What exactly do I mean by the word ‘intersection’ here? I’m thinking of the history of the LGBTQ community in the U.S. as a current of social movement and the laws that relate to civil rights as another current. These two currents within the flow of American social history began to intersect and create a confluence in the early 20th century—a confluence that turned extremely problematic, violent and oppressive to LGBTQ people.
Since the advent of the modern Gay rights movement in the mid-1960s, there has been a concerted academic effort to examine the history, anthropology, and sociology of queerness, generally, but also specifically in the United States. The Queer historiography makes it clear there was a gay subculture and community at the latest by the 1860s in the US, if not earlier, in the 1850s. The problem was, there was no real term for same-sex relationships other than ‘sodomy’, which only describes sexual acts outside of procreative marriage between a man and a woman. Thus, it was difficult to ‘see’ such relationships within a context of a sexual orientation, identity and community. Much of the same-sex behavior identified in the Western territories and states has often been minimized with the argument that men only consorted with other men because there was a lack of opportunity—much like prison sex. The West was populated primarily by men, especially in the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest.
Take Seattle, as an example. Men outnumbered women more than 4 to 1 in the 1850s and 1860s, which prompted Asa Mercer to recruit women and bring them from New England to Seattle in the mid-1860s. It wasn’t a very successful venture and not that many took the offer. Whether it was opportunistic sex because of the lack of women, a more fluid sexuality for many, or a homosexual orientation is still debated, but Seattle’s downtown south of Yesler, a.k.a. the original Skid Road, was infamous for male only steam rooms, hotels, bars, etc. That didn’t change for nearly a century until, as in other cities where gay men began creating communities in the mid-1960s at the time of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction, gay men in Seattle began their take-over of the westside of Capitol Hill creating a near exclusively gay neighborhood and district. The economic problems created by the near collapse of Boeing between 1968-1975, when they laid off about 100,000 employees, left Seattle neighborhoods like Capitol Hill with abandoned businesses and homes. A group of gay businessmen created the Seattle Gay Businessmen’s Association and they invested heavily on Broadway Ave on Capitol Hill in the early to mid-1970s, creating a Mecca for Pacific Northwest gay men. It was their initiative, as well, to change Seattle’s ‘nickname’ from the Jet City and sometimes the Queen City to the Emerald City. That nickname has prevailed over the last 50 years as both a reference to the Wizard of Oz, ‘Friends of Dorothy’, and Judy Garland as a gay icon, as well as the green forested geography of the Pacific Northwest.
Washington, D.C. is another documented example. Billy Swann, a former slave, who in the late 1870s became the ‘Queen’ of Washington, D.C. with her drag queen parties and shows, often raided by police. The newspapers constantly complained about these denizens of iniquity related to Swann’s activities, his so-called boarding house and its mixed race all male clientele, which only added to the scandalous nature of the gay community in the city. Nonetheless, Swann became a D.C. celebrity and she was more or less the queen mother of the city’s gay community. The Civil War period saw Washington D.C. literally boom with business and population, and by the time of the Uranus/Pluto Crescent Phase 45 deg semi-square in 1862-63, a gay community had developed and has existed in the city ever since.
Magnus Hirschfeld, the German sexologist and gay rights advocate, noted in his journals that the gay community in Chicago’s Old Town at the time of the 1893 World’s Fair had remarkable consistencies and similarities with the gay community in Berlin. Hirschfeld also noted, like Berlin, the community showed signs of having been around for some time. These similarities and subcultural consistencies were an important part of his view that sexuality included different orientations to the world and wasn’t just one set of behaviors based on a biological imperative to procreate. It was meaningful to him that the gay community in Chicago should look like and behave like the gay community in Berlin when there was very limited contact between the two.
These historical examples make one wonder why straight people generally didn’t ‘see’ these gay people and weren’t consciously aware of the subculture that existed around them. One theoretical explanation is that there was a lack of terminology to identify it. No one yet had a sense that there was some separate sexual orientation to the world, in spite of the fact, such ideas had emerged in pamphlets already in the 1860s in Europe. In Germany, Karl Ulrichs had written on the subject of a universal gay cultural principle beginning in 1862 and presented similar ideas to a German court in 1867 advocating for civil rights for men who were ‘Uranians’, as he called them. He also believed such men were born Uranians, they existed in all human cultures, and were just another manifestation and creation of Mother Nature. This idea, of course, ran afoul of Aquinas’ medieval ‘Natural Law’ that had informed European Christian culture’s primitive and simplistic views on sexuality for six hundred years. German jurisprudence wasn’t going to suddenly shift to Ulrichs’ ‘uranian’ view of sexuality, abandon six hundred years of Natural Law as the basis of the moral understanding of sexuality, and extend any ‘right’ to same-sex relationships.
Given the 19th century scientific developments and the nature of their intellectualism, Ulrichs’ term ‘Uranian’ simply wasn’t going to catch on. There was a growing movement within a new academic discipline, psychology, to examine and understand same-sex behavior, and it was going to take more academic, scientific terminology to get anyone’s attention. The terms homosexual and heterosexual wouldn’t be coined for another few months after Ulrichs’ presentation to the German Court in Munich on the afternoon of August 29, 1867. Those two terms would be introduced for the first time on the evening of May 6, 1868, in a letter from Karl-Maria Kertbeny to Karl Ulrichs. Kertbeny was a writer and journalist who also wrote pamphlets and articles promoting the legalization of same-sex relationships in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Although those terms eventually became definitive due to the prominent psychologist, Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s, adoption and application of them, they weren’t used in the U.S. for another 30 plus years until the time of the Uranus/Pluto opposition, and then primarily in the psychological/psychiatric professions. The general public-at-large in America didn’t become aware of, or perhaps didn’t take seriously, the queer culture and personalities in their communities until the Oscar Wilde trials in Britain in 1895, but even then, it didn’t seem to capture much of the public imagination in the U.S. outside of intellectual circles. That would soon change with the realization that there was a deeply-rooted gay community in the US as well, not just in Europe. That sudden visibility and the public’s realization of it led to a conflict between the law and the LGBTQ community.
This open clash between the gay community and the law in the U.S. dates back to a gay sex scandal in Portland OR that began on Nov 8, 1912 at 07:12pm. According to Police records, a young man was booked at 07:10pm for shoplifting, and police questioning began at 07:12pm. It’s a fascinating story in itself, but it’s beyond the scope of this article, so we have to skip over the juicy details of it and focus on its general social context and its impact on the country. It’s not that same sex relationships were legal prior to the Portland scandal, they weren’t, but they weren’t really much of a consideration for the general population and the punishments were relatively benign, depending on the specific sexual nature of the crime–usually some time in jail, never more than a year, and that was the end of it. Even in Billy Swann’s case in Washington, D.C., he was sentenced to 10 months in 1888, released early and he was back in business holding his dances and using his home as a space for Black and White men to socialize after hours.
After the gay vice scandal in 1912, however, all that changed. It was brought to the attention of the police that there were same-sex dance clubs, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels in Portland. And they operated openly, even advertising in the newspaper, the Oregonian. One such advertisement read, “Let’s Go to the Louvre Tonight! Jancsi Rigo, with his Gypsy Orchestra…returned to Portland today and will open a six-week engagement beginning at 6pm tonight at the Louvre. All during the show, ‘she’ will be thinking of that gay little half hour that’s coming afterwards! — The Louvre, a Dialog Place for the Fastidious in the Belvedere Hotel at 4th and Alder.” The ad itself reads rather funny, and you can see the ‘code’ in it meant for gay men, but it’s still a little odd that people generally and the police vice squad didn’t pick up on what this was actually advertising. Apparently, they didn’t, because we now know Portland’s gay community had been around since the 1880s when the transcontinental railroad arrived, and there were bars, clubs, bathhouses and exclusive hotels.
However, on the evening of November 9, 1912, the 18 year-old teenager, who had been arrested for shoplifting, indicated to police that he had had sex with a number of men who had ‘corrupted’ him, which then activated the vice squad in the police department and over the next couple weeks more than 100 men were arrested, including prominent politicians, civic leaders, businessmen, etc. Although there were other gay locations involved, the vice police initially targeted and raided the YMCA and the Louvre all-male dinner and nightclub in the Belvedere Hotel. Here is a picture from an illustrated magazine of the period that illustrates and chronicles the event.
In the trials that followed, a detailed description of Portland’s gay community emerged, complete with graphic descriptions of their sexual behavior and relationships, the subcultural slang/language these men used with each other, and the realization that this was a nation-wide phenomenon, not unique to Portland, with a gay network served by the transcontinental rail system, that extended from Vancouver BC to L.A. on the west coast, across the country to Minneapolis, Chicago, and East Coast cities. This revelation brought the FBI into the picture and the federal vice squads began infiltrating gay communities all across the country including within the military. Military investigations led to the arrest of dozens stationed at the Newport Naval Training Center in Rhode Island in 1919.
By 1917, based on what had been revealed in the Portland trials, draconian anti-gay laws were passed in a number of states, and by 1923 all 48 states had passed similar laws. Punishment included up to 10 years in prison and castration, euphemistically called ‘sterilization’. It was at this point in time that the gay community was also clashing with the racist Eugenics movement that was sweeping the country.
The historical record shows that there was significant influence from the Eugenics Records Office in Cold Harbor, NY, to get states to pass laws allowing eugenics. Their pseudo-scientific research in genetics informed such laws all across the country. Specifically, the ERO dedicated its resources to pushing for the restriction of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy, the Middle East and Asia, who were deemed ‘genetically inferior’ to Northern European, Germanic, Nordic and Anglo-Saxon whites, and the forced sterilization of individuals deemed to have undesirable characteristics, including LGBTQ. These eugenic sterilization laws and the efforts of the FBI vice squads destroyed the gay communities in the U.S., forcing LGBTQ into what became known as the ‘closet’. Men were threatened with a decade of incarceration, electro-shock treatments, and chemical castration or vasectomies, and women with electro-shock treatment in mental hospitals and involuntary hysterectomies or tubal ligations. The persecution became extreme after 1912 and it continued into the 1970s and in some states until homosexuality was decriminalized by Court order in 2003. And even though the ERO was shut down in 1939-40 for its racist pseudo-science, the state laws using sterilization as punishment for LGBTQ people stayed on the books well into the 1970s in most states.
Another reason for the continuing persecution of LGBTQ people had to do with the labels homosexuality and heterosexuality themselves. Religious heterosexuals rejected the idea that sexuality was innate or an orientation, rather that it was a behavioral choice to make. The religious influence behind that suggested that the only moral choice was to follow God’s Will, and in their interpretation of the Bible, His will was we should all be heterosexuals. Thus, there was a concerted effort to educate children both in school and church about the moral evils of homosexuality. The strategy was to repress such expressions of sexuality and relationship and deny that it’s a viable, moral choice, by spreading fear. They propagandized children with films portraying gay men as pedophiles and pederasts, depraved and perverted.
Of course, that dove-tailed nicely with the Eugenics Records Office’s pseudo-science and their efforts to sterilize gay men and lesbians. Ironic and counter-intuitive as that may have been, since it’s pretty obvious heterosexual couples produce gay children. And then, the Eugenics movement and sterilization of LGBT people were intellectually counter to the religious notion that homosexuality was a behavioral choice and not a genetic predisposition. In spite of the incongruencies and cognitive dissonance between the religious ‘behavioral’ view of sexuality and the Eugenics proponents’ view of it as ‘genetic’, both sought to eliminate gay people from society, or at least punish them with physical and emotional torture, segregate them and render them invisible. As with racial and ethnic segregation and Jim Crow, straight, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants were very successful in their efforts to oppress and dehumanize LGBTQ people.
So, what then is the astrological context for all this? In tracing the astro-history of these gay and queer related events and developments, in the big picture, the crises points seem most related to the Uranus/Pluto cycle, as alluded to above. Historical research into the subject reveals documented same-sex relationships and gay communities existed in American cities and in the American West as early as the 1850s around the time of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction at the end of Aries. There were all-male private boarding houses, clubs, bars, etc., in most large American cities and in the West where there weren’t many women. This was not unique to the U.S. The same existed in Europe. However, in Europe, there were pioneering individuals who began advocating for gay rights already in the 1860s, the two most prominent were Karl Ulrichs and Karl Maria Kertbeny.
In the 1860s when Karl Ulrichs was actively writing pamphlets and giving speeches on gay rights, Uranus and Pluto had reached their 45 deg Crescent phase waxing semi-square and he was determined to get same-sex relationships decriminalized. He was a lone voice in the straight wilderness, but he began the mobilization to push for rights. In 1876 at the Uranus/Pluto First Quarter square, Ulrichs was persecuted and prosecuted for distributing sexually immoral pamphlets, and he realized he had gone as far as he could in Germany. The backlash to the idea of gay rights disappointed him. He moved to Italy then and lived there until his death. But he had succeeded in making gay rights an issue in Europe.
By 1901 at the Uranus/Pluto opposition, the terms homosexuality and heterosexuality had become commonplace in intellectual circles, even in the US, and both in European and US cities, gays and lesbians were embracing a ‘homosexual identity’ and creating communities. But it was like hiding in full view. Straight people just didn’t seem to take notice or understand what they were seeing.
However, when Uranus and Pluto reached their Full Phase 150 degree waning quincunx in 1912, the Portland scandal and the revelations to the public about queer sexual behavior, relationships and the extent of their nation-wide networks and communities shocked the country and the world. There was an immediate public outcry to lawmakers to criminalize and punish gay, lesbian and trans people. Over the next 50 years, queer life, for the most part, went underground and LGBTQ, especially gay men, became shadowy creatures of the night, behind darkened windows and storefronts with no advertised names. Long-term relationships were nearly impossible for most for fear of being found out. For gay men, especially, relationships most often had to consist of one-night-stands and cruising. The Closet was imperative in order to stay safe in public, hidden from view, maintaining employment and social and family relationships. Gay bars and clubs in big cities often existed only because of corrupt police and the mafia who would take bribes from gay club owners to stay open and not be raided, or the raids were orchestrated and no one arrested. The days of open advertising for gay venues was over. The 1950s were especially difficult for the LGBTQ community as the McCarthy-Republicans pushed their Red and Lavender Scares on the country, portraying LGBTQ people as commie pinko sympathizers if not outright communists. And once again, there was a conflict with the law and the government. New McCarthy Era policies were implemented in the early 1950s to keep gays and lesbians from working in the Federal Government.
Beginning in January 1962, as the massive February stellium in Aquarius was approaching, sudden changes for LGBTQ people were afoot. It started in Illinois when the state legislature decriminalized homosexuality, The new law took effect at midnight on January 1, 1962, and once again a gay community began to freely develop in Chicago, not in its original location in Old Town, but further north along Halsted, and would become known as Boystown. And even though California had not yet decriminalized homosexuality, San Francisco’s Castro District was taken over by gay men beginning in 1962 and it was a complete take-over by 1965, and within a decade would become a gay Mecca. Similar changes happened in New York in the West Village and Chelsea. Other states began decriminalizing as well by the early 1970s and gayborhoods also developed in the cities in those states.
The agitation for ending homophobic discrimination and oppression, however, became part of the general pro-civil rights and anti-war movements of the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of 1965-66. Leading up to the conjunction in the early 1960s, the country experienced sit-ins, marches, the Freedom Riders, and demonstrations. By 1964 most of the country was ready to finally pass civil rights and voting rights legislation. That was accomplished in 1964-65. And the first demonstration for general civil rights for ‘homophiles’, as the gay community referred to itself then, was held on July 4th, 1965 at 4pm in Philadelphia. However, the more demonstrations for gay rights that happened, the more police began harassing gay establishments, which led to gay resistance in various cities across the country and then finally the Stonewall riots in NYC on the night of June 27-28, 1969 that lasted three days. And the gay liberation movement was born. The actual Gay Liberation Front organized then on July 4, 1969; the meeting was called to order about 12:15pm in NYC. Stonewall is considered to be the pivotal moment in history that marks the beginning of the modern Gay rights movement.
So, with that little trip down history lane, let’s take a look at the charts for some of these important events. We’ll start with the Kertbeny’s letter to Ulrichs where the terms homosexual and heterosexual were first used. Then we’ll look at the Portland Gay Vice Scandal and follow up with the Newport Naval Training Center scandal, because these two scandals brought unwanted attention to gay communities across the country and led to draconian anti-gay laws that persisted into the 21st century in some states. And both resonate astrologically with the chart for the first use of the term homosexuality.
Although we don’t have the exact time Kertbeny wrote the word ‘homosexual’ in his letter to Ulrichs, the fact that evening was a Full Moon in Scorpio rising opposing Pluto is reason enough to use the Lunation itself as the radical chart for our modern sense of homosexual and heterosexual orientations. When examining future events related to queer people, the resonance with this chart, as you will see, is astonishing and confirms, for me anyway, that this is a radical chart we can use. In addition to the Full Moon opposing Pluto on the horizon are the Mars/Neptune conjunction in Aries, Venus and Uranus in Cancer, and Saturn Rx in Sagittarius square the Nodes.
Returning to the Uranus/Pluto cycle and issues of civil rights, we can see they are about 55 degrees apart approaching sextile, but still in the early Crescent Phase of the cycle. Venus is at the Crescent Phase 45 degree semi-square to the Sun and Pluto approaching conjunction with Uranus and their New Phase. The chart here represents a fruition of transformative ideas regarding sexuality and a mobilization of effort and purpose to bring these ideas into common consideration and application. With Saturn in Sagittarius square the Nodes, the religious and legal resistance effectively blocked and limited any associated civil rights that might be considered. The Uranus/Pluto cycle that began in 1850, their first conjunction at 29 Aries on Jun 25, 1850 at 07:15pm LMT (D.C.), is generally a dismal chart for issues of civil rights through the cycle and the tight, partile Moon square Saturn at 19 Aries adds insult to injury. The dynamic between these two charts here is not good, either, with transiting Mars conjunct that 19 Aries Saturn. The overall picture is not a pleasant one and the history of the struggle for gay civil rights in the 19th through the first half of the 20th century reflects these difficult aspects. It didn’t matter which marginalized group it was, the last Uranus/Pluto cycle turned out to be horrendous for women and racial, ethnic and sexual minorities in the U.S. We had to wait for the next Uranus/Pluto conjunction in the mid-1960s to re-set the intentions and start a new effort to correct what went wrong in the last cycle. It started well for racial minorities with the 1964 and 1965 Civil and Voting Rights Acts at the time of the new conjunction, but it still took until 2003 for decriminalization of homosexuality, and that wasn’t done by popular legislation, but rather by Supreme Court order. It’s beyond the scope of this article to delve too deeply into the 1850 and 1965 Uranus/Pluto conjunctions, but I want the reader to be aware that whatever astrology we are looking at in regards to civil rights and, specifically, gay rights, it’s within the context of the Uranus/Pluto cycle.
The next chart to examine is the Portland gay sex scandal. You’ll see immediately how it resonates with the 1868 chart for Kertbeny’s first use of the term, homosexuality.
The first thing we see is the New Moon conjunct Mars in Scorpio in the same degrees as the Kertbeny letter’s Full Moon opposing Pluto, adding evidence that the Kertbeny Letter Chart is a radical chart for the modern conception of homosexuality. The next obvious aspects are Pluto at 29 Gemini conjunct the Asc in a Full Phase waning quincunx with Uranus at 29 Capricorn in the 8th House. (Note: the founding chart for Portland, Oregon is Nov 9, 1843, 12:01pm, according to the founders’ journal entry for that day. Its Sun is also at 16+ Scorpio.) The Full Phase quincunx is an 8th House aspect as well (150 deg from/behind the Asc) doubling down on the theme of sexual relations that are hidden but revealed in a sudden and shocking way (Pluto Rising quincunx Uranus in the 8th, New Moon in Scorpio conjunct Mars in Scorpio in the 5th).
The Oregon legislature immediately began to draft an anti-Gay law that passed in one of the legislative chambers in January 1913, but the citizens of Portland launched a major campaign to stop it and they succeeded. However, the state legislature revisited that law in 1917 and passed a draconian anti-Gay law on Feb 19, 1917 about 10:00am. The law included 10 years incarceration and ‘sterilization’. It became the model that all the other 47 states would use to draft their own anti-Gay laws, some worse than others, over the next seven years. In Oregon, sterilization was primarily vasectomies for men and tubal ligation for women, but in other states, it was castration, usually chemical in the form of a pill, and involuntary hysterectomies for women.
Once again, we see 15-16 Taurus/Scorpio prominent, this time on the horizon. Then there’s a strange aspect configuration involving Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, all about 2 degrees of their signs. Include the Sun in conjunction with Mars trine to Pluto, and male castration/sterilization comes to mind. The t-square to Jupiter in the 12th probably indicates the long-term imprisonment. Saturn conjunct the IC doesn’t help the overall tone of the chart with its heavy handedness and oppression. Uranus and Pluto were in their Disseminating Phase, Uranus having reached its Disseminating sessquare 135 degrees behind Pluto on Feb 17, 1916. Oregon wasn’t the first state to pass eugenic sterilization laws, but it was the first to specifically target LGBTQ people using eugenic sterilization as punishment. It was also during this Disseminating phase of Uranus and Pluto that the FBI infiltrated gay communities in cities across the country, essentially shutting down all bars and clubs, driving gay community activities and people underground or more euphemistically known as into ‘the closet’.
The military was also a target of FBI infiltration and investigation and after months of investigation of the Newport Naval Training facilities in Rhode Island, they blackmailed local civilian gay men to entrap sailors from the naval base. The Newport YMCA was often the central meeting place for gay men in the area, including those from the naval station. On the evening of March 19, 1919, the FBI staged a raid on the YMCA beginning at 9:00pm. FBI agents were posted in strategic areas in the building to observe who was coming and going where, setting a successful trap using civilian gay men inviting sailors into their rooms. The first arrests occurred beginning at 9:55pm.
And once again, 16 Scorpio/Taurus is on the horizon, adding more evidence that the 1868 Kertbeny Letter Chart is a radical chart to use for the modern conception of homosexuality. Key events in queer history seem to resonate well with that chart. Uranus and Pluto are still in their Disseminating Phase approaching trine. Although women will finally get the right to vote with the 19th Amendment under this aspect, male politicians thwart their efforts to gain constitutional enfranchisement, the persecution and prosecution of LGBTQ continues and gets worse, and the racist laws that have been in place, especially since the 1901 Uranus/Pluto opposition, continue to disadvantage and marginalize Latinos, Asians and Blacks. The second incarnation of the KKK happened on Nov 26, 1915 at 12:00am, Stone Mountain, Georgia, and during this Disseminating UR/PL phase, they made significant inroads into mainstream American politics.
Ultimately, this UR/PL Disseminating period, 1916-1932, is when the racists, white supremacists, homophobes and misogynists won the culture war that began in 1850. The North may have won the Civil War militarily, but the South won the culture war that followed beginning with the end of Reconstruction in 1876 at the waxing First Quarter Uranus/Pluto square. These conservative culture warriors gained political success at the First Quarter trine, politically and legally attacked civil rights legislation, got all of the civil rights laws overturned, established racial and ethnic segregation, barred Asian immigration during the UR/PL waxing trine and then Gibbous Phase sessquare, ending all hope of expanding civil rights by the Full Phase opposition in 1901. The gay issue became a problem with the Portland sex scandal at the time of the Uranus/Pluto quincunx and the laws that were passed in the years that followed between 1917 and 1923 added LGBTQ to the list of legally marginalized people. They could legally be denied housing and employment and were at risk of persecution, prosecution, imprisonment, torture and ‘sterilization’ if discovered.
As one might expect, it was during the Last Quarter of the Uranus/Pluto cycle, 1932-1965, that the old cycle and everything it wrought and brought began to be resisted and people began advocating for their rights, especially in the post-WWII period. Blacks first, then women, then LGBTQ and it all came to a head at the Uranus/Pluto conjunctions of 1965-1966, as new statements of intent were made regarding the expansion of civil rights to marginalized groups.
The first general demonstration for Gay rights occurred on July 4, 1965 beginning about 4pm in Philadelphia. Over the next four years, these demonstrations continued both in Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C., then gradually in other cities as well. Very little political traction was gained by these demonstrations though and, as previously mentioned, the more agitation for civil rights, the more harassment they received from local police. It all came to a head with the raid and resulting riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York beginning at 01:20am, June 28, 1969—‘the hairpin drop heard around the world’. Let’s take a look at these two charts.
And surprise, surprise! 15+ Scorpio is on the Ascendant! There is something really uncanny here about the mid-fixed sign degrees in these charts. The Newport Naval sex scandal in 1919 basically had these angles, and you find with the Supreme Court decisions decriminalizing same-sex relationships (2003) and granting marriage equality (2015), 26 Leo is on their Ascendents, whereas that degree is on the Midheaven here. The resonance between all of these charts is undeniable.
The Stonewall chart is somewhat of a departure in aspect and degree patterns from all the other charts. Nonetheless, it is considered to be the moment that historians say is the ‘birth’ of the gay rights movement that has led to the current level of acceptance and socio-political integration in the country. I think the real difference here from previous gay-related events is that Stonewall became the catalyst for the world culture to change regarding LGBTQ people. The Rainbow flag, Pride events, decriminalization, etc., have become global phenomena on every continent. Uranus and Pluto are still in their New Phase after conjunction here, but Uranus has entered Venus-ruled Libra, promising some radical changes in the way we understand human relationships and social contracts, with the expansion of civil rights as the underlying principle, empowering previously marginalized people. One important progressed aspect in this chart that proves the point is the secondary progressed New Moon that occurred at 20 Leo in June of 2015 at the time the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality.
You can see that transiting Jupiter was conjunct the progressed New Moon, and transiting Uranus was conjunct the radix Asc at 20 Aries. The transiting MC was 20 Taurus conjunct the radix Venus and progressed Venus was conjunct the radix IC. There are other indicative aspects, but those stand out. The success of the gay rights movement at this moment can’t be denied, and the astrology of the moment clearly shows that success.
Let’s look at the individual charts for Lawrence v. Texas, the decision that decriminalized gay sex and Obergefell v. Hodges that gave LGBTQ the right to marry.
The first thing that comes to mind is the Mars/Uranus in the 7th trine Sun/Saturn and the Moon in the 10th conjunct the N. Node. The symbolism of the moment seems pretty clear. We also see 26 Leo and 20 Taurus on the angles again suggesting there is continuing resonance and continuity between these related historical events. Think back to the Portland gay sex scandal and its Venus/Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius—transiting Pluto is sitting right on that conjunction. Keeping in mind, that sex scandal led to draconian laws against same-sex relationships, this Court decision eliminated those laws where they still existed, transforming at least the way the federal and state governments treat sexual minorities.
Same-sex marriage was approved by the Courts in their decision Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015. It was a logical extension to Lawrence v. Texas. If two men or two women can legally have consensual adult sex, and there is legislated laws regarding sexual discrimination, there’s nothing standing in the way of same-sex marriage, especially, if the 14th Amendment is the underlying constitutional framework of the precedents for it (Loving, Griswold, Roe, et al.). Again, we see a Venus/Jupiter conjunction in a fire sign, Leo, trining both the Portland gay scandal chart’s Venus/Jupiter, and Lawrence v. Texas’ Pluto in Sagittarius. And identical to the Lawrence decision, 26 Leo is on the Ascendant and 20 Taurus on the MC.
If we want to ask the question, though, how and why did ‘America’ as a social, political and cultural space go through this really profound change that completely altered their history of homophobic discrimination, we have to look at something other than the events themselves. We have to look at a chart for this political and cultural space called ‘America’. Those of you reading this certainly have your charts of choice for the founding of the United States and you will probably want to look at those charts in relation to the charts I’ve provided here. I’m not so sure, though, that a founding chart for the country is where we want to look. The issues here are civil rights issues, and as such, they relate directly to the U.S. Constitution and Government in as much as the equality and social integration were achieved through Court orders/decisions, and not popular legislation. Perhaps then, the March 4, 1789 12:00am LAT, Philadelphia, is the chart to use. Especially, since the decisions regarding same-sex relationships and marriage were based on the 14th Amendment.
On the other hand, Congress’ approval of Jefferson’s edits and final draft of the Declaration of Independence, especially its preamble, as an aspirational mission statement for the new country with its ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” might also yield some insight as to these important changes in attitude. John Adams wrote that the vote to approve Jefferson’s final draft took place at 11:00am LAT on July 4, 1776. That chart might also be worth examining. But for the sake of avoiding any possible controversy with which U.S. chart to use, let’s stick with the US Constitution and Government.
Here’s the Government/Constitution chart with the transits and secondary progressions to the Obergefell decision.
The most obvious planetary aspects are the progressed Venus and transiting Saturn conjunct the Ascendant and the progressed Sun/Neptune conjunction trining Venus/Mars in Aquarius in the radix chart. This provides us some insight into the underlying values of the Obergefell decision. LGBTQ as ‘queer folk’ had always been marginalized in society. They, themselves, for a long time didn’t want to ‘fit in’ or ‘mimic’ straight relationships. They had grown accustomed to the Closet and all it meant for their lives. They had their gay communities, families ‘of choice’, social circles, etc. This worked for decades, both for the gay community and straight society. LGBTQ could live their lives in the closet, but in ‘protective’ communities like gay neighborhoods, working in gay friendly professions, frequenting gay-friendly and gay-owned bars, clubs, hotels, etc. The AIDS epidemic ended that reality both for the gay community and straight society. LGBTQ people began shifting their attitudes to accept that long-term, committed relationships would save their health and lives. Advocating for same-sex marriage was, in fact and in deed, a conservative position to take. Marriage is socially stabilizing and significantly reduces sexually transmitted diseases. The Government has every interest in protecting the health and stability of the country. Extending the right of same-sex marriage was a Saturn/Venus/Asc development—conservative, stabilizing, and protective.
Beyond these transits and progressions, the Government’s Solar Arc Uranus crossed radix Mars at 28 Aquarius when homosexuality was decriminalized in 2003. During its one degree per year journey through the chart, Uranus crossed Saturn, Sun and the IC, which, I think, has a lot to do with the change of attitudes and growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community in society since 2003 as the Federal Government and the Courts changed their attitudes, setting the example.
Over the last 20 years, the cultural currents, Gay Rights and the Law, have more or less been flowing together without whirlpools, eddies, and white water. The turbulent waters of the 20th century have calmed at this point. A few individual states still have questionable laws regarding protecting employment and housing, for example, but for the most part, there have been giant strides in acceptance and integration. As a movement that began with the Uranus/Pluto conjunction of the mid-1960s, there is nothing yet completely set in stone. We are still in the First Quarter phase of their cycle, so it’s still a bit early to say for sure if the peace and calm will prevail when the two planets reach the Gibbous Phase sessquare in the early 2030s. I’m cautiously optimistic.