Civil rights timeline

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 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

 Illustration by  Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

1943 — The federal government enacts a law banning homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.

1951 — The California Supreme Court sides with The Black Cat Bar in Stouman v. Reilly, reinstating the Los Angeles bar’s right to serve alcohol to gay customers.

1952 — The American Psychiatric Association classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder.

1953 — Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” and continues to raise national awareness.

1957 — Allen Ginsberg beats obscenity charges for the homosexual content in “Howl and Other Poems.”

1959 — Customers at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles chase police officers out of the store because they continuously harass drag queens.

1966 — Steve Ginsberg (no relation to Allen Ginsberg) founds Personal Rights in Defense and Education (PRIDE) organization.

1967 — Police attack PRIDE members as they protest police raids of The Black Cat Bar; the group writes a newsletter that later becomes The Advocate.

1969 — Mattachine Society and the ACLU win their first lawsuits against employment discrimination in Scott v. Macy and Norton v. Macy.

1969 — Marginalized LGBTQ patrons at Stonewall Inn protest as police raid and arrest customers.

1970 — The first Gay Pride parades are held in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

1972 — Nancy Weschier and Jerry DeGrieck become first openly LGBTQ political office holders.

1978 -— Harvey Milk, San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and LGBTQ activist, is assassinated by city supervisor Dan White; White is later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

1979 — LGBTQ citizens from across the country hold March on Washington, demonstrating the massive changes since the Stonewall Riots.

1982 — The Village Voice newspaper in New York becomes the first company to offer health and benefits to same-sex partners of employees.

 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

1986 — Criminalization of same-sex relationships is upheld by U.S. Supreme Court decision Bowers v. Hardwick.

1987 — About 40,000 Americans are diagnosed and 20,000 have died from HIV or AIDS; NAMES Project Foundation AIDS Memorial Quilt honoring victims of the disease is unveiled.

1988 — First World AIDS Day is held to bring all citizens together in the fight against HIV and to honor those who were lost to the disease.

1989 — U.S. Supreme Court rules it is in violation of the Civil Rights Act to discriminate based on a person’s unwillingness to meet socially constructed gender expectations in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.

1993 — The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is formed to uplift LGBTQ military personnel.

1994 — Arthur Dong’s documentary film “Coming Out Under Fire” highlights the difficulties faced by LGBTQ armed forces employees under Directive 1332.14, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

1996 — Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is signed into federal law, which denies same-sex couples the benefits and liberties awarded to heterosexual couples.

1999 — A federal court in Utah rules that a school denying students the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is in violation of the Federal Equal Access Act, meaning that students must be granted use of facilities and equal funds to produce their local GSA.

2000 — Transgender people are represented at the National March on Washington for the first time.

2004 — California passes legislation preventing people from employing the victim-blaming tactic after the murderers of Gwen Araujo, a transgender woman, attempted to use a “gay panic” defense.

2004 — Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that DOMA is unconstitutional and becomes the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

2008 — The murder of Angie Zapata, a transgenderwoman, results in the first homicide conviction to cite a bias-related crime against a transgender person.

2009 — After 12 years of pushback, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) is created to expand federal protection to those who experience a hate crime based on perceived gender, sexual orientation or disability.

 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

2010 — “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is officially repealed; however, the military upholds these policies until the court forces it to stop in 2011.

2015 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a fundamental civil right to marry and legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

Source: ONE Archives Foundation, the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States


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