Mass-market publications like Sexology sold in drugstores across the US, provide ordinary Americans with pop-psychological theories and commentary on homosexuality. For many young lesbians and gay men, these articles are the only indication that they are not alone.
China: American writer Agnes Smedley visits two women silk spinners who live and work together as lovers. "marriage" between women, she is told, is common in silk-producing areas of the country.
Denmark decriminalizes consensual sex acts between men. (Sex between women has never been illegal under Danish law.) The Danish reform is one of the few successes of the early Homophile movement.
Bessie SMITH records "It's Dirty but Good"-
I know women that don't like men ...
It's dirty but good, oh, yes, it's dirty but good.
There ain't much difference, it's just dirty but good.
Magnus Hirschfeld visits the US and delivers a series of lectures to medical groups in which he presents his case for the decriminalization of same-sex acts.
April 1. 1930
Hollywood: The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) introduces a self-regulatory code of movie ethics, discouraging filmmakers from including frank depictions of sex and sexuality. Nicknamed the Hays Code after the head of the MPPDA, former Republican National Committee chairman Will H. Hays, the regulations become mandatory on July 1, 1934.
Strange Brother, Blair Niles's novel about bohemian life in the latter days of the Harlem Renaissance, is the first widely read American account of openly gay men, drag balls, and police raids.
France: Colette explores the world of lesbian passion in Ces Plaisirs, better known under its later title Le Pur et l'Impur (The Pure and the Impure).
Poland decriminalizes consensual same-sex relations between adults.
Switzerland: Karl Meier, a German-born refugee from Nazi persecution, founds the publication that evolves into Der Kreis, the leading international homophile 'journal of the next three decades. The publication adds Le Cercle, a French-language version, in 1943 and an English-language edition in 1952.
February 23-24, 1933
Germany: Adolf Hitler's government launches the Nazi persecution of homosexuality with directives closing gay and lesbian clubs, banning pornography and homophile publications, and dissolving homosexual rights groups.
May 6, 1933
Berlin: young Nazis attack and destroy the Institute of Sexual Research. A few days later, the institute's priceless collection of more than 20,000 publications and 5,000 photographs is burned in a public ceremony.
November 29, 1933
Close to bankruptcy after repeated Nazi raids and seizures of his publications and property, Adolf Brand writes a letter to his followers announcing the end of the Homophile movement he has led.
Paul Cadmus's The Fleet's In!, painted as part of a Public Works of Art commission, is exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC The controversy the painting ignites during its brief showing catapults the artist and his uniquely American brand Of homo eroticism to instant fame.
A purge of suspected homosexuals, including many artists, writers, and actors, begins in major cities in the Soviet Union. Most of those arrested are deported to prison camps despite the fact that same-sex relations have not been illegal since 1917.
March 7, 1934
Article 121 makes sodomy between men illegal in all the republics of the USSR. Maxim Gorky, a popular writer and the leading Soviet intellectual of the period, praises the "proletarian humanism" of the law, which punishes sex between consenting male adults with up to five years' "deprivation of freedom."
June 28, 1934
Germany: Some 300 Nazi Party members are arrested and murdered in a purge ordered by Adolf Hitler that comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives. The most prominent victim of the purge is SA (Brown Shirts) chief Ernst Rohm, a gay man whom Hitler accuses of having formed a subversive "homosexual clique."
July 1, 1934
Hollywood makes adherence to the Hays Code mandatory. Among its provisions: "Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationships are the accepted or common thing," and "Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden on the screen."
Germany: Nazi officials begin arresting large numbers of known and suspected homosexuals. The Gestapo orders local police forces to submit lists of "homosexually active persons.
November 20, 1934
Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour opens on Broadway to rave reviews and sellout audiences. A largely sympathetic account of two schoolteachers accused of lesbianism by One of their students, the play is loosely based on an actual case in 19th-century Scotland
Bessie Smith records the song "B-D Woman" in praise of "bulldaggers," perhaps the first popular release to pay tribute to butch lesbians.
In a reply to an American mother worried about her son's homosexuality, Sigmund Freud expresses his view that "homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of" Although the letter is not published until 1951 (and even then has little effect on the treatment of homosexuality by contemporary psychology), the tolerant views expressed are representative of Freud in the last decades of his life.
June 28, 1935
Germany: exactly a year after the murder of Ernst Rohm, the government enacts new, stricter legislation against male same-sex eroticism, partly formalizing the ongoing Nazi persecution of gay men.
September 6. 1935
New York University professor Dr. Louis W Max tells a meeting of the American Psychological Association that he has successfully treated a "partially fetishistic" homosexual neurosis with electric shock therapy delivered at "intensities considerably higher than those usually employed on human subjects." Max's presentation is the first documented instance of aversion therapy used to "cure" homosexuality.
Mona's, the first lesbian BAR in San Francisco, opens on Columbus Avenue.
USSR: People's Commissar for justice Nikolai Krylenko asserts that homosexuality is counterrevolutionary and cannot exist in a socialist state.
New York City: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia orders a citywide "cleanup" of gay and lesbian gathering places in preparation for the 1939 World's Fair, closing down most of the city's best-known gay bars.
Netherlands: A group of gay men parts ways with the reticent philosophy of the country's Scientific Humanitarian Commission and form Levensrecht (Right to Live), one of the first organizations in the world to advocate and foster an open subculture. They publish two issues of a magazine before being suppressed during the Nazi occupation. Also in the Netherlands, Benno Stokvis publishes De Homosexuelen: 35 Autobiographieen ("Homosexuals: 35 Autobiographies"), in which gay men and lesbians tell their life stories in the hope of promoting social tolerance.