In honor of #Stonewall50, AEG Celebrates the achievements and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community
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Learn about the Gay Rights Movement


The Society for Human Rights (founded by Henry Gerber) is formed in Chicago. It is the first documented gay rights organization.


The Mattachine Society (formed by activist Harry Hay) is one of the first sustained gay rights groups in the United States. The Society focuses on social acceptance and other support for homosexuals.

Apr 1, 1952

The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance.


Illinois becomes first state to decriminalize homosexual contact between consenting adults.

Jun 28, 1969

Police raid the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Protests and demonstrations begin, and it later becomes known as the impetus for the gay civil rights movement in the United States

Jun 28, 1970

Community members in New York City march through the local streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This event is named Christopher Street Liberation Day, and is now considered the first gay pride parade.


The American Psychiatric Association declares that homosexuality per se is not a psychiatric disorder.

Mar 26, 1973

First meeting of "Parents and Friends of Gays," which goes national as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1982.


Elaine Noble is the first openly gay candidate elected to a state office when she is elected to the Massachusetts State legislature.

Jan 9, 1978

Harvey Milk was inaugurated as San Francisco city supervisor & was the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California.


Over 100,000 people take part in the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Mar 2, 1982

Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Nov 30, 1993

President Bill Clinton signs a military policy directive that prohibits openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the military, but also prohibits the harassment of "closeted" homosexuals. The policy is known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Sep 21, 1996

President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage and defining marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

Apr 26, 2000

Vermont becomes the first state to legalize civil-unions between same-sex couples.


The US Supreme Court strikes down the "homosexual conduct" law, which decriminalizes same-sex sexual conduct, with their opinion in Lawrence v. Texas. The decision also reverses Bowers v. Hardwick, a 1986 US Supreme Court ruling that upheld Georgia's sodomy law.

May 17, 2004

The first legal same-sex marriage in the United States takes place in Massachusetts.

Nov 4, 2008

Voters approve Proposition 8 in California, which changes the state constitution to say that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized.

Sep 20, 2011

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed, ending a ban on gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Jun 26, 2013

In United States v. Windsor, the US Supreme Court strikes down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits.

Jun 26, 2015

The US Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

Apr 4, 2017

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBT employees, after Kimberly Hively sues Ivy Tech Community College for violating Title VII of the act by denying her employment.

Nov 7, 2017

Virginia voters elect the state's first openly transgender candidate to the Virginia House of Delegates. Danica Roem unseats incumbent delegate Bob Marshall, who had been elected thirteen times over 26 years. Roem becomes the first openly transgender candidate elected to a state legislature in American history.

Nov 6, 2018

Democratic US Representative Jared Polis wins the Colorado governor's race, becoming the nation's first openly gay man to be elected governor.

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