Archival Document Sets

Timeline of LGBT History


Henry Gerber forms the Society for Human Rights, the first gay group in the United States, but the group is quickly shut down.


President Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, banning homosexuals from working for the federal government or any of its private contractors. The Order lists homosexuals as security risks, along with alcoholics and neurotics.


In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of the LGBT magazine "One: The Homosexual Magazine." The suit was filed after the United States Postal Service and FBI declared the magazine obscene material, and it makes the first time the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexuals.


Bayard Rustin, noted civil rights activist and gay man, is the chief organizer behind the historic March on Washington, which culminates with Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech The first gay rights demonstration in the USA takes place on September 19th at the Whitehall Induction Center in NYC, protesting against discrimination in the military.


The Civil Rights Act is passed outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not protected under the act.


Police raid the Stonewall Inn in NYC in the early hours of June 28th. This leads to four days of struggle between police and LGBTQ people. Transgender people, LGBTQ people of color, and youth are a major part of these riots that mark the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement.


The first gay liberation day march is held in NYC.


East Lansing, MI, was the first community in the United States to enact civil rights protections that included sexual orientation.


The board of the American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its list of metal illnesses.


The Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act passes in Michigan prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status in employment, housing, education, and access to public accommodations. LGBT persons were not protected under the act despite seeking inclusion when the act was drafted in 1973.


An estimated 75,000 people participate in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. LGBT people and straight allies demand equal civil rights and urge for the passage of protective civil rights legislature.


Democrats are the first political party to add gay rights to their platform during the democratic national convention.


Wisconsin becomes the first United States state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


Hundreds of thousands of activists take part in the National March on Washington to demand that President Ronald Reagan address the AIDS crisis.


Sexual orientation is recognized for data collection on hate crimes in Michigan.


The Department of Defense issues a directive prohibiting the United States Military from barring applications from service based on their sexual orientation. This policy is known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".


President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law. The law defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman and that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from out of state.


Vermont becomes the first state in the United States to legalize civil unions and registered partnerships between same-sex couples.


In Lawrence v. Texas the United States supreme court rules that sodomy laws in the United States are unconstitutional.

Michigan governor Granholm issued an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination in state-level public sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation. Gender identity was included in the executive order in 2007.


Massachusetts becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage. The court finds the prohibition of gay marriage unconstitutional because it denies dignity and equality of all individuals.

Voters in Michigan approved a constitutional amendment that banned same sex marriage and civil unions in the state.


The United States Senate votes to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the United States military.


President Obama states his administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Most public employers in Michigan were banned from offering health benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.


It was ruled that the Michigan state courts have jurisdiction to grant second parent adoptions by same sex couples.


The United States Supreme Court declares same sex marriage legal in all 50 states.


The Michigan civil rights commission approved a vote adding sexual orientation and gender identity as forms of sex discrimination under the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, making LGBT discrimination illegal under state law.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th circuit (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee) ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people under the category of sex.


A Michigan judge allowed discrimination against LGBT individuals adopting children within adoption agencies, on the technical legal grounds of "fundamental religious beliefs and freedoms".

Michigan Governor Whitmer issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity in all areas of state government employment, including by employers receiving contracts and in grants from the state.

Michigan implemented a new government software system to change an individuals gender or sex on drivers licenses and IDs within the state by both a signed statutory declaration and a fee.


The Uniteds States Supreme Court votes in favor of Bostock v. Clayton County, GA, officially including sexual orientatin and gender identity as protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.