Harvey Milk and Gay Rights Timeline


First Gay Rights Organization


"The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country's earliest known gay rights organization." (infoplease)

First State To Make Gay Sex Legal


"Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private." (infoplease)

First Transgender Organization


"The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco." (infoplease)

The Stonewall Riots

June 28, 1969

"The Stonewall Riots begin after police raid a popular unlicensed gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in New York City's Greenwich Village. The riots, which lasted for days, were triggered by police harassment of gays, according to media reports. This is considered by many to herald the start of the gay rights movement in the U.S." (nbcnews)

Nation's First Gay Pride Parades

June 27, 1970 - June 28, 1970

"On the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the nation's first gay pride parades are held in four cities – New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Fred Sergeant, who attended the NYC parade, reflected in the Village Voice: 'Back then, it took a new sense of audacity and courage to take that giant step into the streets of Midtown Manhattan. ... I stayed at the head of the march the entire way, and at one point, I climbed onto the base of a light pole and looked back. I was astonished; we stretched out as far as I could see, thousands of us.' Pride events now are held worldwide every year." (nbcnews)

Homosexuality No Longer Classified As A Mental Disorder

Approx. 1973

"The American Psychological Association’s Board of Trustees votes to remove homosexuality from its diagnostic manual of mental disorders, influenced by psychologist Dr. Robert Spitzer, who provided data showing there was no clear link between homosexuality and mental illness. A few years later, gay members of the APA formed the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists." (nbcnews)

Assassination of Harvey Milk

November 27, 1978

"Milk became the first openly gay man elected to office in a major U.S. city when he won a seat on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in early 1978. An outspoken advocate for gay rights, he urged gays to come out and fight for their rights. Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White. But Milk's legacy has lived on and California has designated May 22 as a day of 'special significance' in his honor." (nbcnews)