Gay Timeline

378 B.C. – The Theban leader Gorgidas created a company of 300 men, composed of pairs of lovers. They were known as the “sacred band” of Thebes. “… and such men as these, when fighting side by side, one might almost consider able to make even a little band victorious over all the world.” [Symposium]

130 – Antinous, lover of Emperor Hadrian, drowned, leading to his deification and production of numerous statues and memorials that remain to this day.  Antinous lived a short life from about 111 to 130. He was originally from what is today known as Turkey.

Friday, October 13, 1307 – At dawn on this date, King Philip IV of France ordered the leaders of the Knights Templar in France arrested.  Charges against the Knights included that they engaged in indecent kissing, and the order was said to have encouraged homosexual practices. It is unknown if this was actually true or just a made up claim, but most likely there was some substance to the claims.

1323 – Arnold of Verniolle, a Franciscan sub deacon, is convicted of sodomy and heresy. The court records provide an account of how someone like Arnold, who was attracted to young men, went about finding sexual partners in rural France in the early 1300s. Arnold was sentenced to live the remainder of his life imprisoned in chains with nothing but bread and water for sustenance.

1476 – Leonardo Da Vinci is twice anonymously denounced to Florentine  authorities for alleged acts of sodomy.  He is acquitted of the charges for lack of witnesses.

1492 – Florence, Italy, authorities conducted a purge against the “vice of sodomy.” Gay men at that time met up with one another at taverns, baths and buildings or places used for sex. The city’s leading criminal court issued several decrees associated with sodomy and on April 11, 1492 they warned the managers of bathhouses to keep out “suspect boys” on penalty of a fine. In the short period from April 1492 to February 1494 they convicted 44 men for homosexual relations not involving violence or aggravating circumstances.

1512 -With hints of an early Stonewall attitude, a large group of young men converge on the government palace in Florence, Italy to protest the crackdown on sodomy and to demand the release of men recently released.

1513 October 5 – Spanish conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa discovers a community of cross-dressing males in modern-day Panama and, according to eyewitnesses, feeds at least 40 of them to his dogs.

1514 – Authorities in Florence, influenced by youth protests, decrease the fines for sodomy convictions levied on men aged 18 through 25.  Studies of contemporary municipal court and population records indicate that as many as one Florence man in twelve would be charged with sodomy at some point in his youth. Florentine men were apparently very flexible in how they satisfied their needs.

1569 – Official Inquisition was created by Philip II, inflicted fines, spiritual penances, humiliation, and floggings for any homosexual activity.

1593 – Christopher Marlowe’s tragedy Edward II is probably the first play written in English to portray a male couple’s love relationship sympathetically.

1607 – The initial reports back to England about the settlements at Jamestown (initially settled by all men) described sailors stealing food and trading for sexual favors. By 1610, sodomy had become so widespread that a military order was adopted stating, “[n]o man shal [sic] commit the horrible, and detestable sinnes of Sodomie upon pain of death[.]”

1610 May 24 – The Virginia colony passes the first anti sodomy law of the American colonial period.

1624 November 30 – The first known death sentence related to sodomy is carried out in the American colonies when Richard Cornish, master of the ship Ambrose, is hanged in Virginia Colony. He was convicted of forcibly sodomizing his indentured servant, William Cowse, ship steward. Cowse was referred to as a “rasdcally boy” and two other men claimed that Cornish was wrongfully accused. The two men were severely punished for their support of Cornish.

1629Rev. Francis Higginson discovers “5 beastly Sodomiticall boyes [sic], which confessed their wickedness not to be named” on a ship bound for New England. The incident is reported to the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who sends the boys back to England for punishment. At that time, males over 14 years of age could be hanged for sodomy. It is not known what happened to the boys when they reached England.

1637 August 6John Allexander and Thomas Roberts were found guilty of “often spending their seed one upon the other.”

1646William Plaine was executed in Guilford, New Haven, Connecticut for masturbating more than 100 times with the young men of the community. When questioned about his activities he compounded his problems by questioning the existence of god.

1649 March 6 – Sarah Norman and Mary Hammond, two married women, are charged with lewd behavior. The charges are dropped against Hammond, who is younger. Norman receives a warning that her punishment will be greater if there are any subsequent charges. She is also forced to confess her “unchaste behavior” in public.

1660 June 17Jan Quisthout van der Linde was executed for sodomy with his indentured servant, Hendrick Harmen.  Quisthout was born in Brussels and Harmen was from Holland, but the “crime” took place in New Netherland, or what is today Manhattan. Quisthout was the third man executed in the new world for the crime of sodomy.  Another notable thing about his case was the gruesome manner in which he was to be executed: “Jan Quisthout van der Linde to be taken to the place of execution and there stripped of his arms, his sword to be broken at his feet, and he to be then tied in a sack and cast into the river and drowned until dead.” I suppose that this wasn’t as bad as the way others were treated.  Those men were executed and then had their bodies burned in order to purify them from their sin.

1730 – The discovery of a nationwide network of sodomites in Holland leads to over 300 trials throughout the Netherlands, about half them by default after the accused had fled. Special laws were passed to allow courts to try suspects who fled in absentia so that their property could be confiscated. I wonder how many cases were because of men having sex with men, and how many were because someone wanted another person’s property? Rictor Norton has prepared the most complete outline and timeline of what happened at this time.

1731 – Twenty-two men and boys from Faan (Holland) and other nearby villages are executed for sodomy. Others are kept in prison, without a trial, until as late as 1747.

1801 February 11 – Private soldier Jose Antonio Rosas, an 18-year-old native of Los Angeles, was executed by firing squad. His body was “purified by burning before burial at the Santa Barbara presidio cemetery in the presence of the whole garrison. He is the last person known to be executed for sodomy in the United States.”

1806 – Lewis and Clark, seeking the mouth of the Willamette River, are directed by local Indians to a place where “two young men” live together, they having left the tribe to set up a home.

1869 – Karoly Maria Benkert (who used the pseudonym K. M. Kerbeny) is a Hungarian physician who coined the word homosexual. It would be another 10 years before the word heterosexual is defined. Heterosexuality initially is used to denote a sexual perversion.

1876 – The first recorded police raid in France occurred at a Parisian bathhouse in the Bains de Gymnase on the Rue du Faubourg-Poissonniere when six men aged 14 to 22 were prosecuted for an offense against public decency, and the manager and two employees for facilitating pederasty.

1894 – A neighbor reports a gay male couple in Portland, Oregon to the police and both are jailed.

1901Publication of The Story of a Life, first known gay autobiography in America

1901Mexico City raid of a private party

1903First mass raid by authorities against a gay gathering

1912 – Five young gay men, including one couple, out for a nighttime drive in what is now Lake Oswego, Oregon, are accosted by a robber on the highway. Two of the men, including one of the couple, are killed by the robber, and two others are injured. During the trial of the perpetrator, the surviving half of the couple is trapped by a defense attorney into acknowledging that he and one of the deceased men were sitting intertwined on the back seat.

1912Portland, Oregon Vice Raid

1914Nebraska Risley Case

1914Long Beach Mass Arrests

1916 October 22NYC Lafayette Baths Raid

1918 February – Morals squad and US military police work together to raid a private “club” at 2525 Baker Street in San Francisco, California.

1919 January 5New York City police raided the Everard Baths at the urging of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. The manager and nine customers were arrested for lewd behavior.

1919-1921Newport, Rhode Island Navy Scandal

1920Harvard Secret Court and Gay Purge  [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1920Everard Baths raided again, this time with 15 arrests.

1925 – First Gay Group Organized and Incorporated as The Society for Human Rights [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1928The Well of Loneliness is published

1928 – A second gay sex “scandal” occurs in Portland Oregon when about ten men are arrested for private, consensual sexual activity.

1933 – Hirschfield’s Institute for Sex Research is ransacked by Nazi students and destroyed. Vast collections of library and artistic works are burned. Note: Two of the three famous photos used in history books showing Nazi book burning are photos of the destruction of Hirschfeld’s collection.

1933-1945 – Hidden holocaust, gay persecution in Germany  [A little known fact is that in 1945 when Allied forces liberated the Nazi concentration camps by Allied forces, those interned for homosexuality were not freed but required to remain and to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175.]

1937 – First use of the pink triangle for gay men in Nazi concentration camps

1943 – 2 soldiers in South Carolina, wanting to stay in touch with their far-flung gay brothers, started a newsletter called the Myrtle Beach Bitch. A simple mimeographed newsletter, it is thought by many to be the first gay publication produced in the United States by gay men for gay men. The two soldiers were later arrested, “tried” without benefit of legal counsel, and sentenced to a year of confinement in Greenhaven Federal Prison in New York State.

1946Veterans Benevolent Association (VBA) was founded in New York City by four honorably discharged gay veterans of World War II, the first major gay membership organization in the United States.  [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1947Vice Versa, one of the first North American LGBT publications, is written and self-published by Edith Eyde, under the pen name Lisa Ben, in Los Angeles. [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1948 – Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues published Sexual Behavior of the Human Male which introduced the Kinsey scale

1950The Mattachine Society organized in Los Angeles  [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1950 December 16 – A ban on homosexual employees is extended to the entire federal government after a Senate committee labeled them “sexual perverts” and deemed them as “dangerous security risks”. (px2337)

1950The Lavender Scare

1951William Donald Cory published The Homosexual in America

1952 FebruaryDale Jennings is set up, arrested and charged with sexual solicitation in Los Angeles [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1953 – First Issue of ONE magazine published

1954 – The 1953 arrest and trial of Lester Hunt, Jr., led to his father’s suicide in his office at the United States Senate in 1954.

1955Daughters of Bilitis founded, the first lesbian homophile organization. [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1955 October – Police raid the Peppermill bar in Baltimore, Maryland, arresting 162 people.

1955 October 31 – Police make the first of many arrests in what snowballs out of control into a major vice scandal that tore up the city of Boise, Idaho and ruined countless lives.

1956 March 28Thomas Dooley, M.D., was forced to resign from the United States Navy because of an investigation by the Office of Naval Intelligence.  Reports of his homosexuality had been circulating since the summer of 1954. He went on to write three best selling books, including Deliver Us from Evil in 1956, before his death from cancer on January 18, 1961 at the age of 34.

1957 – Psychologist Evelyn Hooker publishes a study entitled “The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual” showing that homosexual men are as well adjusted as non-homosexual men, which becomes a major factor in the American Psychiatric Association removing homosexuality from its handbook of disorders in 1973.

1957 Sept 3 –  The Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (better known as the Wolfenden Report, after Lord Wolfenden, the chairman of the committee) was published in Britain.

1957 Dec 20Frank Kameny fired, creating first and most persistent, most vocal gay rights advocate in US History [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

1959 August 31David Carr (25) died, potentially the first identified case of AIDS (this fact is still under debate and is strongly suspected as not actually being AIDS).

1959 May – Uprising at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles, CA

1960Radnor, PA Raid

1961 November 15Jack Nichols and Frank Kameny founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC.

1962 June 25US Supreme Court ruling in MANual Enterprises v Day that photos of nude or semi-nude men designed to appeal to homosexuals are not obscene and may be sent through the mail. [Note: This link takes you to an off-site page]

August 22, 1962Mansfield, Ohio police arrest dozens of men they had recorded in a variety of sexual activities in a public restroom.  Many were institutionalized for years.  Still others were tried and sentenced to prison for years.  A horrible example of the brutality of Americans toward one another.

1964 September 19 – First gay rights demonstration in the United States when a small group picketed the Whitehall Street Induction Center in New York City after the confidentiality of gay men’s draft records was violated.

1965 April 17 – First public protest by gays at the White House

1965 April 25 – An estimated 150 people participated in a sit-in when the manager of Dewey’s restaurant refused service to several people he thought looked gay. Four people were arrested, including homophile rights leader Clark Polak of Philadelphia’s Janus Society. All four were convicted of disorderly conduct. Members of the society also leafleted outside the restaurant the following week and negotiated with the owners to bring an end to the denial of service. Three people staged another sit-in on May 5, occupying a table for a few hours.

1965 May 29 – Second White House picket.

1965 July 4Gay activists picket Independence Hall in Philadelphia

1965 July 31Gay activists picket the Pentagon

1965 October 23 – Third and final picket of the White House by gay activists.

1966 April 21 – Activists Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell and John Timmons held a “Sip In” to challenge New York’s regulation barring known homosexuals from being served alcohol in bars and restaurants. They invited reporters to follow them as they sought a refusal of service. After being served in several bars despite announcing their homosexuality, the group was finally refused service at Julius, a gay bar that had been raided previously. Although Leitsch’s complaint to the State Liquor Authority resulted in no action, the city’s human rights commission declared that such discrimination could not continue.

1966 AugustCompton Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco, CA; see also Wikipedia entry.

1967 January 1 – The LAPD raided the New Year’s Eve parties at two gay bars, the Black Cat Tavern and New Faces. Several patrons were injured and a bartender was hospitalized with a fractured skull. Several hundred people demonstrated on Sunset Boulevard and picketed outside the Black Cat to protest the raid and the brutality of the police with regard to gay and lesbian citizens.

1967Craig Rodwell opened the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore

1967 March 7 – CBS airs “The Homosexuals“, an episode of CBS Reports.

1967 September –  First Issue of The Advocate published

1968 October 6Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) founded in Los Angeles, CA

1969 March 9Howard Efland was murdered at the Dover Hotel in downtown Los Angeles by two members of the LAPD.

1969 May 16Robert Rayford died in St. Louis, likely one of the first deaths in the United States from AIDS. The later story of Gaetan Dugas being “Patient Zero” was utter fiction. HIV was in the United States long before Dugas.

1969 June 28Stonewall Rebellion

1969 December – The first east coast newspaper aimed at a gay audience was launched in December 1969, under the editorship of Lige Clarke and Jack Nichols.  Published by Jim Buckley and Al Goldstein (of “Screw” Magazine) and their Four Swords, Inc. out of New York City, the newspaper was titled simply, GAY.

1969 December 21 – Organization of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) in New York City

1970 – Graphic artist Tom Doerr introduces the greek letter lambda as a symbol of gay pride and power

1970 June 25Rockefeller 5 arrested on eve of first Pride celebrations

1970 June 28First Gay Pride Celebration in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

1971 March 14 – An estimated 2,000 people marched on Albany, the state capitol of New York, to protest anti-gay and lesbian policies and laws.

1971 July 19 – A new study of homosexuality from the Institute for Sex Research, founded by the late Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, has concluded that the military policy of the United States toward homosexuals is ‘unwise, unjust and in essence unenforceable.’ (New York Times)

1972 March 22 – An administrative board recommended that Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Arthur Dunbar, a 19-year-old “avowed homosexual” Marine, be given an undesirable discharge.

1973 June 23MCC arson fire in New Orleans kills 32 people

1973 December 15 – APA Board of Trustees voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders published in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)

1974 – About 200 people march through downtown San Diego proclaiming  their sexual orientation, which is considered the city’s first pride celebration.

1975 – About 200 people attend the first Pride celebration in Portland, Oregon.

1975 February 10 – Long-time gay activist and writer, Lige Clarke, was shot and killed near Vera Cruz, Mexico.

1975 September 25 – Sgt. Leonard Philip Matlovich was recommended for a general discharge against his will because he was a homosexual. His three tours in Vietnam, where he was severely wounded when he stepped on a land mind counted for nothing.  His Bronze Star and Purple Heart counted for nothing, simply because he was gay. But Matlovich chose to fight back.

1977 May 25 – 9 men, ages 17 to 40, died in a fire at the Everard Baths in New York City. There were reportedly between 80 and 100 men who escaped the fire. The top two floors of the baths were totally destroyed.

1977 October 24 – 9 men died in Cinema Follies fire in Washington, DC

1977 December 11 – The Castro Steam Baths, the third San Francisco gay bathhouse in less than a year to be victimized by arson, goes up in flames. One man is killed.

1978 November 27 – Assassination of Harvey Milk.

1979 October 14 – National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

1980 November 4 – Reagan elected, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men for his criminally slow response to the AIDS epidemic that struck early in his first term. He didn’t even publicly say the word until 1987, by which time 20,849 Americans had been killed by the virus and 36,058 Americans were living with the disease. Had a better man occupied the White House, the AIDS epidemic might never have become as virulent as it has become today and millions of lives might have been spared the anguish they’ve had to endure over the decades.

1981 June 5First cases of AIDS reported in the United States (in Los Angeles)

1986 March 20 – NYC Law Barring Sexual Orientation Discrimination finally passed, a decade and a half after having been introduced

1986 May 20 – United States Supreme Court hands down its decision in the case of Romer v. Evans

1986 June 30Bowers v. Hardwick Decided (had been argued March 31, 1986)

1987 March 24ACT UP Founded

1994 February 28Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell instituted

1997 – Ellen DeGenersis comes out during prime time television

1998 September 17John Lawrence and Tyron Garner arrested inside eighth floor apartment in Houston, Texas  for having “deviant sexual intercourse”

1998 October 12Matthew Wayne Shepard died (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) after being brutally beaten in Wyoming

2003 June 26Lawrence v. Texas decided (had been argued March 26, 2003)

2012 – The case of Michael Ferguson, et. al., v. Jonah, et. al. filed.

2013 March 27United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v Perry cases argued before the United States Supreme Court; both cases were decided on June 26, 2013.

2015 May 23 – Voters in the Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly approved a referendum on same-sex marriage. Voting 62.1% in favor  (39.7% opposed), the electorate voted to amend the constitution to permit same sex marriage. Turnout was 60.5%.

2013 June 26United States v. Windsor and Hollinsworth v. Perry decisions were announced by the United States Supreme Court.

2015 December 18 – New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr. granted a permanent injunction today after an agreement by both parties requiring JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) to shut down entirely and prohibiting founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing from engaging in any form of conversion therapy commerce in New Jersey.

2016 January 6 – Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls for the removal from office of Chief Justice Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore for advising state probate judges to enforce Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban. This is part of an ongoing ethics complaint.