LGBT Rights

Early California, LGBT Rights: 1850

Legislature criminalizes sodomy as a felony. For decades, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

LGBT Rights: 1898

Los Angeles City Council bans “All Fools Night,” a Carnivalesque celebration involving cross-dressing, and criminalizes cross-dressing.

LGBT Rights: 1914

Police arrest Long Beach men who were allegedly members of two social clubs for gay men.

LGBT Rights: 1947

President Harry Truman institutes a federal anti-gay witch hunt.

In Los Angeles, Lisa Ben (pseudonym) self-publishes “Vice Versa,” the first known publication for lesbians.

LGBT Rights: 1951

A small group of Los Angeles gay men form the Mattachine Society based on the belief that gay people are not criminal or mentally ill but are an oppressed minority. Mattachine groups develop throughout Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other parts of the country.

See an excerpt of a documentary about Harry Hay, one of Mattachine’s founders:

The California Supreme Court rules in Stoumen v. Reily that a bar owner could not lose a liquor license solely because the bar’s patrons were gay.

Knights of the Clock formed in Los Angeles to support interracial gay and lesbian couples.

LGBT Rights: 1952

Transgender activist Virginia Prince publishes Transvestia: The Journal of the American Society of Equality in Dress.

In a Los Angeles jury trial, Dale Jennings fights against police entrapment. He acknowledges that he is gay but denies soliciting an undercover police officer. The jury deadlocks, and Jennings is freed.

LGBT Rights: 1953

President Dwight Eisenhower issues an executive order designating homosexuality as a basis for denial of federal employment and for the firing of federal employees under a prior program targeting “subversives.”

First issue of ONE is published in Los Angeles by members of the Mattachine Society and others. The magazine eventually reaches a national circulation of 5,000.

Censorship, LGBT Rights: 1954

Cover of the October 1954 issue of ONECover of the October 1954 issue of ONEFBI agents interrogate the staff of the gay magazine ONE; Los Angeles Postmaster confiscates the October 1954 issue of ONE, alleging that it is "obscene." ONE sues the postmaster, and the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court in 1958.

LGBT Rights: 1955

Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin and other lesbians form the Daughters of Bilitis as a social group for San Francisco lesbians. The group grows into a national lesbian organization.

State legislature passes a law requiring the revocation of a liquor license if a bar is a "resort for sexual perverts."

LGBT Rights: 1956

First issue of The LadderFirst issue of The LadderDaughters of Bilitis begins publishing “The Ladder,” a magazine by and for lesbians that eventually is circulated internationally.

San Mateo County sheriff raids Hazel’s Inn, a Pacifica bar, and arrests 87 men for being “lewd and dissolute.”

Syndicate content