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Gay rights timeline


This page is a timeline of significant events in gay rights over the past few centuries. Each year is annotated with a significant event for the LGBT communities as a reference point.

16th century

* 1533 - King Henry VIII begins the English common law tradition of sodomy laws, proclaiming sodomy, then-defined as any non-procreative sexual activity, a crime. This includes masturbation, anal and oral sex.

17th century

* 1624 - Richard Cornish of the Virginia Colony is tried and hanged for sodomy. * 1649 - The first known conviction for lesbian activity in North America occurs in March when Sarah White Norman is charged with "lewd behavior" with Mary Vincent Hammon in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

18th century

* 1726 - Mother Clap's molly house in London is raided by police, resulting in Clap's death and the execution at Tyburn of all the men arrested * Between 1730 and 1811, a widespread panic in the Dutch Republic leads to a spectacular series of trials for sodomy, with persecutions at their most severe from 1730 to 1737, 1764, 1776, and from 1795-1798. * 1792 - France decriminalizes sexual acts between men

19th century

* 1813 - Bavaria decriminalizes sexual acts between men * 1836 - the last execution for homosexuality in Britain * 1861 - in England, the penalty for conviction for sodomy is reduced from hanging to imprisonment * 1869 - the term "homosexuality" appears in print for the first time in a German pamphlet written by Károly Mária Kertbeny (1824-1882). * 1871 - homosexuality is criminalized throughout Germany by Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code * 1886 - The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, outlawing sexual relations between men (but not women) is given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom * 1892 - the word bisexual is first used in its current sense in Charles Gilbert Chaddock's translation of Kraft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis. * 1895 - Oscar Wilde prosecuted under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 for "gross indecency" and sentenced to two years in prison. * 1897 - Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Scientific Humanitarian Committee on May 14 to organize for gay rights and the repeal of Paragraph 175


* 1907 - Adolf Brand, a journalist working to overturn Paragraph 175, publishes a piece "outing" the imperial chancellor of Germany, Prince Bernhard von Bülow. The Prince sues Brand for libel and clears his name; Brand is sentenced to 18 months in prison.


* 1910 - Emma Goldman first begins speaking publicly in favor of gay rights * 1914 - The word faggot is first used in print in reference to gays in a vocabulary of criminal slang published in Portland, Oregon": "All the fagots [sic] (sissies) will be dressed in drag at the ball tonight".


* 1923 - The word fag is first used in print in reference to gays in Nels Anderson's The Hobo: "Fairies or Fags are men or boys who exploit sex for profit." * 1929 - a Reichstag Committee votes to repeal Paragraph 175. The Nazis' rise to power prevents the implementation of the vote.


* 1933 - Nazis burn the library of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Research, and destroy the Institute. * 1937 - the first use of the pink triangle in Nazi concentration camps


* 1945 - Upon the liberation of concentration camps by Allied forces, those interned for homosexuality are not freed, but required to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175


* 1950 - East Germany partially abrogates the Nazi's emendations to Paragraph 175 * 1951 * 1952 - Dale Jennings successfully uses the defense of entrapment against charges of solicitation. * 1954 - June 7 - Alan Turing dies from cyanide poisoning, eighteen months after being given libido reducing hormone treatment for a year as a punishment for homosexuality * 1955 - Daughters of Bilitis founded in San Francisco, California. * 1957 - The Wolfenden Committee publishes its report recommending decriminalization of consensual homosexual behaviour between adults


* 1961 - Decriminalization in Czechoslovakia and Hungary * 1962 - Illinois becomes first U.S. state to remove sodomy law from its criminal code. * 1966 - The National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations is established. (It became NACHO (North American Conference of Homophile Organizations) in 1967). * 1967 - Sexual Offences Act passed in the United Kingdom allowing sex between 2 men who are 21 or over. The word homophobia makes its first appearance in print in Wainwright Churchill's Homosexual Behavior among Males. * 1968 - Paragraph 175 is eased in East Germany. Canada repeals all anti-sodomy laws. * 1969 - Stonewall riots - Paragraph 175 is eased in West Germany - Sodomy legalized in Canada


* 1970 - First U.S. gay pride parade held in New York City * 1971 - Colorado, Oregon repeal sodomy laws; gay age of consent in the Netherlands changed from 21 to 16 (equalized; Penal Code Section 248bis dropped) * 1972 - Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes first city in United States to pass gay rights ordinance * 1973 - The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its DSM-II. * 1974 - Ohio repeals sodomy laws. * 1975 - * 1976 - * 1977 - Harvey Milk elected city supervisor in San Francisco. Dade County, Florida enacts a Human Rights Ordinance. It is repealed the same year after a militant anti-gay-rights campaign led by Anita Bryant. * 1978 - Harvey Milk assassinated * 1979 - first U.S. gay rights march on Washington, DC


* 1980 - * 1981 - Moral Majority starts anti-gay crusade. * 1982 - Gay Games I * 1983 - * 1984 - * 1985 - First memorial to gay Holocaust victims is dedicated * 1986 - Homosexual Law Reform Act passed in New Zealand, legalizing sex between males over 16 * 1987 - U.S. Congressman Barney Frank comes out as gay * 1988 - Section 28 passes in the UK - Canadian MP Svend Robinson comes out as gay * 1989 - Denmark enacts civil union laws for same-sex couples


* 1990 - OutRage! forms in UK * 1991 - Hong Kong decriminalizes homosexuality * 1992 - The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10 * 1993 - Third gay rights march on Washington, DC. Sodomy laws repealed in the Republic of Ireland brought about by Senator David Norris. * 1994 - AMA denounces supposed cures for homosexuality/Canada grants refugee status to homosexuals fearing for their well-being in their native country. * 1994 - Paragraph 175 is repealed in Germany. * 1995 - Egan v. Canada - protection on the basis of sexual orientation is read into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms * 1996 - South Africa extends constitutional protection to homosexuals. * 1997 - UK extends immigration rights to same-sex couples akin to marriage * 1998 - Matthew Shepard slain. Employment Equality Act introduced in Ireland, covering wrongful dismissal based on the grounds of sexual orientation. * 1999 - California adopts domestic partner law. France enacts civil union laws (PACS) accessible to same-sex couples.


* 2000 - Section 28 repealed in Scotland, age of consent equalised in the United Kingdom. German Bundestag officially apologizes to gays and lesbians persecuted under the Nazi regime, and for "harm done to homosexual citizens up to 1969". Vermont, U.S. becomes the first state in the U.S. to legalize civil unions. * 2001 - Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands legalized. * 2002 - Age of consent in Austria equalised at 14. * 2003 - Section 28 repealed in the rest of the UK; SCOTUS strikes down U.S. sodomy laws; Same-sex marriage in Belgium legalized; Same-sex marriage in Canada introduced. * 2004 - Same-sex marriage in the United States: a few local government officials in U.S. start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and a court ruling in Massachusetts comes into effect, introducing same-sex marriage in that state --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_rights_timeline [Sept 2004]

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