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Pat Califia begins to muster the pro-erotica combatants of the lesbian sex wars, publishing "Among Us, Against Us: Right Wing Feminism" in The Advocate and, later in the year, including a section on lesbian s/m in the landmark Naiad Press anthology Sapphistry: The Book of Lesbian Sexuality.

Denise Kreps wins a court battle in Contra Costa County, California, to become the first openly lesbian law enforcement officer in the U. S.

January 10, 1980

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gay male religious order whose motto is "Give Up the Guilt," founds a San Francisco convent following a successful mission in Iowa the previous year. Originally a form of Camp Street Theater, the controversial nuns later become highly visible promoters of safe(r) sex.

April 14, 1980

Havana, Cuba: Thousands of citizens invade the Peruvian embassy to try to obtain permission to leave the country. Over the next few months, Fidel Castro lets more than 100,000 people leave from the port of Mariel on leaky boats and makeshift rafts. Among the refugees, many of whom have been released from prisons and mental institutions, are an estimated 25,000 gay men seeking asylum from persecution.

May 30, 1980

Rhode Island: After winning a suit against his high school, Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his senior prom.

June 20, 1980

San Francisco: The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence make their debut in the city's annual Gay Freedom Day Parade.

July 22, 1980

United Kingdom: The House of Commons extends the Sexual Offenses Act to cover Scotland, decriminalizing most private consensual sex acts between men.

August 14, 1980

The 75 openly lesbian and gay delegates and alternates at the Democratic National Convention in New York City join to nominate Washington, DC, Gay Activists Alliance president Mel Boozer for vice president of the US Boozer tells the convention that "bigotry is bigotry" and that homophobia "dishonors our way of life just as much" as racism, before withdrawing his nomination in favor of Walter Mondale.

September 1980

John Boswell publishes Christianity, Social Intolerance, and Homosexuality, arguing that Christianity did not become severely hostile to same-sex relations until the second half of the 12th century. The controversial book becomes one of the opening salvos in the great Constructionism VS. Essentialism debate.

September 20, 1980

Bruce Mailman opens the Saint disco in New York City, heralding what many gay New Yorkers will remember as the zenith of the clone era.

November 10, 1980

New York City: a former policeman fires a submachine gun into two Greenwich Village gay bars, killing two men and wounding six others.

February 5, 1981

In Canada, Toronto police stage a brutal raid on four bathhouses and arrest 20 men as "keepers of a bawdy house" and 286 men as "found-ins." Soon dubbed Canada's 11 Stonewall," the raid sets a North American record for the number of gay men arrested in a single police campaign.

February 6, 1981

Canada: More than 3,000 people brave the winter cold to protest the previous night's raid in a demonstration in downtown Toronto.

July 2. 1981

"Rare Cancer Seen in Homosexuals" is the first story in The New York Times about the mysterious disease that will later be named AIDS.

August 7. 1981

Black and White Men Together members begin weekly demonstrations outside the Ice Palace, a popular disco in New York City, in protest of the club's allegedly racist door policies.

August 26, 1981

California: Governor Jerry Brown appoints Mary Morgan to the San Francisco Municipal Court. She is the first openly lesbian judge in the US.

October 22, 1981

In a case brought to the court by Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association member Jeff Dudgeon, the European Court of Human Rights rules that Northern Ireland violates basic human rights by criminalizing gay male sex.

January 12, 1982

New York City: Gay men gather at Larry Kra.mer's apartment and agree to form Gay Men's Health Crisis in response to the escalating epidemic of fatal illnesses in their community.

February 12, 1982

The film Making Love, one of the first positive Hollywood depiction's of bisexuality and gay male romance, opens in theaters across the us.

February 25, 1982

Wisconsin becomes the first state to approve civil rights protection for lesbians and gay men.

April 13, 1982

Los Angeles: US Congress representatives open the first committee hearings on the disease that will come to be known as AIDS.

May 12, 1982

Canada: Police once again raid The Body Politic, the country's leading gay and lesbian newspaper, on charges of publishing an allegedly obscene article.

July 12, 1982

France: the Ministry of Health removes homosexuality from its official list of "mental illnesses."

July 27, 1982

Representatives of various gay, government, and health organizations decide on the term 11 acquired immune deficiency syndrome," or AIDS, at a Centers for Disease Control meeting convened in Washington, DC The mysterious syndrome is now reaching epidemic proportions among gay men in the US

August 3, 1982

Atlanta, Georgia: A police officer editors Michael Hardwick's home to serve him with a warrant for a traffic violation and discovers him having oral sex with another mail. Hardwick is arrested, held in jail for 12 hours, and charged with Sodomy. Although the state later drops the charge, the case goes to the US. Supreme Court as Bowers v. Hardwick.

August 4, 1982

France, the Age of Consent for same-sex acts is lowered from 21 to 15, the same as for heterosexual acts.

August 25, 1982

Iran re-institutes shari's, the holy law of Islam, proscribing all same-sex acts. Punishments include 100 lashes of the whip, beheading, and stoning to death.

August 28-September 5, 1982

San Francisco: Almost 50,000 people attend the first Gay Games.

October 1, 1982

Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke becomes the first professional baseball player to come out.

October 25, 1982

United Kingdom: the House of Commons extends the Sexual Offences Act to cover Northern Ireland.

December 1982

San Francisco mayor Dianne Feinstein enrages the gay and lesbian community when she vetoes a bill authorizing Domestic Partnership benefits for city employees. Activists begin a "Dump Dianne" campaign in response.

December 18, 1982

Canada: the Quebec parliament becomes the first North American legislative body to authorize Domestic Partnership benefits for same-sex couples.

June 1983

The US: A Church of the Brethren position paper is published, stating that "a person's sexual orientation is not a moral issue, but that sexual behavior does have moral significance." The statement adds that "sexual orientation should not be grounds for denying the request for ordination" to the ministry of the church.

Although generally approved by the Protestant church's 1.75 million members, a group of conservatives issue a strongly worded protest.

June 27, 1983

Parades and rallies in cities across the US are dedicated to people suffering from AIDS. In Chicago, former mayor Jane S. Byrne leads the city's 14th annual Gay and Lesbian Parade, attended by about 30,000 people. The Centers for Disease Control reports 1,641 AIDS cases and 644 deaths. An estimated 70 percent of AIDS sufferers are gay.

July 18, 1983

Responding to House Ethics Committee charges, Representative Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) acknowledges his homosexuality to the House and admits to having had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male page in 1973. The same week, Representative Daniel B. Crane (R-ILL.) confesses to similar charges involving a 17-year-old female page in 1980.

July 20, 1983

The House votes to censure Representatives Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) and Daniel B. Crane (R,-111.) for sexual misconduct with House pages. Studds later reads reporters a statement saying that the censure was not warranted: his affair with the page was private and mutually voluntary. He adds that he hopes "to emerge from the present situation a wiser, a more tolerant and a more complete human being."

August 15, 1983

Returning to his district for the first time since his House censure, Representative Gerry E. Studds (D-Mass.) receives three standing ovations from supporters.

August 21, 1983

La Cage aux Folles opens on Broadway to rave reviews and $4 million in advance ticket sales. With a book written by Harvey Fierstein, La Cage is a romantic musical comedy based on a popular French film about two male lovers, the manager and the leading star of a nightclub featuring female impersonators.

August 22, 1983

Organizers of a Washington march marking the 20th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech announce that no representatives from gay or lesbian rights groups will be allowed to speak. A group of lesbians and gay men stage a sit-in at the organizers' office in response.

September 1983

The Alliance for Gay Artists honors NBC's Cheers and Gimme a Break and ABCs Dynasty for positive, realistic depictions of gay men on television. Awards are also given to Donahue for giving gay and lesbian guests a public forum and for The Fifth of July, a PBS and Showtime production of the Lanford Wilson play, which featured Richard Thomas as a gay handicapped man and Jeff Daniels as his lover.

September 8, 1983

San Francisco: The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals rules that federal immigration authorities cannot prevent lesbians and gay men from entering the country purely on the basis of their sexuality.

October 15, 1983

A Washington, DC, Superior Court judge dismisses a lawsuit brought by gay students against Georgetown University three years ago, ruling that the students cannot force the university to grant their organization recognition, because the federal government does not have an official national policy on homosexual rights.

October 21. 1983

Through a spokesperson, the Orthodox Eastern Churches in the United States threaten to withdraw from the National Council of Churches if the predominantly gay and lesbian Metropolitan Community Church is allowed to join. In response, the council decides to table the group's application for membership.


Leningrad, Russia: Alexander Zaremba organizes one of the first gay and lesbian groups in the USSR,. The KGB subsequently forces many of those active in the group to emigrate.
HTLV-III is discovered to cause AIDS.

March 12, 1984

The European Parliament approves its first resolution in support of lesbian and gay rights. The resolution is based on a report previously accepted by the Parliament from Italian member Vera Squarcialupi.

April 9, 1984

San Francisco: The Department of Public Health closes the City's bathhouses in the belief that they contribute to the spread of AIDS. The decision comes after a heated, divisive debate between gay men who believe the baths can be used as a forum for safe(r) sex education and those who see them as contributing to the spread of the epidemic.

July 1984

The US Conference of Mayors overwhelmingly approves a resolution advocating gay and lesbian rights protection at all levels of government. The resolution, which the National Gay [later: and Lesbian] Task Force helped draft, is the first to be passed by a national organization of elected officials.

July 13, 1984

Brothers, the first American television show with an openly gay lead character (brother Donald), premiers on the Showtime cable network.

November 10, 1984

United Kingdom: Labour MP Chris Smith becomes the first member of the House of Commons to come out voluntarily.

December 5, 1984

Berkeley, California, becomes the first city in the US to extend spousal benefits to the domestic partners of city employees.

March 25, 1985

Pivotal year for Oscars: Vanessa Redgrave is the first woman to be nominated for Best Actress playing a lesbian role (The Bostonians); The Times of Harvey Milk wins Best Documentary (first documentary on a gay subject to do so), so an estimated 1 billion viewers hear its director, Robert Epstein, express his thanks to my partner in life, John Wright."
Also in March: FDA approved AIDS antibody test.

April 1, 1985

New York City: The Hetrick-Martin Institute opens the Harvey Milk School for 20 openly lesbian and gay teenagers in the basement of a Greenwich Village church. The city-funded high school provides a place of refuge for the students, many of whom have dropped out of other schools to escape repeated abuse and harassment.

July 25, 1985

Paris: a spokesperson for Rock Hudson acknowledges that the actor is suffering from AIDS. Later, media reports openly discuss his homosexuality for the first time. The publicity given his illness marks a turning point in building public awareness of the threat of AIDS and in galvanizing support for efforts to fight the disease.

Also in Paris, the French Parliament amends the penal code to prohibit discrimination based on "moral habits," one of which is homosexuality. France is the first country to legislate gay and lesbian rights.

October 4, 1985

United Kingdom: The Labour Party Annual Conference approves a resolution calling for the end of all legal discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

November 1985

New York City: City officials use a "nuisance abatement" statute to close down gay male sex clubs and bathhouses, including the Mineshaft and the New St. Mark's Baths, in the belief that these establishments contribute to the spread of AIDS.

November 13, 1985

United Kingdom: Manchester gay rights advocate and politician Margaret Roff becomes the country's first openly lesbian (or gay) mayor.

November 17, 1985

New York City: More than 700 people concerned about negative publicity surrounding AIDS, bathhouses, and gay promiscuity attend a town meeting that leads to the founding of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

November 27, 1985

Activist Cleve Jones conceives The Names. It's at an AIDS candlelight vigil in project in San Francisco.

March 20, 1986

After 14 years of debate and controversy, the New York City Council passes a municipal rights ordinance for the city's gay men and lesbians.

March 24, 1986

William Hurt wins an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of an imprisoned South American hairdresser in Kiss of the Spider Woman. It is the first time an actor playing a gay character has received an Oscar.

April 1986

Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts premieres in New York City. Based on Jane Rule's novel Desert of the Heart, the film is the first lesbian produced feature about lesbians to be released commercially in the US

May 7. 1986

Russia: A former Soviet deputy health minister tells readers of Literaturnaya Gazeta, a popular weekly newspaper, that AIDS is not a concern in the USSR because homosexuality and drug use are both illegal.

June 30, 1986

In Bowers v. Hardwick the US Supreme Court rules that the US Constitution-as well as the precedence of Judeo-Christian prohibitions and Anglo-American sodomy laws-gives states the right to regulate and proscribe same-sex relations.

July 9, 1986

New Zealand: Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act, decriminalizing sex between men and establishing the same legal provisions for all sexual relations.

August 9-17, 1986

San Francisco: The second Gay Games attracts twice as many participants as the first: 3,482 athletes from 16 countries participate in 17 different events.

August 26, 1986

Jerry Smith, former Washington Redskins tight end, is the first celebrity to acknowledge voluntarily that he has AIDS. He dies of the disease seven weeks after his announcement.

October 1, 1986

The Roman Catholic Church issues Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons." In the document, Ratzinger clarifies the Church's condemnation of the "homosexual inclination" as a "tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil" and an "objective disorder," and criticizes Catholics who have been guilty of "an overly benign interpretation of the homosexual condition."

October 30, 1986

Lima, Peru: police raid a lesbian bar and arrest about 70 women. Television reporters, who have been previously notified by police, are present to film the women for local news reports. As a result, many of the women lose their jobs; some are beaten by their families; at least two are raped on their way home from the police station.


Hungary's first gay rights organization, Homeros, is founded in Budapest.

March 14, 1987

New York City: The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (Act Up) is formed as a direct action group by Larry Kramer and some 300 other activists.

March 24, 1987

New York City: Act up launches its first public action, a clamorous sit-in at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street in protest of government delays in approving possible AIDS treatments. Seventeen people are arrested.

May 1987

Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema's romantic lesbian comedy I've Heard the Mermaid Singing wins the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival.

May 27, 1987

Lambda Book Report, the first periodical devoted exclusively to lesbian and gay literature, makes its debut.

May 30, 1987

A Boston Globe headline reads, "Frank Discusses Being Gay." Asked if he is gay, Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) replies, "Yes, so what?" He is the second US congressmen to come out .

June 15, 1987

The New York Times decides to allow its writers to use the word "gay" as an adjectival synonym for "homosexual."

August 7. 1987

London: more than 100 lesbians and gay men stage a kiss-in at Piccadilly Circus in defiance of the Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalized private sex acts between consenting adults but left public displays of same-sex affection a misdemeanor.

October 1987

Mexico City: The first-ever Latin American Lesbian Conference draws about 250 participants from countries in both North and South America.

October 11, 1987

Washington, DC: The largest lesbian and gay rights rally to date convenes. According to organizers, more than half a million people participate in the second March on Washington.

The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt is shown publicly for the first time as part of the March on Washington. Stretched out over two city blocks, the Quilt integrates 1,920 panels, commemorating more than 2,000 persons who have died of AIDS.

October 13, 1987

Over 600 lesbians, gay men, and supporters are arrested on the steps of the US Supreme Court in the largest civil disobedience protest in the history of the gay and lesbian rights movement.

December 8, 1987

United Kingdom: Conservative MP David Wilshire introduces Clause 28 as an amendment to the Local Government Bill. The proposed amendment makes it illegal for local authorities to "promote homosexuality or ... promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality."

December 15-18, 1988

Netherlands: The Free University of Amsterdam convenes the International Scientific Conference on Gay and Lesbian Studies. The highlight of the session is a heated debate inspired by the Constructionism VS. Essentialism controversy, entitled "Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality?"

January 1988

Hungary: Homeros Lambda becomes the first gay and lesbian rights group in Eastern Europe to obtain official recognition.

January 5. 1988

Raleigh, North Carolina, enacts a gay rights ordinance. Raleigh is the hometown of the famous homophobe Jesse Helms.

January 9, 1988

United Kingdom: more than 10,000 lesbians and gay men demonstrate their opposition to Clause 28 in a march through central London.

February 2, 1988

United Kingdom: Three women protest Clause 28 by swinging on ropes off the public gallery into the chamber of the House of Lords. Their shouts of "Lesbians are angry!" and "It's our lives you're dealing with" distill the current mood of British lesbian and gay activists, galvanized as never before in opposition to the bill.

February 5. 1988

Arizona Governor Evan Mecham, who at the beginning of his administration tried to purge lesbians and gay men from state government, is impeached by the Arizona House of Representatives.

February 29, 1988

United Kingdom: between 5,000 and 20,000 demonstrators take part in a march in Manchester to protest Clause 28.

February 29, 1988

Canada, Vancouver: MP Svend J. Robinson comes OUT-in French as well as in English -- on national television. He is the country's first openly gay or lesbian member of Parliament.

March 9. 1988

United Kingdom: Clause 28 of the Local Government Bill is approved by the House of Commons and becomes Section 28 of the Local Government Act.

March 23, 1988

Israel decriminalizes same-sex acts between consenting adults.

March 29, 1988

After eight years in court, Georgetown University loses its fight to keep lesbian and gay groups off campus. The university argued against the groups on freedom of religion grounds, based on its status as an institution of the Roman Catholic Church.

April 30, 1988

United Kingdom: Some 30,000 demonstrators, including rock stars and other celebrities, march in London to protest the passage of Clause 28. This is the largest lesbian and gay rally in the history of the UK.

May 7. 1988

Sacramento, California: 8,000 activists mark the National Day of Protest with the largest gay and lesbian rights rally in the state's history.

New York City: some 500 ACT up activists protest the nation's lethargic response to the AIDS crisis by blocking traffic in the financial district.

May 24, 1988

United Kingdom, Clause 28 of the Local Government Act (see 3/9/1988) takes effect, prohibiting government from providing support to pro lesbian and -gay organizations.

June 16, 1988

San Antonio: The Southern Baptist Convention passes a resolution calling homosexuality "an abomination" and blaming AIDS on gay men.

June 26, 1988

Art Agnos is the first San Francisco mayor to ride in a Gay Pride celebration parade.

October 11, 1988

Urging thousands of lesbians and gay men across the country to be open about their sexuality with friends, families, and coworkers, Robert H. Eichberg, a psychologist and activist, and Jean O'Leary, executive director of National Gay Rights Advocates, launch the first National Coming Out Day.

Maryland: More than 1,000 demonstrators, led by ACT up activists, invade the -rounds of the Federal Food and Drug Administration to focus attention on the AIDS crisis and to protest the agency's slow drug approval process. About 150 demonstrators are arrested.

October 26, 1988

The European Court of Human Rights rules that laws in Ireland criminalizing sex between men are in violation of the Charter of Human Rights. The court was petitioned by David Norris, an MP in the Dail of Ireland.

November 28. 1988

A Dallas judge sentences the killer of two gay men to 30 years in prison instead of a life sentence because, as he later tells the Dallas Times Herald, "I don't much care for queers cruising the streets." The Dallas Gay Alliance joins political leaders across the country in protesting the judge's decision.

December 21, 1988

The Chicago City Council votes 28-17 to approve a bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

January 1989

United Kingdom: AIDS activists meeting in London hold the first meeting of British Act Up.

January 31, 1989

San Francisco: AIDS activists stage a protest on the Golden Gate Bridge, bringing morning rush-hour traffic to a standstill. Twenty-nine demonstrators are arrested.

February 6, 1989

By a vote of 251-121, the American Bar Association's House of Delegates approves a referendum in favor of federal rights legislation for lesbians and gay men.

April 30, 1989

In Austin, Texas, more than 20,000 people march on the state capital in the largest gay and lesbian rights demonstration in the state's history.

May 1989

United Kingdom, Ian McKellen, fellow actor Michael Cashman, and dozens of other gay men and lesbians found the Stonewall Group to monitor legislation in Parliament and lobby for equal rights for lesbians and gay men.

June 2, 1989

Lambda Book Report presents the first Lambda Literary AWARDS as part of the American Booksellers Association convention in Washington, DC Armistead Maupin emcees; "Lammy" winners include Dorothy Allison, Paul Monette, Michael Nava, Karen Thompson, and Edmund White.

June 12, 1989

Washington, DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art director Christina Orr-Cahill announces the cancellation of "The Perfect Moment," a show of 150 photos and objects by Robert Mapplethorpe that includes 13 s/m images. The museum is afraid of losing National Endowment for the Arts funding.

June 25, 1989

The US Postal Service becomes the first federal agency to extend official recognition of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Movement by "Lesbian and Gay Pride" stamp in suing al1 commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

October 1, 1989

Denmark authorizes "registered partnerships" for lesbian and gay couples. The partnerships are considered similar to MARRIAGE, although they do not include rights to adoption, artificial insemination, or religious wedding ceremonies in state Lutheran Churches.

November 1989

An episode of the US television program Thirtysomething features two men in bed. Network executives later estimate that the episode cost them about $500,000 in advertising from sponsors fearful of a backlash from conservative customers.

November 16, 1989

Germany's first public office devoted to lesbian and gay concerns is established in Berlin. Called the Referat fur Gleichgeschlectliche Lebensweisen (Center for Homosexual Lifestyles), the state-level office works to eliminate discrimination and promote understanding of gay men and lesbians.

December 10, 1989

New York City: Act Up gathers about 5,000 demonstrators in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral to protest the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to SAFE Sex education and the promotion of condom use.