|1400 BCE–565 BCE
|During the Greek and Roman era, there was no conception of sexual orientation as an identity. However, sexual relationships between men were accepted for some members of society. Also at this time, Greek poet Sappho wrote about love between women.
|Byzantine Emperor Justinian makes adultery and same-sex sexual acts punishable by death.
|Civil law in England indicates the death penalty can be given for same-sex sexual acts between men.
|Napoleonic Code in France removes all penalties for any sexual activity between consenting adults.
|England removes death penalty for same-sex sexual acts.
|The term heterosexuality is coined to refer a form of “sexual perversion” in which people engage in sexual acts for reasons other than reproduction.
|Dr. Magnus Hirschfield founds the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in Berlin. It is the first gay rights organization.
|Doctors “treat” homosexuality with castration, electro-shock therapy, and incarceration in mental hospitals.
|The first gay rights organization in the United States, the Chicago Society for Human Rights, is founded.
|Tens of thousands of gay men are sent to concentration camps under Nazi rule. The prisoners are forced to wear pink triangles on their uniforms. The pink triangle was later reclaimed as a symbol of gay rights.
|The terms heterosexuality and homosexuality appear in Webster’s dictionary with generally the same meaning the terms hold today.
|American sexologist Alfred Kinsey’s research reveals that more people than thought have engaged in same-sex sexual activity. His research highlights the existence of bisexuality.
|On June 27, patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York City fight back as police raid the bar (a common practice used by police at the time to harass gay people). “The Stonewall Riot,” as it came to be called, was led by gay, lesbian, and transgender patrons of the bar, many of whom were working class and/or people of color.
|The American Psychiatric Association removes its reference to homosexuality as a mental illness.
|The Vermont Supreme Court rules that the state must provide legal rights to same-sex couples. In 2000, Vermont becomes the first state to offer same-sex couples civil unions.
|The US Supreme Court rules that Texas’s sodomy law is unconstitutional, which effectively decriminalizes consensual same-sex relations.
|The US military policy “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is repealed, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.