Timelines :: Homosexuality


24th/25th Century BC
Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum’s tomb is built in Egypt during the fifth dynasty. It is believed that the two men may have been lovers, making this the first recorded homosexual relationship.

7th Century BC
In 630 BC, Cretan aristocrats institute formal relationships between adult princes and adolescent boys, with the double aim to educate the boys and curb population growth. The practice, associated with gymnasia and athletic nudity, is quickly adopted throughout much of ancient Greece.

6th Century BC
In 600 BC, the terms “lesbian” and “lesbos” are used for the first time.

4th Century BC
In 338 BC, the Sacred Band of Thebes, an undefeated elite battalion made up of 150  pederastic couples (man boy couples), is destroyed by the forces of Philip II of Macedon.

1st Century
In the 54th year, Nero becomes Emperor of Rome. Nero marries two men in legal ceremonies, with at least one spouse accorded the same honors as an empress.

4th Century
In 342, the sons of Constantine, Constans and Constantius II, pass a law read variously by historians as outlawing homosexuality.

6th Century
In 529, Justinian’s code outlaws homosexuality in the Byzantine Empire. The public resists attempts at prosecution.

7th Century
In 650, in early medieval Visigothic Spain, homosexuality is criminalized. However, outside of Spain, homosexuality remains completely legal, and even relatively accepted, in almost all of Europe.

9th Century
In 800–900, during the Carolingian Renaissance, there is a large amount of complex gay poetry. There is no law prohibiting homosexuality.

11th Century
An eleventh-century Byzantine legal treatise makes it clear that homosexual unions are legal. In Scandinavia, pederasty is practiced as an institutionalized way of life. St. Peter Damian composes the Book of Gomorrah, in a failed attempt to persuade his contemporaries that homosexuality is a grave sin. Ivo of Chartes is unsuccessful in his attempt to convince Pope Urban II of the dangers of homosexuality.

12th Century
In 1102, the Council of London takes measures to ensure that the public knows that homosexuality is sinful, marking a significant shift in church attitudes.

13th Century
The first mention in English common law of a punishment for homosexuality occurs in 1290.

14th Century
King Edward III is unsuccessfully petitioned to banish foreign homosexuals.

16th Century
In 1533, King Henry VIII proclaims sodomy a crime.

17th Century
The first known conviction for lesbian activity in North America occurs in March when Sarah White Norman is charged with lewd behavior with Mary Vincent Hammon in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

18th Century
France and Belgium decriminalize homosexuality.

19th Century
The Netherlands and Italy legalize homosexual acts. Bavaria, Brazil, Portugal, Ivory Coast, and Japan decriminalize homosexuality.

In 1869, the term “homosexuality” is first used by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, who attempts to publish the first gay periodical, Urnings, in Germany. The English edition of the book, Sexual Inversion, by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds is published. It is the first book in English to treat homosexuality as neither a disease nor a crime, and maintains that it is inborn and unmodifiable.

20th Century


  • Panama, Paraguay, and Peru legalize homosexuality.
  • The first gay rights organization in America, the Society for Human Rights, is founded in Chicago.


  • Poland and Uruguay decriminalize homosexuality.


  • The Netherlands organization, Center for Culture and Recreation, a pro-homosexual group, is founded.
  • The Denmark organization, League of 1948, a pro-homosexual group, is founded.
  • Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, in which he claims as many as 37 percent of men have participated in homosexual behavior.
  • Switzerland legalizes male homosexuality.
  • Surinam and Sweden decriminalize homosexuality.


  • The Mattachine Society, the first pro-homosexual group in America, is founded in New York. They publish One Magazine: The Homosexual Viewpoint.
  • The Daughters of Bilitis, a pro-lesbian organization, is formed in San Francisco.
  • Arcadie, the first pro-homosexual group in France, is formed.
  • The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights is formed in Sweden.
  • The Homosexual Law Reform Society is founded in the United Kingdom.
  • Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, in which he claims that 13 percent of women have participated in homosexual behavior.
  • Greece and Thailand decriminalize homosexuality.


  • The first United States homosexual student groups are formed: FREE at the University of Minnesota and the Student Homophile League at Columbia University in New York City.
  • An Australian arm of Daughters of Bilitis is formed in Melbourne.
  • The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations is formed.
  • England, Wales, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Israel decriminalize homosexuality.
  • The first gay rights demonstration in the US occurs in New York City.
  • The Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance are founded in New York.
  • The Campaign for Homosexual Equality is formed in Britain.
  • Illinois becomes the first US state to remove sodomy laws from its criminal code.
  • Burkina Faso, Poland, and Canada legalize homosexuality.


  • The first lesbian and gay pride march in the US occurs in New York City.
  • The London Gay Liberation Front is founded.
  • The first gay demonstration in the United Kingdom occurs.


  • The first open gay dance in the United Kingdom, organized by the Gay Liberation Front, is held at Kensington Town Hall.
  • The first gay march through London occurs.
  • Lesbians demanding recognition invade the platform at the Women’s Liberation Conference.
  • The Gay Liberation Front Manifesto is published, and the first national “think-in” is held.
  • Oberlin Gay Liberation, an early lesbian, gay, and bisexual student organization in the United States, is founded.
  • Austria and Finland decriminalize homosexuality.
  • Colorado and Oregon repeal sodomy laws.
  • The Netherlands lowers the age of homosexual consent to sixteen.


  • The first United Kingdom homosexual newspaper, Gay News, is founded. It promptly starts a personals advertisement column.
  • The first gay pride “Carnival and March” through London to Hyde Park is held.
  • Sweden becomes the first country in the world to allow transgendered people to legally change their sex, and provides free hormone therapy.
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan, becomes the first city in the US to pass a homosexual rights ordinance.
  • Hawaii legalizes homosexuality.


  • The first national gay rights conference is held by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Morecombe.
  • Kathy Kozachenko is elected to the City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the first openly homosexual candidate to run successfully for elective office in the United States.
  • The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).
  • West Germany reduces the age of consent for homosexual acts to eighteen.


  • The first national lesbian conference is held in Canterbury.
  • The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is launched. It operates twenty-four hours a day within a year.
  • The first International Gay Rights Conference is held in Edinburgh.
  • The South London Gay Community Centre opens in a Brixton square.
  • Ohio repeals sodomy laws.
  • Robert Grant founds American Christian Cause to oppose the “gay agenda.”


  • Action for Lesbian Parents is founded.
  • British Home Stores sacks openly homosexual trainee Tony Whitehead; a national campaign pickets their stores.
  • South Australia legalizes homosexuality.
  • Panama allows transsexuals to get their personal documents reflecting their new sex.


  • The Gay Teachers group is founded in Australia.
  • The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is founded.
  • Robert Grant founds the Christian Voice to take his agenda national.


  • Singer Tom Robinson releases “Glad to Be Gay” with the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard telephone number on the sleeve. Switchboard telephones immediately go mad.
  • Gay News is prosecuted by Mary Whitehouse for “blasphemy” after they had printed James Kirkup’s poem imagining a Roman centurion having gay sex with Jesus of Nazareth.
  • In November, Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as the first openly homosexual candidate elected to public office in the state of California.
  • Quebec prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation.
  • Montenegro legalizes homosexuality.
  • Anita Bryant founds Save Our Children.
  • James Dobson founds Focus on the Family.


  • The International Lesbian and Gay Association is launched.
  • The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is held for the first time.
  • The rainbow flag is first used as a symbol of homosexual pride.
  • The Australian Capital Territory decriminalizes homosexuality.


  • Gay Life, the first-ever gay series, airs in London. One of its presenters, Michael Attwell, goes on to commission BBC2’s Gaytime TV.
  • The first national gay rights march on Washington, DC, is held.
  • The Reverend Jerry Falwell founds the Moral Majority.


  • Heaven, the first all-week gay mega-club, opens.
  • The first black lesbian and gay groups are founded.
  • The Democratic National Convention becomes the first major political party to endorse homosexual rights.
  • David McReynolds becomes the first homosexual to run for US president on the Socialist ticket.
  • Male homosexuality is decriminalized in Scotland.


  • The leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) promises support to homosexuals, and the GLC gives the first homosexual grant to the London Gay Switchboard.
  • Victoria, Australia decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • Norway becomes the first country in the world to enact a law to prevent discrimination against homosexuals.
  • Hong Kong’s first sex-change operation is performed.
  • Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review publishes a report of five male homosexuals, two of whom had died, with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, an opportunistic infection.


  • The term “AIDS” is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • The Terrence Higgins Trust is launched and named after the man who was thought to have been the first to have died with AIDS in the UK.
  • Julian Meldrum starts the first regular column on AIDS in Capital Gay.
  • The first Gay Games are held in San Francisco in August and September.
  • Male homosexuality is decriminalized in Northern Ireland.
  • Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • New South Wales becomes the first Australian state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is identified as the cause of AIDS.
  • Gay News collapses; sales had plummeted after free newspapers had become available.
  • The first national lesbian and gay television series, One in Five, is shown on Channel 4 in the UK.
  • United States Congressman Gerry E. Stubbs publicly reveals his homosexuality on the floor of the House of Representatives, becoming the first openly homosexual member of the US Congress.


  • Massachusetts re-elects Gerry E. Stubbs.
  • Chris Smith, newly elected to the UK, publicly proclaims his homosexuality.
  • The homosexual association, Ten Percent Club, is formed in Hong Kong.
  • New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia legalize homosexual behavior.


  • France prohibits discrimination against homosexuality in employment and services.
  • A memorial to homosexual victims of the Holocaust is dedicated.


  • The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists presents a Distinguished Service Award to Barney Frank, a homosexual US congressman.
  • New Zealand legalizes homosexual acts between males over sixteen years old.


  • ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) stages its first major demonstration.
  • US Congressman Barney Frank publicly admits to his homosexuality.
  • Homomonument, a memorial to persecuted homosexuals, opens in Amsterdam.
  • Greece lowers the age of consent in homosexual behavior to fifteen.
  • The Pink Paper is founded.


  • The City College of San Francisco created the first gay and lesbian studies department at an American institution of higher education.
  • Sweden is the first country to pass laws protecting homosexuals regarding social services, taxes, and inheritances.
  • Canada lowers the age of consent for sodomy to eighteen.
  • Canadian MP Svend Robinson publicly announces his homosexuality.


  • Denmark is the first country in the world to give legal recognition to homosexual partnerships.
  • Western Australia legalizes homosexuality.


  • The direct action group OutRage! is founded in London.
  • University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney founds Promise Keepers, which promotes traditional masculinity.


  • The red ribbon is first used as a symbol of the fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • OutRage! holds a kiss-in at Picadilly, London, and one man climbs the Eros statue.
  • Washington, DC, holds its first Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration.
  • Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Queensland, Australia, decriminalize homosexuality.


  • Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) is founded.
  • The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases).
  • Australia allows homosexuals to serve in the military.
  • Isle of Man, Estonia, and Latvia legalize homosexuality.


  • The third gay rights march on Washington, DC, is held.
  • Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is instituted.
  • The Republic of Ireland repeals sodomy laws.
  • Russia decriminalizes consensual male sodomy.
  • Lithuania legalizes homosexuality.
  • Norway enacts registered partnership civil union laws that grant homosexuals the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adoption and a church wedding.


  • OutRage! “outs” eight bishops and provokes debate within the Church of England.
  • South Africa and Albania legalize homosexuality.
  • The United Kingdom reduces the age of consent for homosexual men to eighteen.
  • Canada grants refugee status to homosexuals fearing for their well-being in their home country.
  • Israel’s supreme court defines homosexual couple’s rights as the same as for any common-law couple.


  • Sweden legalizes homosexual registered partnerships.
  • The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination.


  • Robert Runcie, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, admits to having ordained known homosexual men.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina decriminalize homosexuality.
  • The Supreme Court strikes down Colorado’s Amendment 2, which denies homosexuals’ special rights.


  • Ellen DeGeneres’ character on the TV sitcom Ellen comes out as a lesbian.
  • South Africa and Fiji amend their constitutions to explicitly prohibit discrimination against homosexuals.
  • The United Kingdom extends immigration rights to homosexuals akin to marriage.


  • A statue of Oscar Wilde, a celebrated homosexual, is unveiled in central London.
  • Sexual orientation is read into the IRPA, Alberta, Canada’s human rights act.
  • Equador explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Chile decriminalizes homosexuality.


  • Vermont Democratic Governor Howard Dean signs a law sanctioning homosexual civil unions, entitling homosexuals to marital rights and benefits.
  • California adopts a homosexual domestic partnership law.
  • France enacts homosexual civil union laws.
  • Israel’s supreme court recognizes a lesbian partner as another legal mother of her partner’s biological son.


  • The British government lifts the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed services.
  • The United Kingdom, Belarus, Switzerland, and Israel reduce the age of consent in homosexual acts.
  • Israel recognizes homosexual relations for immigration purposes for a foreign partner of an Israeli resident.


  • The first homosexual partnerships are registered in London.
  • Arizona repeals its sodomy law.
  • Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Western Australia, Albania, Austria, and Hungary all lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • The Netherlands legalizes homosexual marriage.


  • Sweden legalizes adoption for homosexual couples.
  • Zurich extends marriage-like rights to homosexual couples.
  • Moldova and Romania lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • China decriminalizes homosexuality.


  • The US Supreme Court strikes down remaining state sodomy laws.
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court votes in favor of homosexual marriage.
  • Germany’s Supreme Court upholds the country’s homosexual civil union laws.
  • Armenia decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • Lithuania, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales all lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.


  • San Francisco officials begin issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
  • Homosexual marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts.
  • Portugal amends its constitution to protect homosexuals from discrimination.
  • Belgium legalizes homosexual marriage.
  • New Jersey legalizes homosexual civil unions.
  • New Zealand passes a homosexual civil union bill.
  • Cape Verde legalizes homosexuality.
  • Puerto Rico repeals its sodomy laws.
  • Rio Grande do Sul and Brazil accept homosexual civil unions.
  • Luxembourg introduces homosexual civil partnerships.


  • New Zealand is the first nation in the world to outlaw discrimination of the basis of gender identity or transsexuality.
  • Hong Kong lowers the age of consent for homosexual acts.
  • Fiji invalidates its sodomy laws.
  • Canada and Spain legalize homosexual marriage.
  • Switzerland votes to extend rights to registered homosexual couples.
  • The United Kingdom introduces homosexual civil partnerships with rights equal to marriage.
  • Maine adds sexual orientation and gender identity to its existing anti-discrimination laws.
  • Connecticut legalizes homosexual marriage.
  • South Africa legalizes homosexual marriage.


  • Illinois outlaws sexual-orientation discrimination.
  • Washington adds sexual orientation to its existing anti-discrimination laws.
  • Missouri legalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.
  • The first Gay Pride parade in Moscow ends in violence.
  • The first regional Eastern European Pride is held in Croatia.
  • The United States Senate fails to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment.
  • The Czech Republic and Slovenia introduce homosexual civil partnerships.
  • Serbia, Kosovo, and Vojvodina lower the age of consent for homosexual acts.


  • Switzerland’s homosexual civil union law to take effect on January 1.


  • February 2008, Logo, an American digital cable channel owned by Viacom’s MTV Networks division, which offers programming specifically for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, is available in an estimated thirty million homes and is currently in the twenty-five largest media markets in the US. The channel was founded by MTV President Brian Graden, who is named the tenth most powerful gay person in America by Out Magazine, a homosexual publication, in 2007.
  • California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban in a 4-3 decision in May.
  • With a 4-to-3 ruling, in October, Connecticut becomes the third state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
  • Voters in California on November 4 pass Proposition 8, which strikes down the May ’08 decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the ban on gay marriage. The decision sparks protests, lawsuits, and a refusal by the gay community to accept a decision made by the majority of the state’s voters, calling it “hate” and “intolerance.” Similar measures in Florida and Arizona are also approved defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.


  • The Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rules on April 3 that the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which stipulates that marriages must be between a man and a woman, violates the constitutional rights of homosexual couples residing in the state. Marriage licenses are available to gay applicants as of April 27.
  • California Supreme Court in May upholds the decision to ban gay marriage in the state, while allowing the eighteen thousand marriages that have already been taken place to continue to be recognized by the government as legal.
  • New Hampshire in June becomes the sixth US state to legalize gay marriage.
  • In July, Albania’s governing Democrats propose a law permitting same-sex civil weddings in the relatively small and mostly Muslim country….Prime Minister Sali Berisha says the move follows requests from various rights groups. The Democrats, who control 74 of Parliament’s 140 seats, are expected to pass the law easily.
  • At the yearly meeting in York, England, in July, some 1,600 Quakers meet and vote “to treat same sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses.”
  • Also in July, after complaints from gay-rights activists, AAA of the South announces that it will treat married gay couples as families when determining rates for memberships.
  • After it returns from recess, Congress debates a bill that could force religious groups to hire homosexual employees. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would make it illegal for employers to consider a person’s sexual orientation when making decisions related to a person’s employment, advancement, or pay.


  • In January,  New Hampshire becomes the fifth state to legalize gay marriage.
  • In March, singer Lady Gaga ended her partnership with Target allegedly over the retailer’s support of anti-gay political candidates and weak support for gay rights.
  • In July, the American Family Association called for a nationwide boycott of Home Depot because of its support for the radical homosexual agenda, and in particular for exposing young children to homosexual behavior.
  • Polls this year find that more Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally than did so just last year. For the first time in fifteen years of Pew Research Center polling, fewer than half oppose same-sex marriage.
  • Pluralities of white mainline Protestants and white Catholics now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally — the first time this has occurred in Pew Research Center surveys.
  • Pew Research findings show that the public continues to be far more supportive of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military than of allowing legal same-sex marriages.


  • For the first time in Gallup’s tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believes same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid with the same rights as traditional marriages.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces passage of the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry under the law, as well as hundreds of rights, benefits, and protections that have been limited to married couples of the opposite sex.
  • In September, The Blaze posts information on its website that big companies targeted for ties to Christian groups opposing gay marriage are being harassed by gay groups.


  • On May 9, 2012, in an interview at the White House with ABC News, President Barack Obama declares his strong support of gay marriage, making him the first US president to back gay marriage while in office.
  • Gay marriage is signed into law on June 24, 2012, in New York State after the Senate passes a “historic” bill 33-39.
  • Statistics show that the Israeli metropolis beats New York and Toronto in a poll naming best urban destinations for gay travelers and names Tel Aviv the world’s number-one gay city.
  • Israel National News in August posts a story about hundreds protesting a homosexual parade in Jerusalem.


  • Barack Obama makes history in his inaugural address by mentioning the word “gay” and the issue of gay rights for the first time in a speech at the presidential swearing-in.
  • Same-sex marriage laws are passed and come into effect in New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil, France, and the US states of Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii, and New Mexico.


  • Same-sex marriage laws are passed in Scotland and come into effect in England and Wales, and the US state of Illinois.
  • Finland produces the “world’s first” homoerotic stamps, celebrating one of the country’s most famous artists, Tom of Finland.
  • On October 6, 2014, the US Supreme Court declines to hear appeals in all the cases it has been asked to consider from appellate courts in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, allowing decisions from those courts striking down marriage bans to stand. The states with bans at issue in those cases are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • The court’s action leads to legal same-sex marriage in Colorado, North Carolina, and West Virginia; it is also expected to affect other states within the three circuits—Wyoming, Kansas, and South Carolina.


  • The US Supreme Court rules 5-4 that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the person of their choice. Justice Anthony Scalia is the only one who dissents, stating that the majority opinion lacks “even a thin veneer of law.” The Obama White House was lit up in the colors of the rainbow to commemorate the ruling.
  • In July of this year, Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates announces the organization will remove restrictions against openly gay leaders.


  • Based on polling in 2016, a majority of Americans (55 percent) support same-sex marriage, compared with 37 percent who oppose it.
  • Eric Fanning is confirmed as secretary of the Army; he is the first openly gay secretary of a branch of the US military.
  • The Pentagon lifts the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military.
  • Oregon governor Kate Brown is sworn in, becoming the highest-ranking LGBTQ person elected to office in the US. She was not elected; she took over after John Kitzhaber resigned due to a criminal investigation.


  • Based on polling in 2017, a majority of Americans (62 percent) support same-sex marriage, while 32 percent oppose it.
  • Gender-neutral (rather than male or female) is now an option for District of Columbia residents to select as gender on their drivers’ licenses. The gender marker is designated with an “X”.


  • In February, the first transgender person signs a contract to serve in the US military.
  • In March, the Trump administration announces a policy banning most transgender people from military service. The Supreme Court allows the ban to go into effect in January 2019.
  • Jared Polis wins the Colorado governor’s race, becoming the nation’s first openly gay man to be elected governor.
  • The World Health Organization reclassifies transgender people with the label “gender incongruence” rather than “mentally ill.” The reclassification “will reduce stigma…for these individuals,” according to the organization.


  • Merriam-Webster selects “they” as the word of the year when used as a pronoun for people who do not identify as male or female.
  • In a 30-page document released in June, “Male and Female He Created Them: Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender in Education,” the Vatican state that gender is biology rather than a personal choice, and cannot be changed.
  • June marks the 50th anniversary of a police raid on the Greenwich Village Gay Bar, the Stonewall Inn. The event touched off riots and is considered pivotal in igniting the fight for LGBTQ rights in the US.


  • In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin announces that as long as he is in office, Russia will not legalize gay marriage.