Innovation through the ages.
1896 Even as Oscar Wilde is serving two years' hard labor for "gross indecency," Edward Carpenter publishes the groundbreaking Love's Coming of Age, which suggests that homosexuals are potentially superior to other people.
1897 German physician Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, likely the first group to advocate for the end of legal persecution of homosexuals.
1907 Gertrude Stein meets Alice B. Toklas, sparking a legendary romance. In Paris the two women set up a salon that connects many great writers and artists, including gays. Stein publicly declares her love for Toklas in print in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, published in 1933.
1911 Female impersonator Bert Savoy, an American gay man who is flamboyantly effeminate offstage and on, achieves unprecedented fame, second only to Julian Eltinge, who steers a careful course of masculinity and heterosexuality in public views of his offstage life.
1922 The first lesbian character in a major U.S. play appears in The God of Vengeance at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village. In months it moves to Broadway, and police arrest 14 people involved with the play.
1924 Henry Gerber forms the Society for Human Rights, the first homosexual advocacy group in the United States, in Chicago. The group is quickly shut down when a member's wife complains to police, who arrest Gerber for obscenity.
1926 Numerous African-American lesbian, bisexual, and gay artists incorporate gay and gender-transgressive themes into the works of the Harlem Renaissance. Some, like author Richard Bruce Nugent and blues star Ma Rainey, explore erotic same-sex topics. Others celebrate at the annual Hamilton Lodge Ball, which attracts thousands of cross-dressing women and men. Performer Mabel Hampton goes on in the early 1970s to play a founding role in the Lesbian Herstory Archives.
1928 Radclyffe Hall publishes her novel The Well of Loneliness, which quickly becomes the definitive statement on lesbianism, despite its downbeat ending.
1934 Painter Paul Cadmus follows up his homoerotic 1933 canvas YMCA Locker Room with The Fleet's In! commissioned by the Public Works of Art Project and displayed at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. In the latter painting, effeminate men vie with painted ladies for the attention of drunken sailors. Though pulled from that exhibit, Cadmus's work has continued to inspire homoerotic art to this day.
1942 Jim Kepner begins collecting gay-themed books that will become the basis of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives. A pioneer in gay historical scholarship, Kepner becomes a major figure in the fledgling Mattachine Society and One Inc. during the 1950s.
1947 Vice Versa, believed to be the first lesbian periodical in the United States, is founded in Los Angeles by Edith Eyde under the pseudonym Lisa Ben.
1948 Alfred Kinsey's bestselling Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is published, bringing into America the data-backed yet previously unheard-of assertion that 37% of American males have had at least one gay sexual experience to the point of orgasm. Five years later Kinsey publishes a report on women, which puts the comparable figure at 13%.
1950 Communist Harry Hay and others in Los Angeles found the Mattachine Society, dedicated to service and welfare for lesbians and gay men. In 1953 the group, fearing McCarthy-era persecution, begins to dismantle its leadership and end its call to fight police entrapment, opting instead for a more cautious, non-confrontational approach. Both incarnations of Mattachine inspire various local chapters around the country, some of which steer toward more militant measures by the early 1960s.
1951 From Los Angeles, Bob Mizer distributes Physique Pictorial, the first muscle magazine targeted to gay men. In the next two decades, the magazine and Mizer's company, Athletic Model Guild, inspire dozens of imitators.
1952 After the New York Post breaks the story of Christine Jorgensen, the "ex-G.I."-turned-"Blonde Beauty"--as the Post calls her--becomes a household name. Though not the first male-to-female transsexual, she is the best known.
1953 With a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, psychologist Evelyn Hooker studies gay men's psychological adjustment. Her research finds no psychological difference between heterosexual and homosexual men, making a critical dent in the classification of homosexuality as a "mental disorder."
In Los Angeles the homophile group One Inc. begins publishing One, an influential early gay periodical. After the Los Angeles postmaster refuses to accept a 1954 edition, declaring it "obscene," the group appeals. After several losses, it wins a big victory in 1958 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the previous rulings without comment. From that point on, homophile magazines are spared censorship by postal or other authorities.
1955 Del Martin and her partner, Phyllis Lyon, with six other women, form the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian group in the U.S. Martin and Lyon continue to be involved in a range of organizations and write the classic Lesbian/Woman (1972).
1956 James Baldwin publishes Giovanni's Room, which, along with Gore Vidal's 1948 book The City and the Pillar, is one of the first mainstream novels to explore gay themes openly.
1957 Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," a poem about gay male sex and Beat Generation men, gains national attention when local police confiscate copies of Howl and Other Poems from San Francisco's City Lights Bookstore and arrest owner and respected poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti on obscenity charges, which are later thrown out. The victory against censorship helps pave the way for gay and lesbian literary freedom and telegraphs the popularity of San Francisco as a gay destination spot.
1961 Latino female impersonator Jose Sarria runs for the San Francisco board of supervisors. He loses, but he is the first known openly gay person to run for public office. Sarria goes on to form the Imperial Court, a drag system that has spread around the United States.
1963 Bayard Rustin helps Martin Luther King Jr. organize the march on Washington. The openly gay Rustin is one of the first leaders to call for a comprehensive movement for civil rights that includes gay rights.
John Rechy publishes his semi-autobiographical novel City of Night, detailing the sexual underground of Los Angeles. The book leads to a new openness about gay sexuality in literature.
1964 In what many consider the first-ever public U.S. gay and lesbian rights demonstration, activists from the New York League for Sexual Freedom picket the Whitehall Induction Center to protest antigay military policies.
1965 When San Francisco police attempt to intimidate 600 guests attending a New Year's ball, heterosexuals connected with the sponsoring group, Council on Religion and the Homosexual, witness police harassment against gays and lesbians firsthand. Appalled by the bogus arrest of three lawyers and a straight female volunteer, the group fights back, holding a press conference condemning police harassment. At the trial, the judge orders the jury to find the defendants not guilty, marking a turning point in the legal rights of gay people.
1967 Dick Michaels, Bill Rand, and Sam Winston found The Advocate in Los Angeles. At first an offshoot of a newsletter, the magazine goes national within three years.
In New York, Craig Rodwell opens the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, the first gay bookstore in the country.
1968 Former Pentecostal minister Troy Perry, an openly gay man, founds the Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles. MCC goes on to become one of the largest and best-funded lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organizations in the world.
1969 Gay Liberation Front forms in Hew York City and Los Angeles in the wake of the watershed Stonewall Inn riots. On both coasts it is a free-form collective that aligns itself with the leftist movements of the time.
Judy Grahn starts a mimeograph press in Oakland that becomes the Women's Press Collective. A participant in early gay rights protests, Grahn emerges as a key lesbian theorist with the publication 10 years later of Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds.
1970 Marty Robinson, Arthur Evans, Jim Owles, and others form the Gay Activists Alliance in New York City. With a goal of pushing for a nondiscrimination bill, the group takes the radical step of zapping liberal politicians.
New York congressional hopeful Bella Abzug becomes one of the first politicians to court the gay vote when she speaks at a Manhattan Gay Activists Alliance meeting. (In San Francisco, Dianne Feinstein makes a similar move.) Once elected, Abzug becomes a major proponent of gay rights in Washington.
At the Second Congress to Unite Women held in New York City, lesbians wearing "Lavender Menace" T-shirts storm the stage and demand that the convention deal with antilesbian bigotry in the women's movement.
1971 Merle Miller publishes an article in The New York Times Magazine titled "What It Means to Be a Homosexual." A prominent journalist and later biographer of presidents Truman and Lyndon Johnson, Miller becomes one of the first major public figures to come out, and he suffers few repercussions.
1972 John Waters's Pink Flamingos debuts, introducing a queer edge to U.S. cinema that includes drag queen Divine.
Michigan cities lead the way with municipal ordinances outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation, as East Lansing passes the first law against employment discrimination and then, just months later, Ann Arbor passes the first comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinance.
1973 Barbara Grief and her partner, Donna McBride, along with Anyda Marchant and Muriel Crawford, form Naiad Press to publish lesbian literature.
Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle is published by a small feminist press, but Bantam buys the rights to publish the paperback version, which becomes a best-seller.
Two major national organizations are founded: Lambda Legal Defense Fund and the National Gay (now National Gay and Lesbian) Task Force.
Jill Johnston writes the groundbreaking book Lesbian Nation.
1974 Kathy Kozachenko hecomes the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States when she takes a seat on the Ann Arbor, Mich., city council. The same year, Elaine Noble is elected to the Massachusetts state legislature, making her the nation's first elected openly gay or lesbian state official. A month later, Allan Spear, a Minnesota state senator elected two years earlier, comes out.
A Washington D.C.-based women's collective with no experience in music production founds Olivia Records, which becomes the most successful lesbian-feminist recording label ever.
1975 Setting the stage for later struggles over gays in the military, Leonard Matlovich sues the Air Force for discharging him because he is gay. The Army also begins to pursue discharge proceedings against openly gay sergeant Perry Watkins. Five years later a federal judge orders the Air Force to reinstate Matlovich. The Air Force offers the former sergeant a $160,000 settlement instead, which Matlovich accepts. Watkins eventually wins his battle as well.
David Kopay comes out in the Washington Star newspaper. The former NFL running back becomes the first pro team sports athlete to come out.
Randy Burns, Barbara Cameron, and 10 others form Gay American Indians, the first group of its kind.
1976 Independent scholar and activist Jonathan Ned Katz produces Gay American History, a groundbreaking collection of archival materials tracing the history of same-sex love.
Lesbians flock to the first annual Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. In the years to follow, numerous other womyn's music festivals flourish. In the early 1990s, the inclusionary spirit of the Michigan festival is tested by a ban on male-to-female transsexuals, in response to which transgender activists establish Camp Trans outside the gates.
1977 Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming its first openly gay member and symbolizing the growing political clout of gays. A year later he is assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.
In San Francisco, the Gay Film Festival of Super-8 Films becomes what is likely the world's first gay and lesbian film festival, attracting more than 300 spectators to its free program.
Michael Denneny serves as a founding editor of Christopher Street, a gay literary magazine. The first openly gay book editor in New York City, Denneny loses his job at Macmillan as a result and moves to St. Martin's, where he publishes a range of gay authors whose books are rejected elsewhere.
1978 Gilbert Baker creates the now-ubiquitous rainbow flag.
1979 Sylvester, the gender-bending disco diva and former member of the genderfuck troupe the Cockettes, has a hit record with "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)."
The first gathering of the Radical Faeries, a New Age group of same-gender-loving men committed to naturalism, spectacle, and resistance to the exclusionary masculinity of "clone" culture, convenes at a Labor Day Spiritual Conference.
Boston Asian Gay Men and Lesbians publish the "BAGMAL Newsletter." Both the group and periodical are believed to be firsts for lesbian and gay Asian Pacific Islanders.
1980 With financial backing from Republican Dallas Coors and Advocate publisher David Goodstein, among others, Steve Endean, Jim Foster, and Larry Bye help launch the Human Rights Campaign Fund (now the Human Rights Campaign).
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is formed in San Francisco. With its combination of street theater and political statement, the group raises awareness of gay and AIDS issues and sometimes the hackles of observers.
1981 Eighty men gather at New York writer Larry Kramer's apartment to discuss the mysterious new "gay cancer" that would become known as AIDS. The event is the seedling of the Gay Men's Health Crisis.
Adele Starr founds Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (now Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Latina lesbians Gloria Anzaldua and Cherrie Moraga edit the groundbreaking women of color anthology This Bridge Called My Back, which critiques white and straight exclusivity in mainstream feminism--and the exclusion of women of color in lesbian feminism.
Vito Russo publishes The Celluloid Closet, a history of gay themes in film. Thorough and accessible, the book is widely read and powerfully influences . the way gays view themselves in movies and the way movies view gays.
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy debuts; it eventually runs for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway.
Keith Hating begins sketching his artwork on unused ad boards in New York City subway stations. Within a few years he is heralded as one of the leading young artists of his time. Before his death from AIDS in 1990, he becomes an AIDS activist, contributing artwork to fund ACT UP's mission.
1982 The first Gay Games are held in San Francisco under the watchful eyes of organizer Tom Waddell, a physician and former Olympic athlete.
Poet Audre Lorde publishes her autobiography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, in which she describes her emerging sense of herself as an African-American lesbian.
1983 Alison Bechdel's "Dykes to Watch Out For" comic strip first appears in the feminist newspaper Womanews.
1984 Virginia Uribe begins Project 10, a program to support gay and lesbian students, in a Los Angeles high school. The project becomes a prototype far other programs around the country.
Susie Bright starts On Our Backs, an innovative lesbian erotic magazine.
1985 Martin Delaney co-founds Project Inform, a San Francisco-based group dedicated to speeding development of HIV drugs.
At a candlelight vigil, San Francisco activist Clave Jones envisions a quilt honoring those lost to AIDS. He launches the Names Project two years later.
Responding to sensationalized coverage of gay people and AIDS, several gay authors and journalists, including Vito Russo, Arnie Kantrowitz, and Darrell Yates Rist, form the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
1987 Larry Kramer and several hundred other activists found the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), an organization that transforms the ways in which lesbian and gay protest occurs and leaves an indelible mark on the epidemic by radicalizing activism.
Randy Shilts publishes And the Band Played On, a damning account of the political apathy that attended the start of the AIDS pandemic.
1988 Jean O'Leary, executive director of the National Gay Rights Advocates, and Robert Eichberg, a psychologist and activist, launch the first National Coming Out Day on October 11.
1989 In New York, Gabriel Rotello cofounds the magazine OutWeek, with Sarah Pettit as arts editor and Michelangelo Signorile as columnist. The magazine ignites a national debate about the merits of outing closeted gay public figures.
1990 Marlon Riggs shows Tongues Untied, a documentary about being gay and black in the United States.
1991 The first Black Lesbian and Gay Pride event is held in Washington, D.C.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova comes out. She becomes a spokeswoman for gay rights.
1992 Singer k.d. lang comes out in a cover story in The Advocate. Her openness encourages a number of other entertainers to come out during the 1990s.
Along with many other Oregon activists, Donna Red Wing reinvigorates localized grassroots activism and successfully beats back a ballot measure that would ban nondiscrimination protections for gay people.
Drawing on ACT UP's and Queer Nation's direct-action tactics, the Lesbian Avengers hold its first meeting in New York.
1993 Jamie Nabozny drops out of school in Ashland, Wis., after suffering years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of classmates because he is gay. Because administrators refused to help him after he complained, Nabozny sues the district. In 1996 the district agrees to pay him $900,000 in damages after a federal jury finds that school officials "intentionally discriminated" against Nabozny because of his sexual orientation.
1994 Pedro Zamora appears as a cast member on MTV's The Real World. HIV-positive since age 17, Zamora raises national awareness of AIDS and gay issues.
After ghostwriting for right-wing Christian leaders such as Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and Jerry Falwell, Mai White comes out publicly as gay through his published memoir, Stranger at the Gate.
1996 Lawyers Dan Foley and Evan Wolfson win a landmark decision when a Hawaii court rules that gay couples can be married. The case, which becomes moot when Hawaii voters pass a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, ignites a new round of questions about the legitimacy of the state's sanctioning authority in regard to relationships.
Following the brutal murder of transman Brandon Teena, transgender activist Riki Anne Wilchins and her organization, GenderPAC, organize the first National Gender Lobby Days.
1997 In a major victory for the rights of same-sex parents and their children, New Jersey couple Jon and Michael Galluccio set a state legal precedent by winning the right to jointly adopt a foster son.
1998 Tammy Baldwin becomes the first nonincumbent openly gay or lesbian candidate to win election to Congress.
In a United Methodist Church trial, the Rev. Jimmy Creech fights charges that he violated church doctrine by marrying a gay couple. Despite his victory, Creech loses his job as pastor of an Omaha church.
Steven Cozza, a 13-year-old scout seeking his Eagle Scout service credentials, decides to get 100,000 people to sign a petition opposing the Boy Scouts of America's exclusion of gay scouts and scoutmasters. By 2001, Cozza's organization, Scouting for All, has captured America's attention.
1999 Romaine Patterson finds a profound and poignant answer to the antigay protests of the Rev. Fred Phelps. During the Matthew Shepard murder trial in Laramie, Wyo., Patterson and a dozen other activists dress in angel costumes created by Patterson and then circle and silence Phelps's clan.
2000 Thestate of Vermont passes a civil unions law--the first of its kind in the nation--which legally recognizes gay and lesbian relationships and grants them every state-sanctioned privilege that married couples enjoy, except a marriage certificate.
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|Title Annotation:||key events involving gays or homosexuality|
|Publication:||The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)|
|Date:||Aug 14, 2001|
|Previous Article:||A new way of doing things.|
|Next Article:||John Cameron Mitchell.|