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LGBTQ+ Milestones in the U.S.

The LGBTQ+ community has come a long way in the past 100 years. Despite all of the setbacks we have faced, we thought it'd be nice to commemorate some of the biggest milestones and accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community.

1924- The Society for Human Rights is founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago. It is the first gay rights organization as well as the oldest documented in America.

November 11, 1950- In Los Angeles, gay rights activist Harry Hay founds America’s first sustained national gay rights organization. The Mattachine Society focuses on social acceptance and other support for homosexuals.

September 21, 1955- In San Francisco, the Daughters of Bilitis becomes the first lesbian rights organization in the United States. They host private social functions, fearing police raids, threats of violence, and discrimination in bars and clubs.

January 13, 1958- After the U.S. Post Office refused to deliver America’s first widely distributed pro-gay publication, ONE: The Homosexual Magazine, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court — and the court ruled in favor of gay rights. It marks the first time the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexuals.

September 11, 1961- The first US-televised documentary about homosexuality airs on a local station in California.

April 21, 1966- Members of the Mattachine Society stage a "sip-in" at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village, where the New York Liquor Authority prohibits serving gay patrons in bars. During the "sip-in", the activists entered a New York City bar, announced they were gay, ordered drinks, and waited to be served.

June 28, 1969- Around 1 am, police performed a raid of the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar. The customers and their supporters were tired of these frequent raids and decided to take a stand. The event turned into a violent protest and led to a 3-day riot. Those “Stonewall riots” are largely considered the start of the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States.

June 28, 1970- Christopher St. Liberation Day commemorates the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Community members in New York City march through the local streets of New York, which will be considered the first gay pride parade.

December 15, 1973-  By a vote of 5,854 to 3,810, the American Psychiatric Association’s board of directors removed homosexuality from the official list of mental illnesses, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

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

January 9, 1978- Harvey Milk is inaugurated as San Francisco city supervisor, and is the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California.

1978- Inspired by Milk to develop a symbol of pride and hope for the LGBTQ community, Gilbert Baker designs and stitches together the first rainbow flag.

March 2, 1982- Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

1987- After spending six years on Capitol Hill, Rep. Barney Frank, voluntarily came out as gay, making him the second openly gay member of congress, and the first to come out voluntarily, in the country’s history.

November 1995- The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act goes into effect as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

April 30, 1997- Ellen DeGeneres' character, Ellen Morgan, becomes the first leading character to come out on a prime-time network television show on the TV series "Ellen".

April 1997-  Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on the cover of Time magazine, stating, "Yep, I'm Gay."

April 26, 2000- Vermont becomes the first state in the U.S. to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples

May 18, 2004- Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage.

October 28, 2009- President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

September 20, 2011- President Obama officially revoked the anti-gay, discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, which prevented openly gay Americans from serving in the U.S. military.

September 4, 2012- The Democratic Party becomes the first major US political party in history to publicly support same-sex marriage on a national platform at the Democratic National Convention.

June 9, 2015- Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces that the Military Equal Opportunity policy has been adjusted to include gay and lesbian military members.

January 2015- President Obama acknowledges the LGTBQ community in the State of the Union address. For the first time in U.S. history, the words “lesbian,” “bisexual,” and “transgender,” were used in the president’s State of the Union address

April 2015- Obama calls for an end to conversion therapy.

June 2015- The U.S. Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, announced that sexual orientation would officially be added to the military's anti-discrimination policy.

June 26, 2015- With a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

July 23, 2015- The Equality Act is introduced.

June 24, 2016- Obama announces the designation of the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) rights. The Stonewall Inn becomes a national monument.

June 30, 2016- Secretary of Defense Carter announces that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military.

August 5-21, 2016- A record number of "out" athletes compete in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

April 4, 2017- The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees.

June 27, 2017- District of Columbia residents were given the option to choose a gender-neutral option of their driver's license. DC residents become the first people in the United States to be able to choose X as their gender marker on driver's licenses and identification cards.

November 7, 2017- Roem becomes the first openly transgender candidate elected to a state legislature in American history.

February 26, 2018- The Pentagon confirms that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US military.

November 2018- More than 150 LGBTQ candidates were elected into office in the 2018 midterm elections.

March 4, 2018- Daniela Vega, the star of Oscar-winning foreign film "A Fantastic Woman," becomes the first openly transgender presenter in Academy Awards history.

November 6, 2018- Democratic US Representative Jared Polis becomes the nation's first openly gay man to be elected governor.

May 2019- New York City honor LGBTQ activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera with monuments.

September 22, 2019- Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay black man to win the Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series.

June 15, 2020- The Supreme Court rules that federal law protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination.