Timeline of LGBT history

A brief history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social movements…

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1-The main struggles of LGBT individuals:


On June 12, 2016, the popular gay dance club Pulse in Orlando was the site of a mass shooting by one assailant.

With at least 49 dead and another 50 injured, this hate crime is being called the worst mass shooting in U.S. history…

It occurred during what was LGBT Pride weekend for towns and cities in and beyond the United States. The immediate, caring response from mayors, police and FBI authorities, local and national politicians, and the President of the United States…

Although the LGBT community and individuals remain targets for hate violence and backlash throughout the world, the hard work of activists and allies made it possible to reach this era, where the perpetrators of violence, not the victims, are condemned as sick…


Social movements, organizing around the acceptance and rights of persons who might today identify as LGBT or queer, began as responses to centuries of persecution by church, state and medical authorities.

Gradually, the growth of a public media and ideals of human rights drew together activists from all walks of life, who drew courage from sympathetic medical studies, banned literature, emerging sex research and a climate of greater democracy.

However, throughout 150 years of homosexual social movements (roughly from the 1870s to today), leaders and organizers struggled to address the very different concerns and identity issues of gay men, women identifying as lesbians, and others identifying as gender variant or nonbinary.

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  • What is the pre-history of LGBT activism?

We know that homosexuality existed in ancient Israel simply because it is prohibited in the Bible, whereas it flourished between both men and women in Ancient Greece.


These realities gradually became known to the West via travelers’ diaries, the church records of missionaries, diplomats’ journals, and in reports by medical anthropologists.

Biblical interpretation made it illegal for a woman to wear pants or a man to adopt female dress, and sensationalized public trials warned against “deviants” but also made such martyrs and heroes popular: Joan of Arc is one example, and the chilling origins of the word “faggot” include a stick of wood used in public burnings of gay men…

Women and girls, economically oppressed by the sexism which kept them from jobs and economic/education opportunities designated for men only, might pass as male in order to gain access to coveted experiences or income. This was a choice made by many women who were not necessarily transgender in identity.


Women “disguised” themselves as men, sometimes for extended periods of years, in order to fight in the military (Deborah Sampson), to work as pirates (Mary Read and Anne Bonney), attend medical school, etc.

Both men and women who lived as a different gender were often only discovered after their deaths, as the extreme differences in male vs. female clothing and grooming in much of Western culture made “passing” surprisingly easy in certain environments.

Moreover, roles in the arts where women were banned from working required that men be recruited to play female roles, often creating a high-status, competitive market for those we might today identify as transwomen, in venues from Shakespeare’s theatre to Japanese Kabuki to the Chinese opera.

Visit the link to know more about William Shakespeare’s theatre:


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This acceptance of performance artists, and the popularity of “drag” humor cross-culturally, did not necessarily mark the start of transgender advocacy, but made the arts an often accepting sanctuary for LGBT individuals who built theatrical careers based around disguise and illusion.


The era of sexology studies is where we first see a small, privileged cluster of medical authorities begin promoting a limited tolerance of those born “invert.”

In Western history, we find little formal study of what was later called homosexuality before the 19th century, beyond medical texts identifying women with large clitorises as “tribades” and severe punishment codes for male homosexual acts…

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2-The beginning of the recognition of LGBT community:


Sigmund Freud, writing in the same era, did not consider homosexuality an illness or a crime and believed bisexuality to be an innate aspect beginning with undetermined gender development in the womb. Yet Freud also felt that lesbian desires were an immaturity women could overcome through heterosexual marriage and male dominance.

To know more about Freud’s theories about sexuality visit link below:


These writings gradually trickled down to a curious public through magazines and presentations, reaching men and women desperate to learn more about those like themselves, including some like English writer Radclyffe Hall who willingly accepted the idea of being a “congenital invert.”

German researcher Magnus Hirschfeld went on to gather a broader range of information by founding Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Science, Europe’s best library archive of materials on gay cultural history.

His efforts, and Germany’s more liberal laws and thriving gay bar scene between the two World Wars, contrasted with the backlash, in England, against gay and lesbian writers such as Oscar Wilde and Radclyffe Hall.


In the United States, there were few attempts to create advocacy groups supporting gay and lesbian relationships until after World War II. However, prewar gay life flourished in urban centers such as New York’s Greenwich Village and Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

The blues music of African-American women showcased varieties of lesbian desire, struggle and humor; these performances, along with male and female drag stars, introduced a gay underworld to straight patrons during Prohibition’s defiance of race and sex codes in speakeasy clubs…

Other important homophile organizations on the West Coast included One, Inc., founded in 1952, and the first lesbian support network Daughters of Bilitis, founded in 1955 by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin…through meetings and publications, these groups offered information and outreach to thousands. These first organizations soon found support from prominent sociologists and psychologists.


In 1951, Donald Webster Cory published “The Homosexual in America”, asserting that gay men and lesbians were a legitimate minority group, and in 1953 Evelyn Hooker, PhD, won a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study gay men. Her groundbreaking paper, presented in 1956, demonstrated that gay men were as well-adjusted as heterosexual men, often more so.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, gay men and lesbians continued to be at risk for psychiatric lockup as well as jail, losing jobs, and/or child custody when courts and clinics defined gay love as sick, criminal or immoral…

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In 1965, as the civil rights movement won new legislation outlawing racial discrimination, the first gay rights demonstrations took place in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., led by longtime activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings.

The turning point for gay liberation came on June 28, 1969, when patrons of the popular Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village fought back against ongoing police raids of their neighborhood bar.


Stonewall is still considered a watershed moment of gay pride and has been commemorated since the 1970s with “pride marches” held every June across the United States.  Frustrated with the male leadership of most gay liberation groups, lesbians influenced by the feminist movement of the 1970s formed their own collectives, record labels, music festivals, newspapers, bookstores, and publishing houses, and called for lesbian rights in mainstream feminist groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW)…

Expanding religious acceptance for gay men and women of faith, the first out gay minister was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 1972. Other gay and lesbian church and synagogue congregations soon followed.


Political action exploded through the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the election of openly gay and lesbian representatives like Elaine Noble and Barney Frank, and, in 1979, the first march on Washington for gay rights. The increasing expansion of a global LGBT rights movement suffered a setback during the 1980s, as the gay male community was decimated by the AIDS epidemic…

Enormous marches on Washington drew as many as one million gay rights supporters in 1987 and again in 1993. Right wing religious movements, spurred on by beliefs that AIDS was God’s punishment, expanded via direct mail.

A New Right coalition of political lobby groups competed with national LGBT organizations in Washington, seeking to create religious exemptions from any new LGBT rights protections.


In spite of the patriotism and service of gay men and lesbians in uniform, the uncomfortable and unjust compromise “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” emerged as an alternative to decades of military witch hunts and dishonorable discharges. Yet more service members ended up being discharged under DADT.

During in the last decade of the 20th century, millions of Americans watched as actress Ellen DeGeneres came out on national television in April 1997, heralding a new era of gay celebrity power and media visibility—although not without risks.

Link below to view Ellen’s coming out episode on the Oprah show:


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With greater media attention to gay and lesbian civil rights in the 1990s, trans and intersex voices began to gain space through works such as Kate Boernstein’s “Gender Outlaw” (1994) and “My Gender Workbook” (1998), Ann Fausto-Sterling’s “Myths of Gender” (1992) and Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors (1998), enhancing shifts in women’s and gender studies to become more inclusive of transgender and nonbinary identities.

As a result of hard work by countless organizations and individuals, helped by internet and direct-mail campaign networking, the 21st century heralded new legal gains for gay and lesbian couples.

Same-sex civil unions were recognized under Vermont law in 2000 and Massachusetts became the first state to perform same-sex marriages in 2004; with the end of state sodomy laws (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003), gay and lesbian Americans were finally free from criminal classification.


Gay marriage was first legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada; but the recognition of gay marriage by church and state continued to divide opinion worldwide.

After the impressive gains for LGBT rights in post-apartheid South Africa, conservative evangelicals in the U.S. began providing support and funding for homophobic campaigns overseas. Uganda’s dramatic death penalty for gays and lesbians was perhaps the most severe in Africa.

Tensions between lesbian and trans activists, however, remained, with the long-running Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival boycotted by national LGBT groups over the issue of trans inclusion; like many woman-only events with a primarily lesbian base, Michfest had supported an ideal of ingathering women and girls born female. The festival ended after its fortieth anniversary in August 2015.

As of 2016, LGBT identification and activism was still punishable by death in ten countries: Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen; the plight of the LGBT community in Russia received intense focus during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, to which President Obama sent a contingent of out LGBT athletes…

Link down below to view President Obama’s speech about gay civil rights:


Supportive remarks from the new Pope Francis (“Who am I to judge?”) gave hope to LGBT Catholics worldwide.

Perhaps the greatest changes in the U.S. occurred between spring 2015 and spring 2016: in late spring 2015 Alison Bechdel’s lesbian-themed Broadway production Fun Home won several Tony awards, former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner transitioned to Caitlyn Jenner, and then in June of 2015, the Supreme Court decision recognized same-sex marriage.

The possible repression of identity which may have played a role in the killer’s choice of target has generated new attention to the price of homophobia –internalized, or culturally expressed— in and beyond the United States…

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21 thoughts on “Timeline of LGBT history

  1. Recently our country legalised gay sex marriage under the section 377. It’s pretty sad how late it got but the good part was that it finally did. But Ella, you know they are the ones with real heart and real emotions. They’re the ones who bare the pain and still love their partners cus if we talk about the ‘straight people’ concept then if they go through pain then invariably their partners suffer but hats off to the LGBT community.

    You know what the best part about your blog is you give so much information and that is so knowledgeable. I mean your both the posts on Feminism then you mentioned about loneliness and now the LGBT history….I mean you can so be a Professor at Oxford or some other best university…haha…saying that appreciate your work. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • 😁 😁
      Thank you very much Piyush.. for this lovely nice comment of yours.. you really made my day!! 🌹
      Yes totally… I honestly appreciate the LGBT people.. because being not straight in a community which is the majority of it are straight people is not really something easy to go through.
      So I guess we have to appreciate the struggles which LGBT individuals go through..bcuz to my mind.. they are the perfect definition of force and strength despite what anybody’s says..
      Xoxo 🐙 ( and I think you would make a great psychiatric due to your vivatly emotional posts!!) ♡♡♡

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ella omg you’re such a sweet human being…. I agree to your thought that they’re full of grit and strength cus they have the courage within themselves ti gulp it in and throw it out in a productive way.

        Its always so good yk tbh talking w you cus you’re so full of life and your words are splendour.
        Thank you for cheering me up.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Aww!! 😄 thanks a lot.. you seem like a really great person… ♡♡
        Feel free to share your opinions on any of the articals published by me recently.. and yeh!! you’re welcome.. that’s basically the main point..
        Cheering people up and making them..more knowledgeable about historical events or places!! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • I mean I love reading your blogs and your writings is really pleasing! You’re such a beautiful person and such a kind-hearted soul which gives an extra edge to read your work!
        I feel pleasured myself while reading your artistic work❤️❤️🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Massive thanks Piyush!! ♡♡
    I’ve really started this blog feeling that I’m not going to get much of support for the topics which I’m going to post..
    So thank you very much for your active participation through this blog..
    I hope that this lasts a long time.. 🐙

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just as shadows walk along with the person and never betray them. I’m gonna be the shadow to your blogs. I will never betray. Also, I’ve just uploaded a new blog. Hoping for your mesmerising views ❤
      Love, Piyushh!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In relation to the use (following the moralistic prohibition imposed to women to appear on the stage) to entrust female roles, in theater and especially in opera, to emasculated men to keep their tone of voice sharp, I remember a poem entitled « The Music » by Giuseppe Parini (1729-1799), an extraordinarily modern illuminist priest who underlines the obscenity of the moralism that induced the fathers of poor families to emasculate a child before adolescence to guarantee him a future career as a singer, causing the boy terrible consequences at the hormonal level, and first of all obesity. Parini considers monstrous the idea that in order to guarantee the entertainment of rich people, one should ruin a boy’s life.
    “I absolutely dislike an elephant singing on the scene,
    which moves hardly on his fat feet
    emitting a very high-pitched voice from an enormous mouth.
    Damn the father who first tried, armed with iron,
    the terrible and fierce crime because of which
    the mutilated offspring must suffer.
    The idle pleasure of listening, experienced by the powerful men, can it get to the point
    of inducing a ferocious father, which behaves worse than a beast or a snake,
    to such violent gestures against his own blood?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • First of all thank you for participating through this post.. ♡♡
      Second of all.. reading about these horrible events is really sad… 😕
      I hope that fathers respect their children more by giving them the free of choice to be who they decide to be.. instead of shaping them of these people who represents their personal desires and don’t even look like themselves..
      Thank you for sharing these wonderful informations.. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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