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Top 10 National LGBTQ News Stories of 2022
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Brief History of Queer Political Action

Fight for LGBTQ Rights Throughout History

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Gay History Quiz

How the Stonewall Riots Inspired the LGBTQ Movement

Info: Archaic Language and Images

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons
Video: Overview of 20th Century LGBTQ History

List: LGBTQ Firsts by Year

Buzzfeed: This is What Gay Liberation Looked Like in the 70s

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know



LGBTQ Modern Historical Overview




1900 - Oscar Wilde, renowned gay author, dies

1903 - First recorded raid on a gay bath house (New York City, 12 men charged with sodomy)

1907 - Gertrude Stein meets Alice B. Toklas

1912 - Portland Vice Scandal, leading to forced sterilization for gay suspects

1916 - Blue Discharge, or Blue Ticket, used to remove homosexuals from US military

1919 - Film Different From Others released, first ever pro-gay film

1919 - Institute of Sexology founded by Alfred Kinsey
1920 - Harvard Secret Courts, effort to purge campus homosexuals

1923 - FBI labels Emma Goldman "most dangerous woman in America" for her open endorsement of gay rights

1923 - Lesbian Elsa Gidlow publishes On a Grey Thread, first volume of openly lesbian love poems in US

1924 - Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber, first gay rights organization in US

1927 - Wings becomes first film with homosexual content to win Best Picture Academy Award

1928 - Radclyffe Hall publishes lesbian novel, The Well of Loneliness

1930 - Gay painter Grant Wood debuts American Gothic

1930 - Danish painter Lili Elbe undergoes world’s first documented sex reassignment surgery

1931 - In Germany, Dora Richter (born Rudolph Richter) is first transgender woman to undergo vagioplasty

1933 - Transgender Danish painter Lili Elbe publishes autobiography, Man Into Woman

1933 - Hitler bans gay press
1934 - Gay people required to wear pink triangles in Nazi Germany





1936 - Actor William Haines retires from acting to live with his partner Jimmie Shields

1937 - Hein Vos is first known gay member of Dutch House of Representatives

1939 - Frances Rummell publishes first explicitly lesbian autobiography

1944 - Poet Robert Duncan is first prominent American to reveal his homosexuality, calling homosexuals an oppressed minority

1947 - First US lesbian magazine, Vice Versa, published
1948 - Kinsey Report released
1950 - Harry Hay founded Mattachine Society to help homosexuals realize their collective histories and experiences

1950 - Sen. Joseph McCarthy begins investigation of homosexuals who work for the US government, commencing the Lavender Scare
1951 - Roberta Cowell becomes first British trans woman to undergo sex reassignment surgery

1952 - American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disorder

1952 - One Incorporated was founded

1952 - Alan Turing (WWII codebreaker and father of modern computers) convicted of being homosexual

1952 - Christine Jorgensen becomes first American to have gender reassignment surgery

1952 - Virginia Prince, male crossdresser, publishes Transvestia: Journal of American Society for Equality in Dress beginning the transgender rights movement

1953 - First publication of One Magazine appeared
1953 - President Dwight Eisenhower bans homosexuals from federal jobs, says they are a security risk

1954 - Bisexual Mexican painter Frida Kahlo dies

1954 - Lord Montagu, of England, jailed for homosexual offences

1955 - Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian organization, forms


Brief History of Queer Political Action

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Fight for LGBTQ Rights Throughout History

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class
Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About
Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present

Video Lesson: Living History of the LGBTQ Movement

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons
Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots
LGBTQ Film History: Early Years (1910s to 1920s)

Gay History Quiz

List: LGBTQ Firsts by Year

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

History of Gay Pride in the United States

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Worldwide History of LGBTQ Rights | 1790-Present





1956 - Daughters of Bilitis publish first issue of The Ladder
1956 - James Baldwin publishes Giovanni's Room, containing gay and bisexual subject matter

1956 - Evelyn Hooker presents research paper at APA Convention in Chicago declaring homosexual not a clinical entity

1957 – Under new government restrictions, Frank Kameny is fired from his government job for being gay

1957 - Kinsey Report revealed that 10% of population is predominantly homosexual

1958 - Gold Coast, first gay leather bar, opens in Chicago

1960 - New York City police begin systematic crackdown on gay bars
1960 - UK trans model April Ashley undergoes gender affirmation surgery

1960 - Nancy Ledins (born William Griglak) comes out as first openly transgender ordained Catholic priest

1961 – Frank Kameny, nicknamed the Grandfather of Gay Rights, launches one of the first gay/lesbian protests

1961 - First US television documentary about homosexuality aired by local station in California

1961 - Jose Sarria is first openly gay person to run for public office in US (San Francisco)

1961 - Illinois becomes first state to decriminalize homosexual acts

1962 - Illinois becomes first state to remove sodomy laws from criminal code

1962 - Janus Society established in Philadelphia

1963 - East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) formed





1964 - Drum, LGBTQ interest magazine established by Janus Society, began publishing

1964 - San Franciscan Society for Individual Rights (SIR) formed

1964 - Lynn Conway, transwoman computer scientist and engineer, hired by IBM Research to join Advanced Computing Systems team

1965 - Barbara Gittings starts first picket lines for gay/lesbian protest movement at Independence Hall, Philadelphia

1965 - Vanguard LGBTQ youth organization becomes first gay liberation group in US (San Francisco)

1965 - David Kopay, ex-NFL football player, comes out as gay

1966 - Compton's Cafeteria Riot occurred in Tenderloin district of San Francisco

1966 - Time Magazine publishes anti-gay article, "The Homosexual in America"

1966 - CBS TV airs "The Homosexuals" documentary

1966 - National Transsexual Counseling Unit formed (peer-run support group and advocacy organization)

1967 - Advocate Magazine founded

1967 - Sexual Offences Act decriminalizes sex between two men, including "in private"

1967 - Portrait of Jason film is released

1967 - Craig Rodwell opens Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors

1967 - United Kingdom legalizes homosexuality


Video List: Famous LGBTQ Folk

American Park Service Report: LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Wanda Sykes: Overview of LGBTQ History

CNN: LGBTQ Rights Milestones and Fast Facts

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation
Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present

Timeline: LGBTQ History in the United States

Huff Post: I Wish I Had Learned LGBTQ History in School

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons





1968 - Blue Max Motorcycle Club was founded

1968 - Metropolitan Community Church (with special LGBTQ ministry) founded by Troy Perry in Los Angeles

1968 - Transgender musician Wendy (dn Walter) Carlos releases Switch on Bach album of synthesizer music

1969 - Stonewall Riots in New York City (Led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera)
1969 - NFL Football team, Washington Redskins, has 3 gay players in its training camp

1969 - Rev. James Lewis Stoll, a Unitarian Universalist Minister, becomes first ordained minister to come out as gay

1969 - The Washington Blade, LGBTQ news publication, is founded

1970 - First Gay Liberation March in New York City (Also in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles)

1970 - Christopher Street Liberation March

1970 - Chicago Gay Rally held

1970 - Boys in the Band film is released

1970 - Gay Activists Alliance of New York selects Greek letter lambda as a gay symbol

1970 - Large crowd participates in Gay Pride Parade in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston

1970 - Lavender Menace, group of radical lesbian feminists, advocate for lesbian issues at Second Congress to Unite Women in New York City


Buzzfeed: This is What Gay Liberation Looked Like in the 70s

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots

Signature: Essential Books on the History of LGBTQ Rights in America

CNN: LGBTQ Rights Milestones and Fast Facts

Video: Overview of 20th Century LGBTQ History

Diversity Inc: LGBTQ Historical Timeline

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

Evolution of the Gay Pride Parade

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Advocate Mag: Champions of Pride 2019

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Making History: The Homophile Movement





1971 - Lambda Legal organization started

1971 - Lesbian Tide publication by Los Angeles Chapter of Daughters of Bilitis

1971 - University of Michigan becomes first college in US to establish an LGBTQ office

1971 - Betty Berzon becomes first psychotherapist in US to publicly come out as gay

1971 - Frank Kameny becomes first openly gay candidate to run for US Congress

1971 - Lesbian group, the Furies, formed a lesbian commune

1971 - Nightride, by Lee Barton, becomes first off-Broadway play to discuss a romantic gay relationship

1972 - PFLAG founded by Jeanne Manford

1972 - Wearing a mask, Dr. John Fryer testifies on behalf of gay psychiatrists at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association

1972 - Jim Foster becomes first openly gay delegate to address a major party national convention (Democratic, Miami)

1972 - Madeline Davis becomes first openly lesbian delegate to address a major party national convention (Democratic, Miami)

1972 - William Johnson becomes first only gay person ordained in a mainline Protestant denomination (United Church of Christ)

1972 - That Certain Summer aired on ABC TV, first TV show to sensitively explore homosexuality

1972 - Beth Chayim Chadashim founded as first LGBTQ synagogue in the world

1972 - First year of Southern Decadence event in New Orleans

1973 - American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from list of mental disorders

1973 - French play La Cage Aux Folles by Jean Poiret is released
1973 - Lavender Country releases first known gay-themed country music album
1973 - 32 people killed in an arson attack at Upstairs Lounge gay bar in New Orleans

1973 - Gay country music singer Patrick Haggerty releases Lavender Country album, first of its kind





1974 - Society of Janus, BDSM support and educational group, formed in San Francisco

1974 - Gay activists in Boston choose purple rhinoceros as a symbol of the gay movement

1975 - Rocky Horror Picture Show film is released

1975 - Tennis player Renee Richards undergoes gender reassignment surgery

1975 - Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich discharged from US Air Force for being gay
1976 - Renee Richards banned from competing in Women's US Open due to "women-born-women" rule

1976 - Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin, appears in San Francisco Chronicle

1976 - Tom Gallagher becomes first US Foreign Service officer to come out as gay

1977 - Anne Holmes becomes first openly lesbian minister ordained by United Church of Christ

1977 - Ellen Barrett becomes first openly lesbian priest ordained by US Episcopal Church (New York)

1977 - Billy Crystal plays openly-gay character on Soap television series

1977 - Conservative Christian activist Anita Bryant opposes Miami-Dade County amendment making it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation; Her campaign led to the repeal of the law


Diversity Inc: LGBTQ Historical Timeline

The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Timeline: LGBTQ History in the United States

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

History of Gay Pride in the United States

Info: LGBTQ Symbols

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know

LGBTQ History Can Be Found in Everyone's Past

Great Queers of History

The Homophile Movement

Billy Porter: Brief History of Queer Political Action

Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present




1978 - Briggs Initiative fails to pass in California; It would have banned homosexuals from teaching in public schools

1978 - Openly gay activist Harvey Milk is elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors and 20 days later is murdered by Supervisor Dan White

1978 - Rainbow flag, designed by Gilbert Baker, first used as a symbol of gay pride

1978 - Village People top the pop music charts with YMCA, Macho Man, and In the Navy

1978 - Allen Bennett becomes first openly gay rabbi in US

1978 - San Francisco becomes first US city to recruit gay police officers (350 applications submitted)

1979 - California Supreme court rules against LGBTQ discrimination from public utility companies
1979 -100,000 attend first National Gay Rights March in Washington DC

1979 - Sisters (Order) of Perpetual Indulgence, drag  performance activist organization, formed in San Francisco

1979 - Stephen Lachs becomes first openly gay judge appointed in US (Los Angeles)

1979 - English rock band Queen tops music charts with Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Somebody to Love, We Are the Champions, Don't Stop Me Now, and Crazy Little Thing Called Love

1979 - During an interview Jane Fonda says that gays and lesbians are discriminated against

1980 - Human Rights Campaign founded

1980 - Democrats become first political party to endorse gay rights

1980 - Adrienne Rich writes essay, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"

1980 - B-52s queer musical group appear on Saturday Night Live TV show

1980 - Aaron Fricke becomes first student to sue school for the right to bring his boyfriend to the prom

1981 - Tennis athlete Billie Jean King comes out as a lesbian

1981 - First report of what is now called AIDS
1981 - Wisconsin passes first gay rights bill
1981 - Tennis athlete Martina Navratilova comes out as a lesbian

1981 - Randy Shilts becomes first openly gay reporter with gay-themed content in mainstream press (San Francisco Chronicle)

1982 - First Gay Games are held
1982 - Center for Disease Control investigates what is being called a "Gay Plague"
1982 - Boy George and Culture Club top pop music charts with Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, I'll Tumble 4 Ya, Church of the Poison Mind, and Karma Chameleon


Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Evolution of the Gay Pride Parade

History of Gay Pride in the United States

CNN: LGBTQ Rights Milestones and Fast Facts

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

How Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

Video Lesson: Living History of the LGBTQ Movement

Huff Post: I Wish I Had Learned LGBTQ History in School

Advocate Mag: Champions of Pride 2019




1983 - Rep Gerry Studds, D-Mass, becomes first member of US Congress to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality

1983 - Openly gay writer Tennessee Williams dies

1983 - Life Magazine publishes story, "The Double Closet," about LGBTQ families

1983 - The American musical version of La Cage Aux Folles, by Harvey Fierstein, premieres on Broadway

1984 - Federal officials announce discovery of first probable cause of AIDS
1984 - The Wall Street Journal permits use of the word "gay"

1985 - Rock band Queen performs at Live Aid concert

1985 - GLAAD founded

1985 - First International Conference on AIDS held

1985 - Rock Hudson dies of AIDS

1985 - Terry Sweeney is first out gay cast member of Saturday Night Live TV show
1986 - Reagan administration states that treatment of persons with AIDS was not a federal concern
1987 - AIDS Memorial Quilt unveiled

1987 - US Rep Barney Frank, D-Mass, becomes second member of Congress to announce he is gay

1987 - March on Washington is largest gay rights demonstration ever
1987 - ACT-UP organization is formed

1987 - Randy Shilts publishes And the Band Played On, book about the AIDS epidemic
1988 - Musician Elton John comes out, saying that he is "comfortable being gay"

1988 - 10th Annual National Coalition of Black Lesbians & Gays takes place

1988 - Male Homosexuality: Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective, by Richard Friedman, published

1988 - Stu Rasmussen becomes America's first openly transgender mayor
1989 - Actor Richard Chamberlain is outed as gay

1989 - Longtime Companion film is released, starring Campbell Scott, Patrick Cassidy, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephen Caffrey

1989 - Out Week Magazine, devoted to AIDS activism, began publication in New York City



Important LGBTQ Moments in US History

History of Lesbian Fashion

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Gay Actors of Hollywood's Golden Age

Info: Archaic Language and Images

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Best Time in History to be Gay or Lesbian

A Movement Caught Hold and Has Never Let Go

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

List: LGBTQ Firsts by Year

Evolution of Gay Rights

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements




1990 - President George H. Bush signs National Hate Crimes Act, the first to include gays
1990 - Militant group Queer Nation founded

1990 - AIDS Documentary wins Oscar
1990 - Gay men and Lesbians accepted as rabbis at 101st Annual Conference of American Rabbis
1990 - Gay Games III held in Vancouver
1990 - Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement collection displayed at Smithsonian
1991 - Amnesty International adopted jailed gay men and lesbians as prisoners of conscience

1991 - Freddie Mercury dies of AIDS at age 45.
1991 - An appeals court recognized a homosexuals partner's rights as tantamount to those of a spouse
1991 - First television kiss between a same sex couple (two women on LA Law)

1991 - Homoerotic artist Tom of Finland dies

1992 - AIDS Quilt was unfolded in its entirety on the Capitol Mall
1992 - University of Iowa extended health benefits to domestic partners of its gay and lesbian employees
1992 - First Dyke March (Washington DC)

1992 - Canada allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military
1992 - Massachusetts Governor Weld created Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth
1992 - President Bill Clinton is first president to recognize gay and lesbian rights

1992 - Singer KD Lang comes out as a lesbian




1993 - Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is instituted for US military

1993 - 21 year old trans person Brandon Teena is raped and murdered

1993 - Grammy Awards ceremony features many openly gay and lesbian performers
1993 - Strong genetic component to homosexuality found in study

1993 – Tony Kushner wins Pulitzer Prize for his play Angels in America

1993 – Philadelphia film is released, starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington

1993 - National March on Washington DC saw record breaking crowds

1993 - Roberta Achtenberg, openly lesbian, appointed Asst Secretary of Fair Housing & Equal Oppty

1994 - Olympic diver Greg Louganis comes out as gay

1994 - Rep Steve Gunderson (R-Wis) is first openly gay republican in congress

1994 - Gay Games IV took place in New York City

1994 - Deborah Batts is first openly gay federal judge

1994 - Paragraph 175 (established in 1871 to criminalize homosexuality) was struck entirely from the German legal code

1995 - President Clinton signs executive order forbidding denial of security clearances on basis of sexual orientation

1996 - Rep Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz) is second openly gay republican in congress

1996 - Rent musical premieres on Broadway

1997 – Ellen DeGeneres appears on the Oprah Wynfrey Show and comes out as a lesbian

1997 - James Hormel, first US Ambassador to come out as gay, is nominated

1998 - President Clinton signs Defense of Marriage Act, denying federal benefits to same-sex spouses

1998 – Will & Grace TV show premieres

1998 - University of Wyoming gay college student Matthew Shepherd is killed

1998 - Miami-Dade County reinstates human rights protection for gays and lesbians, reversing Anita Bryant's earlier efforts

1998 - Torch Song Trilogy film is released

1998 - Coretta Scott King called on civil rights community to join the struggle against homophobia

1999 - Rep Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) is first out lesbian US Representative when elected



Brief History of Queer Political Action

List: LGBTQ Firsts by Year

Fight for LGBTQ Rights Throughout History

Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present

Video: Overview of 20th Century LGBTQ History

American Park Service Report: LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

LGBTQ Film History: Early Years (1910s to 1920s)

Gay History Quiz

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

Info: Archaic Language and Images

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Buzzfeed: This is What Gay Liberation Looked Like in the 70s

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots

Wanda Sykes: Overview of LGBTQ History

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement




2000 - Vermont becomes first state to legalize civil unions between gay and lesbian couples
2000 - President Clinton declares June as Gay Pride Month

2000 - Director and writer Del Shores releases Sordid Lives movie

2001 - Netherlands becomes first country to legalize same-sex marriage

2001 - Dutch couple Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker make history when they got married in the world’s first legally-recognized same-sex wedding

2001 - Mark Bingham, gay rugby player aboard United Airlines flight 93, helps thwart terrorist attack

2002 - Transgender Law Center founded

2002 - Gwen Araujo, a 17 year old transgender Latina, was brutally murdered ion San Francisco

2002 - David Cicilline is first openly gay mayor of US state capital, Providence RI

2002 - Laramie Project launched

2002 – Rosie O’Donnell comes out as a lesbian on The View television show

2003 - Ellen DeGeneres premieres first season of her daytime TV talk show

2003 - Gene Robinson becomes first openly gay Episcopal bishop

2003 - Belgium legalizes same-sex marriage

2003 - Angels in America film is released, starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker

2003 - National Black Justice Coalition founded

2003 - Supreme Court invalidates all remaining anti-sodomy laws in its ruling in Lawrence v. Texas

2003 – Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV show premieres

2004 - US Senate defeats measure to create constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual

2004 - 11 openly gay and lesbian athletes at Olympic Games in Athens

2004 - Massachusetts becomes first US state to legalize same-sex marriage

2004 - First same-sex wedding takes place in United States in Cambridge City Hall, Massachusetts

2004 - Miss International Queen Pageant forms for transgender contestants

2005 - Canada and Spain legalize same-sex marriage

2005 - Deirdre Downs, from Alabama, becomes first openly gay Miss America pageant titleholder

2005 - Brokeback Mountain, film about gay cowboys, released in theaters





2006 - Brokeback Mountain wins 3 Academy Awards and 5 nominations

2007 - First American presidential candidate forum on LGBTQ issues (6 Democrats, 0 Republicans)

2006 - Patricia Todd is first openly gay legislator in Alabama (House seat representing Birmingham)

2006 - South Africa legalizes same-sex marriage

2008 – Milk, film about life of Harvey Milk, is released, starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco

2008 - 10 openly gay and lesbian athletes at Olympic Games in Beijing

2008 - Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage

2009 - Chastity Bono (dn), child of Sonny & Cher, transitions from female to male to become Chaz Bono

2008 - Rachel Maddow Show premieres on MSNBC Television

2009 - Annise Parker becomes mayor of Houston, largest US city with lesbian mayor

2009 - Norway and Sweden legalize same-sex marriage

2009 - Iowa and Vermont legalize same-sex marriage

2009 - First season of RuPaul's Drag Race premieres

2010 - Repeal of US Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy
2010 - Argentina, Iceland, and Portugal legalize same-sex marriage

2010 - It Gets Better campaign launched

2010 - New Hampshire and Washington DC legalize same-sex marriage

2011 - New York legalizes same-sex marriage

2011 - California mandates LGBTQ curriculum in public schools


Diversity Inc: LGBTQ Historical Timeline

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots

Wanda Sykes: Overview of LGBTQ History

Gay Actors of Hollywood's Golden Age

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

Best Time in History to be Gay or Lesbian

Timeline: LGBTQ History in the United States

Info: LGBTQ Symbols

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

LGBTQ History Can Be Found in Everyone's Past

Great Queers of History





2012 - Sen Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) is first out lesbian senator

2012 - President Obama announces support for same-sex marriage rights
2012 - Seven LGBTQ candidates win elections in the US Senate and House

2012 - Astronaut Sally Ride dies and posthumously comes out as lesbian

2012 - Tammy Smith first is first out lesbian brigadier general in US Army

2012 - Kylar Bodus is first transgender person to testify at US Senate hearing

2012 - 21 openly gay and lesbian athletes at Olympic Games in London

2012 - Denmark legalizes same-sex marriage

2012 - Punk rocker Laura Jane Grace comes out as transgender

2012 - Washington and Maine legalize same-sex marriage

2012 - Kate McKinnon is first out lesbian to join cast of Saturday Night Live TV show

2013 - US Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8
2013 - Jason Collins become first openly gay NBA athlete
2013 - Queen Elizabeth II pardons Alan Turing for 1952 homosexuality conviction

2013 - Laverne Cox, MTF transgender person, stars in Orange is the New Black television show

2013 - Brazil, France, New Zealand, and Uruguay legalize same-sex marriage

2013 - Maryland, California, Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Hawaii legalize same-sex marriage

2013 - New Jersey and California ban reparative therapy

2013 - Mark Takano becomes first gay Asian person in US Congress


History of Gay Pride in the United States

Evolution of Gay Rights

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Important LGBTQ Moments in US History

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Info: Archaic Language and Images

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Billy Porter: Brief History of Queer Political Action

A Movement Caught Hold and Has Never Let Go

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know






2014 - Transwoman Laverne Cox appears on cover of Time Magazine

2014 - Michael Sam becomes first openly gay NFL athlete
2014 - BP Oil Co CEO Lord John Browne comes out as gay

2014 - Martina Navratilova proposes to longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova at US Open and they marry later the same year

2014 - Openly gay and lesbian athletes at Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia

2014 - Television series Grace and Frankie candidly tackles gay relationships, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen

2014 - Facebook offers 56 different gender options for its users

2014 - United Kingdom and Scotland legalize same-sex marriage

2014 - US Post Office issues Harvey Milk stamp
2014 - Boy Scouts end anti-gay policy and allow gay youth to join
2014 - Apple CEO Tim Cook announces publicly that he is gay

2014 - Ed Murray elected mayor of Seattle, largest US city with gay male mayor

2014 - Oregon, Pennsylvania Illinois, Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, West Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, Alaska, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, and South Carolina legalize same-sex marriage

2014 - Indian Supreme Court recognizes hijras, transgender people, eunuchs, and intersex people as a third gender


Brief History of Queer Political Action

Fight for LGBTQ Rights Throughout History

Gay History Quiz

History of Gay Pride in the United States

Info: Archaic Language and Images

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present

Video: Overview of 20th Century LGBTQ History

List: LGBTQ Firsts by Year

Buzzfeed: This is What Gay Liberation Looked Like in the 70s

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Video List: Famous LGBTQ Folk

American Park Service Report: LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

Wanda Sykes: Overview of LGBTQ History

CNN: LGBTQ Rights Milestones and Fast Facts

Timeline: LGBTQ History in the United States

Huff Post: I Wish I Had Learned LGBTQ History in School




2015 - Florida and Alabama legalize same-sex marriage 

2015 - US Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal in United States
2015 - Bruce Jenner (dn) undergoes gender reassignment surgery and becomes Caitlyn Jenner

2015 - Oregon Gov Kate Brown, who is bisexual, becomes first openly LGBTQ person to be elected governor

2015 - Luxemburg and Ireland legalize same-sex marriage

2015 - Oregon and Washington DC ban reparative therapy

2015 - The Stonewall Inn is declared a historical landmark

2016 - Gallup Poll reports that LGBTQ population is 4.6%, not 10% as previously estimated

2016 - Sen Harris Wofford announces plans to marry a man and becomes first male US Senator to come out

2016 - Eric Fanning is first out gay man appointed US Secretary of Army

2016 - Sarah McBride, MTF transgender person, addresses Democratic National Convention

2016 - Mass shooting at gay bar in Orlando, Florida

2016 - Many openly gay and lesbian athletes at Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2016 - Greenland and Colombia legalize same-sex marriage

2016 - Illinois and Vermont ban reparative therapy

2016 - LGBTQ performers are among highest paid in Hollywood and the media, including Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Wentworth Miller, Ellen DeGeneres, Miley Cyrus, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow

2016 - Vice President Joe Biden officiates a gay wedding ceremony

2016 - Donald Trump is elected President, threatening to impede LGBTQ rights





2017 - Famous LGBTQ Activist Edith Windsor dies

2017 - Ines Rau is first transgender Playboy model

2017 - Finland, Malta, Germany, and Australia legalize same-sex marriage

2017 - Transwoman Danica Roem elected to public office in Virginia

2017 - New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Nevada ban reparative therapy

2017 - Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, dies

2018 - Pentagon confirms that first transgender person has signed a contract to join US military

2018 - India decriminalizes homosexuality

2018 - Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird become first gay couple on cover of ESPN Body Issue

2018 - Angela Ponce is first transgender person to compete in Miss Universe pageant

2018 - Minnesota, Oregon, California, Colorado, Maine, and DC issue non-binary driver's licenses

2018 - New York adds third gender option to birth certificates

2018 - Record number of LGBTQ candidates run for and are elected to US Congress

2018 - Democratic US Rep Jared Polis wins Colorado governor's race, becoming nation's first openly gay man to be elected governor

2018 - Sharice Davids (Kan-Dem) is first Native American lesbian elected to Congress

2018 - Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, and Maryland ban reparative therapy

2018 - Deidre Downs becomes first Miss America to enter a same-sex marriage

2018 - Lord Ivar Mountbatten, Prince Charles' cousin, marries James Coyle; first member of British monarch’s family to wed a same-sex partner

The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement

American Park Service Report: LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots

Best Time in History to be Gay or Lesbian

Gay Actors of Hollywood's Golden Age

History of Gay Pride in the United States

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know

Info: LGBTQ Symbols

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

LGBTQ History Can Be Found in Everyone's Past

Great Queers of History

How Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement

LGBTQ Film History: Early Years (1910s to 1920s)

Video: Overview of 20th Century LGBTQ History

Evolution of the Gay Pride Parade






2019 - Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver dies

2019 - Large number of LGBTQ-themed movies nominated at Academy Awards

2019 - Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay black man to win Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series
2019 - Daniela Vega becomes first openly transgender presenter in Academy Awards history

2019 - Lori Lightfoot is first gay black female to become mayor of Chicago

2019 - President Trump bans transgender troops from the US military

2019 - US Women's Soccer Team wins World Cup, led by lesbian Megan Rapinoe

2019 - Indya Moore becomes first trans cover model for Elle Magazine

2019 - Taiwan, Austria, and Ecuador legalize same-sex marriage

2019 - New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado ban reparative therapy

2019 - Record number of cases of violence to and murder of transgender people

2019 - Pete Buttigeig becomes first US presidential candidate who is openly gay

2019 - 50th anniversary of Stonewall Riots is commemorated worldwide with unprecedented coverage

2019 - Valentina Sampaio becomes first openly transgender model for Victoria's Secret

2019 - New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, and Illinois mandate LGBTQ curriculum in public schools

2019 - New York City Police Dept apologizes for raid on Stonewall Inn in 1969

2019 - Lil Nas X, American rapper and singer-songwriter, releases country rap single "Old Town Road"

2019 - Bowen Yang is first out gay Asian cast member on Saturday Night Live TV show




2020 - Katie Sowers (San Francisco 49ers) becomes first openly LGBTQ coach in Super Bowl

2020 - Pete Buttigieg, first out gay presidential candidate, wins Iowa Caucus

2020 - Northern Ireland and Costa Rica legalize same-sex marriage

2020 - State Park in Brooklyn is renamed to honor Stonewall icon Marsha P Johnson

2020 - Many conservative evangelical religious groups blame coronavirus pandemic on LGBTQ people

2020 - Iconic lesbian activist Phyllis Lyon dies

2020 - Gay rock n roll pioneer Little Richard dies

2020 - Larry Kramer, gay author and AIDS activist, dies

2020 - Methodist Church disagrees at National Convention over question of LGBTQ inclusion

2020 - Many Pride festivals cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

2020 - LGBTQ organizations join forces with Black Lives Matter to protest in the wake of George Floyd murder

2020 - US Supreme Court rules in favor of LGBTQ employment rights (Applies Title VII of 1964 Civil Rights Act)

2020 - Gay film director Joel Shumacher dies

2020 - Leslie Jordan, 65-year-old gay actor, became internet famous posting videos showing the despair and comedy of living in quarantine

History of Gay Pride in the United States

Evolution of Gay Rights

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Queer History in Photographs: Pride Marches From 1969 to Present

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Important LGBTQ Moments in US History

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Info: Archaic Language and Images

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Billy Porter: Brief History of Queer Political Action

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

A Movement Caught Hold and Has Never Let Go

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements





2020 - Documentary TV series Tiger King features Joe Exotic, a big cat owner, country singer, gay polygamist
2020 - TV series Schitt’s Creek features same-sex love story and wedding, celebrated as commonplace
2020 - Transgender and non-binary characters featured in several television shows for the first time

2020 - Valentina Sampaio becomes first openly transgender model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

2020 - Civil Rights Icon Congressman John Lewis dies

2020 - US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies

2020 - Pope Francis announces support of LGBTQ people, including same sex civil unions

2020 - Ritchie Torres snd Mondaire Jones become first openly gay black members of Congress

2020 - Film actor Ellen Page (dn) announces he is transgender, becomes Elliot Page

2020 - First out transgender winner on Jeopardy Game Show

2020 - Black gay writer Randall Kenan dies

2020 - Monica Roberts, trans journalist, dies

2020 - Genderfluid British comic Eddie Izzard begins using she/her pronouns exclusively

2020 - Hallmark and Lifetime TV networks present gay-themed Christmas movies





2021 - US House of Representative adopts sweeping gender-neutral language rules

2021 - Joe Biden becomes US President, introduces pro-LGBTQ agenda

2021 - On first day in office, President Biden issues several pro-LGBTQ executive actions

2021 - President Biden reverses Trump's transgender military ban

2021 - Sarah McBride becomes first transgender state senator

2021 - Pete Buttigieg becomes first LGBTQ presidential cabinet member (Secretary of Transportation)

2021 - Dr. Rachel Levine, selected by Pres Biden, is first transgender person appointed to federal position (Asst Health Secretary)

2021 - Nicholas Yatromanolakis becomes first out gay cabinet minister in Greece

2021 - Puerto Rican social justice pioneer and LGBTQ activist Carmen Vazquez dies

2021 - Anti-Trans Violence Continues to Surge, especially on black women

2021 - B Scott becomes first trans non-binary TV host and producer on BET

2021 - Many states sign bills banning trans athletes from school sports

2021 - Elliot Page becomes first trans man on the cover of Time Magazine

2021 - Leyna Bloom becomes first transgender woman of color in Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition

2021 - Gay scientist and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing is featured on £50 Note in United Kingdom

2021 - Arkansas becomes first state to outlaw gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth

2021 - President Biden issues first presidential proclamation of Transgender Visibility Day

2021 - Megan Rohrer elected as first openly transgender bishop in US Lutheran Church

2021 - Sesame Street introduces gay characters



History of Gay Pride in the United States

Evolution of Gay Rights

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Important LGBTQ Moments in US History

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Info: Archaic Language and Images

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Billy Porter: Brief History of Queer Political Action

A Movement Caught Hold and Has Never Let Go

APA: History of LGBTQ Social Movements

Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Major Moments in Queer History Beyond the Stonewall Riots




2021 - Carl Nassib, NFL football player, comes out as gay

2021 - Nevada pageant winner, Kataluna Enriquez, becomes first transgender Miss USA contestant

2021 - US State Department allows X gender markers on passports

2021 - MJ Rodruguez is first trans nominee for a lead acting Emmy award

2021 - Ariel Nicholson is first transgender model on cover of Vogue magazine

2021 - Quinn, from Canada, becomes first transgender athlete to win Olympic gold medal

2021 - Colorado Gov Jared Polis marries partner in first same-sex wedding for sitting governor

2021 - Switzerland legalizes same-sex marriage

2021 - Rachel Levine, nation’s highest-ranking openly transgender official, sworn in as four-star admiral

2021 - First same-sex kiss at Country Music Awards event when TJ Osbourne (Brothers Osbourne) receives award

2021 - Deadliest year on record with 53 transgender victims of lethal violence

2021 - Stephen Sondheim, legendary gay musical theatre composer, dies at 91

2021 - Alexya Salvador became Brazil’s first openly transgender pastor

2021 - Canada bans conversion therapy

2021 - Queer black feminist writer Bell Hooks dies at 69

2021 - According to HRC and US Census, the population of LGBTQ people in the US tops 20 million (8 to 10%)

2021 - The Washington Blade, LGBTQ newspaper, becomes first LGBTQ publication to be assigned designated seat in White House briefing room

2021 - Human rights activist Desmond Tutu dies at 90

2021 - Betty White, TV actor and LGBTQ ally, dies at 99

2021 - Chile legalizes same-sex marriage





2022 - Television star MJ (Michaela Jaé) Rodriguez is the first transgender actor to win a Golden Globe award

2022 - Transgender Jeopardy game show contestant Amy Schneider earns 40 consecutive wins ($1.3 million), second highest in history

2022 - Andrea Jenkins is first openly transgender city council president (Minneapolis, MN)

2022 - Gay fashion icon and editor André Leon Talley dies at 73

2022 - Brittany Griner, lesbian WNBA athlete, is detained by Russian government (Released 10 months later)

2022 - Arnie Kantrowitz, pioneering activist and GLAAD co-founder, dies at 81

2022 - HIV discoverer Luc Montagnier dies at 89

2022 - At least 35 out LGBTQ athletes compete in Beijing Olympic games

2022 - Sam Brinton, non-binary, LGBTQ activist, drag queen, and fetishist, becomes Deputy Asst Secr at DOE Office of Nuclear Energy

2022 - According to Gallup Poll, percent of Americans identifying as LGBTQ is 7.1%

2022 - New Zealand bans conversion therapy

2022 - Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts become first same-sex couple on Essence Magazine cover

2022 - Lia Thomas becomes first out transgender athlete to win NCAA Div I title, finishing 1st place in women's 500-yard freestyle swim event

2022 - Ariana DeBose, LGBTQ Latinx actor, wins Academy Award for West Side Story

2022 - Florida governor and legislature pass bills to restrict classroom discussion around LGBTQ topics

2022 - Lawmakers in several states copy Florida's example regarding bills to restrict classroom discussion around LGBTQ topics

2022 - Ellen DeGeneres ends 19 seasons of the Ellen day time TV talk show

2022 - TJ House, major league baseball player, comes out as gay

2022 - President Biden signs historic executive order advancing LGBTQ equality





2022 - Musicians Adam Lambert and Queen perform at Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee (Elizabeth dies 3 months later)

2022 - Texas GOP party adopts shockingly explicit anti-LGBTQ platform

2022 - US Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade decision regarding abortion rights

2022 - Slovenia legalizes same-sex marriage

2022 - Monkeypox outbreak; majority of patients are men who have had sex with men

2022 - Singapore decriminalizes sex between men

2022 - Record number of states pass laws to curtail LGBTQ rights

2022 - United Nations urges United States to improve its LGBTQ rights and protections

2022 - Molly Kearney is first out non-binary cast member of Saturday Night Live TV show

2022 - Cuba votes to legalize same-sex marriage

2022 - Karine Jean-Pierre, a gay black woman, appointed White House Press Secretary
2022 - Long-running Scooby-Doo animated series features main character Velma as a lesbian

2022 - Brazil elects two openly transgender women to congress

2022 - Leslie Jordan, actor and comedian, dies in car crash at age 67

2022 - Sam Smith and Kim Petras become first out non-binary and transgender musicians to rank no. 1 on Billboard Hot 100

2022 - Mexico legalizes same-sex marriage

2022 - LGBTQ candidates for public office are on the ballot in all 50 states

2022 - Miss Argentina (Mariana Varela) and Miss Puerto Rico (Fabiola Valentín), of Miss Grand International pageant, married each other

2022 - Maura Healey (Massachusetts) and Tina Kotek (Oregon) become first out lesbians elected governors in US

2022 - Robert Garcia becomes first out gay immigrant in US Congress

2022 - Qatar hosts World Cup amid protests and boycotts by participants, fans, and organizations due to anti-LGBTQ policies

2022 - Same sex households in the US surpass 1 million for the first time

2022 - Marijane Meaker, author of lesbian pulp fiction, dies at 95

2022 - New York City gay bar Julius' is declared a historical landmark
2022 - Gunman kills 5 and injures 18 at Club Q gay club in Colorado

2022 - Respect for Marriage Act signed into law, codifying federal protections for inter-racial and same-sex marriage

2022 - Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and activist, dies at 81

2022 - Emilia Schneider becomes first trans woman elected deputy in the history of Chile

Celebrating 50 Years Since Stonewall

Book Riot: Books About LGBTQ History

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

Important LGBTQ Moments in US History

Essential Plays, Books, and Movies for Understanding the History of Queer Liberation

Wanda Sykes: Overview of LGBTQ History

Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Brief History of Queer Political Action

Worldwide History of LGBTQ Rights | 1790-Present

A Movement Caught Hold and Has Never Let Go

Evolution of Gay Rights

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

Info: Archaic Language and Images

Video Lesson: Living History of the LGBTQ Movement

LGBTQ Writers, Artists and Activists of the 80s and 90s

Vintage Photos of LGBTQ Couples
Seven LGBTQ Wonders of the World
Queer Activists Past and Present Whose Names You Should Know




2023 - Robin Roberts (Good Morning America) announces engagement to Amber Laign

2023 - Carl Nassib (NFL Football Athlete) announces serious relationship with Søren Dahl (Olympic Swimmer)

2023 - Amber McLaughlin, the first openly transgender person to be executed in the US, dies by lethal injection

2023 - Bingo Allison becomes first non-binary priest in Church of England

2023 - Gay television producer (Pose) Ryan Murphy receives Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award

2023 - US Congress has record number of LGBTQ members: 11 in House of Reps, 2 in Senate, 13 total



Decades of Being Gay


Gay Pride 1990 (NYC)

Being Gay in 1987 (Calif)

Gay Pride 1984 (SanFran)

Being Gay in 1983 (NYC)

Gay Pride 1983 (NYC)

Coming Out in the 1980s

Being Gay in the 1980s

Being Gay in 1979 (London 1)

Being Gay in 1979 (London 2)

Being Gay in 1979 (London 3)

Being Gay in 1976 (SanFran)

Coming Out in the 1970s

Being Gay in the 1970s (1)

Being Gay in the 1970s (2)

Gay Pride 1970s (SanFran)

Coming Out in the 1960s

Being Gay in the 1960s (1)

Being Gay in the 1960s (2)

Being Gay in the 1960s (3)

Coming Out in the 1950s

Being Gay in the 1950s (UK)

Being Gay in the 1950s (US)

Being Gay in the 1940s

Being Gay in the 1930s

Being Gay in the 1920s (1)

Being Gay in the 1920s (2)

LGBTQ Historical Figures


Born Before 1900


1891-1964 - Cole Porter, American Composer and Songwriter

1882-1941 - Virginia Woolf, British Novelist and Essayist

1879-1970 - EM Forster, British Novelist

1877-1967 - Alice B. Toklas, Writer

1874-1946 - Gertrude Stein, Writer, Novelist, Poet

1873-1947 - Willa Cather, American Novelist

1854-1900 - Oscar Wilde, Irish Playwright and Poet

1840-1893 - Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian Composer

1830-1886 - Emily Dickinson, American Poet

1825-1895 - Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs, Father of LGBTQ Movement

1819-1892 - Walt Whitman, American Poet

1805-1875 - Hans Christian Andersen

1788-1824 - Lord Byron - British Poet

1712-1786 - Frederick the Great, King of Prussia

1672-1725 - Peter the Great, Russian Czar

1564-1593 - Christopher Marlowe, English Playwright
1561-1626 - Sir Francis Bacon, British Philosopher and Scientist

1475-1564 - Michelangelo, Italian Artist
1452-1519 - Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian Artist and Scientist



LGBTQ Historical Events


Before 1900

1624 – Richard Cornish of the Virginia Colony is tried and hanged for sodomy.

1649 – Sarah White Norman and Mary Vincent Hammon are charged with “lewd behavior” in Plymouth, Massachusetts, believed to be the first conviction for lesbian behavior in the new world.

1732 – the term "lesbian" first used by William King in his book, The Toast, published in England which meant women who loved women.

1778 - Openly gay Baron Friedrich von Steuben, from Prussia, joins George Washington's Continental Army at Valley Forge.

1778 – Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin of the Continental Army becomes the first documented service member to be dismissed from the US military for homosexuality.

1779 – Thomas Jefferson proposes Virginia law to make sodomy punishable by mutilation rather than death. It was rejected by the Virginia legislature

1789 – Olauda Equiano, a formerly enslaved person, publishes the narrative, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African. It was one of the first widely read narratives of slave life at the time. In it, he describes same-sex relationships he had with other men and the existence of same-sex relationships within the slave culture since slaves were not allowed to marry.

1849 – Lifelong partners Jason Chamberlain and John Chaffee sail from Boston to California to seek their fortunes in the California gold rush. They lived together in Groveland, California until Chamberlain died in 1903.

1852 – Writer JD Bothwick reports his attendance at a “miner’s ball,” a men’s only dance held in Angels’ Camp in California.

1857 – James Buchanan elected president. A lifelong bachelor, Buchanan had a long-term relationship with William Rufus King, who served as vice president under Franklin Pierce. The two men lived together from 1840-1853 until King’s death. Some historians suggest Buchanan, by today’s terms, was gay.


1861 – Sarah Emma Edmonds changed her identity to a man named Franklin Thompson and joined the Union army. She was one of 400 documented cases of women who dressed as men as part of the war effort. She changed back to her female identity after being wounded in the war. She eventually married a man and raised three children.

1862 – Jennie Hodgers, disguised as a man named Albert Cashier, enlisted in the Union army in Illinois and fought for three years until the end of the war. She continued living as a man after the war.

1868 – Two-Spirit, We’wha, a Zuni Native American, meets with President Grover Cleveland.

1869 – Hungarian journalist Karl-Maria Kertheny first used the term "homosexual."


1879 – Death of Charley Parkhurst, well-known stagecoach driver in Central California who was born a woman, but lived as a man. Buried in Watsonville, California.

1886 – Henry James writes the book, The Bostonians, about a long term relationship between two women and the term “Boston Marriages” develops to describe two women living together, independent of financial support from a man.

1890 – The term, "lesbian" first used in a medical dictionary.

1890 – Birth of Alan Hart who pioneered the use of the X-Ray for tuberculosis diagnosis and one of the first transgender men in history.

1892 – The pamphlet, “Psychopathia Sexualis” is translated from German and one of the first times the term bisexual is used. Written by Richard van Kraft-Ebbing. Translated by Charles Gilbert Chaddock.

1892 - Der Eigene, first gay magazine, is published in Germany.


1895 – Trial of Oscar Wilde (writer and novelist) in London, England and convicted for gross indecency (relationships with other men) and served two years in jail.

1896 – Magnus Hirschfeld, a Jewish German physician and sexologist issued a pamphlet, Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love.



LGBTQ Historical Figures


Ancient Times


76-138 CE - Hadrian, Roman Emperor

70-17 BCE - Virgil, Roman Poet

356-323 BCE - Alexander the Great, Macedonian Ruler

384-322 BCE - Aristotle, Greek Philosopher

469-399 BCE - Socrates, Greek Philosopher

427-347 BCE - Plato, Greek Philosopher

620-560 BCE - Sappho, Greek Poet

1010-961 BCE - David, King of Israel


LGBTQ Historical Overview

Fight for LGBTQ Rights Throughout History

Marie Antoinette: Queer Icon

Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Baron Friedrich von Steuben: Openly Gay Revolutionary War Hero

Timeline: LGBTQ History in the United States

Video List: Famous LGBTQ Folk

Powerful LGBTQ Figures From History that Nobody Ever Talks About

Gay Actors of Hollywood's Golden Age

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Gay History Quiz

Info: Archaic Language and Images

Buzzfeed: This is What Gay Liberation Looked Like in the 70s

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

LGBTQ Royals You Didn’t Learn About in History Class

LGBTQ History: Queer Icons

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

CNN: LGBTQ Rights Milestones and Fast Facts

Huff Post: I Wish I Had Learned LGBTQ History in School

Gay Kings and Queens of Europe



Historical Locations

1965 | Independence Hall, Philadelphia | Gay and Lesbian Protest Movement
Activists led by Barbara Gittings started some of the first picket lines here. These protests continued on and off until 1969. Gittings went on to run the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Library Association for 15 years.

1969 | The Stonewall Inn, New York City | Birthplace of Modern Gay Rights Movement
For the first time, a group of gay men and drag queens fought back against police during a raid on this small bar in Greenwich Village, on Christopher Street. The place is now a national historic landmark.

1970s | Castro Street, San Francisco | Mecca for LGBTQ Community
When it comes to historic landmarks, Castro Street (and Castro District) was an oasis of hopefulness. Home to the first openly gay elected official Harvey Milk and the legendary Castro Theater, this urban location remains iconic to the LGBTQ community.

2004 | Cambridge City Hall, Massachusetts | Site of First Same-Sex Marriage in US History
In the years following this event, attempts by religious groups in the area to ban it have been stifled and many more states have joined Massachusetts. In 2015, the US Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal nationwide.


Brief History of Queer Political Action

Jane Fonda 1979 Interview: Gays and Lesbians are Discriminated Against

About the Stonewall Riots

Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Wikipedia: Stonewall Riots (New York)

Video: Story of Stone Wall Inn and Stonewall Riots

Stonewall Riots: Beginning of the LGBTQ Movement

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Gay Jesters Who Inspired LGBTQ Activism in the 1950s

Stonewall Veterans: Rev Magora Elmira (Goddess) Kennedy

How Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement

Things You Missed in History: What Was the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot?

Wikipedia: Compton’s Cafeteria Riot (San Francisco)

Before the Riot at Stonewall, There Was a Sit In at Dewey's


Stonewall Riots

June 28, 1969

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups in the US sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social movements were active, including the African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.

After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the US and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.


Stonewall Inn Gets LGBTQ National Park Service Visitor Center
Sylvia Rivera Changed Queer and Trans Activism Forever
Stonewall Forever: Past, Present, and Future Pride

Lessons From Stonewall for LGBTQ People Today

How the Stonewall Riots Inspired the LGBTQ Movement

Stone Wall Veterans: The Night That Changed the World

Info: Famous LGBTQ People

Brief History of Queer Political Action

Jane Fonda 1979 Interview: Gays and Lesbians are Discriminated Against



Activists of the Stonewall Rebellion

June 28, 1969

--Stormé DeLarverie (1920-2014) was a bi-racial butch lesbian whose scuffle with police was, according to Stormé and many eyewitnesses, the spark that ignited the Stonewall riots, spurring the crowd to action. She was born in New Orleans to an African American mother and a white father. She is remembered as a gay civil rights icon and entertainer, who performed and hosted at the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. She worked for much of her life as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard and volunteer street patrol worker, the "guardian of lesbians in the Village." She is known as "the Rosa Parks of the gay community.

--Marsha P Johnson (1945-1992) was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), alongside close friend Sylvia Rivera. A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modeled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "Mayor of Christopher Street". From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.

--Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) was a Latina American gay liberation and transgender rights activist, prominent as an activist and community worker in New York. Rivera, who identified as a drag queen, participated in demonstrations with the Gay Liberation Front. With close friend Marsha P Johnson, Rivera co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women.

--Miss Major Griffin-Gracy (born 1940), often referred to as Miss Major, is a trans woman activist and community leader for transgender rights, with a particular focus on women of color. She served as the original Executive Director for the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, which aims to assist transgender persons, who are disproportionately incarcerated under the prison-industrial complex. Griffin-Gracy has participated in activism for a wide range of causes throughout her lifetime, including the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City.


--Craig L Rodwell (1940-1993) was an American gay rights activist known for founding the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in 1967, the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors and as the prime mover for the creation of the New York City pride demonstration. Rodwell is considered by some to be the leading gay rights activist in the early homophile movement of the 1960s.

--Reverend Magora Emilia Kennedy (born 1938), referred to as Rev Goddess Kennedy, is currently the chaplain of the National Stonewall Rebellion Veterans Association. She describes herself as the gayest great grandmother of the LGBTQ community.


--Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt (born 1948) is an American artist who took part in the Stonewall riots.


How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Remembering Stonewall: Those Who Were There

Wikipedia: Stonewall Riots (New York)

Video: Story of Stonewall Inn and Stonewall Riots

Stonewall Riots: Beginning of the LGBTQ Movement

Info: Archaic Language and Images

True Story Behind the Stonewall Rebellion

Sylvia Rivera: 1973 Gay Pride Rally (NYC)

How Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement



Activist: Larry Kramer


Larry Kramer was a gay American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBTQ rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts for films, including Women in Love (1969) for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Kramer introduced a controversial and confrontational style in his novel Faggots (1978), which earned mixed reviews and emphatic denunciations from elements within the gay community for Kramer's portrayal of what he characterized as shallow, promiscuous gay relationships in the 1970s.


Kramer witnessed the spread of the disease later known as AIDS among his friends in 1980. He co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis, which has become the world's largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. Kramer grew frustrated with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, and wished to engage in further action than the social services GMHC provided. He expressed his frustration by writing a play titled The Normal Heart in 1985.


His political activism continued with the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, an influential direct action protest organization with the aim of gaining more public action to fight the AIDS crisis. ACT UP has been widely credited with changing public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS, and with raising awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases. Kramer was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me (1992), and he was a two-time recipient of the Obie Award.


Larry Kramer, Gay Author and AIDS Activist, Dies

Remembering AIDS Activist Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: Grow Up, Fight for Your Rights, Be Proud of Being Gay

Iconic Gay Activist Passes Away at 84

Larry Kramer: Hero, Mentor, Prophet

Peter Staley's Honest Eulogy of Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer: Fire, Passion, Anger

Larry Kramer, Playwright and Activist, Dead at 84

Dr. Anthony Fauci Remembers Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer Was Not Kind and Cuddly, He Was Effective

Larry Kramer's Historic Plague Speech: Anger is Essential

Larry Kramer: True LGBTQ Radical




Icon and Martyr: Harvey Milk



Harvey Bernard Milk was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk moved from New York City (where he was born) to the Castro District of San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay and bisexual men. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests and unsuccessfully ran three times for political office. Milk served almost 11 months in office, during which he sponsored a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11-1 and was signed into law by Mayor Moscone. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, who was another city supervisor.  Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community. In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBTQ official ever elected in the United States".  Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Biographical Notes: Harvey Milk

How Harvey Milk Changed the Gay Rights Movement

Encyclopedia Brittanica: Harvey Milk

NPR News: Harvey Milk 40 Years Later

The Activism of Harvey Milk

Ian McKellan Reading Harvey Milk's Hope Speech



Psychiatrist: Dr. John Fryer


They thought he’d wear a mask that was a little more subtle. Something like the Lone Ranger, just a piece of cloth around the eyes. But no. Introduced to the room as Dr. Henry Anonymous, wearing a wig and a tuxedo three sizes too big, and speaking through a microphone that distorted his voice, Dr. John Fryer stood in front of a crowd of psychiatrists at their annual meeting donning a garish Richard M. Nixon. It was 1972, and he masked himself in order to say the following words: “I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist.” His declaration changed the world.

"From my viewpoint, Fryer’s testimony on May 2, 1972, is at least equal in significance to Stonewall. Both of them are hugely important moments in terms of LGBTQ civil rights,” said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum, an LGBTQ organization that has long supported the scholarship and recognition of Fryer’s work.

Removing the classification of homosexuality as a mental illness had been a mission of gay activists since at least the mid-1960s. Homosexuality was first classified as a disorder in 1952, when the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (commonly known as the DSM, the bible of the psychiatric field and the book from which all diagnoses are recognized) was published. The classification meant people could be institutionalized against their will, fired from their job, denied a mortgage or have their rights otherwise limited. Homosexual desire was considered an affliction, and acceptable “cures” included treatments like chemical castration, electroconvulsive therapy and lobotomy.

“As a class, we were mentally ill — no exceptions. And that was totally wrong to begin with. And their science was poor,” said Kay Tobin Lahusen, an early gay rights activist who helped to organize Fryer’s speech with her partner, Barbara Gittings, a pioneering lesbian who would come to be known as the mother of lesbian and gay liberation. Lahusen spoke to NBC News in 2019, two years before her death last year. Gittings died in 2007.

Activists began increasing pressure on the American Psychiatric Association, in the early 1970s. The association invited the activists to its annual meeting in 1972 as a concession to gay protesters who had stormed the conference in San Francisco in 1970 and Washington, DC, in 1971. The 1972 panel, at the conference in Dallas, was called “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to Homosexuals? A Dialogue.”

There was an underground group at the time called the Gay-P-A, which was made up of mostly gay psychiatrists who met in secret, at the same time as the association’s annual conference. Gittings and Lahusen wrote letters to everyone in the Gay-P-A they could reach and asked if they would speak.

“I thought about it and realized it was something that had to be done,” Fryer recalled decades later, according to an article published in a 2002 issue of the “Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy.” “I had been thrown out of a residency because I was gay; I had lost a job because I was gay. That perspective needed to be heard from a gay psychiatrist by an audience that perhaps might be more inclined to listen to a psychiatrist.”

But he couldn’t do it as himself. “He said, ‘Well, if I think about it, I could do it if I could wear a mask. And have a distorted microphone and wear a costume,” said Lahusen, who laughed as she recalled his “grotesque” Richard Nixon mask, “awful wig” and oversized suit. “And that’s how Dr. H. Anonymous came about.”

As Dr. Anonymous, Fryer’s speech at the APA conference sought to describe to the heterosexuals in the room the plight of their homosexual colleagues, who would have their “dooms sealed” should their “secret be known.” He also urged fellow gay psychiatrists to take a risk and “attempt to change the attitudes of both homosexuals and heterosexuals toward homosexuality.” By remaining closeted, he told his fellow gay psychiatrists, “we are taking an even bigger risk … in not living fully our humanity, with all of the lessons it has to teach all the other humans around us.”  Fryer received a standing ovation.

Though Fryer wouldn’t come out as Dr. Anonymous to the APA for another 20 years, homosexuality as a mental disorder was removed from the DSM in 1973.  Fryer died in 2003 at 65.

NBC News: Dr. Anonymous Changes History




Homophile Movement


In 1950, Harry Hay formed the Mattachine Society in New York and Washington DC. Other organizations such as One Incorporated (formed in 1952) and the Daughters of Bilitis (formed in 1955 in NY) soon followed. By 1954, the monthly sales of One Magazine peaked at 16,000. In 1956, the Daughters of Bilitis began publishing The Ladder. Homophile organizations elsewhere included Arcadie (1954) in France and the British Homosexual Law Reform Society (founded 1958).

By the mid-1960s, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the United States were forming more visible communities, and this was reflected in the political strategies of American homophile groups. From the mid-1960s, they engaged in picketing and sit-ins, identifying themselves in public space for the first time. The Janus Society formed in 1962 in Philadelphia.  Formed in 1964, the San Franciscan Society for Individual Rights (SIR) had a new openness and a more participatory democratic structure. SIR was focused on building community, and sponsored drag shows, dinners, bridge clubs, bowling leagues, softball games, field trips, art classes and meditation groups. In 1966, SIR opened the nation's first gay and lesbian community center, and by 1968 they had over 1000 members, making them the largest homophile organization in the country. The world's first gay bookstore had opened in New York the year before. A 1965 gay picket held in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, according to some historians, marked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. Meanwhile, in San Francisco in 1966, transgender street prostitutes in the poor neighborhood of Tenderloin rioted against police harassment at a popular all-night restaurant, Gene Compton's Cafeteria. These and other activities of public resistance to oppression lead to a feeling of Gay Liberation that was soon to give a name to a new movement.

In 1963, homophile organizations in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, DC joined together to form East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) to more closely coordinate their activities. The success of ECHO inspired other homophile groups across the country to explore the idea of forming a national homophile umbrella group. This was done with the formation in 1966 of the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO). NACHO held annual conferences, helped start dozens of local gay groups across the country and issued position papers on a variety of LGBTQ-related issues. It organized national demonstrations, including a May 1966 action against military discrimination that included the country's first gay motorcade. Through its legal defense fund, NACHO challenged anti-gay laws and regulations ranging from immigration issues and military service to the legality of serving alcohol to homosexuals. NACHO disbanded after a contentious 1970 conference at which older members and younger members, radicalized in the wake of the 1969 Stonewall riots, clashed. That convention became the battle that ended the homophile movement.


Homophile Movement

Making History: The Homophile Movement

One Incorporated

Out History: Homophile Movement

Cornell Library: Homophile Movement


Lavender Scare



The lavender scare refers to a witch hunt and the mass firings of homosexual people in the 1950s from the United States government. It contributed to and paralleled the anti-communist campaign known as McCarthyism and the Red Scare. Gay men and lesbians were said to be security risks and communist sympathizers, which led to the call to remove them from federal employment.


Former US Senator Alan Simpson has written: "The so-called 'Red Scare' has been the main focus of most historians of that period of time. A lesser-known element and one that harmed far more people was the witch-hunt McCarthy and others conducted against homosexuals."



In 1950, the same year that Senator Joseph McCarthy claimed 205 communists were working in the State Department, Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy said that the State Department had allowed 91 homosexuals to resign. On April 19, 1950, the Republican National Chairman Guy George Gabrielson said that "sexual perverts who have infiltrated our Government in recent years" were "perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists.” The danger was not solely because they were gay. The homosexuals were considered to be more susceptible to blackmail and thus were labeled as security risks. McCarthy hired Roy Cohn (who would later die of AIDS and was accused of being a closeted homosexual) as chief counsel of his Congressional subcommittee. Together, McCarthy and Cohn (with the enthusiastic support of the FBI head, J. Edgar Hoover) were responsible for the firing of scores of gay men and women from government employment and strong-armed many opponents into silence using rumors of their homosexuality. In 1953, during the final months of the Truman administration, the State Department reported that it had fired 425 employees for allegations of homosexuality.



McCarthy often used accusations of homosexuality as a smear tactic in his anti-communist crusade, often combining the Red Scare with the Lavender Scare. On one occasion, he went so far as to announce to reporters, "If you want to be against McCarthy, boys, you've got to be either a Communist or a cocksucker." At least one recent history has argued that, in linking communism and homosexuality and psychological imbalance, McCarthy was employing guilt-by-association if evidence for communist activity was lacking.


In 1953 President Dwight Eisenhower signed an executive order which set security standards for federal employment and barred homosexuals from working in the federal government. The restrictions set in place were cause for hundreds of gay people to be forcibly outed and fired from the State Department. The executive order was also the cause for the firing of approximately 5,000 gay people from federal employment. Not only did the victims lose their jobs, but also they were forced out of the closet and thrust into the public eye as lesbian or gay.


It was not until 1973 that a federal judge ruled that a person's sexual orientation alone could not be the sole reason for termination from federal employment, and not until 1975 that the US Civil Service Commission announced that they would consider applications by gays and lesbians on a case by case basis. Eisenhower’s executive order stayed partly in effect until 1995 when President Bill Clinton rescinded the order.


Lavender Scare: Notes, History, Overview

CBS Sunday Morning: The Lavender Scare

Washington Post: Gay Rights Pioneer Frank Kameny

LGBTQ History: Frank Kameny

IMDB: Lavender Scare Movie

Remembering the Legacy of Frank Kameny

Roger Ebert Review: Lavender Scare

PBS: Lavender Scare Film

Frank Kameny: Grandfather of Gay Rights Movement

Lavender Scare: How US Government Purged Gay Employees

The Documentary Film: The Lavender Scare

Lavender Scare: Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians by US Government

Frank Kameny: American Gay Rights Activist

Rotten Tomatoes 100%: Lavender Scare Documentary


Hero: Frank Kameny



Frank Kameny was an American gay rights activist. He has been referred to as "one of the most significant figures" in the gay rights movement and “the first and most influential members” of the gay rights movement. He is sometimes called the “grandfather of the gay rights movement.”


In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the US Army's Army Map Service in Washington, DC because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin "a Herculean struggle with the American establishment" that would "spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s."



Kameny formally appealed his firing by the US Civil Service Commission due to homosexuality. Although unsuccessful, the proceeding was notable as the first known civil rights claim based on sexual orientation pursued in a US court.


In 1961 Kameny and Jack Nichols, fellow co-founder of the Washington, DC branch of the Mattachine Society, launched some of the earliest public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965. In coalition with New York's Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, the picketing expanded to target the United Nations, the Pentagon, the US Civil Service Commission, and Philadelphia's Independence Hall for what became known as the Annual Reminder for gay rights. Kameny also wrote to President Kennedy asking him to change the rules on homosexuals being purged from the government.



In 1963, Kameny and Mattachine launched a campaign to overturn DC sodomy laws. He personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. He also worked with Barbara Gittings to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for US Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia's first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. Following his defeat by Democrat Walter Fauntroy, Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, DC, an organization which continues to lobby government and press the case for equal rights.


Famous LGBTQ People

LGBTQ Celebrity Couples

Famous LGBTQ People in Science and Technology

LGBTQ Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

Famous LGBTQ People in Sports and Athletics

LGBTQ Leisure and Recreation

Famous LGBTQ Politicians

LGBTQ Movie Stars

LGBTQ Television Stars


Homophobe: Anita Bryant



Anita Bryant was a singer, beauty queen, and celebrity spokesperson who became best known for her work in favor of bigotry against gays and lesbians. She was born and raised in Oklahoma by an extremely religious family. From early on she was a singer and she sang on stage at local fairgrounds. Eventually, she sang on radio and television.

Bryant won first prize on the Arthur Godfrey talent show and had her first minor hit song when she was 16 years old. At 18, she won the Miss Oklahoma beauty pageant, and she was second runner-up for Miss America. In 1959 and 1960, she had three million-selling singles. She eventually vanished from the pop charts, but released several albums of Christian music.


Projecting a wholesome, maternal image, Bryant plugged Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Holiday Inn, and Tupperware in assorted TV, billboard, and magazine ad campaigns. Her most famous celebrity endorsement deal began in 1968, when she sang an upbeat jingle in commercials for the Florida Citrus Commission, closing each ad with their tag line, "A day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."

By the mid-1970s, Bryant was also a celebrity spokesperson for Christ, singing Christian music and writing books offering inspirational advice. Her popular books contained strong Christian themes applied to parenting and cooking. She won the "Most Admired Woman in America" poll in Good Housekeeping.

Then, in 1977, Bryant became obsessed when Miami-Dade County added an amendment to its human rights ordinance, making it illegal to discriminate in housing, employment, loans, and public accommodations based on "affectional or sexual preference." Announcing, "I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before", she founded Save Our Children. As the group's name implies, Bryant's central (and ludicrous) argument was her fear that children would be molested or converted by gay perverts. "As a mother," she famously explained, "I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children, therefore, they must recruit our children."


Bryant's religious activism drew many followers, and within a year the law was repealed, making it legal again to fire workers, deny people housing, or refuse their business based on how and with whom consenting adults have sex. Celebrating her victory in a sound bite that aired nationwide, Bryant promised she would "seek help and change for homosexuals, whose sick and sad values belie the word 'gay' which they pathetically use to cover their unhappy lives."

Even after the local amendment was repealed, Bryant fanned the flames with speaking tours that made her a national spokesperson against "homosexual rights." She was the star attraction at rallies that led to the repeal of gay rights in numerous cities, and she went to California to support the Briggs Initiative in 1978, which failed, but would have banned homosexuals or anyone advocating the "gay lifestyle" from teaching in public schools. "I don't hate the homosexuals," she wrote in a fundraising letter. "But as a mother, I must protect my children from their evil influence."

Not surprisingly, Bryant's outspoken activism inspired the gay rights movement like nothing since Stonewall. The gay community referred to her as "Hurricane Anita." The response included pickets, petitions, and a boycott of Florida orange juice, which led the Citrus Commission to let her endorsement contract lapse.

Gay bars all over North America stopped serving screwdrivers and replaced them with the "Anita Bryant Cocktail", which was made with vodka and apple juice. Sales and proceeds went to gay rights activists to help fund their fight against Bryant and her campaign.

By this time, gay activists ensured that the boycott on Florida orange juice had become more prominent and it was supported by many celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Paul Williams, Dick Clark, Vincent Price, John Waters, Carroll O'Connor, Linda Lavin, Mary Tyler Moore, Charles Schulz, Billie Jean King, and Jane Fonda.

She was one of the first political figures to have a pie thrown in her face in protest to her activism ("At least it was a fruit pie," she said). Her record and book sales declined, she sold her 33-room mansion, and her marriage ended in divorce. She eventually declared bankruptcy.

In 1998, Miami-Dade County reinstated human rights protections for gays and lesbians. Five years later, the Christian Coalition backed a county-wide effort to repeal the law, but lost.

To this day, the gay community continues to regard Bryant's name as synonymous with bigotry and homophobia.


NNDB: Anita Bryant Profile

NNDB: Homophobia List

Wikipedia: Anita Bryant Biography


Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals


While male homosexuality remained illegal in Germany under Paragraph 175 of the criminal code, German homosexual-rights activists became worldwide leaders in efforts to reform societal attitudes that condemned homosexuality. Many in Germany regarded the Republic's toleration of homosexuals as a sign of Germany's decadence. Nazi leaders posed as moral crusaders who wanted to stamp out the "vice" of homosexuality from Germany in order to help win the racial struggle. Once they took power in 1933, Nazi officials intensified persecution of German male homosexuals. Persecution ranged from the dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment in concentration camps.


Gay men were targeted for persecution because they did not contribute to the desired growth of the 'Aryan population' and were viewed as corrupting German values and culture. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality, and of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them perished.

On June 28, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revised Paragraph 175. The revisions provided a legal basis for extending Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Ministry officials expanded the category of "criminally indecent activities between men" to include any act that could be construed as homosexual. The courts later decided that the intention to commit a homosexual act or even the contemplation of such an act was sufficient. On October 26, 1936, Himmler formed within the Security Police the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion. Josef Meisinger, executed in 1947 for his brutality in occupied Poland, led the new office. The police had powers to hold in protective custody or preventive arrest those deemed dangerous to Germany's moral fiber, jailing indefinitely (without trial) anyone they chose. In addition, homosexual prisoners just released from jail were immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if the police thought it likely that they would continue to engage in homosexual acts.



From 1937 to 1939, the peak years of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the police increasingly raided homosexual meeting places, seized address books, and created networks of informers and undercover agents to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals. On April 4, 1938, the Gestapo issued a directive indicating that men convicted of homosexuality could be incarcerated in concentration camps following their sentences. Between 1933 and 1945 the police arrested an estimated 100,000 men as homosexuals. Most of the 50,000 men sentenced by the courts spent time in regular prisons, and between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps.


While in the Nazi concentration camps, homosexual prisoners were identified by badges showing an inverted or downward-pointing pink triangle. Specifically, the use of a pink triangle was established for prisoners identified as homosexual men, which also included bisexual men and transgender women. Lesbian and bisexual women and trans men were not systematically imprisoned; some were, and classified as "asocial," wearing a black triangle. The pink triangle was also assigned to others considered sexual deviants, including more sexual minorities such as zoophiles and pedophiles, in addition to sex offenders.


The Nazis interned some homosexuals in concentration camps immediately after the seizure of power in January 1933. Those interned came from all areas of German society, and often had only the cause of their imprisonment in common. Some homosexuals were interned under other categories by mistake, and Nazi officials purposefully miscategorized some political prisoners as homosexuals. Prisoners marked by pink triangles to signify homosexuality were treated harshly in the camps. According to many survivor accounts, homosexuals were among the most abused groups in the camps.


Persecution of Homosexuals in the Third Reich

Nazi Concentration Camps: Meaning of the Pink Triangle

Nazi Symbol Repurposed for LGBTQ Pride

Persecution of Homosexuals in Nazi Germany

Meaning of the Pink Triangle


Paragraph 175


Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 1871 to 1994. It made homosexual acts between males a crime, and in early revisions the provision also criminalized bestiality as well as forms of prostitution and underage sexual abuse. All in all, around 140,000 men were convicted under the law. The law had always been controversial and inspired the first homosexual movement, which called for its repeal.

The statute drew legal influence from previous measures, including those undertaken by the Holy Roman Empire and Prussian states. It was amended several times. The Nazis broadened the law in 1935 as part of the most severe persecution of homosexual men in history. It was one of the only Nazi-era laws retained in its original form in West Germany, although East Germany reverted to the pre-Nazi version. In West Germany, the law was revised in 1969, 1973, and finally repealed in 1994.




Paragraph 175 was adopted in 1871, shortly after Germany was unified. Beginning in the 1890s, sexual reformers fought against the "disgraceful paragraph", and soon won the support of August Bebel, head of the Social Democratic Party. However, a petition in the Reichstag to abolish Paragraph 175 foundered in 1898. In 1907, a Reichstag Committee decided to broaden the paragraph to make lesbian sexual acts punishable as well, but debates about how to define female sexuality meant the proposal languished and was abandoned. In 1929, another Reichstag Committee decided to repeal Paragraph 175 with the votes of the Social Democrats, the Communist Party and the German Democratic Party; however, the rise of the Nazi Party prevented the implementation of the repeal. Although modified at various times, the paragraph remained part of German law until 1994.

In 1935, the Nazis broadened the law so that the courts could pursue any "lewd act" whatsoever, even one involving no physical contact, such as masturbating next to each other. Convictions multiplied by a factor of ten to over 8,000 per year by 1937. Furthermore, the Gestapo could transport suspected offenders to concentration camps without any legal justification at all (even if they had been acquitted or already served their sentence in jail). Thus, over 10,000 homosexual men were forced into concentration camps, where they were identified by the pink triangle. The majority of them died there.

Background Notes: Paragraph 175
Paragraph 175: Nazi Campaign Against Homosexuality

Willem Arondeus


Willem Arondeus was a Dutch resistance fighter who gave his life trying to protect his Jewish countrymen from the Nazis. Born in Amsterdam in 1895, Willem was one of six children. From a young age, he was a talented artist and his parents encouraged his creativity, until he came out as homosexual at age 17.

In a time when nearly all gay people were in the closet, Willem’s parents could not accept his choice to live openly. Their rejection led Willem to run away from home. On his own, Willem took odd jobs and eventually became a successful visual artist and writer. He was commissioned to paint a mural for Rotterdam’s town hall, in a style that combined modern abstract painting with a traditional Dutch motif. Willem was a well-respected author who published a popular biography of Dutch painter and political activist Matthijs Maris.


In 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. Willem immediately joined the resistance movement, and urged his fellow artists to fight against the Nazi occupation. WIllem published illegal anti-Nazi pamphlets calling for mass resistance against the Germans. Willem was especially committed to saving Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Bringing in others to the cause, Willem arranged for Dutch Jews to be hidden in people’s homes. He used his artistic skills to create false identity papers.

In 1943, Willem hatched a brazen plan. Dressed as a German Army captain, and with 15 men behind him, Willem boldly marched into the Public Record Office, where lists identifying people as Jews were kept. Willem drugged the guards and planted a firebomb. The resulting blaze destroyed tens of thousands of documents, and delayed or prevented many Jews from being identified by the Nazis.

Unfortunately, Willem was captured by the Germans and sentenced to death. Willem’s last words before being executed in July, 1943 were, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”

In 1986 Yad Vashem recognized Arondeus as Righteous Among the Nations. Because of his sexual orientation, Willem’s story was omitted from Dutch history books. Only in the last 20 years has his courage become widely known.


Biographical Notes: Willem Arondeus
Legacy Project: Willem Arondeus
Willem Arondeus: Openly Gay Anti-Fascists Resistance Fighter

Baron Friedrich von Steuben: Openly Gay Revolutionary War Hero


Baron Friedrich von Steuben was known for his bravery and the discipline and grit he brought to the American troops. Gay men have always been part of the American military. In an era before gay marriage or open pride, military men fell in love, formed passionate friendships and had same-sex encounters. Due to social and official discrimination, though, most of their stories have gone untold. But in the case of one of the military’s founding heroes, homosexuality was always part of the story.

Baron Friedrich von Steuben, a Prussian military man hired by George Washington to whip the Continental Army into shape during the darkest days of the Revolutionary War, is known for his bravery and the discipline and grit he brought to the American troops. Historians also think he was homosexual—and served as an openly gay man in the military at a time when sex between men was punished as a crime. “Though his name is little known among Americans today,” writes Erick Trickey for Smithsonian, “every US soldier is indebted to von Steuben—he created America’s professional army.”


It wasn’t easy: Three years into the Revolutionary War, the army was low on discipline, morale and even food. With his strict drills, showy presence and shrewd eye for military strategy, he helped turn them into a military powerhouse. Benjamin Franklin, who recommended von Steuben to Washington, played up his qualifications. He also downplayed rumors that the baron had been dismissed from the Prussian military for homosexuality. Von Steuben joined the military when he was 17 and had become Frederick the Great’s personal aide, but despite a seemingly promising career he was abruptly dismissed in 1763.

After being fired, von Steuben bounced from job to job. He was unimpressed by Franklin’s suggestion that he volunteer to help the American army, and tried instead to get another military job in the court at Baden. But his application was tanked when an anonymous letter accused him of having “taken familiarities” with young boys.  As historian William E. Benemann notes, there’s no historical evidence that von Steuben was a pedophile. But he was gay, and homosexuality was viewed as a criminal aberration by many of his peers. “Rather than stay and provide a defense, rather than call upon his friends to vouch for his reputation, von Steuben chose to flee his homeland,” writes Benemann.


Franklin likely knew of the rumors and the reason that von Steuben suddenly accepted an offer he’d turned down so recently. But he didn’t see von Steuben’s private life as relevant to his military qualifications. Neither did George Washington, who knew of the accusations but welcomed von Steuben to his camp and assigned Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens—both of whom were involved in what some historians have dubbed a “romantic friendship”—as his aides.

Washington approved of von Steuben. “He appears to be much of a gentleman,” he wrote when the baron arrived at camp, “and as far as I have had an opportunity of judging, a man of military knowledge, and acquainted with the world.”

When von Steuben arrived in camp, he was appalled by the conditions the soldiers had been fighting under, and immediately set to work drilling soldiers with strict Prussian techniques. He was a strict drillmaster, but he also socialized with the troops. One of his aides, Pierre-Étienne Du Ponceau, recalls a particularly wild party given at Valley Forge. “His aides invited a number of young officers to dine at our quarters,” he wrote, “on condition that none should be admitted, that had on a whole pair of breeches.” The men dined in torn clothing and, he implied, no clothing at all.

Von Steuben didn’t just throw sexually charged parties: He also formed intense relationships with other men. He became close to William North and Benjamin Walker, aides-de-camp who seem to have been involved in their own romantic relationship, and lived with them for two years in camp. It’s likely that von Steuben became romantically and sexually involved with North, though it’s not clear how close he was to Walker.

Meanwhile, von Steuben proved himself a heroic addition to the army. As Inspector General, he taught the army more efficient fighting techniques and helped instill the discipline they so sorely needed. It worked, and the drill manual he wrote for the army is still partially in use today. The drillmaster quickly became one of Washington’s most trusted advisors, eventually serving as his chief of staff. He is now considered instrumental in helping the Americans win the Revolutionary War.


When the war ended, Baron von Steuben was granted US citizenship and moved to New York with North and Walker. “We love him,” North wrote, “and he deserves it for he loves us tenderly.”  After the war, von Steuben legally adopted both men—a common practice among gay men in an age before same-sex marriage was legal. They lived together, managed his precarious finances and inherited his estate when he died in 1794. John Mulligan, who was also gay, served as von Steuben’s secretary and is thought to have had a relationship with the baron. When von Steuben died, he inherited his library and some money.

During von Steuben’s lifetime, the concept of gay marriage, gay pride or coming out was unthinkable and there was no language or open culture of homosexuality. But historical homosexual relationships were actually common. That doesn’t mean being gay was condoned: Sodomy was a crime in colonial America. But romantic relationships between men were widely tolerated until the 19th century, and only in the early 20th century did the US military begin officially discriminating against people suspected to be gay.

Von Steuben may have been one of early America’s most open LGBTQ figures, but he was hardly the only man whose love of other men was well known. And though he was to have helped save the American army, his contribution is largely forgotten today.


[Source: Erin Blakemore, History Channel]

Baron Friedrich von Steuben: Openly Gay Revolutionary War Hero

Biography of Baron Friedrich von Steuben



Ancient Egyptians: Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

2400 BCE

In Egypt in 1964, archeologists found two male groomers (manicurists) named Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep buried together in a shared tomb, similar to the manner in which married couples were often buried. Their epitaph reads, "Joined in life and joined in death."  Having lived in 2400 BCE, they are believed to be history's oldest recorded gay couple.


They were ancient Egyptian royal servants. They shared the title of Overseer of the Manicurists in the Palace of King Nyuserre Ini, sixth pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty, reigning during the second half of the 25th century BCE. They were buried together at Saqqara and are listed as "royal confidants" in their joint tomb.


Carved in stone, were the images of the two men embracing with their names inscribed. Though not of the nobility, they were highly esteemed in the palace as key personal attendants of the king. Grooming the king was an honored occupation. Archaeologists were taken aback. It was extremely rare in ancient Egypt for an elite tomb to be shared by two men of apparently equal standing. The usual practice was for such mortuary temples to be the resting place of one prominent man, his wife and children. And it was most unusual for a couple of the same sex to be depicted locked in an embrace. In other scenes, they are also shown holding hands and nose-kissing, the favored form of kissing in ancient Egypt.

They are notable for their unusual depiction in Egyptian records, often interpreted as the first recorded same-sex couple, a claim that has met considerable debate.


Famous and Not-so-Famous Same-Sex Couples in Ancient History
LGBTQ Love Stories From Ancient Greece and Rome
Iconic Same-Sex Couples Through History
LGBTQ Rulers Through History
Embracing Queer Sex and Love in Ancient Times
Marie Antoinette: Queer Icon

Ancient Civilizations that Would Celebrate Pride Month
Queer Couples Through History From Ancient Egypt to the White House
Historical Examples Of LGBTQ Culture Around The World
Notable Same Gender Couples from History

Homosexuality in Ancient Greece



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