History - 1970 to 2000
(The Post Stonewall Years)
of Events in Gay & Lesbian History
Select A Period
1973 ... 1974
March 17, 1970
The film version of Mart
Crowley's popular Broadway play "The Boys in the Band" premieres. The film
is one of the earliest to deal with homosexuality as the main topic.
June 28, 1970
Between 2,000 and 10,000* people
march from New York City's Greenwich Village to Manhattan in the first
"unofficial" Gay March!
*Depends on which report you read.
At the University of Texas Austin,
over 200 people attend Austin's First Annual National Gay Conference. The event was
organized by the Gay Liberation Front.
October 25, 1971
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney
World in Orlando, Florida opens. Less then 20 years later, executives of Walt Disney
World would be under fire from Right-Wingers and Baptists for permitting special visitor
"Gays & Lesbians".
Click here for a complete timeline of events relating to
Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho &
Oregon repeal sodomy laws.
Jack Baker, 29,an openly gay law
student at the University of Minnesota is elected student body president. Baker and
his lover, librarian James McConnell, also 29, unsuccessfully sue for a marriage license.
They legalize their relationship when a judge allows McConnell to adopt Baker.
The Los Angeles Gay Community
Services Center opens.
"The younger players
are really tough to figure. I know two, maybe three guys on the team who have no
interest whatsoever in girls. You've had guys like this on teams for a long time,
but they're so open about it."
The US Supreme Court upheld the
right to refuse employment on the grounds of homosexuality by refusing to review the case
of a man who was refused a job by the University of Minnesota library because he was
Minnesota State Senator Allan Spear
is elected. He "comes out" in 1974. Spear then serves 6 consecutive
Democratic presidential candidate
George McGovern endorses gay rights. He is denounced by party stalwarts.
"That Certain Summer" a
television portrayal of homosexuality shows an American housewife (Hope Lange) losing her
husband (Hal Holbrook) to a young artist (Martin Sheen).
York City Parents of Gays holds its first meeting. Nearly 20 people gathered in a
Methodist church in Greenwich Village. Eight years later, with about 20 independent
support groups nationwide, the group officially organizes as the national group
The American Psychiatric
Association removes Homosexuality from it's list of Mental Disorders.
In Los Angeles, a suspicious
fire destroys the gay-supportive Metropolitan Community Church.
Barney Frank tells his colleagues
that he had routinely used gays as campaign workers. Frank will come out himself
"Everyone is more or less
bisexual. People just don't admit it. I haven't been involved with a woman for
years, but one of the nicest experiences - whatever you want to call it - was with a
Sergeant Leonard Matlovich appears on the cover of
TIME with the words "I am a Homosexual" across his chest. After a 5 year
battle with the military, he accepts $160,000 and a promotion to the rank of
Captain. He will later die of AIDS-related complications.
Pro-football player David Kopay
becomes the first major league athlete to come out as gay.
Pennsylvania Governor Milton
Shapp signs an executive order banning antigay discrimination in state employment.
"I don't mean to brag, but I think if I spent some time with a gay boy, he'd never go
back to men."
"I just didn't wear any
Tina Louise (The 'Moviestar' on
on how she prepared to play a lesbian on TV
"It's all right for
anybody to be who they are just as long as they don't let their dogs shit in the
March 2, 1976
The Mayor of Anchorage
Alaska George Sullivan, vetoes a gay rights bill, explaining that the people of Anchorage
should not be forced to associate with sexual deviants.
Pope Paul VI publicly
denied that he was a homosexual.
The owner of a New Jersey
dinner theater canceled "The Boys in the Band" after he learned it was about
Jimmy Carter announced
that if he were elected he would issue executive
orders banning discrimination against gays and
lesbians in the military, housing, employment, and immigration.
The first Womyn's Music Festival
is held in Michigan.
"True fulfillment as a
human being comes when each of us is able to recognize the masculine and feminine within
ourselves... That's one of the enormous contributions the strong gay movement can
Just 8 years after the Stonewall
Studio 54 Opens in New York City.
The nightclub would become famous as the place to go for celebrities, drugs, gays,
straights and everything in between.
Studio 54 TimeLine Site
April 9, 1977
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA
hits #1 on the pop singles chart.
Camera shop owner Harvey
Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Gospel singing Florida orange juice
queen Anita Bryant forms "Save Our Children Inc." against the gay movement.
Bryant, intending to take her campaign national retreats after she encounters gay
protesters at every stop and a "pie in the face" in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Liberace Museum opens in Las
Actual text from an ad by Anita
Bryant that appeared in the March 20, 1977 edition of the Miami Herald:
"Homosexuality is nothing new. Cultures throughout history have dealt with
homosexuals almost universally with disdain, abhorrence, disgust-even death. The
recruitment of our children is absolutely necessary for the survival and growth of
homosexuality. Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must recruit, must freshen their
ranks. And who better qualifies as a likely recruit than a teenage boy or girl who
is surging with sexual awareness."
"People only remember the
evil. What do they write about in the newspapers? The good marriages? No, only
the terrible ones...People love 'evil', and they remember evil more."
Bette Davis, Interview with The
"...I am going to play
the (San Francisco) Opera House! It's going to be a fabulous show with a full
orchestra, lots of costumes, lots of everything. Lots! And whenever you think
you have too much, you should put on more, just to be safe."
Disco Diva James Sylvester Hurd, Age 29,
Harvey Milk is assassinated by
former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White, who also kills Mayor George Moscone.
For additional resources:
The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (Stonewall Inn Editions)
Related to Anita Bryant's campaign,
gay rights ordinances are repealed in St. Paul, MN, Eugene, OR and Wichita, KS.
Voters in California reject the
Briggs initiative which would have banned gay teachers from the classroom. The
initiative was denounced by Governor Ronald Reagan.
March 8, 1979
The New York Times runs a front
page story showing six men being executed by firing squad in Iran for homosexuality.
May 21, 1979
The "White Night" Riots
at City Hall, San Francisco follow the verdict of Harvey Milk killer Dan White's 5 to 8
year manslaughter sentence. The 5,000 person march turns violent as police vehicles are overturned and set on fire. Later in the
evening, police retaliate in the Castro neighborhood, arresting and beating gay men.
On VHS (now out of print) from KQED,
"The Castro" examines the
fascinating history behind this
neighborhood and community.
May 22, 1979
4,000 people gather for
a peaceful celebration of Harvey Milk's 49th birthday.
The FIRST March on Washington DC.
It is ignored by mainstream media.
President Jimmy Carter
appoints lesbian Jill Schropp to the National Advisory Council on Women.
"It's appalling that there have to be movements organized to give human
beings the right to be human beings in the eyes of other human beings."
Glenda Jackson, 1979
"Gay rights are part of
human rights...(but) cruising, sex in public parks, S/M, drag balls, and cross-dressing
have nothing to do with gay politics. Such things turn me off as well as they turn
May 15, 1981
The Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus
holds its first concert.
October 16, 1981
"Torch Song Trilogy"
premieres on Broadway in New York City.
"Everytime a heterosexual
actor puts on a dress, they give him a f**king Academy Award. I don't understand it.
We spend our lives playing heterosexuals and nobody gives us credit for the
incredible job we've done."
(Year of quote unknown)
December 21, 1981
The New York City Gay Men's Chorus
becomes the first openly gay musical group to play Carnegie Hall.
Ronald Reagan is sworn in as
An August issue of "The
Advocate" suggests a 'gay cancer' may be beginning. 36 gay men have been
diagnosed with Karposi's sarcoma. The article reports that butyl nitrite (poppers)
as the most likely culprit of the disease.
The Department of Defense adopts a
new ban on gays and lesbians, eliminating loopholes that allowed some to stay in the
Curran, 19, of Florida
files a lawsuit
against the Boy Scouts of
America for ousting him because of his homosexuality.
Billie Jean King admits she had a
lesbian relationship, but calls it a mistake.
10,000 gather in Paris, the largest
gay demonstartion in Europe, to protest the World Health Organization's classification of
homosexuality as an illness.
Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D.C. is
Legislator David Clarenbach of
Wisconsin author's an antigay discrimination bill. It is passed making Wisconsin the
first state to enact such a law.
Nearly 800 people are infected with
GRID (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency). The
name is changed to AIDS by years end.
The first international Gay Games
in San Francisco is held. About 1,300 people participate.
"Making Love" (with Kate Jackson) is the first major studio release of a
People with AIDS gather at the 5th
National Lesbian/Gay Health Conference.
Representative Gary Studds, of
Massachusetts is censured by Congress for his sexual relationship with a 17-year old page.
Studds admits he is gay and wins reelection for the next 4 terms.
Sharon Kowalski, a Minnesota lesbian is
paralyzed when her car is struck by a drunk driver. The guardianship battle between
Kowalski's parents and her lover Karen Thompson mobilizes the community. 8 years
later in 1991, Thompson wins custody.
More Information: The Sharon Kowalski Case: Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial
MAP (Minnesota AIDS Project) is founded by a small group of dedicated volunteers.
discovery of HTLV-3 shortly after French scientists claim that AIDS is caused by LAV.
The viruses turn out to be the same, later called HIV.
Over 100,000 march in San Francisco
on the eve of the Democratic convention. All candidates, except John Glenn, support
gay rights. Ronald Reagan is reelected.
"The Times of Harvey
Milk" wins the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.
"As Is" opened at New
York's Circle Repertory Theatre. It would be nominated for 3 Tony Awards.
April 1, 1985
The Harvey Milk School for gay and
lesbian teenagers holds its first classes in a New York City Greenwich Village Church.
President Ronald Reagan says the
word "AIDS" for the first time publicly. More then 2,000 people attend the
first international conference on AIDS in Atlanta.
Dan White, free from prison for one
year, commits suicide.
Actor Rock Hudson dies of
AIDS-related complications. Four years later, a jury awards one of his ex-lovers
almost $22 million. The award is later reduced.
"I don't think
homosexuality is a choice...The choice is whether one expresses one's nature truthfully or
spends the rest of one's life lying about it."
"Your pissing and
moaning about the shallowness of 'other' faggots falls on unsympathetic ears when you're
wearing a t-shirt that says 'This face seats five'."
March 24, 1986
William Hurt wins the Best Actor
Oscar for his (gay) role in "Kiss of the Spider Woman".
The Justice Department says in a
policy statement that fear of contagion may be an acceptable reason for AIDS-based
The Supreme Court relies on the
Bible to uphold the right of states to outlaw consensual gay sex in private.
California voters reject an
initiative to quarantine people with AIDS by a margin of 71% to 29%.
The Vatican issues a letter that
banishes Dignity, a gay catholic group from church property.
love Christmas carols; but then, who doesn't? The local boys' choir gave me a particular
thrill one year."
Liberace as quoted from "Wonderful
Private World of Liberace",
Liberace passed away of
AIDS-related complications at age 67 in Palm Springs.
October 11, 1987
The SECOND March on Washington
Between 200,000 (per the park service) and 650,000 Gays & Lesbians march.
The First Display of the
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC included 1,920 panels.
ACT-UP (The AIDS Coalition to
Unleash Power) forms in New York.
appoints a national AIDS commission that includes one gay man and several homophobes.
Surprisingly, the group makes intelligent recommendations that the Administration
The FDA approves AZT, the first
AIDS antiviral. The drug carries a high price and severe side effects.
Rep. Barney Frank comes out.
"I think we should be
tying up whole cities. We should cripple this country. We should throw bombs.
We should set fires. We should stop traffic. We should surround the
Playwright Larry Kramer, responding to the AIDS crisis,
In Washington DC, Georgetown
University losses an eight year legal battle to avoid providing facilities and financial
support to gay organizations on campus.
March 7, 1988
Glenn Milstead) dies of a heart attack at age 42 . Divine starred in such films as
"Polyester" and "Hairspray".
Police arrested 18 people in an
Easter Sunday protest outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. The protest was
organized by the Cathedral Project, which began holding demonstrations after New York
Cardinal John O'Connor evicted the gay Catholic group "Dignity New York" from
the church where it was worshipping.
The Second Display of the
NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC included 8,288
October 11, 1988
The First National "Coming Out
Presidential nominee Michael
Dukakis institutes an antigay foster-parenting policy in Massachusetts.
Republican George Bush is elected
AIDS activists culminate in a
daylong takeover of the FDA building in Washington DC.
The Aurora Lesbian Center is
founded in Duluth, Minnesota. Members would march in the 1993 Duluth St. Patrick's
A court of appeals upholds the
conviction of an HIV-positive Minnesota prisoner who was found guilty of assault with a
deadly weapon for biting two prison guards in a struggle.
The drug Prozac is introduced.
Prozac quickly became a metaphor for society's obsession with quick fixes to
problems. The pills not only helped the depressed, but became known for simply
making people feel good.
"I've known gay and
lesbian people all my life...Some of my most brilliant teachers and some of my classmates
were gay. They were just part of the community of people."
Robert Mapplethorpe dies of AIDS in
Boston. He was 42.
ACT-UP members disrupt Sunday mass
at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.
Denmark becomes the first country
to recognize gay and lesbian partnerships.
The Third Display of the
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
President Bush delivers his first
address on AIDS. The speech is interrupted by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
director Urvashi Vaid who accuses Bush of a lack of action on AIDS.
In Ohio, Cincinnati law enforcement
warned the Contemporary Arts Center not to allow a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit to open.
After it did, Director of the Center, Dennis Barrie, was indicted on
Fashion designer Halston dies of
AIDS at age 57.
Walt Disney World in Orlando
Florida plays host to the first annual Gay & Lesbian Day.
The first Pride Celebration is held
in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The event is called the Unity Festival and is held at
Ski Roundtop. In 1999, the event was moved to Harrisburg's RiverFront Park where
over 3000 people attended.
Information courtesy Charlie Smith of
(Pride Festival of Central PA).
Hawaii and Connecticut outlaw
In the Soviet Union, thousands of
gays and lesbians attend a conference and film festival.
"All of my sexual
experiences when I was young were with girls. I mean, we didn't have those
sleep-over parties for nothing."
"It isn't that I hadn't
considered it. I'd say, 'Well, would that be interesting? Would I want to?'
And I honestly don't think that the thought ever resolved itself."
Julie Andrews, contemplating a potential
lesbian relationship in an interview with The Advocate.
October 9-11 1992
The Fourth Display of the
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
October 30, 1992
"Divas For AIDS"
featuring The Weather Girls and Thelma Houston is held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum
New Jersey and Vermont enact bans
on antigay discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
goes into effect.
k.d. Lang comes out in "The
A Newsweek poll finds that
45% of those asked considered gay rights "a threat to the American family and its
Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego is founded.
"If I had to wear high
heels and a dress, I would be a mental case."
April 25, 1993
The THIRD March on Washington DC
"Dont Ask, Don't Tell" becomes U.S. Military Policy
IKEA Furniture becomes the
first company to air a television commercial in the US which featured a gay male couple.
The 1st Annual Deaf Lesbian
& Gay Awareness Week is held in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Inspired by Puccini's La
Boheme, "Rent" the musical opens on Broadway. Winner of several Tony
Awards, it was one of the first musicals to include a lesbian duet.
Ellee for this submission)
Owner of Fox Incorporated,
Rupert Murdoch, announced that the company would begin extending domestic partner benefits
to gay and lesbian employees.
Rumours in St. Paul, Minnesota
holds the "Grumpier Old Men" Auction. The
canvas seat backs of the directors' and stars' chairs were sold at
auction to benefit Every Penny Counts, a fund for AIDS victims.
The Fifth Display of the
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
The first Capitol City Pride is
held at Mears Park in St. Paul, Minnesota. This marks the first year 2 separate
Pride Celebrations are held in the Twin Cities.
Pridenet.com is created
October 12, 1998
Days after a brutal (hate crime)
beating, 21 year old University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard dies.
McDonald's adds sexual
orientation to its non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
June 11, 1999
President William Jefferson
Clinton signs a proclamation declaring June as Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.
Here to read the proclamation.
The Vermont Supreme Court
gay couples must be
granted the same benefits and protections given married couples of the opposite sex.
Although medicine and treatment
is helping persons with AIDS live longer, there is still NO cure...
Many people and
organizations in the Twin Cities continue to serve the needs of people
with AIDS. To find out about several of these groups, please visit
Community Connections page.
April 28, 29 & 30, 2000
The 4th March on Washington for
Equality is held in Washington DC.
June 4, 2000
New Jersey's Ninth Annual Pride
Parade & Festival is held in Asbury Park.
"Minneapolis and St.
Paul in Vintage Postcards" is released. The book includes references to
historic sites that have become well-known for there modern day events - including the
GLBT Pride Celebration in Loring Park, and the vigil that was held for Matthew Shepard.
Information compiled from a personal collection of books, newspaper
clippings, magazine articles (including "The Advocate" and "Out") and various
online resources including the
web site. Additional information provided by friends and local members of the Twin
Cities GLBT Community. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of
If you have an item to submit
(or a correction to suggest), please submit it via my