LGBTQ Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

From oppression to achieving the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we are proud to present our selection of LGBTQ historic milestones, events and accomplishments. We did not aim to provide an encyclopedic overview but rather a scenic tour where we aim to convey the arc of LGBT progress with a lens on the West Village. The AIDS pandemic and club culture, two forces that continue to shape the LGBT experience, are also reflected.

WestView News invites you to send in additional milestones to expand our timeline so that it reflects the full lens of our rich LGBT heritage and foundation. You are also welcome to submit photos for our pages and video montage. We prefer photos that give you goosebumps 
or ones that grab your attention. Include photo credit and a brief caption. Send all LGBT Timeline and Milestone submissions to:



1665 New York colony laws make sodomy a capital offense 

1867 Julius bar opens in the West Village 

1867 Homosexuality is defended publicly before a government body for the first time 

1895 Oscar Wilde is sentenced to prison 

1919-1929 First large-scale black/urban LGBTQ enclave in the U.S. is established during the Harlem Renaissance 

1924 Society for Human Rights is established as the first legally-recognized gay rights organization in the U.S. 

1928 Well of Loneliness is published as a novel about lesbian love 

1933 Nazi forces destroy Institute for Sexual Research 

1933-1945 Homosexuals are prosecuted under Germany’s “Paragraph 175,” forced to wear a Pink Triangle and sent to concentration camps 

1950 Mattachine Society is formed as one of the first LGBT organizations in the U.S.

1958 U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right to send LGBT-related literature in U.S. Mail 

Photo credit: Fred W. McDarrah

1966 First “Sip-In” at Julius bar is staged by Mattachine Society to challenge laws barring drink service to homosexuals

1967 Oscar Wilde Memorial bookshop opens in the West Village as first gay bookstore in the U.S. 

1969 Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village refuse to cooperate with arresting vice-squad officers, 
triggering a four-day riot 

Photo credit: Laura Rubin


1970 Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) is formed 

1970 Police raids at the Snake Pit bar in the West Village result in 167 arrested 

1970 First Christopher Street Liberation Day march goes up 6th Ave. to Central Park

1970 Gay Liberation Front (GLF) is formed

1973 Lesbian Herstory Archives is formed 

1975 American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders 

1979 First National March on Washington for LGBT rights 



1980 First year the Christopher Street Liberation Day marches up 5th Ave. 

1980’s AIDS pandemic emerges 

1980s Pink Triangle is adopted as a symbol by the gay community 

1981 St. Vincent’s Hospital becomes the center for compassionate care of AIDS victims 

1982 Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is formed 

1983 The LGBT Community Center opens 

1984 Heritage of Pride is formed 

1984 Outdoor annual drag festival Wigstock begins 

1986 U.S. Supreme Court effectively renders gay sex as illegal by upholding sodomy laws 

1987 ACT-UP is formed 

1988 World AIDS Day is commemorated on December 1st for the first time 

Credit: Gran Fury


1990 Deborah Glick is elected as first openly gay NY state legislator 

1991 The Red Ribbon is created to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS 

1991 Henrietta Hudson bar opens 

1993 President Bill Clinton signs “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law

1993 Drag cabaret begins at Bar d’O in the West Village 

1995 Life-saving HIV/AIDS drug cocktail is developed 

1996 Club kid Angel Melendez is murdered

Photo credit: © Suzanne Poli

1997 Palladium nightclub is purchased by NYU for use as student dormitories 

1998 Tom Duane is elected as first openly gay and HIV-positive NY state senator 



2001 Twilo nightclub closes under pressure from NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s Quality of Life campaign 

2003 President George W. Bush implements the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to make life-saving AIDS medications available worldwide

2003 U.S. Supreme Court decriminalizes gay sex 

2006 Christine Quinn is elected first openly gay NYC City Council Speaker 

2007 The Limelight (a.k.a. Avalon) permanently closes 

2007 First AIDS patient is reported cured of AIDS (“Berlin Patient”) 

2010 U.S. Senate repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” 

2011 President Barack Obama signs order to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” 

2012 Trudava / PrEP is introduced as an AIDS medication to help prevent HIV infection

2015 U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage 

2016 The NYC AIDS Memorial opens across the former St. Vincent’s Hospital 

2018 Corey Johnson is elected as the first openly gay and HIV-positive NYC City Council Speaker 

2019 Second AIDS Patient is reported cured of AIDS (“London Patient”) 

2020 Larry Kramer, playwright and co-founder of ACT-UP & GMHC dies 

Photo credit: Adian Aggenbach

Future Milestones

Photo credit: Gabriel Beaton

Conversion therapy is outlawed worldwide 

No one is bullied or killed for being LGBTQ

Immigration equality is achieved

LGBTQ rights are established worldwide

HIV/AIDS is eradicated for good using broadly-available vaccines and cures

Equal human rights for all are achieved 

All people achieve life, liberty and happiness 

The LGBTQ community wishes #BLACKLIVESMATTER equal success

Created by:

Victor Salvo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, The Legacy Project

Bruce Poli, Executive Director, Equal Rights Foundation

Kambiz Shekdar, Ph.D., President & Founder, Research Foundation to Cure AIDS

Leave a Reply