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Gay history. How far we've come given where we started.

"In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law that would mandate castration for gay men and mutilation of nose cartilage for gay women," About.com Civil Liberties Guide Tom Head explains. "But that's not the scary part. Here's the scary part: Jefferson was considered a liberal. At the time, the most common penalty on the books was death."

Today, some 224 years later, we must continue to demand gay equality. We must. LGBT teens make up 33% all teen suicides. Gays and lesbians are still targets of hate crimes. If my partner were severally ill, I would have no legal right to make medical decision or transfer my pension in the case of my death. The list of things I consider natural rights seems endless,. Yet I pause to celebrate how far we've come. I must, in hope of a brighter future.

Tom Head's brief history of gay rights in America will help you explore our past and measure our future progress.

Image © Michael Nagle/Getty Images.
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