Before we start, just wanted to note that we’re using Before Common Era (BCE) and Common Era (CE) instead of that BC and AD nonsense that’s not even historically accurate.
And without further ado, a really queer timeline:
Circa 9,600 BCE
—Rock art depecting same-sex sexual situations begins to appear.
Circa 7,000 BCE
—Rock art depicting transgender, intersex, and “third sex” people begins to appear.
Ancient History (3200 BCE – 0)
Circa 2,800 BCE
–A biological male is buried in the traditional style of a woman’s grave outside of present day Prague.
Circa 2419 BCE
—Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum serve together at Overseer of the Royal Manicurist. They may be history’s first recorded same-sex couple.
Circa 630 BCE
—Sappho is born.
Circa 600 BCE
—Sappho and her family are temporarily exiled from Lesbos.
Circa 580 BCE
Circa 470 BCE
–The earliest known depiction of Sappho appears on pottery.
Classical Antiquity (1 – 500 CE)
—May 16: Heliogabalus becomes Emperor of Rome.
—March 11: Heliogabalus is killed by his own Praetorian Guard.
Post-Classical Era (500 – 1500 CE)
Early Middle Ages (500 – 1000 CE)
High Middle Ages (1000 CE – 1250 CE)
Late Middle Ages (1250 – 1500 CE)
—Sun-bin Bong becomes Royal Noble Consort to Crown Prince Munjong of Joseon.
—Sun-bin Bong is demoted to commoner, exiled from the palace, and never heard from again after a trial for several crimes including sleeping with her female servant.
Early Modern Period (1500 – 1774 CE)
The Renaissance (1500 – 1700 CE)
—March 18: Catalina de Erauso disguises herself as a man, escapes the convent, and embarks on a life as a fugitive and adventurer that ultimately takes her to the New World.
—Julie d’Aubigny marries Sieur de Maupin, has an affair with her fencing instructor, and becomes a fugitive from the law.
—Julie d’Aubigny kisses a woman at a ball, and is then challenged to duel three men. She bests all three, and is pardoned by the king because she is a woman.
Age of Enlightenment (1700 – 1774 CE)
—Mother Clap’s Molly House opens.
—February: Mother Clap’s Molly House is raided and shut down.
Modern Age (1774 – 1945 CE)
Age of Revolutions (1774 – 1849 CE)
–Jemima Wilkinson nearly dies of a fever — when she recovers, she claims the identity of the genderless Publick Universal Friend.
—October 13: The Publick Universal Friend gives their first sermon, less than a week after recovering from fever.
—Jeremy Bentham writes an essay entitled “Offences Against Oneself” — arguing that consensual sexual acts between two adults in their own home should not be criminalized.
—George Gordon Byron, at ten years old, inherits the title of Lord Byron and becomes a member of the landed gentry.
—The Publick Universal Friend is taken to court for blasphemy, but the courts rule that blasphemy is not against the law in the United States due to separation of church and state.
—Lord Byron begins writing poetry.
—Lord Byron embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, where he claims to sleep with more than 200 men.
–The first two cantos of “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” are published and Lord Byron becomes something of a celebrity.
—Lord Byron marries Annabella Millbanke.
–Annabella Millbanke publicly separates from Lord Byron amid rumors of incest. Lady Caroline Lamb would soon add rumors of sodomy to the scandals surrounding him.
–April 25: Lord Byron leaves England.
—Lord Byron travels to Greece to aid in the fight for Greek independence. He sells Rochdale Manor for 11,250 pounds and opens his coffers to the cause.
Victorian Era (1837 – 1901 CE)
—Albert Cashier enlists in the Union army.
—Karl Heinrich Ulrichs officially comes out as an “Urning” and declares that his attraction to men is both biological and natural.
—Karl Heinrich Ulrichs speaks to the German Association of Jurists on behalf of the rights of “Urnings”.
—May 8: Karl-Maria Kertbeny first uses the term “homosexual” in a private letter.
—Karl-Maria Kertbeny publishes pamphlets against the Prussian anti-sodomy law Paragraph 143.
—June 17: Osch-Tisch fights in the Battle of Rosebud.
—Karl Heinrich Ulrichs publishes his twelfth book and then enters self-imposed exile to Naples.
Machine Age (1880 – 1945 CE)
—Mwanga II becomes kabaka of Buganda.
—January 31: Mwanga II begins the executions of the 30 Christians who will become the Uganda Martyrs.
—Richard von Krafft-Ebing borrows the term “homosexual” from Karl-Maria Kertbeny‘s work and the term begins to enter mainstream usage.
—December 26: Mwanga II formalizes a treaty with the British and Buganda becomes part of the the British Protectorate of Uganda.
–The British Protectorate of Uganda formally criminalizes homosexual behavior between men.
—May 15: The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee is founded.
—July 6: Mwanga II declares war on Britain.
—July 20: Mwanga II is defeated and flees into German East Africa, where he is arrested. He escapes again.
—January 15: Mwanga II attacks the British held Uganda with an army, but is defeated again and exiled.
–The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee begins publishing the “Yearbook for Intermediate Sexual Types”.
—Gertrude Pridgett marries William Rainey. Together they form a troupe called the Alabama Fun Makers Company.
—Albert Cashier is hit by an automobile. During treatment, the secret of his biological sex is discovered, though his doctor keeps it a secret. Albert is forced to move into the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy, Illinois.
—Albert Cashier‘s biological sex is discovered again, and this time it is not kept secret.
World War I Era (1914 – 1918 CE)
—October 10: Albert Cashier dies due to an injury received by tripping over his skirt. Those who served with him ensured he received an official Grand Army of the Republic funeral and was buried in full military honors.
—Ma Rainey and William Rainey separate.
–An investigation into homosexual activity within the Naval personnel stationed in Newport, Rhode Island begins.
The Roaring Twenties (1920 – 1929 CE)
—July 21: The U.S. Senate Committee on Naval Affairs officially renounces the tactics used in the Newport investigation.
—Ma Rainey is arrested for “running an indecent party” — a lesbian orgy. Bessie Smith pays her bail.
—Alfred Kinsey publishes “An Introduction to Biology”.
—Ma Rainey records and releases “Prove It On Me Blues” — a scandalous song about lesbianism. This is also Ma Rainey’s final year recording for Paramount Records.
–Kurt Hiller takes over as chairman of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee.
Great Depression Era (1929 – 1939 CE)
–The Nazis destroy the Institute for Sexual Sciences in Berlin — the headquarters of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee. The group disbands.
World War II Era (1939 – 1945 CE)
—September 3: Britain declares war on Germany.
—September 4: Alan Turing reports for duty at the Government Code & Cipher School in Bletchley Park.
The Forties (1940 – 1949 CE)
–Allied forces invade Sicily, storing munitions in the Addaura Cave. Some of the stored ammunition explodes, exposing previously undiscovered prehistoric rock art.
—March 27: Willem Arondeus leads the bombing of the Amsterdam Public Records Office, in order to hinder Nazi efforts to root out Jews in the area.
—July 1: Willem Arondeus is executed by Nazis.
—Alan Turing begins working on the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE).
Contemporary Era (1945 – present)
—Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”.
The Fifties (1950 – 1959 CE)
—February: Joseph McCarthy announces he has a list of Communists working in the Federal government — the list includes two homosexuals. The Red Scare and the Lavender Scare begin.
—October 8: Christine Jorgensen — partially through a series of gender confirmation surgeries in Europe — writes a letter to friends in the United States expressing how happy she is to be transitioning.
—March 31: Regina v. Turing and Murray goes to trial. Alan Turing is convicted, stripped of his security clearance, and put on probation and forced into hormonal treatment.
—December 1: The New York Daily News puts Christine Jorgensen on its front cover, with the headline “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Bombshell: Operations Transform Bronx Youth”.
–Jole Bovio Marconi publishes her findings on the prehistoric rock art in the Addaura Cave. She believes one of the pictures is a homoerotic image.
—Alan Turing completes a chess program for computers. The technology to run the program doesn’t exist, so he demonstrates with an actual chessboard.
—Alfred Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female”.
—August: Carlett Angianlee Brown was scheduled to meet with Dr. Christian Hamburger in Berlin during this month — however, her plans went awry.
—April: Dale Olson — using the alias Curtis White — appears on an episode of “Confidential File” to defend homosexuality. It is the first time any LGBTQ+ appears on television to do so.
—June 7: Alan Turing dies of cyanide poisoning.
—The Florida Legislative Investigation Committee begins a localized Lavender Scare to drive homosexuals out of state universities.
—May: Cooper’s Do-nut Riot.Cops attempt to arrest five LGBTQ individuals at Cooper’s Do-nuts in Los Angeles — when one of them objects to having five people shoved in the back of one cop car, a riot ensues.
The Sixties (1960 – 1969 CE)
—Jackie Shane moves to Toronto and becomes an instant legend in the developing R&B scene. Her first recordings are published — including “Any Other Way.”
–The shared tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum is discovered by Egyptologist Ahmed Moussa.
–As part of the Florida Lavender Scare, the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee publishes the “Purple Pamphlet”.
—April 17 & 18: 40 LGBTQ+ activists protest in Washington D.C. in regards to Cuba’s policies on homosexuality. It is — at the time — the largest organized LGBT protest in history.
—April 25: A Dewey’s Lunch Counter in Philadelphia refuses to serve LGBTQ+ people — denying service to 150 people in just one day. This sparks a sit-in protest.
—May 2: A second sit-in protest occurs at Dewey’s Lunch Counter.
—July 4: The first of the Annual Reminders is held in Philadelphia.
—August: Police attempt to arrest peaceful protesters outside Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco. The protest turns into a riot.
—January 1: The Black Cat Tavern is raided by police — the patrons riot.
—February 11: The LBTQ+ communiy of L.A. stages simultaneous protests across the city in response to the Black Cat raid.
—June 28: The Stonewall Riots. Police raid the Stonewall Inn — the patrons resist, sparking a multi-night riot on Christopher Street in New York City.
The Seventies (1970 – 1979 CE)
—March 8: Mariasilvia Spolato is photographed carrying a sign that declares she loves a woman — making her the first woman in Italy to publicly come out of the closet. This costs her everything — her job, her home, and her family. She becomes a vagabond.
—June 24: A fire is set at the Upstairs Lounge. The arson attack claims 28 lives, and is the deadliest attack on a gay bar until 2016.
—February 4: The Olympic Clean Up begins in Montreal.
—June 19: A demonstration of 300 protesters led by CHAR effectively ends the Olympic Clean Up.
The Eighties (1980 – 1989 CE)
—Fricke v. Lynch: Aaron Fricke successfully sues for permission to bring Paul Guillbert as his date to prom.
—June 5: The CDC publishes its first documentation of the disease that will become known as AIDS.
–September 24: The CDC officially names Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (or AIDS).
—July 21: Dale Olson releases a statement on behalf of his client, Rock Hudson, announcing that Hudson has inoperable liver cancer. However, Dale strongly believes Hudson can bring much needed attention to the AIDS crisis and encourages his client to do so.
—July 25: Thanks to Dale Olson‘s encouragement, Rock Hudson’s French publicist releases a statement acknowledging that Rock Hudson has AIDS. The number of donations made to AIDS research through the rest of this year more than double those donated in the entirety of 1984.
The Nineties (1990 – 1999 CE)
—Dung Hà becomes the lover of the influential crime boss Hùng Cốm — her influence in the criminal underworld of Hai Phong grows.
—Althea Garrison runs for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She wins the election by 437 votes. She is subsequently outed in the Boston Herald by reporter Eric Fehrnstrom.
—Dung Hà is arrested. Her lover Phuong leaves her, and her criminal empire begins to fall apart.
—October 6: Matthew Shepard is brutally attacked, tied to a fence and left for dead. He will die six days later.
The Two Thousands (2000 – 2009 CE)
—June 26: The Supreme Court of the U.S. announces its decision regarding Lawrence v. Texas — deciding that anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional and officially decriminalizing homosexuality in the United States.
–The Supreme Court of the U.S. rules against Louisiana’s legal definition of “crimes against nature” including “unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex”.
—October 28: The Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr Hate Crime Prevention Act is signed into law by President Barack Obama.
The Tens (2010 – 2019 CE)
–Excavations at the Prague 6 dig site uncover the grave of a biological male buried in the traditional style of a woman.
—June 26: The Supreme Court of the U.S. announces its decision regarding the United States v. Windsor — striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
—June 26: The Supreme Court of the U.S. announces its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges — deciding in favor of marriage equality.
—June 12: A mass shooting during Latin night at Pulse in Orlando takes the lives of 49 LGBT+ people and allies and wounds another 58. It is, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
—June 26: The Supreme Court of the U.S. announces its decision regarding Pavan v. Smith — striking down an Arkansas law that prevented both members of a same-sex couple from having parental rights over their children.
–“Any Other Way” is nominated for a Grammy — making Jackie Shane a Grammy nominated singer 50 years after she retired from music.
—January 9: Althea Garrison is sworn in to Boston City Council — taking the seat vacated by Ayanna Pressley.