's photos at the Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St, Portland, through July 3.

Last weekend was Pride weekend here in Portland, and though rain made its own appearances occasionally, it didn't stop hundreds — even thousands — of people from, well, coming out and celebrating.

But the timing of Pride marks another occasion, too: the 40th anniversary of what many view as the birth of the gay-rights movement. On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, sparking several days of rioting by gays and supporters; on the first anniversary of those riots the first gay pride parades were held.

As the nation — indeed, the world — looks back at the beginning, we here in Maine are also looking at approaching one major goal: marriage equality. It was a main refrain during Southern Maine Pride, and will continue to be a topic for discussion and activism in the coming months and years.

But gay rights is not all about policy, or legal protection, or interpreting divine will. It's about human beings. Here, a group of local gay and lesbian writers look back at their own experiences through the years.

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