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19 Powerful Photos From The Early Struggle For LGBT Rights

It's been a long time coming.

Posted on June 26, 2013, at 3:11 p.m. ET

1. A lesbian couple at a demonstration in Albany, N.Y. in 1977.

2. Members of the Gay Activists Alliance holding a sit-in at New York State Republican headquarters in New York City in 1970.

3. Two men at a demonstration in Albany in 1971.

4. The Gay Liberation Day march in New York City in June 1970.

5. A man holding a sign at a demonstration in Albany in 1971.

6. The Gay Liberation Front marching on Times Square in 1969.

7. A gay rights picket line at the Pentagon in the summer of 1965.

8. A "Straights for Gays" sign at the Philadelphia Gay Pride rally and march in June 1972.

9. Marsha P. Johnson picketing NYC's Bellevue Hospital to protest unfair treatment of street people and gays in the 1970s.

10. People participating in Christopher Street Liberation Day, which was close to the two-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which were largely considered the catalyst to the LGBT rights movement.

11. Protestors picketing in front of the White House in 1965 over federal employment restrictions.

12. People picketing at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1966, in support of gay rights.

13. A New York City gay pride march in 1982.

14. The lead banner in the 1972 Philadelphia pride parade.

15. Gay rights icon Frank Kameny during his campaign for Congress in 1971.

16. The Gay Activist Alliance demonstrating against Mafia-controlled gay bars and police harassment in August 1971 in Greenwich Village.

17. People at the Gay Liberation Front march on Times Square in New York City in 1969.

18. A woman holding a poster that says, "I am your worst fear I am your best fantasy," at the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day parade in 1970.

19. LGBT protestors marching against the Vietnam War in New York City in November 1971.

All photos via the New York Public Library's digital collections.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.