New York City: A bar called Gloria's goes to court to fight being closed down, citing recent scientific studies and arguing that "there is no rule or regulation" preventing a "sex variant" from being served at a bar. Courts reject the argument, however, allowing the State Liquor Authority to continue closing bars frequented by gay men and lesbians.
July 31, 1940
The German Reich Commissar of the occupied Netherlands territories makes all sexual activities between men illegal.
The US. Military orders the first "blue" discharges of gay and lesbian service people.
Switzerland's new law code contains no mention of consensual same-sex relations between adults.
In a letter published by The Guardian, J. R. Ackerley protests the trials of 20 men in Abergavenny, Wales, for sodomy and "indecency." Three of the men, Ackerley writes, have attempted suicide, one successfully. The survivors receive prison sentences of between one and twelve years. The case is symptomatic of the escalation in prosecutions for same-sex acts in the United Kingdom in the 1940s and 1950s.
February 1. 1942
Germany: A legal amendment formally extends the death penalty to men found guilty of having sex with another man.
August 6, 1942
France: Tthe Vichy government raises the age of consent for both male and female same-sex acts to 21 and prescribes penalties of between six months' and three years' imprisonment.
November 14, 1942
Germany: The SS (storm troops) informs concentration camp commandants that they are free to sterilize any of the prisoners under their control. The directive gives official approval to the practice, already instituted in some camps, of castrating males suspected of sexual attraction to other men.
The US. Military expands "blue" discharges to cover "homosexuals" as a class. Sexual orientation, not conduct, is now the criterion.
Jim Kepner begins the private collection that will grow to become the International Gay and Lesbian Archive in Los Angeles.
Sweden decriminalizes consensual, private same-sex relations between adults.
This month's issue of Politics carries poet Robert Duncan's precedent-setting manifesto "The Homosexual in Society."
New York City: The Quaker Emergency Committee meets to work for the establishment of a center where young people arrested on same-sex charges can go for assistance and counseling. The Readjustment Center that results from the Quakers' efforts is believed to be the first social welfare agency for gay men and lesbians in the US.
February 8. 1945
France: The administration of General Charles de Gaulle decides to maintain the Vichy government's decree establishing a discriminatory age of consent for same-sex acts. Also see August 4, 1982.
Los Angeles: Bob Mizer and two partners establish the Athletic Model Guild. Mizer continues to develop the business after the departure of his partners.
Netherlands: Members of Levensrecht resurface and form a new organization called Cultuur- en Ontspannings-Centrum (COC, Culture and Recreation Center). COC quickly becomes the largest homophile group in the world.
Los Angeles: Lisa Ben (a pseudonym that is an anagram for "lesbian") types and mails 12 copies of Vice Versa - "America's Gayest Magazine." The first lesbian newsletter, Vice Versa includes book and movie reviews, poems, and upbeat essays encouraging lesbians to persevere in their quest for a more satisfying life.
Gore Vidal's The City and the Pillar is the first widely read American novel with gay male characters. Although the portrayals are generally positive, his publishers force him to make the ending an unhappy one.
January 3. 1948
The Kinsey Report on men is published, shocking the nation with its revelation of the high incidence of same-sex acts among American men.
March 8, 1948
New York City: the Veterans Benevolent Association incorporates "to unite socially and fraternally, all veterans and their friends, of good and moral character." The group, which has about 100 members at its height, helps gay male veterans with legal and employment problems, besides holding social events attended by as many as 500.
February 1, 1949
The Paris Prefect of Police issues a decree forbidding men from dancing together in public.
Yukio Mishima publishes Kamen no Kokuhaku (Confessions of a Mask), Japan's first modern novel to deal openly with male homosexuality.