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Federated Freedom Struggles: Student Created Timeline

Honors Modern Western Civilizations Spring 2021


1924: First gay rights group established named "Society for Human Rights in Chicago" and first recorded gay rights publication named "Friendship and Freedom"

1950: The Mattachine Society formed by Harry Hay, this was the first documented gay rights organization. This society focuses on support for homosexuals and social acceptance.

1952: American’s Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance.

1953: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order banning homosexuals for working for the federal government. 

1955: First known lesbian rights organization in San Francisco, California named the Daughter of Bilitis.

1958: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay rights after the U.S. Post Office did not want to deliver a pro-gay magazine called "ONE: The Homosexual Magazine."

1961: Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexuality.

1969: The Stonewall riots sparked the beginning of the LGBT movement when the police raided Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar. 

1970: First pride parades occurred in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. One year later, it occurred worldwide. 

1973: Homosexuality was not declared an illness anymore.

1973: Maryland becomes first state to statutorily ban same sex marriages.

1973: The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the DSM-2 and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders.

1974: Kathy Kozachecko becomes the first openly LGBTQ American elected to any public officer. She won a seat on Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council.

1974: Elaine Noble is the first openly gay candidate to a state office in Massachusetts.

1975: First federal gay rights bill is introduced to address discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1978: Pide Flag was created by Gilbert Baker from strips of fabric dyed in trash cans in the attic of San Francisco’s Gay Community Center before the city’s 1978 pride parade. Each of the flag’s original eight colors had a meaning: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for peace, and purple for spirit.

1979: First national march on Washington for Lesbian and gay rights, about 75,000 to 125,000 individuals marched for LGBTQ rights.

1982: Wisconsin was the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1987: Barney Frank became the second openly gay member of Congress, and the first the come out as one. 

1993: President Clinton signed the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” military policy that prohibits openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military. It also prohibits the harassment of “closeted” homosexuals.

1996: Defense of Marriage Act signed by Bill Clinton, which banned federal recognition of same sex marriage and defining marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

​​​​​​​2004: First legal same sex marriage in the United States which took place in Massachusetts.

2009: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, signed by President Obama, named after two men who were murdered in hate crimes — Matthew Shepard because he was gay, and James Byrd, Jr. because he was black. The new law expanded previous hate crime legislation to officially categorize crimes motivated by actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability as hate crimes.

2011: President Obama officially revoked the anti-gay, discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, which prevents openly gay Americans from serving in the U.S. armed forces.

January 2015: President Obama recognizes the LGBT Community by using lesbian, transgender, and bisexual at the State of the Union address. 

April 2015: President Obama ended conversion therapy after a transgender teen committed suicide because of it. 

June 2015 - Sexual orientation is added to the anti-discrimination policy in the military, and same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states.  

July 2015 - The military allows transgender women and transgender men to serve in the military, and the Equality Act is passed to give legal protections to LGBT Americans, including education, housing, employment, credit, etc.

2016 - The Stonewall Inn became a national monument, which represents gay rights, and President Obama allows transgender students to use restrooms that reflect their gender identity. 

2019 - New York City honors LGBT rights activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera by creating monuments in Greenwich village. 


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