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Gay-Events Timeline, 1970-1999


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Gay-Events Timeline, 1970-1999


This timeline has been assembled by Vicki Torres, adjunct instructor, Annenberg School for Communication.



1970s

Trends

  • With the creation of gay centers and organizations, gay life shifts from the furtiveness of bars and private homes to a new-found openness and activism, even to the point of celebration and adoption by mainstream society of gay culture, the Villlage People, disco.

  • A new definition of “coming out” evolves. Previously, coming out was a private acknowledgement of homosexual desires and an often quiet or secret alliance with other homosexuals. But in the 1970s, “coming out” became a political act of conscience, sort of following the feminist idea that the “personal is political.” Coming out meant coming out to family, straight colleagues, the world. It also meant shedding of self hatred that gays and lesbians had internalized. This took courage, because it meant you became a target for personal attack and it meant that others could demand activism from you.
    The political goals shift from fitting in, earning or gaining acceptance, by the mainstream society to a demand for rights and an end to discrimination, violence and other acts directed against gays and lesbians.

  • With this new-found confidence, the intellectual underpinnings of the gay movement develop addressed by intellectuals in universities, among them Michel Foucault. As part of that movement comes an understanding that the term “homosexual” is problematic as a description of a group of people because it’s based on a sexual and therefore, limiting, definition. Hence the term, gay.

  • The movement, in fact, matures to the point that feminist lesbians differentiate themselves from what they see as the predominately white male, gay movement, which to them doesn’t look too different from the heterosexual society of dominant, white males. So, they create the philosophy of feminist separatism, with “collectives” or communities in rural locales or cities and music festivals. Olivia Records and various gay women’s publishing companies, such as Diana and Naiad, are created to produce women’s music and fiction.

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1970
  • March - Gay San Francisco postal worker fights attempt by Civil Service Commission to fire him for “moral incompetency” and recovers job in November, paving way for reforms.
  • Myra Breckinridge, movie of Gore Vidal’s novel about a transsexual, Myron, a gay man, reborn through surgery as Myra, stars Rex Reed and Raquel Welch, opens to pans from critics. Becomes a camp classic.
  • May - Demonstration by Radicalesbians at a NOW conference, in reaction to Friedan’s statement that lesbians represented a “lavender menace” to the women’s movement.

    Media –
  • NBC-TV shows a six-part series on homosexuality as part of its newscast, “Close Up.”
  • GAA “zaps” –
    • In Jan., after New York Post writers Pete Hamill and Harriet Van Horne include derogatory comments about gays in their columns (Hamill – “slim-waisted freakcreeps” and Van Horne – inaccurate labeling of Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop as selling pornography), GAA pickets and then demands meeting with editor who defends editorial freedom of his writers and attributes their prejudice to ignorance about gay life (an interesting argument, in essence, we have the freedom to be stupid?).
    • Oct. - GAA sneaks into Harper’s magazine offices and hands out coffee, doughnuts and literature to employees arriving for work. They later debate editor Midge Decter over an anti-gay cover article in Sept. , “Homo/Hetero: The Struggle for Sexual Identity.” WOR-TV films the entire event and later uses it in a 3-part series on gay liberation.
  • New York Times - Improved coverage
    • June - 1st anniversary of Stonewall; NY Times reporter Lacey Fosburgh covers the event and actually quotes three gays, plus story contains two photographs.
    • New York Times, front page story, Aug. 24, “Homosexuals in Revolt” describes mood of revolution among gays.
  • The Dick Cavett Show – ABC-TV Nov. 26, 40 min. discussion of gay issues with gay reps.

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1971
  • Legislation – Oregon repeals sodomy laws. California repeals castration as punishment for repeat sex offenders. Homosexuality decriminalized in Idaho.
  • First Gay Liberation National Conference held in Austin, Texas.
  • National Student Congress endorses the creation and funding of a “gay desk” to help campus gay groups.

    Media –
  • Village Voice columnist Jill Johnston comes out March 4 in her article, “Lois Lane is a Lesbian,” sparking a controversy between feminism and lesbianism that results in various Johnston antics, including simulating an orgy during a panel discussion moderated by Norman Mailer.
  • New York Times –
    • Biographer Merle Miller’s article, “What It Means to Be a Homosexual,” the first article in which a gay man comes out in print, runs Jan. 17 in the New York Times. Draws 1,500 letters in the first six weeks, ultimately 5,000 letters, 95% from gays.
    • Science writer Jane Brody writes two articles about gays about research into environment and cultural factors “causing” it and whether homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals by psychiatry.
    • Article on Daughters of Bilitis, following story on feminist Kate Millett’s announcement of her bisexuality, results in “balancing” with anti-gay comments.
    • GAA responds to Brody and DOB articles with press conference (to which few came) and posters and flyers at subway entrances, letters to Times staffers encouraging them to come out. Response was that next year’s (1972) Stonewall story did NOT balance with anti-gay psychiatrists.

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1972
  • Barbara Jordan becomes the South’s first black congresswoman, representing Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. In later years, delivers a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. But although a lesbian, she was closeted and refused to support gay legislation, going so far as to deny that discrimination against gays was of equal weight to discrimination based on race. Retired in 1979 due to multiple sclerosis, died in 1996.
  • Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center opens.
  • Legislation - Ohio’s sodomy laws repealed. Hawaii decriminalizes consensual homosexual sex acts between adults. New York City Mayor John Lindsay issues an anti-bias order protecting city employees from discrimination based on homosexuality. San Francisco supervisors ban discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation for both the city and those doing business with the city.
  • The first gay studies program began at Sacramento State University.

    Media –
  • That Certain Summer, ABC made-for-TV movie, stars Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen as lovers.
  • Freelance activist, 19-year-old Mark Segal, upset that he couldn’t dance with gay partner on a dance show, raided in August an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia at 11 pm news hour when on air, “We have grievances,” thrown to floor and hands tied with mike cable. Front page story in Inquirer. Continues his actions against the Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas and Today shows.
  • The New Republic notes increasing gay clout in article, “The Gay Vote.”

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1973
  • Founding of the National Gay Task Force, later renamed the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
  • Jill Johnston’s, “Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution” is published.
  • Legislation - Ohio decriminalizes private consensual homosexual acts. North Dakota repeals sodomy laws. Seattle passes ordinance prohibiting employment discrimation against gays. Berkeley, CA , City Council prohibits companies doing business with the city from discriminating against gays. The American Baptist Assn, the American Lutheran Assn. the United Presbyterians, the United Methodists and the Society of Friends (Quakers) launch the National Task Force on Gay People in the Church.
  • Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund incorporates in Albany, New York.
  • The American Psychiatric Association declares that homosexuality per se is not a psychiatric disorder.

    Media –
  • Segal invades CBS News with Walter Cronkite. Charged with trespassing, actually got Cronkite to court, discusses gay coverage with him.

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1974
  • Society of Janus, one of the earliest social/support groups devoted to leather and S/M, is founded as a mixed-gender group by Cynthia Slater.
  • WomanShare, a lesbian collective near Grants Pass, OR is founded, one of the first in the rural, lesbian separatists movement in that state, the trend toward lesbians moving back to nature to live and work the land in communities. Others include Cabbage Lane in southern OR and A Woman's Place, founded in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, another region for lesbian separatist rural communities.
  • The Lesbian Herstory Archives open to the public in the New York apartment of Joan Nestle and Deborah Edel. In 1993, the Archives' large and growing collection moved to a Brooklyn brownstone.
  • Legislation: Minneapolis City Council passes a gay-rights ordinance. Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp issues the first state executive order banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A U.S. District court judge voids the reversal of a gay-rights ordinance approved by voters in Boulder, CO. City of Detroit bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • AT&T announces a nondiscrimination policy against gays.
  • Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States by taking a seat on the Ann Arbor City Council.

    Media –
  • May 6, 1974, Cronkite and CBS report on growing movement in cities to pass legal protections for gays, features /reports from 3 cities on state of gays.
  • Oct. 8, Marcus Welby episode “The Outrage” featured male science teacher who rapes a student. Gay activist Loretta Lotman joined with GAA to urge sponsors to withdraw, sound familiar? Mobilized grassroots campaign, first national campaign against the networks, by contacting 200 organizations. 7 major sponsors pulled out and demonstrations staged in cities nationwide. 17 affiliates dropped the program.
  • The New York Times runs “Homosexuals in New York: The Gay World.”

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1975
  • US Civil Service Commission announces it will no longer exclude homosexuals from government employment.
  • Elaine Noble becomes the first openly lesbian or gay legislator as she takes her seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
  • Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovitch, seeking to contest military’s ban against homosexuals, declares he is gay and is discharged. A veteran of three tours in Vietnam and a recipient of a Purple Heart and a Bronze star, he makes the cover of Time magazine, “I Am a Homosexual” as the lead story on the gay-rights movement. After contesting his discharge in court, he finally agrees to a settlement and drops the case.
  • Olivia Records is created to record lesbian feminist music. Artists include Cris Williamson, Holly Near, Meg Christian and others. When women’s music scene fades, the company is reborn in 1990 as Olivia Cruises.
  • Legislation: California decriminalizes all consensual sexual acts between adults. Washington state’s sodomy laws repealed.

    Media –
  • The Advocate reaches 50,000 circulation and is noted in Wall St. Journal article in November.

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1976
  • The first Michigan Women's Music Festival is held in Hart, Michigan. The festival is one of the largest and most visible lesbian events in the United States.
  • Redbird, a feminist lesbian community in Vermont lasts until 1979. Get Sagaris stuff, Women’s Feminist Federal Credit Union, book lists.
  • The Reverend Dolores Jackson co-founds Salsa Soul Sisters in New York City, now African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change.

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1977
  • Dade County, FL, gay rights ordinance sparks opposition from entertainer, former Miss America runner-up and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant that results in nationwide focus on the issue, repeal of the ordinance and a nationwide conservative backlash.

    Media –
  • Bob Kunst, a 1970s anti-war activist and radio show host who had helped create the Dade County Coalition for the Humanistic Rights of Gays to push for job discrimination protections for gays, recognizes in Bryant’s opposition an opportunity for national focus and coverage.

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1978
  • Michel Foucault’s "The History of Sexuality," Volume I appears in English and creates a sensation in U.S. academic circles.
  • Rootworks, another founded at Sunny Valley, OR, Jean and Ruth Mountaingrove create feminist magazine, WomanSpirit.
  • California State Sen. John Briggs introduces a ballot initiative to ban gay teachers from classrooms, again playing the theme of recruitment, “One third of San Francisco teachers are homosexual. I assume most of them are seducing young boys in toilets.” The measure is defeated by a 60% vote after widespread opposition to it voiced by media and politicians, including Reagan.
  • Gay-rights ordinances enacted in the past few years repealed, one after another city - St Louis , Wichita, Eugene, OR.
  • Gay activist Harvey Milk, also known as "Mayor of Castro Street," elected Nov. 7 to San Francisco board of supervisors. Twenty days later he and Mayor George Moscone murdered in City Hall by Supervisor Dan White. Milk becomes a gay martyr.

    Media –
  • A Question of Love, ABC made-for-TV movie airs in November with Jane Alexander and Gena Rowlands and based on lesbian mother Mary Jo Risher and her struggle for custody of her children. Represents part of trend toward more positive TV images of gays and lesbians as a direct result of gay activists, considered by TV execs to be the most organized and effective of all special-interest groups.
  • “Gays and the City,” 13-part series runs in San Francisco Examiner, beginning Oct. 30, the most in-depth look at homosexuality up until then.

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1979
  • Over 100,000 people take part in the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Oct. but coverage is skimpy.
  • Off-duty police officers force their way into a San Francisco dyke bar, Peg's, beat the bouncer and harass women. Results in immediate and widespread censure but none of the officers involved are punished.
  • Lesbian and Gay Asian Alliance founded, in part, to address impact of racism on gay and lesbian communities and activism.

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1980s

Trends

  • AIDS crisis brings a dramatic end to the high-flying disco years and gay rights advances. The decade begins with a mysterious new disease that is, at first, ignored by both mainstream and gay press. Government and media inaction and indifference results in the creation of new gay service and activist organizations, such as the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York and APLA in Los Angeles. Not until actor Rock Hudson’s death in 1985 from AIDS is the disease recognized as a major news story. The result is two years of heightened, stellar coverage that begins to decline by the late 1980s as the fatalities toll continues to mount with no “cure” in sight.
  • The advancement of Intellectual study of gay and lesbian issues and political thought continues with the establishment of programs in universities and colleges.
  • U.S. Supreme Court in Bowers v. Hardwick hands down one of the most devastating setbacks for gay rights of the entire decade. By a vote of 5-to-4, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia's sodomy law and ruled that "there is no Constitutional right to engage in homosexual sodomy." “It is the very act of homosexual sodomy that epitomizes moral delinquency,” Georgia’s attorney general, Michael Bowers argued. At the time, 24 states and the District of Columbia had sanctions against sodomy. Five years later, during a speech at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun admitted that the court “decided on the result it wanted and then went after it.”

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1980
  • Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos (GLLU) founded from which Lesbianas Unidas, originally a GLLUI committee, becomes a separate group in 1984.

    Media –
  • “Gay Power, Gay Politics” presented April 26 by CBS Reports and produced by George Crile, draws criticism for inaccuracies and slanting of news.

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1981
  • Center for Disease Control reports in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on June 5 about five men with rare form of pneumonia, Pneumocystis carinii. On July 3, CDC issues a second advisory on Kaposi’s sarcoma, 20 cases in New York, six in California.
  • Larry Kramer and others found the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the first grassroots AIDS service organization in the country. Targets media for more coverage.

    Media –
  • Both gay and mainstream press are slow to cover early stages of AIDS.
  • Lawrence Mass, gay physician and writer, publishes first mention of AIDS in New York Native, “Disease Rumors Largely Unfounded,” May 18. L.A. Times ran first mention in mainstream American press on day June 5, day of CDC’s first report, “Outbreak of Pneumonia Among Gay Males Studied.” San Francisco Chronicle article on June 6, Advocate runs in July. New York Times runs first story July 3, "Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals." Mass continues articles in the Native.
  • The Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press is founded by Barbara Smith, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Hattie Gossett, and Myrna Bain in New York City. That same year, Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua co-edit "This Bridge Called My Back: The Writings of Radical Women of Color."
  • Christine Madsen, lesbian journalist is fired after seven years employment from Christian Science Monitor because she is gay.

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1982
  • GRID which implies it is restricted to gay men, is changed to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). Death toll at more than 200.
  • AIDS Project Los Angeles is founded and later becomes the second largest such organization in the Untied States.

    Media –
  • Response to AIDS still slow from mainstream media, even by end of year with more than 300 dead and 800 infected.
  • AIDS makes front page for first time in L.A. Times story May 31, “Mysterious Fever Now an Epidemic.” SF Examiner front page Oct. 24. Journal front page Dec. 10 when a 2-year-old girl comes down with AIDS from a transfusion. Advocate cover in Feb. plus assignment of Nathan Fain to health with focus on AIDS.
  • First network mention, NBC, June, Tom Brokaw: CDC study shows that the lifestyle of some male homosexuals has triggered an epidemic of a rare form of cancer.

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1983
  • Researchers discover the virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV) that causes AIDS.

    Media –
  • Failure of NY Times to cover April fundraiser for Gay Men’s Health Crisis in Madison Square Garden which filled the 11,000 seat stadium and was covered by AP, UPI, newspapers in other cities, and television, prompts delegation to discuss with Times Exec. Ed. Abe Rosenthal. Result is apology from Rosenthal.
  • Randy Shilts assigned to cover AIDS for San Francisco Chronicle, first reporter from a mainstream paper.

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1984
  • Legislation: Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn signs an executive order protecting gays in city employment and city. Berkeley, CA, City Council passes a domestic partnership bill granting equal benefits to long-term gay and unmarried heterosexual couples.
  • West Hollywood incorporates and a majority of openly gay City Council members are elected, making it the first gay-run city.

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1985
  • The Times of Harvey Milk, a documentary about the career and the murder of the gay San Francisco city supervisor, wins an Academy Award. The first test to detect HIV is licensed in the United States. Nearly 9,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, half of them already dead. By end of year, AIDS now has killed 6,000 and 12,000 cases reported.
  • In July, actor Rock Hudson acknowledges that he has AIDS and in October is announced dead. The news marks a watershed in AIDS coverage, prompting widespread public attention on the epidemic.

    Media –
  • Washington Blade runs 11-part series in spring (pre-Hudson death) on Washington lawyer with AIDS.
  • New York gay and lesbian writers organize to create the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Defamation League, later changed to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Hold a town hall meeting in Nov. that attracts 700.

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1986
  • In Bowers v. Hardwick, the Supreme Court rules that the Constitution allows states to pass and enforce sodomy laws targeting homosexuals.
  • Conservative activist Terry Dolan dies of AIDS. His funeral is attended by conservative political associates such as Senator Orrin Hatch and Pat Robertson, as well as by Dolan's gay friends.
  • Lyndon LaRouche’s measure calling for mandatory tattoing fails in California.

    Media –
  • GLAAD holds demonstration at New York Post with 500 demonstrators who protest anti-gay op-ed pieces and editors agree to meet, the first success for GLAAD.
  • In October Abe Rosenthal retires and next year, the NY Times lifts ban on the use of “gay” instead of “homosexual.” Under new editor Frankel, Times AIDS coverage increases with a four-part, page one series.

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1987
  • ACT UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) is founded in New York City after a galvanizing speech by Larry Kramer. The group's tactics rejuvenate lesbian and gay activism.
  • Professor John Boswell helps form the Lesbian and Gay Studies Center at Yale University.
  • National Latino(a) Lesbian and Gay Activists is created in Oct. which later becomes Latino(a) Lesbian & Gay Organization- LLEGO.
  • Second gay March on Washington features unveiling of the AIDS quilt and attracts 200,000 but no coverage from Newsweek, Time or US News & World Report.

    Media –
  • "And the Band Played On," an account of the AIDS crisis written by San Francisco Chronicle reporter RandyShilts, is published and becomes a best seller.

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1988
  • October, ACT UP stages a "die-in" in the street in front of FDA headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. More than 1,000 people participate in the nine-hour protest; 176 are arrested.
  • The governing board of the City College of San Francisco approves the creation of the first gay and lesbian studies department in the United States.

    Media –
  • Victor Zonana gets AIDS beat at L.A. Times.

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1989
Media –
  • AIDS coverge drops substantially, by about two-thirds compared to 1987. Reason is that editors believe nothing new, no cure, too depressing.
  • Roy Aarons undertakes American Society of Newspaper Editors survey of gay journalists.
  • San Francisco Examiner runs “Gay in America” series from June 4 to June 25.

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1990s

Trends

  • Legislative houses, both state and federal, become a battleground, with legislation sponsored by both gay-rights advocates and anti-gay or pro-family conservatives. The seesawing battle reaches down into the local level with actions taken by municipalities and school boards with pro- or anti-gay measures. The result is a national quilt of measures that engage local gay activists and national gay organizations, with their conservative counterparts doing the same thing.
  • Gay political issues become issues of national political significance. Among them: gays in the military, gay marriage, adoption of children by gays, extension of employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians and extension of hate crimes to include crimes against gays and lesbians.
  • The entertainment industry begins to portray gay and lesbian characters with more depth and more frequency, while gays and lesbians in the entertainment industry “come out.” Some backlash ensues.
  • Gay journalists organize and create their own group, NLGJA, to work toward balanced and fair coverage of gays and lesbians, greater visibility within mainstream newsrooms of gay and lesbian reporters, improvement of workplace conditions and networking and support. NLGJA unlocks a voice from within the industry for the first time to create an internal watchdog for balance and fairness whenever gay coverage issues arise. Before creation of the group, gay and lesbian stories and issues perceived and defined by a class of journalists who could not know or understand the subtleties of language, nuance, cultural shadings, aspirations of gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Or gay activists or gay press veterans outside the media establishments petitioned for balanced coverage but carried the mantle of “special interests“ or lobbyists who often did not understand how newsrooms worked or the values and forces at play. Just as blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native-Americans had created their own journalism groups before the NGLJA to perform the same function, the NLGJA gave a voice to gay and lesbian media employees who could provide sourcing, depth and context to unfolding stories, which in the 90s, was to be at the heart of American discourse and among the most contentious of social issues.

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1990
  • "Common Threads," a film about five people with AIDS wins best documentary at the Academy Awards.
  • Outweek magazine makes national headlines with “The Secret Gay Life of Malcolm Forbes.”
  • "Queer Nation" founded in June and July.
  • Legislation: In April, President George Bush signs into law the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, requiring the federal government to keep track of crimes relating to sexual orientation, as well as other bias. Several states and communities passed tougher laws against anti-gay crimes, including California, Iowa, Connecticut, Atlanta, St. Louis and Montgomery County, MD
  • Policies restricting the immigration of lesbians and gays to the United States are rescinded. Immigration restrictions on people with HIV and AIDS, however, remain in place.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District approves use of GLAAD 's Anti-Homophobia curriculum in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League's "A World of Difference" program.

    Media –
  • The American Society of Newspaper Editors announces the result of a survey of gay and lesbian journalists, “Alternatives: Gays and Lesbians in the Newsroom,” which prompts creation of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Assn. The process and the result. Coming out, forming NLGJA, Aug 1990.
  • Out/Write 90, first national Lesbian and Gay Writers Conference is held.
  • Term "outing" is coined by Time magazine to describe Michelangelo Signorile's campaign to identify closeted celebrities and elected officials.
  • KGO-TV reporter Paul Wynne, who has AIDS, tapes weekly segments as his illness progresses. Robert O’Boyle, Seattle Times reporter does same thing with a weekly column, “Living with AIDS,” from June to Feb. 1992.
  • CBS-TV suspends Andy Rooney for three months and reprimands him after GLAAD protests his homophobic statements on 60 Minutes in Dec. 89 and Rooney responds with a letter of apology in which he insults African Americans “I’ve believed all along that most people are born with equal intelligence, but blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones that have the most children. They drop out of school early, do drugs, and get pregnant.” Gays upset because network takes action for racist, but not homophobic remarks.

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1991
  • Lesbian Natural Resources, nonprofit founded to help keep the feminist lesbian collective movement going by awarding grant money to those who start new communities or try to revitalize older ones.
  • Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Angels in America, A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," plays in Los Angeles before going on to Broadway and winning the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for drama.
  • Linda Villarosa, Essence magazine’s senior editor, reveals to readers that she is a lesbian. She goes on to become executive editor in 1994.
  • The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies is formally established at the City University of New York.
  • Karen Thompson is named legal guardian of her lover, Sharon Kowalski, eight years after a car accident left Kowalski paralyzed and speech-impaired. Kowalski's family had refused to recognize the pair's relationship, and the ruling was a major victory for lesbian and gay couples.
  • The Advocate reports that Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams, who represents a military that ousts gay employees, is himself gay.
  • In August 1991, Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist who now directs the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education in Southern California, published in the magazine Science findings from autopsies of men and women of known sexual preference. He found that a tiny region in the center of the brain--the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH) 3--was, on average, substantially smaller in nineteen gay men who died from AIDS than among sixteen heterosexual men. The observation that the male brain could take two different forms, depending on one's sexual preference, was a stunning discovery.
  • Three same-sex couples apply to the Hawaii’s State Department of Health for marriage licenses and are denied. They sue the State the next year, contending that Hawaii's marriage law is unconstitutional because it bars same-sex couples from obtaining the same marriage rights afforded heterosexuals and denies them equal rights.

    Media –
  • Roy Aarons retires from the Oakland Tribune and travels around the country speaking to gay and lesbian journalists. By the time the NLGJA newsletter is created, chapters exist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Seattle and Texas.

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1992
  • Colorado passes the anti-gay Amendment 2, which seeks to throw out gay-rights legislation in various Colorado cities, thus allowing discrimination in housing and employment, and to ban such legislation in the future.
  • Deb Price, Detroit News Washington editor, begins gay and lesbian issues column, a first for general-circuulation daily newspapers.
  • Gay rights legislation is passed in seven states – California, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
  • The National Lesbian and Gay Law Assn. becomes an affiliate of the American Bar Assn.
  • Black lesbian poet Audre Lorde dies of breast cancer. At the time of her death, she was the poet laureate of New York State.

    Media –
  • With marketing reports that suggest gays have more expendable income than heterosexuals, mainstream advertisers began funneling money into gay publications, like "The Advocate", whose advertising revenues nearly double, and newcomers "Genre", "Deneuve" (now called "Curve"), and "Out."
  • Garrett Glaser comes out on air while hosting PBS’ gay magazine, In the Life.
  • GLAAD conducts an exit poll during the 1992 general elections to assess how the lesbian and gay community voted, with the Los Angeles Times reporting the results.

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1993
  • The Third Lesbian and Gay March on Washington draws over 1 million participants.
  • Senator Sam Nunn's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for the US military becomes law. The law includes the determination that "persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" are an "unacceptable risk" for inclusion in the military. Witch hunts against gay men and lesbians in the military continue to this day.
  • Robert Achtenberg is named an administrator in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the highest-level federal appointment for an open lesbian.
  • GLAAD and Hollywood Supports initiate "Sexual Orientation in the Workplace" seminars for the entertainment industry.
  • The Hawaii state high court finds that the marriage law prohibits the couples from getting a license because of their sex; the justices say this may deny the couples their equal protection rights under the Hawaii Constitution. The case is sent back to circuit court to resolve the issue.

    Media –
  • Canadian cartoonist Lynn Johnston introduces a gay character into her nationally syndicated strip, "For Better or For Worse," and 19 papers cancel the strip, 40 ask for substitutions.
  • The movie, "Philadelphia," which deals with an attorney facing job discrimination because of AIDS, opens in theaters. Actor Tom Hanks goes on to win an Academy Award for his performance.
  • GLAAD works in coalition with MANAA (Media Action Network for Asian Americans) to protest negative stereotypes in the film "Rising Sun."

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1994
  • John Boswell's "Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe" provokes widespread public debate, moving concepts in lesbian and gay studies out of the "ivory tower" and into the public eye.
  • Martina Navratilova retires from tennis, having won nine Wimbledon singles titles in her career. She continues her work as highly-visible gay-rights activist, as she did after coming out in 1991.
  • Wisconsin representative Steve Gunderson becomes the first Republican Congressman to come out.
  • A federal court orders Army colonel and former Vietnam nurse Maragethe Cammermeyer reinstated to the National Guard.
  • The Hawaii state legislature reacts to the Hawaii Supreme Court decision by amending the marriage law to specify that marriage is between a man and a woman. Other states soon follow with laws defining marriage.

    Media –
  • The Washington Blade reports similarities in a series of murders along the East Coast and FBI credits the gay paper with being the first to suggest the crimes are the work of a serial killer targeting gay men.
  • Journalist Steven Gendel outs himself during an NBC broadcast on the Stonewall Celebration.
  • Roseanne TV episode features a kiss between two women.

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1995
  • President Bill Clinton signs an executive order forbidding the denial of security clearances on the basis of sexual orientation. Being closeted and vulnerable to blackmail, however, is still a possible grounds for a clearance denial.

    Media –
  • "Unspeakable, The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America," written by American University professor Rodger Streitmatter, is published.

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1996
  • President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, denying federal benefits to same-sex spouses should gay marriage ever become legal, and creating an exception to the US Constitution to allow states to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states.
  • Kelli Peterson founds a Gay-Straight Alliance at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. The city school board bans all "non-curricular" student clubs in order to keep the group from meeting.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court in Roemer v. Evans overturns Colorado's Amendment 2, which prohibited state and local gay rights ordinances. In ruling that "a state cannot so deem a class of person a stranger to its laws," the court held that gay-rights laws were not creating "special rights" for homosexuals, as conservatives argued, but guaranteeing gay men and lesbians the same rights enjoyed by all Americans, rights to which they are equally entitled. Constitutional scholars believe it provides a way to argue for expansion of other gay rights.
  • San Francisco ordinance allowing gay couples to be recognized as domestic partners spurs hundreds to register.
  • The Employment Non-Discrimination Acts is defeated in the U.S. Senate.
  • The full AIDS quilt, 43 tons and the size of 43 football fields, is displayed on the Washington Mall, bringing 1.2 million viewers.
  • Candace Gingrich, half-sister of House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is grand marshal of the Long Beach,CA, gay and lesbian pride parade.

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1997
  • Television comedian Ellen Degeneres, a lesbian herself, has her TV character also come out, spiking ratings and drawing advertiser pullouts.
  • Designer Gianni Versace is murdered, sparking sensational stories on Andrew Cunanan, his murderer, and the gay community.

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1998
  • The East High School Gay-Straight Alliance's suit against the Salt Lake City School Board goes to trial in Utah.
  • Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, is elected to the House of Representatives, the first open lesbian,non-incumbent candidate to be so.
  • "Gay Parent" magazine begins online.
  • The Oct. 6 death of Matthew Shepard, murdered because he is gay, beaten and left tied to a fence for 18 hours, prompts nationwide vigils and demonstrations. More outrage ensues when religious conservatives picket Shepard’s funeral carrying anti-gay placards. Shephard’s death sparks a Washington, D.C. march and a renewed push for gay hate crime legislation.
  • Legislation: Alaska and Hawaii votes approve measures to block same-sex marriages.
  • In June, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) calls homosexuality a "sin," likening lesbian and gay people to alcoholics, sex addicts and kleptomaniacs. GLAAD issues a statement, compiles quotes from some 35 progressive organizations denouncing the remarks and posts the compendium online, providing an important resource to journalists and community members.
  • A national ad campaign is launched in July by religious political extremists promoting so-called "conversion" for lesbians and gay men. In August, GLAAD meets with Newsweek editors and staff to discuss the news magazine's problematic coverage of the ad campaign which ran throughout July and August promoting "conversion" for lesbians and gay men.
  • In Dec. GLAAD coordinates a meeting with newly appointed Washington Post ombudsman, Pulitzer-Prize winner E.R. Shipp, to discuss diversifying coverage, using accurate terminology and other issues of inclusiveness.
  • Two-thirds of Hawaii voters pass a measure to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a compact between a man and woman. A similar measure passed that year in Alaska.

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1999
  • June ceremony held in Greenwich Village as the Stonewall Inn is officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the first gay site in the country to be listed.
  • The Vermont Supreme Court rules that the state must grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.
  • In December, Vermont's Supreme Court ruled that gay couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual married couples, but it stopped short of legalizing gay marriage and left that to lawmakers

    Media –
  • Hilary Swank wins the best actress Oscar for her role in "Boys Don’t Cry," a film based on the story of a woman who lived as a young man.
  • Fox Files – “Gay Underworld” draws fire from GLAAD and represents part of trend toward sensationalist, tabloid TV
               
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