LGBTQ LGBTQ History | Victories | Setbacks

As an out gay man I created this page in a way of exploration of my community and a self-discovery of LGBT history. The information on this page came from many sources and all effort has been put in to establish authenticity, accuracy and to give credit where credit is due. A list of references is listed at the bottom of the page for further research, and to credit the wonderful people that made this possible. I have also included links to support the information and to give the reader a path to further their research.

For more information contact me at Raymond.Allen@Atomic-Training.com


LGBTQ Timeline

1880 - From slave to Queen: The extraordinary life of William Dorsey Swann who was born into slavery in the 1800s and became the 'first drag queen to fight for queer freedom'.

William Dorsey Swann



1917- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Immigration. The immigration laws: Act of February 5th 1917. This included the wording to exclude homosexuals from immigration to U.S. based on their status as “persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority."

1924 - The Society for Human Rights was formed. The first documented gay rights organization in the United States was created and charted by the State of Illinois.

Society for Human Rights Charter

1948 - Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,”: revealing to the public that homosexuality is far more widespread than was commonly believed.

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

1949 - Hormone Therapy is pioneered by San Francisco physician Harry Benjamin. This procedure pioneers the use of hormone therapy in the treatment of transsexual patients.

San Francisco physician Harry Benjamin



1950 - The Mattachine Society is formed by activist Harry Hay and is one of the first sustained gay rights groups in the United States. The focus is on social acceptance and other support for homosexuals.

Mattachine Society

1950 - The report of the Investigation by the Junior Senator of Nebraska on the Infiltration of Subversives and Moral Perverts into the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government is released.

1951 - Rosenberg Espionage Case Prosecution, and Sundry Atomic Energy Matters. Employment termination of Oak Ridge National Laboratory personnel director due to homosexual conduct. U.S. Congress. Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. Executive Session. Secret. JCAE document number CCLXXXVIII (Unpublished hearing), February 8, 1951. The significance of this event was Roy Cohn who was the lead counsel and became the chief architect of McCarthyism and the Lavender Scare. Cohn became chief counsel to Senator McCarthy.

1952 - The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a “sociopaths personality disturbance."

1952 - Christine Jorgensen creates awareness of Transgender Issues by being about her involvement in one of the first gender transition surgeries.

Christina Jorgensen

1953 - Executive Order 10450-Security requirements for Government employment. is released; this is the first inclusion of “sexual perversion” as basis for removal from federal employment.

1953 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order that bans homosexuals from working for the federal government saying they are a security risk.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

1955 - The first known lesbian rights organization in the United States forms in San Francisco. The Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), host private social functions.

1958 - Joe Cino, an Italian-American theater producer, opens Caffe Cino. Caffe Cino is credited with starting the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. Six years after Caffe Cino opens, it hosts the first gay plays, “The Madness of Lady Bright,” by Lanford Wilson, and “The Haunted Host," by Robert Patrick.”

Caffe Cino


1961 - Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexuality by repealing the sodomy laws.

1961 - The first US-televised documentary about homosexuality airs on a local station in California (The Rejected).


1966 - The Compton Cafeteria Riots. Trans women take a stand against discrimination and police harassment.

1966 - The Black Cat Raids. The Black Cat was originally constructed as a Safeway grocery market in 1939, but by the 1960s contained a gay bar and laundromat.

Black Cat Raids

1966 - The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco.

1967 - The “Los Angeles Advocate” founded in 1967, is renamed to “The Advocate” It is considered the oldest LGBTQ publication which began as a newsletter published by the activist group Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE).

1969 - The Stonewall Riots, was led by a group that includes transwoman Sylvia Rivera. She co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with fellow activist Marsha P. Johnson.

Sylvia Rivera



1970 - Community members in New York march through the streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The event is named “Christopher Street Liberation Day" and is considered to be the first gay Pride parade.

1973 - Lambda Legal becomes the first legal organization established to fight for equal rights of gays and lesbians.

1973 - The first meeting of “Parents and Friends of Gays” is held. This group goes national as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” (PFLAG).

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

1973 - The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the DSM-II Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

1973 - Maryland becomes first state to statutorily ban same-sex marriage.

1973 - Harvey Milk runs for city supervisor in San Francisco. He runs on a socially liberal platform and opposes government involvement in personal sexual matters. Milk comes in 10th out of 32 candidates, earning 16,900 votes, winning the Castro District and other liberal neighborhoods. He receives a lot of media attention for his passionate speeches, brave political stance, and media skills.

1974 - The Equality Act of 1974 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, and sexual orientation and other purposes.

1974 - Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly LGBTQ American elected to any public office. She wins a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council.

Kathy Kozachenko

1974 - Elaine Noble is the first openly gay candidate elected to a state office. She is elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature.

Elaine Noble

1975 - The first federal gay rights bill is introduced to address discrimination based on sexual orientation. This goes to judiciary committee but never brought for consideration.

1975 - Technical Sergeant Leonard P Matlovich reveals his sexual orientation to his commanding officer and is forcibly discharged from the Air Force.

Technical Sergeant Leonard P Matlovich

1975 - The Civil Rights Amendments of 1975 includes language to prohibit discrimination on the basis affection or sexual preference, and for other purposes.

Renee Richards

1976 - Renee Richards, after her sexual reassignment, is denied from competing in the women’s US Open because of a “women-born-women" rule.

1976 - M.T. v. J.T- The Superior Court of New Jersey rules that transsexual persons may marry on the basis of their gender identity, regardless of their assigned gender.

1976 - San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appoints Harvey Milk to the Board of Permit Appeals, making Milk the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk decides to run for the California State Assembly and Moscone is forced to fire him from the Board of Permit Appeals after just five weeks. Milk loses the State Assembly race by fewer than 4,000 votes. Believing the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will never support him politically, Milk co-founds the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club after his election loss.

San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk

1977 - New York Supreme Court rules in favor of Renee Richards. Richards gains the right to play professional tennis as a woman.

1977 - Activists in Miami, Florida pass a civil rights ordinance making sexual orientation discrimination illegal in Dade County. Save Our Children, a campaign by a Christian fundamentalist group and headed by singer Anita Bryant, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history, 70% vote to overturn the ordinance. It is a crushing defeat for gay activists.

Anita Bryant WCTV

1978 - Harvey Milk is inaugurated as San Francisco City Supervisor, the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California.

Harvey Milk San Francisco City Supervisor
Gilbert Baker

1978 - Gilbert Baker designs and stitches together the first rainbow Pride flag.

1978 - John Briggs drops out of the California governor's race, but receives support for Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative, a proposal to fire any teacher or school employee who publicly supports gay rights. Harvey Milk campaigns against the bill and attends every event hosted by Briggs. In the summer, attendance greatly increases at Gay Pride marches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, partly in response to Briggs. President Jimmy Carter, former Governor Ronald Reagan, and Governor Jerry Brown speak out against the proposition. On November 7, voters reject the proposition by more than a million votes.

John Briggs Prop 6

1978 - President Carter opposes California Proposition 6 (Briggs Initiative), which would have banned gays and lesbians from working in California public schools.

1978 - On November 27, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by Dan White, another San Francisco city supervisor, who had recently resigned and wanted his job back, but was being passed over because he wasn't the best fit for the liberal leaning Board of Supervisors and the ethnic diversity in White's district. San Francisco pays tribute to Harvey Milk by naming several locations after him, included Harvey Milk Plaza at the intersection of Market and Castro streets. The San Francisco Gay Democratic Club changes its name to the Harvey Milk Memorial Gay Democratic Club.

Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated

1979 - The first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, occurs. an estimated 75,000 to 125,000 individuals attend.

First March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights



1980 - At the 1980 Democratic National Convention held at New York City's Madison Square Garden, Democrats took a stance supporting gay rights, adding the following to their plank: "All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex or sexual orientation."

1981 -The CDC issues its first report on AIDS.

1982 - Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

1983 - Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass) becomes first openly gay member of Congress.

1984 - The city of Berkeley, California, becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits.

1986 - Bowers v. Hardwick decision upheld the constitutionality of sodomy laws.

1986 - Lou Sullivan Founds FTM International, the first advocacy groups for transgender men. He publicly challenges authority figures who claim transmen cannot be gay.

Lou Sullivan Founds FTM International

1988 - The Surgeon Generals “Understanding AIDS” letter is released.



1990 - In the Matter of Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass). Representative Barney Frank was “outed” during an investigation into an affair with a male prostitute.

Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass)

1990 - American Disability Act specified that the term “disabled” or “disability” shall not apply to transvestites.

1990 - U.S. Census includes an “Unmarried Partner” option.

1990 - Immigration Act of 1990 removes homosexuality as a reason to ban someone immigration to the U.S.

1991 - First appearance of the word “Lesbian” appears in Public Papers of the Presidents.

1991 - The documentary, Paris is Burning is released; a documentary film focused on gay and transgender ball culture in New York City.

Paris is Burning

1993 - The Department of Defense Directive "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" is implemented, barring opening gay and lesbian members from serving in the US Armed Forces.

1993 - Transman Brandon Teena is raped and murdered. This inspired the movie "Boys Don’t Cry" and prompts a national movement to incorporate anti-transgender hate crimes into future hate crime legislation.

Brandon Teena

1993 - On April 25, an estimated 800,000 to one million people participate in the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. Several events such as art and history exhibits, public service outings and workshops are held throughout Washington, DC leading up the event. Jesse Jackson, RuPaul, Martina Navratilova, and Eartha Kitt are among the speakers and performers at a rally after the march. The march is a response to “Don't Ask Don't Tell”, Amendment 2 in Colorado, as well as rising hate crimes and ongoing discrimination against the LGBT community.

1994 - The first use of “Transgender” appears in Congressional Record.

1995 - The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act is approved. This increases penalties for hate crimes, including actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation.

1996 - The Defense of Marriage Act defined marriage as between one woman/one man and allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

1996 - In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court strikes down Colorado's Amendment 2, which denied gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, calling them “special rights.” According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, “We find nothing special in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These protections . . . constitute ordinary civil life in a free society.”

1997 - Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a Lesbian on the cover of Time magazine stating “Yep, I’m Gay."

Ellen Comes Out

1998 - Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King asks the civil rights community to help in the effort to extinguish homophobia.

1998 - Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence and beaten near Laramie, Wyoming.

Matthew Shepard

1998 - Rita Hester is murdered in Massachusetts. This inspires the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and the first international Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Rita Hester

1999 - President Clinton makes the first Presidential Proclamation of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

1999 - The first Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is celebrated.



2000 - Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, upheld the rights to free association, allowing organizations to exclude LGBT people.

2000 - Vermont becomes the first state to legalize civil-unions between same-sex couples.

2001 - J’Noel Gardiner’s Inheritance Case is adjudicated. The Kansas Supreme Court refuses to allow transwomen J'Noel Gardiner to inherit her husband's property. The court ruled that because Gardiner wasn’t biologically female, her subsequent marriage to a man was invalid.

2002 - Transgender Law Center begins work to change law, policy and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity and expression.

2002 - The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is founded. This provides the legal services, public education, and works towards trans-inclusive policy change through community organizing.

Sylvia Rivera

2003 - Lawrence v. Texas strikes down sodomy laws.

2003 - The National Center for Transgender Equality founded to advance the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.

2003 - In November, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that barring gays and lesbians from marrying violates the state constitution. The Massachusetts Chief Justice concluded that to “deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage” to gay couples was unconstitutional because it denied “the dignity and equality of all individuals” and made them “second-class citizens.” Strong opposition followed the ruling.

2004 - On May 17, same-sex marriages become legal in Massachusetts.

2004 - The first legal same-sex marriage in the United States takes place in Massachusetts.

2005 - California legislature becomes the first to pass a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes the bill.

2005 - Civil unions become legal in Connecticut in October.

2006 - The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.

2007 - Candis Cayne, a transwomen, stars in Dirty Sexy Money playing the girlfriend of Billy Baldwin’s character.

Candis Cayne

2007 - The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is revised and gender identity protections are controversially stripped from the 2007 version. The updates ultimately fail, and future versions of ENDA beginning in 2009 include gender identity.

2007 - In November, the House of Representatives approves a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

2008 - In February, a New York State appeals court unanimously votes that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York, granting same-sex couples the same rights as other couples

2008 - In February, the state of Oregon passes a law that allows same-sex couples to register as domestic partners allowing them some spousal rights of married couples.

2008 - On May 15, the California Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. By November 3rd, more than 18,000 same-sex couples have married. On November 4, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage called Proposition 8. The attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, asked the state's Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The ban throws into question the validity of the more than 18,000 marriages already performed, but Attorney General Brown reiterated in a news release that he believed the same-sex marriages performed in California before November 4 should remain valid, and the California Supreme Court, which upheld the ban in May 2009, agreed, allowing those couples married under the old law to remain that way.

2008 - Voters approve Proposition 8 in California which makes same-sex marriage illegal.

2008 - On October 10, the Supreme Court of Connecticut rules that same-sex couples have the right to marry. This makes Connecticut the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples. The court rules that the state cannot deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry under Connecticut's constitution, and that the state's civil union law does not provide same-sex couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

2008 - Angie Zapata is murdered in Colorado; her killer is the first to be convicted of a hate crime for violence perpetrated against a transwoman.

Angie Zapata

2008 - Isis King is the first trans model to be featured on the reality competition “Americas Next Top Model."

Isis King

2009 - On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejects the state law banning same-sex marriage. Twenty-one days later, county recorders are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

2009 - On April 7, the Vermont Legislature votes to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry, legalizing same-sex marriage. It is the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature; the courts of the other states in which the marriage is legal—Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa—gave approval.

2009 - On May 6, the governor of Maine legalized same-sex marriage in that state in Maine; however, citizens voted to overturn that law when they went to the polls in November, and Maine became the 31st state to ban the practice.

2009 - On June 3, New Hampshire governor John Lynch signs legislation allowing same-sex marriage. The law stipulates that religious organizations and their employees will not be required to participate in the ceremonies. New Hampshire is the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

2009 - On June 17, President Obama signs a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits. They will not be allowed full health coverage, however. This is Obama's first major initiative in his campaign promise to improve gay rights.

President Obama

2009 - Harvey Milk posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Harvey Milk at Mayor Moscone"s desk

2009 - The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into law.

2009 - Chaz Bono announces transition at age 40.

Chaz Bono


2010 - March 3, Congress approves a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.

2010 - Hearings are held on the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." The policy concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces is (repealed/phased out) over the next several years.

2010 - Proposition 8 is found unconstitutional by a federal judge.

2010 - Gender identity is listed in the federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

2010 - VH1 debuts TRANSform Me; Laverne Cox becomes the first African American transgender woman to produce and star in her own TV show.

Laverne Cox

2010 - Amanda Simpson is named senior advisor in the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, and the first openly transgender Presidential appointee.

Amanda Simpson

2011 - U.S. presses for LGBT human rights around the world.

2011/2012- The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

2011 - June 24, New York passes a law to allow same-sex marriage. New York is now the largest state that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry. The vote comes on the eve of the city's annual Gay Pride Parade and gives new momentum to the national gay-rights movement. The marriage bill is approved with a 33 to 29 vote. Cheering supporters greet Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he arrives on the Senate floor to sign the measure at 11:55pm, just moments after the vote. After making same-sex marriage one of his top priorities, Cuomo emerges as a true champion of gay rights.

2012 - February 7, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California rules 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the ruling, the court says, the law "operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority's private disapproval of them and their relationships."

2012 - February 13, Washington becomes the seventh state to legalize gay marriage.

2012 - March 1, Maryland passes legislation to legalize gay marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.

2012 - May 9, President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said. He makes the statement days after Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both came out in support of gay marriage.

2012 - The Miss Universe Pageant reverses course and opens competition to all women after disqualifying Canadian contestant Jenna Talackova, a transwomen.

Jenna Talackova

2012 - Founder of Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) Kylar Broadus testifies before the U.S. Senate in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Kylar Broadus

2012 - Nov. 6, Tammy Baldwin, a seven-term Democratic congresswoman from Wisconsin, prevails over former governor Tommy Thompson in the race for U.S. Senate and becomes the first openly gay politician elected to the Senate. Also on Election Day, gay marriage is approved in a popular vote for the first time. Maine and Maryland vote in favor of allowing same-sex marriage. In addition, voters in Minnesota reject a measure to ban same-sex marriage.

Tammy Baldwin

2013 - Feb. 27, in a policy shift for party members, several Republicans back a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to rule that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. More than 100 Republicans are listed on the brief, including former New Hampshire Congressman Charles Bass and Beth Myers. Myers was a key adviser to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign. The brief is filed as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, as well as overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

2013 - March 26, the Supreme Court begins two days of historical debate over gay marriage. During the debate, the Supreme Court consider overturning Proposition 8, the California initiative banning same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed during Bill Clinton's presidency, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court's decision will be announced in June 2013.

2013 - April 29, Jason Collins of the NBA's Washington Wizards announces in an essay in Sports Illustrated that he is gay. "I'm a 34-year-old N.B.A. center. I'm black and I'm gay," he writes. "I've reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball. I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful." Collins is the first active athlete in the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB to make the announcement.

Jason Collins of the NBA's Washington Wizards

2013 - May 2, after same-sex marriage legislation passes in both houses of Rhode Island's legislature, Governor Lincoln Chafee signs it into law. The new law, legalizing same-sex marriage, goes into effect on August 1, 2013.

2013 - May 7, Governor Jack Markell signs the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom act, legalizing same-sex marriage for the state of Delaware. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2013.

2013 - May 13, in Minnesota, the State Senate votes 37 to 30 in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The vote comes a week after it passes in the House. Governor Mark Dayton, a supporter of same-sex marriage, says he will sign the bill the following afternoon. Gay couples will be able to marry in Minnesota in August 2013.

2013 - June 26, the Supreme Court rules that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. In a 5 to 4 vote, the court rules that DOMA violates the rights of gays and lesbians. The court also rules that the law interferes with the states' rights to define marriage. It is the first case ever on the issue of gay marriage for the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. votes against striking it down as does Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. However, conservative-leaning Justice Anthony M. Kennedy votes with his liberal colleagues to overturn DOMA.

2013 - July 17, Queen Elizabeth II approves a same-sex marriage bill for England and Wales. Her approval comes a day after it passes in Parliament. While the queen's approval is simply a formality, her quick response clears the way for the first gay marriages to happen as soon as 2014 in England and Wales. The bill allows same-sex couples to marry in both religious and civil ceremonies. It also allows couples currently in a civil partnership to convert it into a marriage. Scotland is currently considering its own new legislation on same-sex marriage.

2013 - Aug. 1, Minnesota and Rhode Island begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this month.

2013 - Oct. 21, in an unanimous vote, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejects Gov. Chris Christie's request to delay the implementation date of same-sex weddings. Same-sex couples in New Jersey begin to marry. Just hours later, Christie drops his appeal to legalize same-sex marriages. Therefore, New Jersey becomes the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriages. To see a current list of all the states that have legalized same-sex marriage, go here.

2013 - Nov. 5, Illinois becomes the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the House of Representatives approves the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed the state Senate in February 2013. Governor Pat Quinn, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, will sign it into law. The new law will be implemented on June 1, 2014.

2013 - Nov. 12, Hawaii becomes the 16th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the Senate passes a gay marriage bill, which had already passed in the House. Governor Neil Abercrombie, a vocal supporter of gay marriage, says he will sign the bill. Beginning December 2, gay couples who are residents of Hawaii as well as tourists can marry in the state. Hawaii is already a very popular state for destination weddings. State Senator J. Kalani English says, "This is nothing more than the expansion of aloha in Hawaii." To see a current list of all the states that have legalized same-sex marriage, go here.

2014 - Jan. 6, The United States Supreme Court blocks any further same-sex marriages in Utah while state officials appeal the decision made by Judge Shelby in late December 2013. The block creates legal limbo for the 1,300 same-sex couples who have received marriage licenses since Judge Shelby's ruling.

2014 - Jan. 10, The Obama administration announces that the federal government will recognize the marriages of the 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah even though the state government has currently decided not to do so. In a video announcement on the Justice Department website, Attorney General Eric Holder says, "I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds." With federal approval, same-sex couples will be able to receive spousal benefits, like health insurance for federal employees and filing joint federal income tax returns.

Attorney General Eric Holder says, "I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages. These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."

2014 - May 19, Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Oregon when a U.S. federal district judge rules that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.

2014 - May 20, A judge strikes down the same-sex marriage ban in Pennsylvania, making the state the 18th to legalize gay marriage. The judge rules that Pennsylvania's 1996 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state is the last in the Northeast to legalize same-sex marriage. Before now, the state did not even recognize domestic partnerships or civil unions.

2014 - EEOC lawsuits on behalf of transgender employees are filed for the first time.

2014 - The United States Supreme court denies review in the five different marriage cases. This allows the lower court rulings to stand and allow same-sex couples to marry in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

2014 - Oct. 6, The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeals of rulings in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin that allowed same-sex marriage. The move paves the way for same-sex marriages in the five states. In fact, Virginia announced that unions would begin that day.

2014 - Nov. 12, The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request to block same-sex marriage in Kansas.

2014 - Nov. 19, A federal judge strikes down Montana's ban that same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

2014 - Nov. 20, The U.S. Supreme Court denies a request to block same-sex marriage in South Carolina. The ruling means South Carolina becomes the 35th U.S. state where same-sex marriage is legal.

2015 - Obergefell et al v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health established the fundamental right to marriage for same-sex couples.

2015 - Legislative responses to recognition of Same-Sex Marriage address potential religious implications.

2015 - Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces that the Military Equal Opportunity policy has been adjusted to include gay and lesbian military members.

2015 - The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. On June 6th the Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

2015 - July 27, The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ended its ban on gay adult leaders. The new policy was approved by the BSA National Executive Board by a 45-12 vote. The new policy did still allow church-sponsored Scout groups to ban gay adults for religious reasons.

2016 - A Presidential Proclamation establishes the Stonewall National Monument.

2016 - The National Park Guide "LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History" is published.

2016 - Secretary of Defense Carter announces that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military.

2016 - A record number of “out” athletes compete in the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Human Rights Campaign estimates there are at least 41 openly gay, lesbian and bisexual Olympians. This is up from 23+ LGBT+ athletes who participated in the London 2012 Olympics.

2017 - The State Department issues an apology for Lavender Scare.

2017 - The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees.

2017 - District of Columbia residents can choose a gender-neutral option on their driver’s license.

2017 - Removal of LGBT content from White House, Department of Labor, and State Department websites.

2017 - A Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security is issued, Prohibiting Transgender individuals from serving in the military.

2017 - Statement by the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Military Service by Transgender Individuals. Mattis clarifies that currently serving transgender personnel can continue serving while DoD develops a study and implementation plan.

2017 - Virginia voters elect the state’s first openly transgender candidate Danica Roem to the Virginia House of Delegates.

2018 - A Lesbian and Bisexual Health Fact Sheet is removed from the Health and Human Services (HHS) website.

2018 - The Pentagon confirms that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US Military.

2018 - Federal Register notice on NCVS Survey, DOJ proposes to stop asking 16-17-year-olds to disclose sexual orientation and gender identity on the National Crime Victimization Survey.

2018 - Masterpiece Cake shop, LTD v. Colorado Rights Commission; Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple because of religious objection.

2018 - Daniela Vega, the star of Oscar-winning foreign film “A Fantastic Woman," becomes the first openly transgender presenter in the Academy Awards.

2018 - The Trump administration announces a new policy that bans most transgender people from serving in the military.

2018 - Jared Polis, an out gay man, wins the Colorado governor’s race.

2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a law banning the use of the so-called Gay and Trans panic legal defense strategy.

2018 - Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay black man to win the Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series.

2019 - Grimm v Gloucester County School Board.

2020 to Present

2020 - The United States Supreme Court rules the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender Americans from workplace discrimination.


Head, T. (2019, November 13). A History of Transgender Rights in the United States. Retrieved from Thought Co: https://www.thoughtco.com/transgender-rights-in-the-united-states-721319

LGBTQ Rights Milestone Fast Facts. (2019, December 4). Retrieved from CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2015/06/19/us/lgbt-rights-milestones-fast-facts/index.html

LGTBQ History in Goverment Documents: TImeline of Documents. (2020, February 10). Retrieved from UC San Diego: https://ucsd.libguides.com/lgbtdocs/timeline

Townsend, M. (2012, November 19). Timeline: A Look Back at the History of Transgender Visibility. Retrieved from GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/blog/timeline-look-back-history-transgender-visibility


Created with images by Tony Ross - "Hand sewn and dyed dress, lots of messy paint, driving out at 4AM, laying in the street dodging sporadic traffic, pretty much the usual ;)" • Erik Witsoe - "Paris, France Summer There is so much to this city that I love, but the Musée d’Orsay is a special place that I love to go to when in the city and soak up the vast collection of amazing art. Of course, it is a must to stop by and take a look through the clock window." • Joshua Sortino - "Rise above. Show the world what you’re made of. Show the world you are special. Show the world you are beautiful. Show the world you can rise above." • Ryan De Hamer - "Cadillac Convertible Classic Interior" • Science in HD - "President Eisenhower receives an album of Atoms-for-Peace stamps." • Brad Pict - "Summer of love ( illustration)" • Jennifer Bonauer - "untitled image" • Jasmin_Sessler - "pride pride day rainbow" • suju - "chairs sit wood" • succo - "hammer books law" • Leighann Blackwood - "City Hall all dolled up for Pride Week" • nito - "young person with a transgender pride flag" • Wokandapix - "lgbtq equal lgbt" • Matt Popovich - "Pro-LGBT equality protesters were waving this flag outside the United States Supreme Court, on Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill, on the morning of June 26, 2015. Minutes later, a group of media pages sprinted across the marble plaza, and cries of joy broke out from the crowd as reporters breathlessly announced the Court’s decision in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges: same-sex marriage had been ruled a fundamental constitutional right in all 50 states." • thedevilofLA - "beach lifeguard rainbow" • Denin Lawley - "untitled image" • Cecilie Johnsen - "Oslo Pride" • Ezio Gutzemberg - "Wedding Rings symbolizing the same sex marriage" • Sebastian Pichler - "untitled image" • Toni Reed - "Pride Parade in Calgary, Alberta Canada 2018" • Stavrialena Gontzou - "untitled image" • tookapic - "basketball spalding ball" • minka2507 - "wax figure queen elizabeth queen" • 272447 - "supreme court building usa" • ipse dixit - "DOMA and Prop 8 protestors outside Supreme Court, March 26, 2013." • WilliamCho - "justice statue lady justice" • Matt Seymour - "untitled image" • Drahomír Posteby-Mach - "untitled image" • Sharon McCutcheon - "Transgender letters for gender identity." • drmakete lab - "untitled image"