magazine covers

Evolution of Gay Rights Through Magazine Covers

When I saw an article about the evolution of gay rights through magazine covers, I thought I’d share. It’s interesting to reflect on how much has changed in the last fifty or so years, and to also see it in such an organized, uncomplicated way. At the time, I don’t think anyone thought he or she was doing anything this significant, or working in a step by step process that would take this long.

You can measure how quickly public opinion on gay rights has changed by looking at poll numbers, or you can see it on the covers of national general interest magazines. As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over California’s gay marriage-banning Prop 8, we wondered whether the justices, whose average age is 67, would vote in a way that reflects current public opinion. They should be especially aware of how quickly our views of gay people have changed in their lifetimes. In the 1960s — when Anton Scalia was a young lawyer in Cleveland and John Roberts was a grade-schooler in Indiana — gay people were primarily portrayed as weird and alien.

I’ve written a lot of posts on the topic of gay marriage, and last year I finally understood what President Obama was talking about when he said he believes gay marriage should be legal, but it’s ultimately up to the states…and that it’s ultimately up to the people to decide this. I’m not saying I’ve always liked it, but I do understand it. In the past week or so, we’ve seen how public opinion has changed as opposed to five years ago…or even one year ago. As hard as it has always been for me to grasp that concept of acceptance, I finally *got* it when the President spoke about gay marriage during an interview with MTV. And when you look back at the way events have unfolded, it’s interesting to watch the evolution of the process.

You can check out the article here, where there are photos that show magazine covers that have focused on gay rights through the years. And though no one is certain on how SCOTUS will rule this June with regard to the hearings this past week, I do think we’ve reached a point where gay marriage will continue to move forward.