It’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Month! Pride History Pt. 1

It’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Month!

Unfortunately, Pride Festivals around the country were canceled because of the Covid-19 virus.

This year I feel we need to look back on the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement and see how far we have come.

Let’s start at the beginning of the country:

  • 1777: Thomas Jefferson revised Virginia law to make sodomy punishable by mutilation rather than death. 
  • 1861: Franklin Thompson, born Sarah Emma Edmonds, fought for the Union Army in the civil war. During the war, Franklin served as a spy, nurse, dispatch carrier, and later was the only woman mustered into the Grand Army of the Republic. 
  • 1907: A German paper supportive of homosexuals printed an anonymous “Letter from Boston,” which throughout all classes, from the slums of the North End to the highly fashionable Back Bay. The reliable homosexual has told me names that reach into the highest circles of Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., names which have left me speechless with astonishment.”
  • 1915: On a speaking tour crossing the country Emma Goldman defended lesbianism and homosexuality. 
  • 1917: U.S. immigration law was modified to ban “persons with abnormal sexual instincts” from entering the United States. 
  • 1924: The Society for Human Rights was founded. It was the first known gay-rights organization in the U.S. 
  • 1934: Hollywood adopted the so-called “Hayes Code,” which stipulated, among other things, that “sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden on the screen.”
  • 1935: Sigmund Freud wrote “Letter to an American Mother,” urging compassion and tolerance for homosexuals.
  • 1942: The military worked with psychiatrists to develop guidelines for recruiters in order to identify and exclude gay men from the services.
  • 1947: The State Department began firing suspected homosexuals under President Truman’s National Security Loyalty Program.
  • 1948: Kinsey’s study of sexuality published. 
  • 1950: The Mattachine Society was founded in Los Angeles. 
  • 1952: 
    • Christine Jorgensen was the first American to publicly undergo gender-affirming surgery. She was the first visible transgender person in the media. 
    • The American Psychiatric association’s diagnostic manual listed homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance. 
  • 1953: President Dwight Eisenhower issued Executive Order #10450, banning the employment of homosexuals by the federal government.
  • 1955: Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, and six others founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian rights group. 
  • 1957: A Navy report concluded that there is no evidence that “homosexuals cannot acceptably serve in the military” or that they were security risks. The report was suppressed until 1967.
  • 1961: Hollywood altered the production code to allow the depiction of gay men and lesbians, as long as the subject is treated with “care, discretion, and restraint.”
  • 1962: Illinois became the first state to decriminalize homosexual contact between consenting adults.

The first major LGBTQIA+ riot:

  • 1966: Compton Cafeteria Riot broke out at a San Francisco eatery when a transgender woman was denied service and arrested for breaking gender clothing laws. 

Then a couple of years later we (LGBTQIA+) people got pissed off because of the way we were treated and this happened:

  • 1969: Stonewall Riots. Transgender and gender nonbinary people were among the first to resist the police raid.

The following year we held the first LGBTQIA+ Liberation Day (Pride) and the first transgender Rights organization:

  • 1970: 
    • Christopher Street Liberation Day, community members in New York City marched through the local streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
    • Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera founded the Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (STAR)


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