Timeline

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  • 1882: Oscar Wilde visits San Francisco and speaks publicly about the aesthetics movement.
  • In "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1891) Wilde writes, "It's an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world."
  • 1908: San Francisco city officials close the Dash, the city's earliest known gay bar. It was located at 574 Pacific St.
  • 1929: Finocchio's opens as a speakeasy. After the repeal of Prohibition, the nightclub becomes a legal establishment and features female impersonators until it closes in 1999.
  • 1944: Poet Robert Duncan, part of the Berkeley Renaissance, publishes "The Homosexual in Society,'' one of the earliest formulations of a theory of gay rights.
  • 1950: The Mattachine Society, the first national gay organization, is founded in Los Angeles by Harry Hay. Its national offices relocate to San Francisco in 1957.
  • 1954: Douglass Cross and his lover, George Cory, write "I Left My Heart in San Francisco.''
  • 1955: Allen Ginsberg reads "Howl'' in public for the first time. San Franciscans Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, along with three other lesbian couples, organize the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian social and political group in the United States.
  • 1957: San Francisco police confiscate copies of "Howl and Other Poems'' and arrest City Lights bookstore owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti on obscenity charges. The charges are overturned.
  • 1961: Drag queen Jose Sarria runs for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and gets 5,600 votes. San Francisco police arrest 89 men and 14 women in the largest vice raid in the city's history at the Tay-Bush Inn at Bush and Taylor.
  • 1962: Local bar owners start the Tavern Guild, the first gay business association in the United States, in an effort to fight police corruption.
  • 1964: Glide Memorial social worker Ted McIlvenna organizes the Council on Religion and the Homosexual to fight homophobia within mainline churches.
  • 1965: The Mardi Gras Ball, an event organized to raise money for the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, draws police harassment and helps galvanize a shift in public sympathies toward greater civil rights protections for homosexuals. Citizens Alert begins operation as a 24-hour hotline that responds to incidents of police brutality against gays and lesbians.
  • 1966: The Society for Individual Rights opens the first gay community center in the United States. The National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations holds the first national convention of gay and lesbian groups in San Francisco. Rikki Streicher opens Maud's Study, a popular lesbian bar, in the Haight.
  • 1969: Riots at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York City follow police raids and harassment.
  • 1970: On June 27, 20 to 30 people march down Polk Street from Aquatic Park to City Hall in San Francisco's first gay rights march. A "gay-in'' the next day in Golden Gate Park draws many more people. The Metropolitan Community Church is founded.
  • 1971: Bay Area gays and lesbians join a statewide rally to support Willie Brown's "consenting adults'' bill, which would decriminalize private sexual acts between consenting partners. The Bay Area Reporter begins publication.
  • 1972: "Christopher Street West,'' commemorating the Stonewall riots, draws 50,000 people in San Francisco. The Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club becomes the first gay Democratic organization in California. San Francisco City College offers a course called Gay Literature, the first of its kind, and Jack Collins goes on to establish the Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies.
  • 1973: Annual event marking Stonewall is officially called the Gay Freedom Day Parade. The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
  • 1974: The first Castro Street Fair is held in August.
  • 1975: The Gay Freedom Day Parade draws 80,000 people. It is the largest such event in the United States and the largest parade in San Francisco.
  • 1976: Armistead Maupin's series "Tales of the City'' first appears in The Chronicle.
  • 1977: Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk is the first openly gay elected official in the city's history. The Gay Freedom Day Parade draws 200,000 people. The Gay Film Festival opens with free screenings of Super-8 films. The event is so popular it launches the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the oldest continuing lesbian and gay film festival in the world. Theater Rhinoceros, the Gay Men's Chorus and the Lesbian/Gay Marching Band are formed.
  • 1978: The Gay Freedom Day Parade draws 350,000 people. For the event, Gilbert Baker designs the first rainbow flag, and it becomes an international symbol of pride for gays and lesbians. State Sen. John Briggs' initiative to expel gay and lesbian teachers from the school system is defeated. San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White assassinates Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in Moscone's office. Tens of thousands of people march in a spontaneous candlelight vigil from the Castro to the Civic Center.
  • 1979: Dan White is convicted of manslaughter instead of first-degree murder. Thousands of White Night protesters riot, and police retaliate by attacking a gay bar called the Elephant Walk. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is founded.
  • 1980: Ken Horne is the first person with AIDS to report to the Centers for Disease Control. UCSF Medical Center establishes the first Kaposi's sarcoma clinic.
  • 1981: Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua publish "This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.''
  • 1982: The first AIDS candlelight memorial march is held on May 2. The first Gay Games are staged at Kezar Stadium from August 28 to September 5, with 1,300 athletes competing in 16 sports.
  • 1983: UCSF establishes special AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital.
  • 1984: The San Francisco Department of Public Health issues an order to close gay bathhouses. Rob Epstein and Richard Schmiechen win an Oscar for "The Times of Harvey Milk.'' First Folsom Street Fair is held.
  • 1985: Bill Walker and others organize the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.
  • 1986: Cleve Jones begins the Aids Memorial Quilt project.
  • 1987: Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts publishes "And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic.'' The AIDS Action Coalition begins and later spins off into a new group called ACT-UP/SF.
  • 1988: Art Agnos becomes the first San Francisco mayor to ride in the city's Gay Freedom Day Parade. San Francisco's Eureka Theatre commissions Tony Kushner's "Angels in America.''
  • 1989: Marlon Riggs releases "Tongues Untied.'' "Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt'' by Rob Epstein wins an Oscar.
  • 1990: The first national Lesbian/Gay Writers Conference is held in San Francisco. LVA (Lesbian Visual Artists) is Founded.
  • 1991: Brian Freeman premieres "Fierce Love'' with the Pomo Afro Homos. Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches'' premieres at the Eureka Theatre. 275 lesbian and gay couples register at City Hall on Valentine's Day after San Francisco's domestic partnership law goes into effect.
  • 1992: Out lesbian filmmaker Debra Chasnoff wins an Oscar for the documentary "Deadly Deception.'' Transgender Nation is founded.
  • 1993: Former San Francisco Supervisor and out lesbian Roberta Achtenberg is sworn in as HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity.
  • 1994: Gay Asian-Pacific Alliance and Asian-Pacific Sisters march in the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the first time Asian gay and lesbian groups participate in the event. These groups and the Older Asian Sisters in Solidarity march in the Japanese community's Cherry Blossom Parade.
  • 1995: Transgender Nation lobbies successfully for inclusion of "transgender'' in the title of the Freedom Day Parade. San Francisco becomes the fourth city in the nation to pass an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against transgendered individuals. The Gay and Lesbian Center opens in the new San Francisco Main Public Library; it's the first permanent research center of its kind in a public institution.
  • 1996: San Francisco holds its first civil ceremony for domestic partners at City Hall. More than 3,000 couples have registered as domestic partners since the city started the service in 1991.
  • 1997: Peter Stein's film "The Castro'' airs on KQED. The movie documents the neighborhood's transformation into the nation's "gay mecca.''
  • 1998: Tom Ammiano is elected president of the Board of Supervisors.
  • 1999: Groundbreaking ceremony for San Francisco's new Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Community Center. Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay is grand marshal of the Pride parade.
  • 2000: The San Francisco City Planning Commission votes to designate Harvey Milk's camera shop on Castro Street an official landmark.
Compiled by Laura Perkins, Chronicle Librarian - Friday, June 23, 2000