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Timeline of Sodomy (includes lesbians, gays, and bisexuals) and details notable events in the Western world.

12,000 BC[edit | edit source]

Near the end of the Upper Paleolithic Era, human beings have left artifacts and artwork suggesting an appreciation of homo eroticism.Template:Fact Examples include a few cave paintings and hundreds of phallic "batons" among which is a graphically carved double dildo from Gorge d'Enfer (in present-day France) that seems to have been crafted for two women to use together.[1]

5,000 BC[edit | edit source]

Possible examples of homo eroticism in European Mesolithic art include a rock engraving found in Addaura, Sicily, in which men and women dance around two cavorting sexually aroused male figures.

Source: Timeline of more History

25th/24th century BC[edit | edit source]

It is believed that the two men may have been lovers, making this the first record of a possible homosexual relationship.[2]

7th century BC[edit | edit source]

Pederasty spread through ancient Greece, influencing sports, literature, politics, philosophy, art and warfare, and causing, according to some, a flowering of culture; it was associated with gymnasia and athletic nudity.[3][4]

6th century BC[edit | edit source]

4th century BC[edit | edit source]

  • 338 BCE The Sacred Band of Thebes, an undefeated elite battalion made up of one hundred and fifty pederastic couples, is destroyed by the forces of Philip II of Macedon who bemoans their loss and praises their honor.

1st century AD[edit | edit source]

  • 54 - Nero becomes Emperor of Rome. Nero married two men in legal ceremonies, with at least one spouse accorded the same honours as a Caesar's wife.[5] This action was criticized by contemporary commentators.

4th century AD[edit | edit source]

6th century AD[edit | edit source]

9th century AD[edit | edit source]

11th century AD[edit | edit source]

  • 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 largely unavailable. Thus, in these warriors clubs, pederasty was practiced as an institutionalized way of life.
  • 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. He was unable to convince 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 Chartres 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 forty years and Ralph was well-known and well-respected, and continued to be so.

12th century AD[edit | edit source]

  • 1102 - The Council of London took measures to ensure that the English public, quite tolerant of homosexuality at the timeTemplate:Fact, 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 AD[edit | edit source]

  • 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) Other historians dispute Boswell's claim, however.

14th century AD[edit | edit source]

  • 1327 - The deposed King Edward II of England allegedly is anally penetrated with a red-hot poker, killing him. Edward II, a well-known homosexual, had a history of conflict with the nobility, who repeatedly banished his former lover Piers Gaveston, the Earl of Cornwall.
  • 1370s - Jan van Aersdone and Willem Case were two men executed in Antwerp in the 1370s. The charge against them was gay sex, which was illegal and strenuously vilified in medieval Europe. Aersdone and Case stand out because records of their names have survived. One other couple still known by name from the 14th century were Giovanni Braganza and Nicoleto Marmagna of Venice.[6]

16th century AD[edit | edit source]

17th century AD[edit | edit source]

18th century AD[edit | edit source]

  • 1726 - Mother Clap's molly house in London is raided by police, resulting in Clap's death and the execution at Tyburn of all the men arrested.Template:Fact
  • Between 1730 and 1811, a widespread panic in the Dutch Republic leads to a spectacular series of trials for sodomy, with persecutions at their most severe from 1730 to 1737, 1764, 1776, and from 1795-1798.Template:Fact
  • 1779 - USA In 1779, Jefferson prepared a draft of Virginia’s criminal statute, envisaging that the punishment for sodomy should be castration. See Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed. (Washington, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904) Vol. I, pp.226-27, from Jefferson’s “For Proportioning Crimes and Punishments.”

The bill read: “Whosoever shall be guilty of rape, polygamy, or sodomy with a man or woman, shall be punished; if a man, by castration, a woman, by boring through the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch in diameter at the least.” (Virginia Bill number 64; authored by Jefferson; 18 June 1779).

19th century AD[edit | edit source]


Magnus Hirschfeld, 1868-1935, was a prominent German physician, sexologist, and gay rights advocate.


Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900

20th century AD[edit | edit source]

1900s[edit | edit source]

1910s[edit | edit source]

  • 1910 - Emma Goldman first begins speaking publicly in favor of homosexual rights.
File:Lesbiche - 1928 - D- Die freundin 1928.jpg

May 14, 1928 issue of German lesbian periodical Die freundin (Friedrich Radszuweit)

  • 1913 - 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".
  • 1917 - The October Revolution in Russia repeals the previous criminal code in its entirety - including Article 995.

1920s[edit | edit source]

  • 1920 - The word Gay is used for the first time in reference to homosexual in the Underground.
  • 1921 - In England an attempt to make lesbianism illegal for the first time in Britain's history fails.
  • 1922 - A new criminal code comes into force in the USSR officially decriminalizing homosexual acts.
  • 1923 - The word fag is first used in print in reference to gays in Nels Anderson's The Hobo: "Fairies or Fags are men or boys who exploit sex for profit."
  • 1924 - The first homosexual rights organization in America is founded in ChicagoThe Society for Human Rights. The movement exists for a few months before being ended by the police. Panama, Paraguay and Peru legalize homosexuality.
  • 1928 - The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall is published in the United States. This sparks great legal controversy and brings the topic of homosexuality to public conversation.
  • 1929 May 22 - Katharine Lee Bates, author of America the Beautiful dies.
  • 1929 October 16 - a Reichstag Committee votes to repeal Paragraph 175. The Nazis' rise to power prevents the implementation of the vote.

1930s[edit | edit source]

1940s[edit | edit source]

  • 1940 - Iceland decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • 1941 - Transsexuality was first used in reference to homosexuality and bisexuality.
  • 1942 - Switzerland decriminalizes homosexuality, with the age of consent set at 20.
  • 1944 - Sweden decriminalizes homosexuality, with the age of consent set at 20 and Suriname legalizes homosexuality.
  • 1945 - Upon the liberation of Nazi 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; Portugal decriminalises homosexuality for the second time in its history.
  • 1946 - "COC" (Dutch acronym for "Center for Culture and Recreation"), one of the earliest homophile organizations, is founded in the Netherlands. It is the oldest surviving LGBT organization.
  • 1947 - Vice Versa, the first North American LGBT publication, is written and self-published by Edith Eyde in Los Angeles.
  • 1948 - "Forbundet af 1948" ("League of 1948"), a homosexual group, is formed in Denmark.
  • 1948 - The communist authorities of Poland make age 15 the age of consent for all sexual acts, homosexual or heterosexual.

1950s[edit | edit source]

1960s[edit | edit source]

  • 1961 - Czechoslovakia and Hungary decriminalize sodomy, the Vatican declare that anyone who is "affected by the perverse inclination" towards homosexuality should not be allowed to take religious vows or be ordained within the Roman Catholic Church.

Jose Sarria becomes the first openly gay candidate in the world when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

  • 1962 - Illinois becomes first U.S. state to remove sodomy law from its criminal code.
  • 1963 - Israel decriminalizes de-facto sodomy and sexual acts between men by judicial decision against the enforcement of the relevant section in the old British-mandate law from 1936 (which in fact was never enforced).
  • 1966 - The National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations is established (to became NACHO - North American Conference of Homophile Organizations - in 1967); The Compton's Cafeteria Riot occurred.
  • 1967 - Chad decriminalizes homosexuality; The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises male homosexual behaviour in England and Wales; The book "Homosexual Behavior Among Males" by Wainwright Churchill breaks ground as a scientific study approaching homosexuality as a fact of life and introduces the term "homoerotophobia", a possible precursor to "homophobia"; The Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the world's first homosexual-oriented bookstore, opens in New York City; "Our World" ("Nuestro Mundo"), the first Latino-American homosexual group, is created in Argentina; A raid on the Black Cat Bar in San Francisco, CA promotes homosexual rights activity.
  • 1968 - Paragraph 175 is eased in East Germany decriminalizing homosexual acts over the age of 18; Bulgaria decriminalizes adult homosexual relations.
  • 1969 - The Stonewall riots occur in New York; Paragraph 175 is eased in West Germany; Homosexual behavior legalized in Canada with an Age of Consent of 21 for sodomy, and 14 for non-sodomy; Poland decriminalizes homosexual prostitution; The Canadian Prime Minister is quoted as saying: "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the nation"; "FREE", the first homosexual student group, is formed in the United States at the University of Minnesota; An Australian arm of the Daughters of Bilitis forms in Melbourne and is considered Australia's first homosexual rights organisation.

1970s[edit | edit source]

Dr. Frank Kameny becomes the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress; The University of Michigan establishes the first collegiate LGBT programs office, then known as the "Gay Advocate's Office."


The Gay Pride Flag, symbol of the Gay Rights Movement, was first flown in 1978 in San Francisco. This is the current version, flying over the Castro in June 2005

1980s[edit | edit source]

  • 1980 - The Democratic National Convention becomes the first major political party in America to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank; Scotland decriminalizes homosexuality; David McReynolds becomes the first openly GLBT individual to run for President of the United States, appearing on the Socialist Party U S A ticket.
  • 1981 - The European Court of Human Rights in Dudgeon v. United Kingdom strikes down Northern Ireland's criminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults, leading to Northern Ireland decriminalising homosexual sex the following year; Victoria, Australia and Colombia decriminalize homosexuality with a uniform age of consent; The Moral Majority starts its anti-homosexual crusade; Norway becomes the first country in the world to enact a law to prevent discrimination against homosexuals; Hong Kong's first sex-change operation is performed.
  • 1982 - France equalizes the age of consent; The first Gay Games is held in San Francisco, attracting 1,600 participants; Northern Ireland decriminalizes homosexuality; Wisconsin becomes the first US state to ban discrimination against homosexuals; New South Wales becomes the first Australian state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived homosexuality.
  • 1983 - Massachusetts Representative Gerry Studds reveals he is a homosexual on the floor of the House, becoming the first openly homosexual member of Congress; Guernsey (Including Alderney, Herm and Sark) and Portugal decriminalizes homosexuality, AIDS is described as a "gay plague" by Reverend Jerry Falwell.
  • 1984 - The lesbian and gay association "Ten Percent Club" is formed in Hong Kong; Massachusetts voters reelect representative Gerry Studds, despite his revealing himself as homosexual the year before; New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia make homosexual acts legal; Chris Smith, newly elected to the UK parliament declares: "My name is Chris Smith. I'm the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and I'm gay", making him the first openly out homosexual politician in the UK parliament. The Argentine Homosexual Community (Comunidad Homosexual Argentina, CHA) is formed uniting several different and preexisting groups. Berkeley, California becomes the first city in the U.S. to adopt a program of domestic partnership health benefits for city employees.
  • 1985 - France prohibits discrimination based on lifestyle (moeurs) in employment and services; The first memorial to gay Holocaust victims is dedicated; Belgium equalizes the age of consent.
  • 1986 - Homosexual Law Reform Act passed in New Zealand, legalizing sex between males over 16; June in Bowers v. Hardwick case, U.S. Supreme Court upholds Georgia law forbidding oral or anal sex, ruling that the constitutional right to privacy does not extend to homosexual relations, but it did not state whether the law could be enforced against heterosexuals.
  • 1987 - ACT UP stages its first major demonstration, seventeen protesters are arrested; U.S. Congressman Barney Frank comes out; Homomonument, a memorial to persecuted homosexual, opens in Amsterdam.
  • 1988 - Sweden is the first country to pass laws protecting homosexual regarding social services, taxes, and inheritances. Section 28 passes in England and Wales; Scotland enacts almost identical legislation; Canadian MP Svend Robinson comes out; Canada lowers the age of consent for sodomy to 18; Belize and Israel decriminalize (de jure) sodomy and sexual acts between men (the relevant section in the old British-mandate law from 1936 was never enforced in Israel).
  • 1989 in gay rights|1989]] - Western Australia legalizes male homosexuality; Liechtenstein legalizes homosexuality; Denmark is the first country in the world to enact registered partnership laws (like a civil union) for same-sex couples, with most of the same rights as marriage (excluding the right to adoption and the right to marriage in a church).

1990s[edit | edit source]

  • 1990 - OutRage!, an LGBT rights direct action group, forms in the UK; Czechoslovakia equalizes the age of consent and Jersey legalizes homosexual acts. Justin Fashanu is the first professional footballer to come out in the press.
  • 1991 - Bahamas, Hong Kong, Ukraine and Queensland in Australia decriminalize sodomy; The red ribbon is first used as a symbol of the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
  • 1992 - The World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its ICD-10; Australia allows homosexuals to serve in the military for the first time; Isle of Man, Estonia and Latvia legalize homosexuality; Iceland, Luxembourg and Switzerland all equalize the age of consent; Nicaragua recriminalizes homosexuality (then de-crimilizes homosexuality again in March 2008).
  • 1993 - Brandon Teena is raped and murdered; The third homosexual rights march on Washington, DC is held; Sodomy laws are repealed in Norfolk Island and the Republic of Ireland; Gibraltar and Russia decriminalizes consensual male sodomy (with the exception of the Chechen Republic); Lithuania legalizes homosexuality; Norway enacts registered partnership civil union laws that grant same-sex couples the same rights as married couples, except for the right to adopt or marry in a church.
  • 1994 - Bermuda, Serbia (including Kosovo) and South Africa legalize homosexuality; The United Kingdom reduces the age of consent for homosexual men to 18; The AMA denounces supposed cures for homosexuality; Canada grants refugee status to homosexuals fearing for their well-being in their native country; Paragraph 175 is repealed in Germany; Israel’s supreme court defines homosexual-couple’s rights as the same as any common-law-couple’s rights.
  • 1995 - Sweden legalizes registered partnerships; The Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited reason for discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Albania and Moldova decriminalize homosexuality.
  • 1996 - The age of consent is equalised in Burkina Faso; Iceland legalizes registered partnerships; Hungary recognizes same-sex partners in unregistered domestic partnerships; Romania decriminalizes homosexuality that is not scandalous; Macedonia decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • 1997 - South Africa becomes the first country to prohibit explicitly discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution and comes into force; The UK extends immigration rights to same-sex couples akin to marriage; Fiji becomes the second country to protect explicitly against discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution; Laws prohibiting private homosexual acts are finally repealed in Tasmania, Australia, the last Australian state to do so, as well as in Ecuador; Russia equalizes the age of consent.
  • 1998 - Matthew Shepard is murdered; The Employment Equality Act is introduced in Ireland, covering wrongful dismissal based on the grounds of sexual orientation; Sexual orientation is read into the IRPA, Alberta's human rights act, through Vriend v. Alberta; Ecuador is the third country in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan legalize homosexuality; Croatia and Latvia equalize the age of consent. Cyprus decriminalizes homosexuality;
  • 1999 - California adopts a domestic partnership law; France enacts civil union laws; The "Queer Youth Alliance" is founded in the UK; Israel’s supreme court recognizes a lesbian partner as another legal mother of her partner’s biological son; Finland equalizes the age of consent.

21st century AD[edit | edit source]

2000s[edit | edit source]

File:Same sex marriage map Europe detailed.svg

A diagram showing the varying regulation by country of same-sex unions throughout Europe. Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend

See also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Template:Citation/core
  • Template:Cite journal
  • Devereaux, George, "Greek Pseudo-homosexuality and the Greek Miracle", Symbolae Osloenses, 13 (1967), pp.70-92
  • (Percy III, 1996)
  • Ancient History Sourcebook: Suetonius: De Vita Caesarum-Nero, c. 110 C.E
  • Crompton, Louis. Homosexuality and Civilization. Cambridge & London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003
  • Template:Cite book p.123
  • Template:Cite book p.113
  • (Chauncey, 1995)
  • Getting Rid of Sodomy Laws: History and Strategy that Led to the Lawrence Decision
  • Sodomy Laws, Idaho
  • Hong Kong Gay Sex Law Dead
  • Gay sex at 16 legal, Man
  • of anti gay law in Missouri
  • Fiji legalizes consensual homosexuality
  • World Legal Wrap Up - November, 2006
  • South Australia gays get new rights
  • Timeline of lesbian and gay history
  • Island Chain Votes To Ban Discrimination Against Gays
  • BBC: State votes for consent age drop
  • Sexual Offences (Jersey) Law 2007
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