Members of the LGBT community and allies alike are always striving to move forward in the fight for equal rights. Though it’s important we push forward, it’s in many ways equally as important that we take a moment to stop and look back at how the fight for gay rights started. Below are just a few of the incredibly powerful and momentous moments in LGBT history.


Henry Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights in Chicago, Illinois. This is largely believed to be the first gay rights organization.


President Eisenhower signs an executive order that bans homosexuals from working in federal buildings, citing that they are a “security risk.” From 1956-2017, the order was slowly repealed through administrative, judicial, and executive review.


Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexuality by repealing its sodomy laws.


Members of the LGBT community protested a police raid that took place on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. This is considered the event that gave birth to the modern gay rights movement. Each year, gay Pride events take place during the month of June.


The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.


Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.


President Bill Clinton instituted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — the official United States military policy that stated gay, bisexual, and lesbian men and women could serve in the military, so long as they were not open about their sexuality.


The Defense of Marriage Act defined marriage on the federal level as between a man and woman. However, this allowed individual states to now make their own decisions on same-sex marriage.


President Obama signed the hate crime bill, which made violent acts towards the LGBT community a federal offense.


“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.


The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. This was also the same year famed Olympic athlete, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, publically came out to the world as transgender and legally changed her name to Caitlyn.


Donald Trump is the first Republican candidate for President to publicly include the LGBT Community in his campaign rallies despite his current policy, which he announced via Twitter, to bar transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. The ban is currently stalled pending further review.


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