This article presents a partial timeline of LGBTQIA+ history by including excerpts of other articles on this wiki. Follow the "Main article" links to view the complete articles.

Landmark eras, events, legislation, and court cases[]

Gross indecency[]

Gross Indecency Example Circa 1995

Example of a law against Gross Indecency c. 1995

Gross indecency is a term used in some criminal statutes to criminalize certain forms of sexual activity. Its definition varies by jurisdiction.

The term "gross indecency" originated in the United Kingdom with the Labouchere Amendment—Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, introduced by Henry Labouchere, Liberal MP for Northampton—which was passed by Parliament. The amendment did not define what constituted gross indecency, but it specified that it involved acts between at least two men.[1]

Paragraph 175[]

Paragraph 175 was a legal provision first adopted at the inception of the German Empire in 1871. It drew on prior legislature from other jurisdictions–in particular, the Prussian penal code,[2] which contained laws prohibiting homosexual acts and bestiality. Paragraph 175 was expanded during the Nazi regime and used to justify the incarceration and murder of thousands of men.[2]

Paragraph 175 was introduced by Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, when he was made Emperor of the recently united German kingdoms. The constitution and penal code of this new German Empire was based heavily on the Prussian model.[2] Prior to this, some German states had more liberal views on homosexuality and had already been advocating for the decriminalization of homosexual acts.[3]

While opposition to Paragraph 175 had been isolated to a few specific individuals, this changed in 1897 with the founding of the sexual-reformist Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee (WhK). A petition calling for the deletion of Paragraph 175, drafted by WhK chairman Magnus Hirschfeld, gathered 6,000 signatories.[4] It was brought to the Reichstag a year later, but failed to enact the intended change of having the legal provision repealed.[5] Instead, the German government felt Paragraph 175 was not being enforced enough, which lead to harsher enforcement.[6]

Little progress was made for a decade until the Reichstag began planning to extend the law to encompass acts between women. However, long debates on how to define female sexuality for this purpose ultimately led to the extension being abandoned.[7]

During the Nazi regime (1933-1945)[]

Gay men[]

Gay men were specifically targeted by the Nazis. At certain concentration camps, gay men had a downward-pointing pink triangle sewn onto their shirts. It was not until the 1970s that the symbol was reclaimed as a symbol of gay pride.[8]


Lesbian history during the Nazi regime is still being researched and compiled decades later. The experiences of lesbians, bisexual women, and women accused of homosexuality[note 1] are difficult to trace and cross-reference across scattered documents. Few women were identified by the Nazis as lesbians in their official records, and their victims documented as such were not necessarily lesbians in truth. It is unclear how many of the accusations were false.[9]

Der Notschrei

A collage published in the Nazi newsletter Der Notschrei (The Cry for Help) of closed gay and lesbian bars in Berlin. Top-center: the exterior of Elsa Conrad's lesbian club Monbijou des Westens

Germany criminalized male homosexuality using Paragraph 175 of the Strafgesetzbuch (German Criminal Code). While Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime engaged in extensive, systematic persecution of gay men after 1933 and expanded Paragraph 175 in 1935 to arrest more men,[9] the regime declined to expand it to include sexual intimacy between women. Since the Third Reich required an increase in the "desirable" Aryan population—Nordic people who were non-Jewish, non-Romani, non-Sinti, and otherwise "hereditarily fit"—the ultimate purpose of such women was marriage and motherhood. The Nazis believed women were only "pseudohomosexual" rather than truly homosexual and could be "cured" to serve their reproductive purpose;[10] they could be persuaded or forced to bear Aryan children.[9]

Although lesbianism itself was not illegal, lesbians[note 1] were persecuted and punished in other ways. The Nazis disrupted informal gay and lesbian social networks, raided and closed their public meeting places, and put locations under surveillance. While some fled the country, others attempted to outwardly conform by entering marriages of convenience.[9][10] Denunciations—reports to the police by neighbors, family members, and friends—were used to investigate lesbians further, which could lead to arrest on other offenses, such as being connected to a resistance organization, engaging in subversive political behavior, or having friendships with Jews. Other lesbians were targeted for being Jewish themselves.[9]

Lesbians could thus be sent to Nazi concentration camps.[10] While gay men were primarily arrested for their sexuality and forced to wear a downward-pointing pink triangle, women were instead marked with whichever badge corresponded to their official reason for arrest and internment.[9] Some lesbians were marked as social deviants, grouping them with other "asocials"—sex workers, unemployed people, homeless people, professional criminals, and the Sinti and Roma people.[10] "Asocials" were required to wear a downward-pointing black triangle. Based on this, some lesbians have used the black triangle in a manner similar to how some people in the gay community have reclaimed the pink triangle as a defiant symbol.[11]

Mid-20th century[]

Annual Reminder 1965

Photograph from the first Annual Reminder on July 4, 1965

Annual Reminder (1965–1969)[]

The Annual Reminder events were some of the earlier organized public demonstrations for LGBTQIA+ rights. Held outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Annual Reminders began on July 4, 1965,[12] and were held yearly until the final event on July 4, 1969.[13] Participants dressed in formal business attire to communicate "respectability", and they carried signs with messages such as "Homosexuals Ask For Equality Before the Law".[12]

Compton's Cafeteria riot[]

The Compton's Cafeteria riot took place on an evening in August 1966 at Gene Compton's Cafeteria, an all-night restaurant in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, California. The homophobic and transphobic management at Gene Compton's Cafeteria frequently called the San Francisco police (SFPD) to remove and arrest queer customers. On that particular night, SFPD was called to remove a table of noisy diners. Frustrated by constant police harassment and profiling, patrons resisted and started throwing silverware, cups, plates, and trays at the SFPD officers.[14] It has been said but not proven that a trans woman sparked the riot when she threw a cup of coffee in an officer's face.[15] The riot spread onto the surrounding Turk and Taylor Streets and the cafeteria was also damaged.[14]

Locally, the riot was not originally seen as significant to the community members who were focused on their own survival and did not have the time or resources for political organizing. The event was mostly ignored by the media, even in the publications run by the gay community,[14] and no arrest records remain in SFPD archives.[15] Despite how it was ignored at the time, the riot is now seen as a turning point for trans civil rights and a significant moment in trans resistance to police violence.[14]

Stonewall riots[]

Stonewall riots

Photograph from the uprising at Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall riots, also called the Stonewall uprising,[16] started on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. Initially a confrontation between patrons and police officers who raided the establishment, it was strengthened by other members of the LGBTQIA+ community and neighborhood street people.[17] Over the following six days, the community engaged in protests and violent clashes with law enforcement on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park.[18] Although the uncoordinated actions are often called a riot, key participant Stormé DeLarverie described it as a rebellion, an uprising, and a civil rights disobedience.[19] The event is widely regarded as a catalyst for the civil rights movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States.[20]

Defense of Marriage Act[]

The Defense of Marriage Act, often shortened to DOMA, was a 1996 law passed by the United States Congress and signed by then-President Bill Clinton. The law officially defined marriage in the United States of America as being between one man and one woman. A portion of the law was superseded by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2013 case United States v. Windsor, and the entirety was deemed unconstitutional by Obergefell v. Hodges. DOMA was officially repealed on December 13, 2022 by the Respect for Marriage Act.

Lawrence v. Texas[]

Lawrence v. Texas was a landmark case,[21] decided in the Supreme Court of the United States on June 26, 2003, that ruled sodomy bans between private, consenting adults were unconstitutional.[22]

Equality Act 2010[]

The Equality Act 2010 is a piece of legislation put through the United Kingdom Parliament that applies to the United Kingdom (UK). It is designed to protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. The legislation covers a variety of discrimination types, who is protected by this law, and what action individuals can take if they have been affected by discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 states that a person cannot be discriminated against based on their protected characteristics, which include:[23]

This is bound in law, meaning if discrimination does occur relating to those areas, that is an offense. With regards to discrimination based on sexual orientation, a person cannot be discriminated against and treated differently based on their sexual orientation.[23]

United States v. Windsor[]

United States v. Windsor, officially known as United States v. Windsor, Executor of the Estate of Spyer, et al., was a Supreme Court case that saw the court rule Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages, unconstitutional. The case was argued on March 27, 2013 and decided on June 26, 2013. In a 5–4 decision, the court held that Section 3 violated the Fifteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan were in favor while Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.[24]

Obergefell v. Hodges[]

Obergefell v. Hodges was a case in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) that saw SCOTUS rule that the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The case was argued on April 28, 2015, and decided two months later on June 26. Five justices—Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan, Sonya Sontamayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Stephen Breyer—were in favor of the decision, while four others—Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito—opposed.[25]

Pulse tragedy[]

Pulse logo

Logo of the Pulse nightclub

The Pulse tragedy—also known as the Pulse shooting, Pulse massacre, Orlando nightclub shooting, etc.— was a mass shooting at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016. It was one of the club's weekly Latin Nights[26][27][28] and the shooting began when more than 300 people[note 2] were still there.[26]

The perpetrator of the massacre used a military-style rifle and a handgun to shoot 102 people, killing 49 victims[26][27][28] and injuring 53 survivors with gunshots.[27][28] After he held dozens of hostages in restrooms for three hours while claiming he had bomb vests to detonate, law enforcement officers breached a wall with their explosives and ramming devices, then shot and killed the perpetrator.[29]

This attack is the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQIA+ people in the United States, surpassing the 1973 arson at UpStairs Lounge gay bar in New Orleans, Louisiana that killed 32 people.[26] It is also the deadliest terrorist attack within the U.S.A. since September 11, 2001, and it was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in the U.S.A. until the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.[29] The murdered victims were predominantly both Latinx[note 3] and LGBTQIA+ and ranged in age from 18 to 50 years old.[30]

Don't Say Gay[]

"Don't Say Gay" or "Don't Say Gay or Trans" is a nickname for anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation in the United States. In March 2022, the Florida Legislature passed a bill officially named Parental Rights in Education that has inspired other states to propose similar measures. Before Florida's law took effect on July 1, 2022, it inspired other states to propose similar measures, including five Southern states that passed them.[31]

Ongoing and recurring events[]

HIV/AIDS pandemic[]

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a worldwide health crisis involving the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a virus that attacks the immune system, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a severe phase that may occur when the immune system is badly damaged by HIV.[32] AIDS was first officially reported on June 5, 1981.[33]


Christopher Street Gay Liberation-1970

The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held on June 28, 1970 and is widely considered the first Pride march

Pride in the context of the LGBTQIA+ community means the promotion of self-affirmation, acceptance, equality, and visibility. LGBTQIA+ Pride originated in the United States and built upon prior civil rights demonstrations and acts of resistance. It built upon immediate momentum from the Stonewall riots, an uprising that began on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn (located on Christopher Street in New York City, New York). The events of Stonewall are commonly regarded as the birth of large-scale gay liberation and gay pride. The first Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held on June 28, 1970, dubbed Christopher Street Liberation Day, as the culmination of the first Gay Pride Week in New York City. Other cities held their own events on or around the same date.

Pride has grown to encompass a month-long celebration every June in the USA and worldwide. Some locations also schedule Pride for other dates or months. Present-day celebrations include parades, workshops, protests, and entertainment to bring together millions of participants worldwide.

Wear It Purple Day[]

Wear It Purple Day is an annual event held on the last Friday of August in Australia, organized by the student-run, not-for-profit organization Wear It Purple. It began as a response to worldwide incidents of young LGBTQIA+ people who ended their own lives due to homophobic bullying and harassment. The events' aims include celebrating and empowering "rainbow young people".[34]

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 For brevity, this article uses "lesbian" in a very broad way to include all of the following: women who genuinely identified with any of the words for homosexual women (such as lesbianer), women who identified as bisexual, women who did not identify with specific terms but did have sexual interests or contacts with women, and women accused of such but whose actual sexual orientation is unknown. Additionally, an individual's gender may have been incorrectly assumed from their recorded sex; again, we cannot know for certain if they would have labeled themselves as women. Since they also predate the modern-day use of the umbrella term Sapphic, that word has not been used as a substitute. In short, "lesbians" here means "women-loving-women, actual or alleged".
  2. The exact number of patrons in Pulse at the time of the shooting has not been determined, but it was initially reported as 321. The club did not use a clicker counter to track occupancy as required. For more, see "9 Investigates whether Pulse was over capacity night of shooting".
  3. QLatinx, founded after the Pulse tragedy to advance and empower Central Florida's LGBTQ+ Latinx community, defines Latinx as "A gender-neutral term for individuals of Latin American descent and ethnic background." Many other Orlando-area organizations and individuals use Latinx for themselves or as a community term when referring to those affected by what happened at Pulse, rather than others such as Latinos, Latin Americans/latinoamericanos, or Hispanics/hispanos. Aside from QLatinx, examples of these groups include: Poder Latinx, One Orlando Alliance, Alianza for Progress, and the Contigo Fund. Although the term "Latinx" is not specific to LGBTQ+ people, most (but not all) of the Latinx people killed at Pulse were also LGBTQ+. (See the Hispanic Federation for an example of an organization using the term specifically for LGBTQ+ Latinx people.) While this article uses Latinx to encompass all people it could apply to, the usage does not mean they all self-identified with it.


  1. Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 (48 & 49 Vict. c.69) by Robert William Burnie. Published 1885. (web archive)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Paragraph 175" by Craig Kaczorowski on glbtq Archives (PDF). Published 2004. (Archived on 2024-04-07)
  3. "Paragraph 175" on United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Published 2021-05-04. (Archived on 2024-04-23)
  4. The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) by John Lauritsen and David. Published 1974 by Times Change Press. (web archive)
  5. Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom by Mancini, Elena. Published 2010 by Palgrave MacMillan.
  6. The Eulenburg Affair: A Cultural History of Politics in the German Empire by Domeier, Norman and Schneider, Deborah Lucas. Published 2015 by Boydell & Brewer. (web archive)
  7. Desiring Emancipation: New Women and Homosexuality in Germany, 1890-1933 by Lybeck, Marti M.. Published 2015 by State University of New York Press.
  8. "The Pink Triangle: From Nazi Label to Symbol of Gay Pride" by Mullen, Matt on History. Published 2019-06-03. (Archived on 2024-04-10)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Lesbians under the Nazi Regime" by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Holocaust Encyclopedia(Archived on 2022-01-12)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Nazism" by Claudia Schoppmann in Lesbian Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, with Bonnie Zimmerman (editor). Published 2000 by Garland Publishing. ISBN 0815319207(web archive)
  11. "Queer 101" by Old Dominian University on Old Dominian University - LGBTQIA+ Initiatives(Archived on 2021-10-25)
  12. 12.0 12.1 "What Was Your Stonewall? Pivotal L.G.B.T.Q. Moments Across the U.S." by James, Scott on <>. Published 2019-06-20. (Archived on 2022-01-24)
  13. "Demanding Civil Rights: The Roots of the LGBTQ Movement" on National Park Service (PDF)(no backup information provided)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "The Sissies, Hustlers, and Hair Fairies Whose Defiant Lives Paved the Way For Stonewall" by Oatman-Stanford, Hunter on Collectors Weekly. Published 2016-08-15. (Archived on 2021-11-06)
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Compton's Cafeteria riot: a historic act of trans resistance, three years before Stonewall" by Levin, Sam on The Guardian. Published 2019-06-21. (Archived on 2022-01-28)
  16. "Stonewall riots, United States history" by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica on <>. Published 2009-06-17 by Encyclopaedia Britannica(no backup information provided)
  17. "How Dressing in Drag Was Labeled a Crime in the 20th Century" by Ryan, Hugh on <>. Published 2019-06-28 by A&E Television Networks. (Archived on 2022-01-03)
  18. "Stonewall Riots" by Editors on <>. Published 2017-05-31 by A&E Television Networks. (Archived on 2022-01-20)
  19. "Stormé DeLarverie: Stonewall Stalwart" by Mae, Tara on <>. Published 2020-06-28. (Archived on 2022-01-17)
  20. "Stonewall National Monument" on <>. Published by National Park Service. (Archived on 2022-01-08)
  21. "Lawrence v. Texas" by Krystyna Blokhina Gilkis, Legal Information Institute on <>. Published by Cornell Law School. (no backup information provided)
  22. "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy" by The Associated Press on <>. Published 2003-06-26 by The New York Times. (no backup information provided)
  23. 23.0 23.1 List of Protected Characteristics
  24. "United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013)" on Justia: U.S. Supreme Court. Backup of content from Supreme Court of the United States (Archived on 2023-12-05)
  25. "Syllabus: Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al." on <> (PDF). Published 2015-06-26. Backup of content from Supreme Court of the United States (Archived on 2024-04-21)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 "Community rises up after mass shooting at Orlando gay nightclub kills 49" by Jamie Hyman on Watermark. Published 2016-06-16. (Archived on 2021-11-09)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 "Terror in Orlando" by Monivette Cordeiro on Orlando Weekly. Published 2016-06-15. (Archived on 2023-06-04)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 "Pulse Orlando shooting scene a popular LGBT club where employees, patrons 'like family'" by Steve Rothaus on Miami Herald. Published 2016-06-12. (Archived on 2022-01-19)
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Rescue, Response, and Resilience: A Critical Incident Review of the Orlando Public Safety Response to the Attack on the Pulse Nightclub" by Frank Straub, Jack Cambria, Jane Castor, Ben Gorban, Brett Meade, David Waltemeyer, and Jennifer Zeunik on National Policing Institute (as Police Foundation) (PDF). Published December 2017 by Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. (Archived on 2023-03-17)
  30. "Remembering the Orlando 49" by Orlando Weekly Staff on Orlando Weekly. Published 2017-06-07. (Archived on 2022-12-09)
  31. "As Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law takes effect, schools roll out LGBTQ restrictions" by Lavietes, Matt on NBC News. Published 2022-06-30. (Archived on 2022-07-01)
  32. "About HIV" on on 2022-01-13)
  33. "HIV/AIDS Timeline" by National Prevention Information Network on Published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Archived on 2022-01-13)
  34. "Our Story - WEAR IT PURPLE" on Wear It Purple. Published 2021. (Archived on 2024-04-20)