CHRONOLOGY OF THE LESBIAN AND GAY MOVEMENT IN THE U.S.

In June 1969, for several days New York City residents resisted and defeated police harassment during the now-famous Stonewall Riots. While the event was a watershed for lesbian and gay liberation, it was also just one moment in a rich history of our movement. Following is a brief overview of important events in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history.

1860s-1920s
Lesbians and gay men establish gay social institutions in major U.S. cities.

1920-1930s
The Harlem Renaissance flourish with a strong African-American lesbian, gay and bisexual presence, including blues singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.

1924
Society for Human Rights, the first formally organized gay-movement group in the U.S., forms in Chicago.

1945
Large numbers of lesbian and gay veterans of World War II settle in cities, greatly increasing the size of urban lesbian and gay communities.

1947
Vice-Versa, the first lesbian magazine, publishes in Los Angeles.

1948
Kinsey Report findings are released: First major survey of homosexual behavior informs Americans of the number of men who engage in same-sex sexual relations.

1950
Onslaught of witch hunts that culminate in McCarthyism: homosexuals purged from federal government; thousands lose their jobs.

Mattachine Society forms in Los Angeles (over 100 discussion groups in southern California by 1953).

1953
One,a seminal journal for the lesbian and gay community, publishes in Los Angeles.

1955
The Daughters of Bilitis, the first formal lesbian organization, forms in San Francisco; publishes The Ladder.

1956
Dr. Evelyn Hooker releases her historic paper, "The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual," which asserts that gay men are as well adjusted as straight men.

1958
U.S. Supreme Court rules that One may be sent through the mail (first U.S. Supreme Court victory for the lesbian and gay community).

1960
Model Penal Code urges decriminalization of same-sex sexual acts.

1961
Jose Sarria, a drag performer, becomes the first openly gay person to campaign for public office, running for supervisor in San Francisco.

1962
Illinois becomes first state to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.

1964
The Society for Individual Rights is founded in San Francisco; two years later open the first gay community center in the country.

John Hopkins University and other experimental sex reassignment programs established.

1965
Lesbians and gay men picket in Washington, D.C. to protest government treatment of homosexuals in military and government employment.

1966
The Transsexual Phenomena by Harry Benjamin is published and becomes the comprehensive guide for transsexuals - commonly referred to as the transsexual "bible."

1967
Following violent New Years' Eve police raids on Los Angeles bars, several hundred gay men and lesbians rally on Sunset Boulevard to protest arrests.

1966-1968
Emergence of political groups for lesbian and gay men on college campuses, such as Columbia and New York University.

1968
Metropolitan Community Church founded by lesbian and gay Christians in Los Angeles.

1969
Riots over a three-day period in response to police harassment at the Stonewall Inn in New York City signal the transition from the more moderate homophile movement to Gay Liberation and more progressive activism.

1970
Unidos, the first openly lesbian and gay Chicano group in the United States, is founded in Los Angeles.

1971
Connecticut, Colorado and Oregon repeal sodomy statutes, which criminalized oral and anal sex between both opposite-sex and same-sex partners.

The National Organization of Women (NOW) acknowledges "the oppression of lesbians as a legitimate concern of feminism."

1972
Lesbian journals Spectre & Furies declare that lesbians have to organize separately from both straight women and gay men, heralding lesbian-feminist separatism.

1973
Homosexuality removed from American Psychiatric Association list of mental disorders.

The National Gay Task Force ("Lesbian" was later added to the name) is formed with its goal "to bring gay liberation into the mainstream of American civil rights."

1974
Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduces H.R. 14752, proposing that the categories of "sex, sexual orientation and marital status" be added to the 1964 civil rights act; it was the first time gay civil rights legislation was proposed at the federal level.

Elaine Noble became the first openly gay person to be elected to a state legislature.

1975
Gay American Indians (GAI) is founded in San Francisco.

Michigan holds the first of the now-famous Womyn's Music Festivals.

1977
Harvey Milk is elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

1978
California voters defeat the Briggs Initiative (58 percent to 42 percent), which would have expelled lesbians and gay men and those who support equal rights for them from school systems.

Ex-Supervisor Dan White assasinates Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone at City Hall in San Francisco.

1979
200,000 attend first March on Washington for Gay Rights.

1980
Lesbianas Unidas, the first Latina lesbian organization in the country, is founded in Los Angeles.

1981
First references to AIDS (under the name Gay-Related Immune Disease) in medical journals & mainstream press.

1982
The first Gay Games are held in San Francisco, in the midst of a lawsuit by the United States Olympic Committee to ban the Games from using the name "Gay Olympics."

Wisconsin becomes first state to pass wide-reaching law prohibiting discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

1984
Berkeley, California becomes the first city in the U.S. to extend domestic partnership benefits to gay city employees' lovers.

With the hopes of bringing "the drags of the New York club world into daylight," Wigstock, an annual drag festival, is held in New York City.

1985
Rock Hudson's death is turning point in the media's awareness of AIDS; President Reagan publicly mentions the epidemic for the first time.

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation founded.

1986
In Bowers v. Hardwick, U.S. Supreme Court upholds rights of states to criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex (and at least some relations between consenting adults of the opposite sex).

In Fremont, California, Becky Smith and Annie Afleck become the first openly lesbian couple in the United States to be granted legal joint adoption a child.

1987
ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is formed in New York, beginning a new wave in confrontational protest in the battle against AIDS.

500,000 attend the second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and view the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt for the first time.

The first U.S. conference for lesbian and gay Asians and Pacific Islanders is held in Los Angeles.

1988
National Education Association adopts a resolution calling for every school district to provide counseling for students struggling with their sexual orientation.

Lesbians and gay men around the country celebrate the first annual National Coming Out Day.

1990
Congress passes and President Bush signs the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, the first federal law to include the term "sexual orientation."

Queer Nation, a group borne from ACT UP members and devoted to theatrical protests and media-attention-getting tactics, is founded in New York.

1990-1991
Backlash against art with gay or lesbian content seen in an obscenity prosecution against a museum showing Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs and the rescinding of National Endowment for the Arts grants for four performance artists whose work is sexually explicit, three of whom are openly lesbian or gay.

1992
Bill Clinton elected to White House with unprecedented degree of organized lesbian and gay support.

The Lesbian Avengers is founded in New York; a year later, they lead 20,000 lesbians on the first Dyke March.

Colorado passes Amendment 2, prohibiting civil rights protection for lesbians and gay men; a similar ballot measure in Oregon is narrowly defeated. One year later, a state district court overturns the Colorado measure, ruling that it violates constitutional guarantees of fundamental rights. The Supreme Court upholds this decision in 1996.

1993
President Clinton promises to lift ban prohibiting lesbians and gays from serving in military. After much controversy, Congress adopts legislation that leaves virtually all discriminatory restrictions in place; Clinton signs it into law.

One million people participate in the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Rights.

Radical religious-right groups push through anti-gay measures in Cincinnati, Ohio; Lewiston, Maine; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

1994
The first-ever school district-sanctioned gay youth prom is held in Los Angeles.

Gay Games IV convene in New York.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising is commemorated with a march on the United Nations in New York City.

1995
Coors Brewing Company and Walt Disney Company announce they will offer health benefits to domestic partners of their gay employees. Allstate Insurance changes its policies to offer joint coverage to same-gender home-owner couples.

Local gay and lesbian community centers unified to form the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Community Centers.

1996
The so-called Defense of Marriage Act overwhelming passes in Congress and is signed into law by President Clinton.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace, narrowly fails in the U.S. Senate in a vote of 50-49. It is the first time a vote on lesbian and gay civil rights has ever been before the full Senate.

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