This Month in Queer History: May 2012

Girolamo Savonarol

1497 – Following a revolt against Italian Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarol (a vocal opponent of sodomy), one man rejoiced, “Thank God, now we can sodomize again.” [Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW]

1763 – Two men caught kissing in an Amsterdam restroom are arrested. One man is sentenced to death. The other is sentenced to 20 years in prison. [GLAPN]

1805 – Louisiana outlaws sodomy and designates a mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment with hard labor. [GLAPN]

1917 – The North Dakota Supreme Court sustains a conviction for cunnilingus (aka being a lesbian) under the state’s sodomy law, marking the first such conviction in the U.S. to be sustained on appeal. [GLAPN]

1957 – Two prisoners convicted of attempted sodomy after being seen kissing lose their appeal in a California appellate court. [GLAPN]

1992 – The World Health Organization takes homosexuality off of its International Classification of Diseases, 19 years after the American Psychiatric Association declassifies being gay as a mental illness. []

1993 – Washington, D.C., repeals its sodomy law. [GLAPN]

1994 – Metro Weekly, an LGBTQ newsmagazine based in Washington, D.C., publishes its first issue. [OTGD]

2004 – Massachusetts begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. [OTGD]

2007 – Oregon bans discrimination in the private sector based on sexual orientation (with a definition inclusive of gender identity). [OTGD]

2009 – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signs into law the state’s so-called “everything but marriage” domestic partnership bill. [OTGD]

2009 – Uruguay makes it legal for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, two years before the Unites States repeals “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” [OTGD]

2009 – Finland passes a law allowing same-sex couples to adopt a biological child, but stops short of full adoption rights. [OTGD]

2010 – The inaugural Harvey Milk Day is celebrated on May 22. [OTGD]

2010 – Portugal makes marriage equality the law. [OTGD]