Thursday, June 6, 2013

Being Gay in the 80's

The 80's presented lots of challenges for the gay community - the worse was the intrusion of AIDS. Even though this was an extremely sad and difficulty time for us it was also a time that helped our community grow stronger. We all lost friends during this time and I think it is important that we continue to work on gaining our rights for them. I attended college in the 80's, met my husband in the 80's and came out to family and friends in the 80's. Lets see what changes our community experienced during this decade.
Rock Hudson
  • Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his high school prom after winning a lawsuit against the school.
  • The United States Democratic Party becomes the first major political party in the U.S. to endorse a homosexual rights platform plank.
  • Scotland decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • David McReynolds becomes the first openly LGBT individual to run for President of the United States, appearing on the Socialist Party U S A ticket.
  • The Human Rights Campaign Fund is founded by Steve Endean; The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

  • 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. 
  • The first official documentation of the condition to be known as AIDS was published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 5.
  • Tennis player Billie Jean King became the first prominent professional athlete to come out as a lesbian, when her relationship with her secretary Marilyn Barnett became public in a May "palimony" lawsuit filed by Barnett. Due to this she lost all of her endorsements.
  • Mary C. Morgan became the first openly gay or lesbian judge in America when she was appointed by California Governor Jerry Brown to the San Francisco Municipal Court.
  • "Torch Song Trilogy" premieres on Broadway in New York City.
  • The New York City Gay Men's Chorus becomes the first openly gay musical group to play Carnegie Hall.
  • An August issue of "The Advocate" suggests a 'gay cancer' may be beginning.  36 gay men have been diagnosed with Karposi's sarcoma. The article reports that butyl nitrite (poppers) as the most likely culprit of the disease.
  • The Department of Defense adopts a new ban on gays and lesbians, eliminating loopholes that allowed some to stay in the military.
  • Timothy Curran, 19, of Florida files a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America for ousting him because of his homosexuality.
  • 10,000 gather in Paris, the largest gay demonstartion in Europe, to protest the World Health Organization's classification of homosexuality as an illness.
  • The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington D.C. is founded.

  • Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) founded.
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis formed.
  • Laguna Beach, CA elects the first openly gay mayor in United States history.
  • 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.
  • The condition to be known as AIDS had acquired a number of names – GRID5 (gay-related immune deficiency), ‘gay cancer’, ‘community-acquired immune dysfunction’ and ‘gay compromise syndrome’. The CDC used the term AIDS for the first time in September, when it reported that an average of one to two cases of AIDS were being diagnosed in America every day.
  • The Ten Percent Society becomes the first gay rights organization in North Dakota.
  • "Making Love" (with Kate Jackson) is the first major studio release of a gay-themed film.

  • Massachusetts Representative Gerry Studds reveals he is gay on the floor of the House, becoming the first openly gay member of Congress. He wins reelection for the next 4 terms.
  • Guernsey (Including Alderney, Herm and Sark) decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • Portugal decriminalizes homosexuality for the third time in its history.
  • AIDS is described as a "gay plague" by Reverend Jerry Falwell.
  • People with AIDS gather at the 5th National Lesbian/Gay Health Conference.
  • Sharon Kowalski, a Minnesota lesbian is paralyzed when her car is struck by a drunk driver.  The guardianship battle between Kowalski's parents and her lover Karen Thompson mobilizes the community.  8 years later in 1991, Thompson wins custody.

  • MAP (Minnesota AIDS Project) is founded by a small group of dedicated volunteers.

  • Berkeley (CA) becomes first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership benefits to lesbian and gay employees.
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the city’s bathhouses.
  • 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.
  • West Hollywood, CA is founded and becomes the first known city to elect a city council where a majority of the members are openly gay or lesbian.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism became the first Jewish denomination to allow openly lesbian rabbis and cantors.
  • American researchers announce the discovery of HTLV-3 shortly after French scientists claim that AIDS is caused by LAV. The viruses turn out to be the same, later called HIV.
  • Over 100,000 march in San Francisco on the eve of the Democratic convention. All candidates, except John Glenn, support gay rights. Ronald Reagan is reelected.

  • First school for openly lesbian and gay teenagers opens in New York City (Harvey Milk School).
  • Rock Hudson comes out, admits he has AIDS.
  • 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;.
  • The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ (the Gay Mormon Church) is founded by Antonio A. Feliz.
  • The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College ordained Deborah Brin as the first openly gay or lesbian rabbi in Judaism.
  • The Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) in Massachusetts has served the bisexual community since 1985.
  • "The Times of Harvey Milk" wins the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary.  
  • "As Is" opened at New York's Circle Repertory Theatre.  It would be nominated for 3 Tony Awards.
  • President Ronald Reagan says the word "AIDS" for the first time publicly. More then 2,000 people attend the first international conference on AIDS in Atlanta.
  • Dan White, free from prison for one year, commits suicide.
  • Actor Rock Hudson dies of AIDS-related complications.  Four years later, a jury awards one of his ex-lovers almost $22 million. The award is later reduced.

  • Homosexual Law Reform Act passed in New Zealand, legalizing sex between males over 16.
  • Haiti decriminalizes homosexuality.
  • 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 does not state whether the law can be enforced against heterosexuals.
  • Becky Smith and Annie Afleck became the first openly lesbian couple in America granted legal, joint adoption of a child.
  • From May 1 to 3, the ILGA Asia Conference took place in Japan's capital Tokyo.
  • William Hurt wins the Best Actor Oscar for his (gay) role in "Kiss of the Spider Woman".
  • The Justice Department says in a policy statement that fear of contagion may be an acceptable reason for AIDS-based employment bias.
  • The Supreme Court relies on the Bible to uphold the right of states to outlaw consensual gay sex in private.
  • California voters reject an initiative to quarantine people with AIDS by a margin of 71% to 29%.
  • The Vatican issues a letter that banishes Dignity, a gay catholic group from church property.

  • Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
  • AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) founded in the US in response to the US government’s slow response in dealing with the AIDS crisis.
  • ACT UP stages its first major demonstration, seventeen protesters are arrested.
  • U.S. Congressman Barney Frank comes out.
  • Boulder, CO citizens pass the first referendum to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • In New York City a group of Bisexual LGBT rights activist including Brenda Howard found the New York Area Bisexual Network (NYABN).
  • Homomonument, a memorial to persecuted homosexuals, opens in Amsterdam.
  • David Norris is the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Liberace passed away of AIDS-related complications at age 67 in Palm Springs on February 4.
  • The First Display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC included 1,920 panels.
  • President Reagan appoints a national AIDS commission that includes one gay man and several homophobes. Surprisingly, the group makes intelligent recommendations that the Administration ignores.
  • The FDA approves AZT, the first AIDS antiviral.  The drug carries a high price and severe side effects.

  • Sweden is the first country to pass laws protecting homosexual regarding social services, taxes, and inheritances.
  • 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).
  • After losing an Irish High Court case (1980) and an Irish Supreme Court case (1983), David Norris takes his case (Norris v. Ireland) to the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court strikes down the Irish law criminalising male-to-male sex on the grounds of privacy.
  • Stacy Offner became the first openly lesbian rabbi hired by a mainstream Jewish congregation, Shir Tikvah Congregation of Minneapolis (a Reform Jewish congregation).
  • In Washington DC, Georgetown University losses an eight year legal battle to avoid providing facilities and financial support to gay organizations on campus.
  • "Divine" (Harris Glenn Milstead) dies of a heart attack at age 42. Divine starred in such films as "Polyester" and "Hairspray".
  • The Second Display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC included 8,288 panels.
  • The First National "Coming Out Day" is celebrated on October 11.
  • Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis institutes an antigay foster-parenting policy in Massachusetts.
  • AIDS activists culminate in a daylong takeover of the FDA building in Washington DC.
  • The Aurora Lesbian Center is founded in Duluth, Minnesota. Members would march in the 1993 Duluth St. Patrick's Day Parade.
  • A court of appeals upholds the conviction of an HIV-positive Minnesota prisoner who was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon for biting two prison guards in a struggle.

  • Jazz musician Billy Tipton dies and is revealed to be FTM.
  • Western Australia decriminalizes male homosexuality (but the age of consent is set at 21).
  • 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 (until June 2010) and the right to marriage in a church).
  • Robert Mapplethorpe dies of AIDS in Boston on March 9. He was 42.
  • ACT-UP members disrupt Sunday mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. 
  • The Third Display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington DC.
AIDS Memorial Quilt
More and more progress is made and it makes things easier for us to come out. The journey for our community has been full of ups and downs but it is making us stronger and bringer us together. For the first time in my life I feel like I have support and I have people I can talk to about being gay without fear of judgement or condemnation. We explore the 90's tomorrow.

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