Today, I can proudly kiss my girlfriend in public. Forty years ago, I would have been convicted for that. That’ s what happened to two men who kissed in public at a California rest stop in 1976; they were arrested, convicted and forced to register as sex offenders.
I’m so grateful every day for the progress that the LGBT movement has made in America. We still have a long way to go, but we’ve come so far.
With help from LavenderEffect.org, I’d like to remember some major LGBT landmarks that happened in September.
September 28, 1292:
In what is now Belgium, a man is convicted of sodomy and burned to death at the stake – unfortunately, this is the first of many executions for “homosexual acts” in Western Europe.
September 25, 1791:
Leaders of the French Revolution create a new law code that decriminalizes consensual gay sex (by not mentioning it).
September 2, 1907:
Dr. Evelyn Hooker is born, and will go on to empirically prove that homosexuality isn’t a mental illness. Because of her research, homosexuality will be removed from the DSM.
September 29, 1926:
An older woman seduces a younger woman in The Captive, a lesbian melodrama that creates an uproar on Broadway.
September 6, 1935:
An NYU professor is the first to use electric shock therapy, AKA aversion therapy, to “cure” gay people.
September 11, 1961:
A San Francisco news station broadcasts The Rejected, the first made-for-TV documentary about contemporary gay life.
September 15, 1969:
New York’s first gay and lesbian newspaper, Gay Power, prints its first issue.
September 26, 1970:
After protests by the Gay Liberation Front, gay men are allowed to hold hands inside L.A. bars.
September 6, 1971:
The National Organization for Women publicly acknowledges that discrimination against lesbians is antifeminist.
September 1, 1977:
The Gay Republicans club is founded.
September 5, 1987:
The Homomonument is dedicated in the Netherlands; this monument honors LGBT victims of the Nazis.
September 10, 1996:
The US Senate passes the Defense of Marriage Act, banning gay marriage.
September 10, 2002:
Same-sex couples in South Africa receive the right to jointly adopt children.
September 8, 2008:
Rachel Maddow premieres The Rachel Maddow Show and becomes America’s first openly gay prime-time news anchor.
September 9, 2010:
A California court rules the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy as unconstitutional based on the first and fifth amendments.
What will your role in history be?