The political and social climate of the U.S. has not always been conducive to securing basic human rights for LGBTQ Americans. And in the fifty years since the Stonewall uprising, it's been a roller coaster full of ups and downs. Below, 1010 WINS looks at key milestones -- the good and the bad -- since 1969:



Police raid the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, prompting the bar's patrons to demonstrate and fight back -- and of course, formally giving birth to the LGBTQ rights movement. 


LGBTQ New Yorkers and their allies march through Manhattan on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The even is named Christopher Street Liberation Day, and it is now considered the first Pride parade. 


The Gay & Lesbian Switchboard of New York. an LGBTQ hotline, is founded.


The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental health disorders by a vote of 5,854 to 3,810.

First meeting in New York of "Parents and Friends of Gays," which goes national as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1982.


Lambda Legal becomes the first legal organization established to fight for the equal rights of LGBTQ Americans.

Kathy Kozachenko becomes the first openly LGBTQ American elected to any public office when she wins a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan, city council. Elaine Noble, meanwhile, is the first openly LGBTQ candidate elected to a state office when she is elected to the Massachusetts State legislature.


The first federal gay rights bill is introduced to address discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill later goes to the Judiciary Committee -- but it's never brought for consideration.


Tennis player Renee Richards, a transgender woman, is banned from competing in the U.S. Open.


The TV show "Soap" features the first openly gay character in a recurring role, played by Billy Crystal.


Harvey Milk is inaugurated as San Francisco city supervisor, and is the first openly gay man to be elected to a political office in California. In November, Milk and Mayor George Moscone are murdered by Dan White.

The rainbow flag, designed by Gilbert Baker, debuts. 


The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights takes place. It draws an estimated 75,000 to 125,000 individuals marching for LGBTQ rights.


An armed man targeting gay bars kills two and wounds six in Greenwich Village.


Nick Rock becomes first known AIDS death in New York City.

The New York Times publishes the first news article about AIDS.


Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.


In the midst of the AIDS crisis, Lambda Legal wins People v. West 12 Tenants Corp., the first HIV/AIDS discrimination lawsuit. Neighbors attempted to evict Dr. Joseph Sonnabend from his building because he was treating HIV-positive patients.


ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is founded in New York City at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.


The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival first premieres.


President Bill Clinton signs "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


Romer v. Evans declares denying gay people protection from discrimination is unconstitutional. 

Bill Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act 

A Hawaiian judge rules that the state does not have a legal right to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry, making Hawaii the first state to recognize that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to the same privileges as heterosexual married couples.


Ellen DeGeneres comes out as a lesbian on her TV show.


Tammy Baldwin becomes first openly gay person elected to Congress.

University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard is beaten, tortured and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming.


The Transgender Day of Remembrance is founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith. Monica Helms creates the Transgender Pride flag. 


Vermont becomes the first state to legalize civil-unions between same-sex couples.


Lawrence v. Texas declares all sodomy laws in the U.S. unconstitutional.


President Barack Obama signs the Matthew Shepard Act, expanding prevention and prosecution of hate crimes. 


"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," repealed, allowing lesbians and gay men to openly serve in the military.

Same-sex marriage in New York becomes legal under the Marriage Equality Act (New York) passed by the New York State Legislature.


Tammy Baldwin becomes first openly gay person elected to the Senate, and Kyrsten Sinema becomes first bisexual elected to the House of Representatives. 

During an ABC News interview, President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support the freedom for LGBTQ couples to marry.


United States v. Windsor declares the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. 

American Psychiatric Association replaces the term "gender identity disorder" with "gender dysphoria."


Obergefell v. Hodges guarantees all same-sex couples the right to marry.

Bisexual Kate Brown becomes governor of Oregon. 

Boy Scouts of America lifts ban on openly gay leaders. 


Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando. The gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

President Obama announces the designation of the first national monument to LGBTQ rights. The Stonewall National Monument encompasses Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the sites of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.


Transgender candidate Danica Roem elected to Virginia legislature. 

District of Columbia offers gender neutral "X" marker on its driver licenses.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees.


Democratic Rep. Jared Polis elected Colorado's governor, becoming the first openly gay man to be elected governor.


Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his Democratic candidacy for president, becoming the first candidate for a major party to run. 

President Donald Trump's ban on transgender people in the military goes into effect. 

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