1928: Having been published in Paris the previous July, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, the first major novel in English with an explicitly pro lesbian theme, is published in the U.S. Americans buy more than 20,000 copies of the book within the next month, making it a bestseller.
1950: A U.S. Senate committee makes public its report on “The Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts”. Asserting that homosexuals are a security risk not simply because they are liable to blackmail but also because homosexuality inevitably perverts “moral fibre,” the report recommends stringent measures be taken to root all lesbians and gay men out of the U.S. government.
1959: Reflecting the cautious conservatism of the current homophile movement, Mattachine officer Don Lucas writes Boston Mattachine founder Prescott Townsend asking him not to begin a campaign for Massachusetts sodomy law reform. Lucas believes the risk of a backlash is too great.
1973: The Board of the American Psychiatric Association votes to recommend that homosexuality no longer be classified as a mental illness, declaring that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder.”
1977: The provincial government of Quebec adds gay men and lesbians to the list of groups whose civil rights are legally protected under the province’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms . It becomes the first jurisdiction (larger than a city or county) in the world to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
2000: Delaware governor Thomas Carper issues an executive order banning sexual orientation discrimination in the public sector.