breaking reports on human sexual behavior (Kinsey et al., 1948, 1953), demonstrating that same-sex attraction and behavior were common among American adults. Also around this time, Ford and Beach (1951) published an extensive review of cross-cultural and cross-species studies of sexual behavior, concluding that same-sex sexual behavior occurs in many animal species and that homosexual behavior of some sort was considered normal and socially acceptable in a majority of the societies for which detailed ethnographic data were available (Ford and Beach, 1951).
In a landmark study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, psychologist Evelyn Hooker directly tested the assumption underlying ho-mosexuality’s inclusion in the DSM, namely, that homosexuality was inherently linked with psychopathology. Based on her data, Hooker (1957) concluded that homosexuality is not inherently associated with psychopathology and is not a clinical entity, a conclusion that received extensive support in subsequent empirical research (e.g., Gonsiorek, 1991) and eventually became the consensus view of mainstream mental health professionals in the United States (see below). The scholarship of Kinsey, Ford and Beach, and Hooker challenged widespread assumptions that homosexuality was a rare and pathological form of sexuality, practiced only by a small number of social misfits.
By the 1960s, homophile activists had begun to challenge publicly the idea that homosexuality was an illness and to seek an end to job discrimination and harassment. The Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, for example, began working to change Civil Service Commission policies regarding the employment of sexual minorities. In 1965, the group organized small demonstrations at locations such as the White House to protest discrimination against homosexuals in government employment (D’Emilio, 1983). And in 1966, the Washington Mattachine Society passed a resolution stating that “in the absence of valid evidence to the contrary, homosexuality is not a sickness, disturbance, or other pathology in any sense, but is merely a preference, orientation, or propensity, on par with, and not different in kind from, heterosexuality” (D’Emilio, 1983, p. 164). Although the homophile movement achieved some small success in its attempts to ensure civil rights for homosexual persons, its membership remained small until the end of the 1960s.
A watershed event occurred on June 27, 1969, in response to a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar. Such raids were a common occurrence, and police typically encountered little resistance. That night, however, the Stonewall patrons, along with neighborhood residents and passersby, resisted the police in a confrontation that escalated into a riot that continued for several nights. The Stonewall Rebellion, as it is now called, is widely considered to have marked the beginning of the contemporary movement for sexual-minority civil rights. In the wake of