Timeline of LGBT history  

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This is a copy of a 2006 Wikipedia page:

This timeline of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history details notable events in the Common Era West.

1st Century

  • 54 - Nero becomes Emperor of Rome. Nero married two men in legal ceremonies, with at least one spouse accorded the same honours as an empress. Gay relationships are accepted and institutionalized in this time period.

4th Century

6th Century

  • 529 - Justinian's Code outlaws homosexuality in Byzantium. However, the populations of Constantinople and other Byzantine cities are very much opposed to Justinian and Theodora on this issue, including the Christian laity. The public resists attempts by both Justinian and Theodora to prosecute their rivals with the law.

7th Century

  • 650 - In early medieval Visigothic Spain, there is great persecution of scapegoats in an attempt to unite the Hispano-Roman majority with the Visigothic minority. These scapegoats include most notably gays and Jews. Homosexuality is criminalized. However, outside of Spain, homosexuality remains completely legal, and even relatively accepted, in almost all of Europe.

9th Century

  • 800-900 - During the Carolingian Renaissance, there is a large amount of complex gay poetry. There is no Carolingian law prohibiting homosexuality.

11th Century

  • 1000-1100 - An eleventh century Byzantine legal treatise makes it clear that gay unions are well-known and legal in early medieval Byzantine society.
  • 1000-1100 - In Scandinavia, cult transvestitism persisted for centuries. As well, only sons who inherited their fathers’ land could marry in early medieval Scandinavia. The others had to leave the land, and they joined warrior societies. Women, expected to remain strictly chaste, and punished severely for violating this rule, were unavailable. Thus, in these warriors clubs, pederasty was practiced as an institutionalized way of life, and a viable alternative to the untouchable women.
  • 1051 - St. Peter Damian composed the Book of Gomorrah, in which he luridly described several varieties of gay sex, and said that they were quite common, especially among priests. In this regard he was quite correct; nevertheless, he had no luck convincing his contemporaries that homosexuality was a grave problem that had to be stopped. While Pope Leo IX saw homosexuality as a "grave sin," he was nevertheless reluctant to come down as harshly as Peter Damian wanted him to.
  • 1100 - Ivo of Chartes attempts to convince Pope Urban II of the dangers of homosexuality. Ivo charged that Raoul/Ralph, Archbishop of Tours, had the king of France install John as bishop of Orleans. John was well-known as Ralph’s lover, and had even had relations with the king himself, which the king openly bragged about. Urban, however, did not see this as a major problem. John ruled effectively as bishop for almost fourty years and Ralph was well-known and well-respected, and continued to be so.

12th Century

  • 1102 - The Council of London took measures to ensure that the public, quite tolerant of homosexuality at the time, knew that it was sinful, marking a significant shift in church attitudes towards homosexuality, which previously had been more or less indifference, or very mild condemnation. Many priests were homosexuals, likely one of the causes of the change in attitude, as moral reformers such as Bernard of Cluny called for change.

13th Century

  • 1250-1300 - "Between 1250 and 1300, homosexual activity passed from being completely legal in most of Europe to incurring the death penalty in all but a few contemporary legal compilations." - John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (1980)

14h Century

16th century

17th century

18th century

19th century

  • 1813 - Bavaria decriminalizes sexual acts between men
  • 1835 - For the first time in its history Poland criminalizes homosexuality
  • 1836 - The last known execution for homosexuality in Britain
  • 1861 - In England, the penalty for conviction for sodomy is reduced from hanging to imprisonment
  • 1867 - On August 29, 1867, Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs became the first self-proclaimed homosexual to speak out publicly for homosexual rights when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws.
  • 1869 - The term "homosexuality" appears in print for the first time in a German pamphlet written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny (1824-1882).
  • 1871 - Homosexuality is criminalized throughout Germany by Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code
  • 1886 - The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, outlawing sexual relations between men (but not women), is given Royal Assent by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
  • 1892 - the word bisexual is first used in its current sense in Charles Gilbert Chaddock's translation of Kraft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis.
  • 1895 - Oscar Wilde prosecuted under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 for "gross indecency" and sentenced to two years in prison.
  • 1897 - Magnus Hirschfeld founds the Scientific Humanitarian Committee on May 14 to organize for gay rights and the repeal of Paragraph 175


  • 1907 - Adolf Brand, the activist leader of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen, working to overturn Paragraph 175, publishes a piece "outing" the imperial chancellor of Germany, Prince Bernhard von Bülow. The Prince sues Brand for libel and clears his name; Brand is sentenced to 18 months in prison.


  • 1910 - Emma Goldman first begins speaking publicly in favor of gay rights
  • 1914 - The word faggot is first used in print in reference to gays in a vocabulary of criminal slang published in Portland, Oregon: "All the fagots [sic] (sissies) will be dressed in drag at the ball tonight".



1933, with banners promoting "Hitler List 1"]]

  • 1932 - The new Polish Criminal Code again decriminalizes homosexuality in the whole of Poland
  • 1933 - The Nazi Party bans homosexual groups. Some homosexuals are sent to concentration camps. Nazi's burn the library of Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Research, and destroy the Institute. Denmark decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • 1937 - the first use of the pink triangle for gay men in Nazi concentration camps


  • 1940 - Barney Frank, American politician is born March 31st
  • 1944 - Sweden decriminalizes homosexuality
  • 1945 - Upon the liberation of concentration camps by Allied forces, those interned for homosexuality are not freed, but required to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175
  • 1946 - "COC" (Dutch acronym for "Center for Culture and Recreation"), the earliest homophile organisation, is founded in the Netherlands. It is the oldest surviving LGBT organization.
  • 1948 - "Forbundet af 1948" ("League of 1948"), a homophile group, is formed in Denmark.







See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Timeline of LGBT history" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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