1955: In the wake of a moral panic brought on by the sexual assault and murder of a boy in 1954, Iowa enacts a “sexual psycopath” law, allowing for the involuntary commitment of anyone charged with a public offense who possessed “criminal propensities toward the commission of sex offenses”. Twenty gay men from the Sioux … Read More
1977: The ABC sitcom, Three’s Company, premieres. The “sit” in the sitcom is that an unemployed straight chef (John Ritter‘s Jack Tripper) moves in with two female roommates, but in order to satisfy the landlord’s suspicions that there might be sexual impropriety, pretends he is gay. The show stays in the Nielsen Top Ten for … Read More
1982: Wisconsin becomes the first state in the U.S. to enact a statewide gay rights statute. 1983: Tennessee Williams dies at the age of 71 in his suite at the Hotel Elysee in New York City.
1980: William Friedkin’s Cruising opens nationwide and is blasted by critics (gay and straight) for its depiction of homosexuality, but also, as one critic puts it, “[its] narrative loopholes [and] unconvincing plot twists.” 1983: Lesbian playwright Jane Chambers (A Late Snow, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove) dies of a brain tumor at the age of … Read More
1976: Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury introduces a gay character, Andy Lippincott (who had first appeared a month earlier). Five newspapers refuse to carry the story arc of Andy’s coming out to Joanie Caucus. Lippincott appears on and off in the daily strip for years. In 1989, he returned to the strip when he is diagnosed with … Read More
1975: Norman Lear’s TV adaptation of Lanford Wilson’s “Hot l Baltimore” premieres on ABC. Though it features a diverse cast of characters, including two gay men and a latent lesbian, it lasts only five months. 1983: Noted gay director George Cukor dies at age 83 in Los Angeles.
1960: U.S. Court of Federal Claims overturns the Other Than Honorable discharge issued by the Air Force to Fannie Mae Clackum for her alleged homosexuality. This is the first known instance of a homosexuality-related discharge being successfully fought, although the case turned on due process issues and did not affect the military’s policy of excluding … Read More
1958: In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) magazine “One: The Homosexual Magazine.” 1983: A lesbian couple, Zandra Rolon and Deborah Johnson, are refused service when they try to sit in the romantic … Read More
1983: Mel Brook‘s To Be or Not To Be, a remake of the Lubitsch classic becomes the first mainstream film to not only acknowledge Nazi persecution of homosexuals, but also makes it a key plot element.
1983: A Federal judge concludes that the First National Bank of Louisville did not practice wrongful discrimination – or violate constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion – when it ordered one of its employees, Samuel Dorr, to either give up his position with gay Catholic group, Dignity, or resign from the bank.