This timeline has been assembled by Vicki Torres, adjunct instructor,
Annenberg School for Communication.
1970 · 1971 · 1972
· 1973 · 1974 ·
1975 · 1976 · 1977
· 1978 · 1979
1980 · 1981 · 1982
· 1983 · 1984 ·
1985 · 1986 · 1987
· 1988 · 1989
1990 · 1991 · 1992
· 1993 · 1994 ·
1995 · 1996 · 1997
· 1998 · 1999
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 its 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 doesnt 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 womens publishing companies, such as
Diana and Naiad, are created to produce womens music and fiction.
to the top]
- 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 Vidals 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 Friedans statement that lesbians represented a lavender
menace to the womens movement.
- NBC-TV shows a six-part series on homosexuality as part of its newscast,
- 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 Harpers 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
- 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.
to the top]
- Legislation Oregon repeals sodomy laws. California repeals
castration as punishment for repeat sex offenders. Homosexuality decriminalized
- 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.
- 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 Millers 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
- Article on Daughters of Bilitis, following story on feminist Kate
Milletts 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 years (1972) Stonewall story did NOT balance with anti-gay
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- Barbara Jordan becomes the Souths 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 - Ohios 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.
- 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 couldnt
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
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- Founding of the National Gay Task Force, later renamed the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
- Jill Johnstons, Lesbian Nation: The Feminist Solution
- 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
- The American Psychiatric Association declares that homosexuality per
se is not a psychiatric disorder.
- Segal invades CBS News with Walter Cronkite. Charged with trespassing,
actually got Cronkite to court, discusses gay coverage with him.
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- 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
- 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.
to the top]
- 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
militarys 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
womens music scene fades, the company is reborn in 1990 as Olivia
- Legislation: California decriminalizes all consensual sexual acts
between adults. Washington states sodomy laws repealed.
- The Advocate reaches 50,000 circulation and is
noted in Wall St. Journal article in November.
to the top]
- 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, Womens Feminist Federal Credit Union, book
- The Reverend Dolores Jackson co-founds Salsa Soul Sisters in New York
City, now African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change.
to the top]
- 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.
- 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 Bryants opposition an opportunity for national focus
to the top]
- Michel Foucaults "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.
- 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.
to the top]
- 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.
to the top]
- 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 Hudsons
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
- 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, Georgias 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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- Gay and Lesbian Latinos Unidos (GLLU) founded from which Lesbianas
Unidas, originally a GLLUI committee, becomes a separate group in 1984.
- Gay Power, Gay Politics presented April 26 by CBS Reports
and produced by George Crile, draws criticism for inaccuracies and slanting
to the top]
- 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 Kaposis
sarcoma, 20 cases in New York, six in California.
- Larry Kramer and others found the Gay Mens Health Crisis, the
first grassroots AIDS service organization in the country. Targets media
for more coverage.
- 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 CDCs 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
- 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.
to the top]
- 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.
- 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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- Researchers discover the virus (Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV)
that causes AIDS.
- Failure of NY Times to cover April fundraiser for Gay Mens 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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- 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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- 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.
- 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
to the top]
- 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 LaRouches measure calling for mandatory tattoing fails
- 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.
to the top]
- 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.
- "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.
to the top]
- 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
- Victor Zonana gets AIDS beat at L.A. Times.
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- 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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- 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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- "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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 OBoyle, 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 Ive 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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- 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 Kushners 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 magazines senior editor, reveals to
readers that she is a lesbian. She goes on to become executive editor
- 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 Hawaiis 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.
- 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.
to the top]
- 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.
- 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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- The Third Lesbian and Gay March on Washington draws over 1 million
- 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
- Robert Achtenberg is named an administrator in the Department of Housing
and Urban Development, the highest-level federal appointment for an
- 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
- 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
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- 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.
- 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
- Roseanne TV episode features a kiss between two women.
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- 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.
- "Unspeakable, The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian
Press in America," written by American University professor Rodger
Streitmatter, is published.
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- 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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- 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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- 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
Shepards funeral carrying anti-gay placards. Shephards death
sparks a Washington, D.C. march and a renewed push for gay hate crime
- Legislation: Alaska and Hawaii votes approve measures to block same-sex
- 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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- 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
- Hilary Swank wins the best actress Oscar for her role in "Boys
Dont 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