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Important events in LGBTQ history

1914

Medical article says participation in women's suffrage movement due to homosexuality

The doctors that wrote the article said that, although not all women’s rights activists were lesbians, they were “attempting to invade a man’s sphere,” which, they said, indicated sexual deviance.

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1917

US law changed to ban LGBT citizens from entering country

A law regulating immigration into the United States a is changed to prevent “persons with abnormal sexual instincts” from entering the country.

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1924

Founding of the first gay rights group

The Society for Human Rights, the first gay-rights group in America, is established by Henry Gerber and six others in Chicago. Gerber was a World War I veteran and was inspired by the gay rights movement he witnessed in Germany. Gerber published a newsletter about the society, "Friendship and Freedom," causing a police raid of his home and the subsequent confiscation of his papers and disbandment of the society.

1931

Media coverage

A drag ball is described as the “coming out of new debutantes into gay society” by The Baltimore Afro-American.

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1941

LGBTQ individuals become part of mobilization for WWII

Moving  away from small towns and out of parent supervision, being in the military was the first chance to explore homosexual feelings for many men and women. After this “awakening,” many could not go back to life as it was before, and so gay communities in San Francisco and New York grew immensely.

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1942

LGBTQ individuals barred from entry into the military

In an attempt to exclude gay men from serving in the military, officials work with psychiatrists to develop a system to identify them upon application/ drafting.

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1948

The Kinsey study

A study by Alfred Kinsey shocked the American public when it found that "homosexual tendencies" were prevalent in 28 percent of American women and 50 percent of American men.

1950

The Mattachine Society

Harry Hay, a Communist Party organizer, founded the Mattachine Society, a promoting tolerance of homosexuality in Los Angeles in 1950.

1952

The first well-known transgender individual

The publication of Christine Jorgensen’s sexual reassignment surgery became an international sensation.

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1953

Dwight D. Eisenhower bars homosexuals from working for the government

President Dwight D. Eisenhower bans homosexuals from working for the federal government by passing executive order #10450.

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1955

Founding of first lesbian rights group

The first national lesbian rights group, The Daughters of Bilitis, is founded in San Francisco by eight women, including Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon.

1957

Groundbreaking Navy study

A study done by the Navy states that the claim that “homosexuals cannot
acceptably serve in the military” is unsupported by evidence. This study was suppressed until 1967.

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1961

Changes in Hollywood policy

Producers in Hollywood decide to allow the depiction of gay and lesbian individuals, as long as the filmmakers and actors treat the matters with “care, discretion, and restraint.”

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1962

Illinois legalizes

Illinois makes a historic first, becoming the first state in the U.S. to legalize "homosexual contact between consenting adults."

1969

The Stonewall riots

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, an underground gay bar, on June 28, 1969, patrons and those who lived in the neighborhood violently protested. The raid was the final straw for the bar patrons, who were tired of discrimination and repeated police searches. The riot was eventually suppressed by authorities, but further protests lasted until July 1. The Stonewall protests are often cited as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.

1972

Baker v. Nelson

In a Minnesota Supreme Court case, court officials rule that a state law limiting marriage to same-sex couples is not unconstitutional. The Supreme Court waved an appeal, setting the precedent of denying marriage to same-sex couples.

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1973

American Psychology Association declaration

The American Psychology Association decides that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

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1975

First LGBTQ legislator

Elaine Noble takes her seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, becoming the first member of the United States Congress to be a member of the LGBTQ community.

1979

First March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

In 1979, over 100,000 participants marched on Washington in a demonstration to show support for the gay rights movement.

1981

First cases of AIDS

For the first time, doctors document cases of what is first known as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). The disease’s name is later changed to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

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1982

Wisconsin passes first gay civil rights bill

Wisconsin becomes the first state in the U.S. to enact a law which prevents bias in housing, employment and public accommodations.

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1985

Rock Hudson garners national attention for AIDS

Rock Hudson, an actor, tells the public that he has AIDS, causing widespread attention from the public on the AIDS epidemic.

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1986

Bowers v. Hardwick

In Bowers v. Hardwick, the U.S. Supreme Court declares sodomy laws that targeted homosexuals to be constitutional.

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1987

Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

Over 500,000 participants, five times as many as the previous march, marched on Washington in a demonstration of support for gay rights.

1988

First national Coming Out Day

The first national Coming Out Day is observed on October 11.

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1990

GLSTN Founded

The Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSTN) is founded

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1993

Minnesota passes first law banning transgender discrimination

Minnesota becomes the first state in the U.S. to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals.

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1993

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The Clinton administration passes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The law, repealed in 2010, details that homosexuals are allowed in the military, so long as they do were not open with their sexuality and so long as officials do not question them about their sexuality.

1996

Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act

President Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that, should gay marriage be legalized, states would be allowed to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states and deny federal benefits to same-sex couples.

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2003

Lawrence v. Texas

The Supreme Court rules sodomy laws that targeted homosexuals unconstitutional, nullifying them nationwide.

2015

Obergefell v. Hodges

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal and constitutional nationwide.

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