As the 1980s began, the gay subculture of San Francisco had gained visibility and political clout. Harvey Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors, was murdered by Dan White in November, 1978. Fortunately, before his murder Milk helped mobilize gay and lesbian activists throughout the state to defeat anti-gay Proposition 6. Proposed by conservative State Senator John Briggs, the initiative would have expelled homosexual teachers from California's school system. In an era in which celebrities such as singer Anita Bryant led campaigns to repeal municipal gay rights ordinances in cities across the country, the defeat of Prop. 6 was an unusual victory.
In April 1980, CBS presented a special investigative program, "Gay Power, Gay Politics," about San Francisco's uniquely integrated gay community. A new generation of openly homosexual politicians stepped forward in the wake of Harvey Milk's assassination. In 1981, Mary Morgan became the first open lesbian judge when Governor Brown appointed her to the San Francisco Municipal Court. Harry Britt, Tom Ammiano, Pat Norman, Roberta Achtenberg, and Carole Migden all entered electoral politics. In 1986, Bill Walker cofounded the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California. Bay Area queer activists, so effectively mobilized in 1978 to defeat the Briggs Initiative, organized in 1986 to successfully defeat Proposition 64, Lyndon LaRouche's initiative to quarantine people with AIDS.
Bay Area activists created social service organizations to address the needs of an increasingly multicultural community. Black and White Men Together formed as a rap/discussion group in 1980, followed by the Association of Lesbian/Gay Asians in 1981. Pacific Friends was founded in 1984 as a social organization advocating friendship and cross-cultural understanding among gay Asians/Pacific Islanders, their partners, and their friends. In 1986, Trikone (Sanskrit for "triangle") started in Palo Alto to offer support for queer people of South Asian heritage. Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) began in 1988 as a men's support group at Berkeley's Pacific Center.
More balanced views and expressions of gay life began to emerge in the 1980s. The first international Gay Games, featuring 1,300 male and female athletes, was held in August 1982 in San Francisco's Kezar Stadium. The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival inspired similar festivals around the world. During the 1980s, SF's Theatre Rhinoceros established itself as the country's most successful gay theater company. The Valencia Rose nightclub in San Francisco's Mission District launched a generation of gay and lesbian comedians and artists, including Lea De Laria, Marga Gomez, and Afro Pomo Homos. In 1988, San Francisco's Eureka Theatre commissioned Tony Kuchner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play,
Angles in America.
In the 1980s, the modern fight for gay visibility and civil rights for homosexuals, which began with the Stonewall Riots, was joined with the life-and-death struggle against governmenal indifference to AIDS. Gays and lesbians formerly living in somewhat separate worlds divided by gender, reconnected and formed a united community fighting against AIDS. By 1990, gay and lesbian issues had entered the living room of most Americans through talk shows, television, and movies, not to mention outspoken people from their own extended families and local communities. This progress was made by an entire generation, many of whom did not live to see the success of their efforts.
- Students evaluate and take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principals of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of voluntary personal, social, and economic relations that are not part of the government), their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principals for a free society. (12.3.2)