1992: Los Angeles Riots spurred by the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of African American Rodney King
1992: Bill Clinton elected as U.S. President
1995: Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 and wounds 800
1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of two charges of first-degree murder in the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. The trial, which lasts nine months, receives worldwide publicity.
LGBTQ RIGHTS IN THE NINETIES
A Brief Timeline of Events Related to LGBTQ Rights in the United States
1981: Doctors identify first cases of what they term "Gay Related Immune Deficiency" (GRID). Soon the disease's name is changed to AIDS.
1982: Wisconsin passes first lesbian and gay civil rights bill in the United States. The law prohibits bias in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
1986: In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution allows states to pass and enforce sodomy laws.
1987: ACT UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) is founded in New York City. The group's tactics rejuvenate lesbian and gay activism.
1988: The first National Coming Out Day is observed on October 11 to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the 2nd National March on Washington.
1990: The Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSTN) is founded. Only two known high school student clubs, known as Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), exist in the US at the time.
1990: Term "outing" is coined by Time magazine to describe Michelangelo Signorile's campaign to identify closeted celebrities and elected officials.
1993: The Minnesota state legislature enacts the first statewide law banning discrimination against transgender people.
1993: Senator Sam Nunn's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for the US military becomes law. The law includes the determination that "persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" are an "unacceptable risk" for inclusion in the military.
1995: President Bill Clinton signs an executive order forbidding the denial of security clearances on the basis of sexual orientation.
1995: The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act goes into effect as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The law allows a judge to impose harsher sentences if there is evidence showing that a victim was selected because of the "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person."
1996: President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage and defining marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."
1997: Comedian Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the cover of Time magazine, stating, "Yep, I'm Gay." Her character on the TV show "Ellen" becomes the first leading character to come out on a primetime network TV show.
1998: Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence and beaten near Laramie, Wyoming. He is eventually found by a cyclist, who initially mistakes him for a scarecrow. He later dies due to his injuries sustained in the beating.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act in 2008 are, in many ways, the two largest legal achievements for the disability rights movement. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities in many aspects of public life. Disability is defined through the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.
In 1995, the National Council on Disability reported on the implementation and efficacy of the ADA. Among their findings, they noted:
Overall, impressive progress has occurred in the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, given the many areas where compliance has not yet been achieved and in recognition of the relatively brief time in which the law has been in effect, it is clear that further efforts are necessary in order to increase public awareness of the Act, provide education and clarification regarding the provisions of the Act to covered entities, and provide resources necessary to both encourage voluntary compliance and to ensure effective enforcement. (Source)
In 1995, people with disabilities would have been experiencing newfound legal protections; however, as we are all aware, legal rights generally do not equal changes in cultural and societal perceptions. Undoubtedly, people with disabilities would have experienced prejudice despite their new legal protections.
For some, D&D will always be that nerdy game that only geeks play, but in actuality, the game has recently experienced a surge in popularity. It was not always that way, though, and in 1995, when She Kills Monsters takes place, the game had an even worse reputation for being "Satanic."
According to journalist Clyde Haberman, "The 1980s were prime years for accusations that the game fostered demon worship and a belief in witchcraft and magic. Some religious figures cast it as corrupting enough to steer impressionable young players toward suicide and murder. As Retro Report recalls, fears began to be stirred in 1979 with the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III, a gifted 16-year-old student at Michigan State University and a devoted D&D player. The game warped his thinking and drove him to behave erratically — or so some insisted. In reality, the boy was already troubled. After a month’s absence, he was found. But in 1980 he ended up taking his own life." This resulted in both a positive and negative interest in D&D. Sales soared as new gamers foung the game, while others continued to condemn it as "sorcery." When Irving Lee Pulling II, a high school student in Virginia, killed himself in 1982, his mother, Patricia A. Pulling, blamed the game and formed a group called Bothered About Dungeons and Dragons. Additional murders, such as the 1984 strangulation of a Missouri teenager, Mary C. Towery, were blamed on the game simply because those who had committed the murders were D&D gamers. Researchers and the Center for Disease Control stated that there was no causal link between D&D and violence, but the accusations continued. This "moral panic" persisted up until recent years when D&D has become more mainstream.