1980: “Young, Gay and Proud”-the first gay-themed title from the Boston-based publisher Alyson Publications-arrives in bookstores. The publishing house, founded by gay activist Sasha Alyson, goes on to become the country’s principal gay small press giving many prominent gay writers their start.
1983: More than eighteen thousand people fill Madison Square Garden for what is dubbed “the biggest gay event of all time,” a benefit performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus to raise money for Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
1989: Nearly 30,000 protesters march in Austin, TX demanding an end to the state’s sodomy laws, as well as increased funding for the state’s AIDS programs. The next day, members of ACT UP wrap the state capitol in red tape to symbolize their frustration with the state’s bureaucratic machinery, which, according to one activist, “is often harder on people with AIDS than the disease itself.”
1990: Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center reports that the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit is drawing approximately twenty-five hundred visitors a day, compared to between two hundred and five hundred visitors a day for previous exhibits.
2001: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves a measure allowing city employees to claim reimbursement for up to $50,000 of costs associated with sex reassignment surgery.
2007: Regulations covering the provision of goods, facilities and services, outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation enter into force in Great Britain.
2009: Iowa officials start issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples.