UPDATE: GAY MARRIAGE RULED LEGAL IN ALL 50 STATES ON JUNE 26, 2015!
The month of June has been designated as Gay Pride Month, and across the globe, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender men and women, as well as their cis-identifying straight supporters, take to the streets in a show of celebration (and pride) for just how far the equality rights movement has come. This week in particular commemorates Pride Week and HotMoviesforHer is taking a look at the impetus behind the social revolution that has led to the current, crucial moment in our nation’s history.
Below is a timeline detailing the fight for LGBT equality here in the United States from its inception to now!
1779: Founding father Thomas Jefferson proposes a law that would require castration for gay men and mutilation of the nose cartilage for lesbians. At the time, death was the most common penalty.
1924: The first gay rights organization, The Society for Human Rights, is founded in Chicago by Henry Gerber.
1947-1950: 1,700 federal job applications were denied, 4,380 were discharged from the military, and 420 were fired from their government jobs on the basis they were suspected homosexuals.
1948: Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which concluded that homosexual activity is not limited to those who classify themselves as homosexual.
1950: Homosexuals are included on the list of those deemed “Un-American,” by the State Department, based on the theory they would be “susceptible to blackmail,” and that “those who engage in perversion lack the emotional stability of a normal persons.’”
1950: The Mattachine Society is established in Los Angeles. Mattachine was one of the first two organizations in the United States to focus on the cause of homosexuality and provide social opportunities for the homosexual community.
1950: The Daughters of Bilitis, similar to the Mattachine Society, is established in San Francisco with the aim of providing similar services to the lesbian community.
1950s–1960s: The FBI and local police departments maintained files on known homosexuals, along with favored establishments and associates. The US Postal Service kept records of addresses to where any materials that involved homosexuality were mailed. Universities expelled gay professors. State and local governments closed gay bars, performed sweeps of the neighborhoods, and outlawed the wearing of opposite gender clothes.
1952: The American Psychiatric Association lists homosexuality as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
1953: President Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, which banned homosexuals from federal government positions, including contractors. Homosexuality is listed as a security risk, next to alcoholism.
1953: In August, the US Postal Service refuses to deliver ONE Magazine, which focused on homosexuals in heterosexual marriages.
1956: Psychologist Evenly Hooker releases her paper, “The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual,” which concludes based on various tests, that there is no significant difference between homosexuals and heterosexuals.
1958: The Supreme Court rules that ONE, Inc. could mail its magazine through the US Postal Service.
1958: Caffe Cino opens in New York. The café will later be credited as starting the off-broadway theater movement and hosting the first gay plays, The Madness of Lady Bright and The Haunted Host, in 1964.
1962: Illinois becomes the first state to legalize homosexuality after repealing its sodomy laws.
1965: Frank Kamney, founder of the Mattachine Washington, DC chapter, organizes a picket at the White House to protest employment discrimination after being fired from the US Army Map Service due to his orientation.
1965: The first “Annual Reminders,” protests that were the precursor of Pride marches, begin being held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
1966: The Mattachine Society states a “sip-in,” at Greenwich Village’s Julius Bar. The New York Liquor Authority had deemed homosexuals as “disorderly,” and prohibited them being served alcohol. This sit-in was the impetus for future legislation that eventually led the New York City Commission on Human Rights to declare homosexuals have the right to be served.
1966: The Compton’s Cafeteria riots break out in San Francisco after police arrive to arrest all males inside that were dressed as women. This also sparked the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco.
1966: The National Transsexual Counseling Unit, the first transgender organization in the US, is established in San Francisco.
1966: The Student Homophile League, the oldest collegiate student union for homosexuals, in founded at Columbia University in New York.
1969–June 28th: The Stonewall Riots, the first documented case of LGBT rioting, occurs in New York City after a police raid on The Stonewall Inn, a local gay bar on Christopher Street in the Village. This event is known as being the catalyst of the gay rights movement.
1973: Homosexuality is removed from the DSM as a mental disorder.
1974: After being elected to the Ann Arbor, MI City Council, Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay American elected to office.
1977: Harvey Milk, one of the most famous gay rights activists known for introducing legislation protecting gays and lesbians from being fired from their jobs, is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
1978: Harvey Milk is assassinated by former city supervisor Dan White.
1979: Harvey Milk assassin Dan White is convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 7 years in prison. Because of the leniency of the sentence, 5,000 protesters ransack San Francisco’s City Hall causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. The next night, 10,000 further protestors gather on Castro and Market Streets for a peaceful demonstration and to commemorate what would have been Milk’s 49th birthday.
1979: In a bid for equal rights and civil rights legislation, 75,000 protestors march on Washington in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
1980: At the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party becomes the first political party to embrace a homosexual rights platform after stating it will not discriminate against homosexuals. According to the platform, “All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex, or sexual orientation.”
1981: The New York Times prints the first story documenting 41 cases of a rare pneumonia and skin cancer that has been found in gay men in both New York and California, referring to it as GRID, short for Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder (so named by the Center for Disease Control, aka CDC). It is not until the same symptoms are found outside of the gay community that biologist Bruce Voeller successfully lobbies to have the name changed to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
1982: The state of Wisconsin becomes the first to make discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal.
1984: Berkley, CA, becomes the first city to offer domestic-partnership benefits to its employees.
1987: ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), the first AIDS advocacy group, is formed in New York. ACT UP organizes demonstrations against drug companies that are profiteering from AIDS related medications.
1987: Hundreds of thousands of protesters convene on Washington to demand then President Reagan address the rampant AIDS crisis.
1988: Understanding AIDS, an AIDS awareness brochure is mailed to every household (107 million brochures) in the United States by the CDC.
1988: The first World AIDS Day is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
1990: After the passing of Ryan White (an Indiana teenager barred from attending middle school after an AIDS diagnosis attributed to a tainted hemophilia treatment), President George H.W. Bush signs the Ryan White Care Act, a federally funded program for Americans living with AIDS.
1991: The red ribbon is adopted as the symbol for AIDS awareness.
1993: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the US military policy that forbids homosexuals from serving openly, is implemented by President Bill Clinton.
1996: The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rules that Colorado’s 2nd Amendment, which denied gays and lesbians protections from discrimination, is unconstitutional (Romer v Evans).
1996: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA defines legal marriage between one man and one woman, and that no sate is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.
1998: Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, states the civil rights community should embrace the struggle against homophobia.
2000: Vermont becomes the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.
2003: SCOTUS determines sodomy laws in the US are unconstitutional (Lawrence v. Texas).
2004: The state of Massachusetts becomes the first to legalize same-sex marriage.
2004–2010: New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey (civil unions), Iowa, and Washington, DC, follow Massachusetts’ lead and legalize same-sex marriage.
2007: The US House of Representatives approves a bill granting equal rights to gays and lesbians in the workplace.
2008: Proposition 8 is approved by California voters, making same-sex marriage illegal in that state, which inspires the NOH8 campaign promoting marriage equality.
2008: California, Arizona, and Florida approve a ban on same-sex marriage, while Arkansas passes a measure forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting.
2009: The Matthew Shepard Act is passed, which expands federal hate crime legislation to protect victims who are targeted based upon their perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
2009: President Obama signs a memorandum giving same-sex partners of federal employees the right to receive certain benefits (health care not included).
2009: Harvey Milk is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barrack Obama.
2010: A San Francisco judge rules Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
2010: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is repealed, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
2011: President Barrack Obama announces his administration will no longer defend DOMA.
2011: New York legalizes same-sex marriage.
2012: Washington state and Maryland legalize same-sex marriage.
2012: President Barrack Obama endorses same-sex marriage. “It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
2012: Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin becomes first openly gay person elected to the US Senate.
2012: Minnesota voters reject a proposition to ban same-sex marriage in their state.
2013: The Washington Wizards’ Jason Collins comes out as the first openly-gay player in the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB.
2013: Same-sex marriage goes into effect in Delaware.
2013: DOMA is ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS.
2013: Illinois begins to recognize same-sex marriages.
2013: Hawaii begins to recognize same-sex marriages. “This is nothing more than the expansion of aloha in Hawaii,” according to State Senator J. Kalani English.
2014: Same-sex marriage is legalized in Oregon.
2014: The same-sex marriage ban is struck down in Pennsylvania.
2014: The SCOTUS denies to hear requests attempting to block same-sex marriage in Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Virginia announces civil unions the same day. Kansas and South Carolina follow suit one month later.
2014: A federal judge rules Montana’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
2015: Jazzie’s Place, the first shelter for LGBT adults, opens in San Francisco.
2015: Large, international corporations such as Target, Dove, and Cheerios begin incorporating gay families in their advertising.
2015: An Indiana law that gave businesses the right to discriminate against members of the LGBT community in their state is scuttled after major corporations like Wal-Mart and Salesforce threaten to stop doing business in the state.
2015: Laverne Cox becomes the first transgender woman to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.
2015: Famous athlete and personality Bruce Jenner comes out to the world as transgender and begins living publicly as Caitlyn Jenner.
2015: The state of NJ hits a milestone with over 5,000 same-sex marriages performed.
June 26, 2015: Gay Marriage is ruled legal in all 50 states by the US Supreme Court.