top of page

An Incomplete American History of LGBT from 2000-2019 - A Subject-Based Timeline

To finish up this timeline, we will now cover the significant times in American history for the LGBT community between 2000 and current day. These lists will be organized by the following subjects: laws and legislation, psychology/medicine, religion, politics, and other.

Laws and Legislation 2001-2018

  • 2004: Massachusetts

  • 2009: Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire

  • 2012: Maine and Washington

  • 2013: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, thus giving same-sex marriage federal recognition.

  1. Delaware

  2. Rhode Island

  3. Minnesota

  4. New Jersey

  5. Hawaii

  6. New Mexico

  7. Illinois

  8. Restored in California

  • 2014:

  1. Oregon

  2. Pennsylvania

  3. Utah

  4. Oklahoma

  5. Virginia

  6. Wisconsin

  7. Indiana

  8. Colorado

  9. Nevada

  10. Idaho

  11. West Virginia

  12. North Carolina

  13. Alaska

  14. Arizona

  15. Wyoming

  16. Kansas

  17. South Carolina

  18. Montana

  • 2015: Florida

  • 2016: legalized nationwide

Ban on same-sex marriage

  • 2004:

  1. Mississippi

  2. Montana

  3. Missouri

  4. Oregon

  5. Utah

  • 2005: Tennessee

  • 2008: Arkansas, California

  • 2009: Maine

  • 2010: same-sex marriage ban ends in Arkansas and Florida

Domestic Partnerships legalized

Civil unions legalized

Ban of Civil union/same-sex partnerships

  • 2004:

  1. Arkansas

  2. Georgia

  3. Kentucky

  4. Louisiana

  5. Michigan

  6. North Dakota

  7. Ohio

  8. Oklahoma

  9. Virginia

  10. Wisconsin

  • 2005:

  1. Kansas

  2. Texas

  • 2006:

  1. Alabama

  2. Colorado

  3. Idaho

  4. South Carolina

  5. South Dakota

  6. Virginia

  7. Wisconsin

  • 2008: Florida

  • 2008: banned in Arkansas

  • 2010: Step adoption legalized in New Hampshire

  • 2011: joint adoption for civil partnerships in Illinois

  • 2016: legalized nationwide

  • 2001: Rhode Island (private sector, gender identity) Maryland (private sector, sexual orientation)

  • 2002: Alaska (public sector, sexual orientation) New York (private sector, sexual orientation)

  • 2003: Arizona (public sector, sexual orientation) Kentucky (public sector, sexual orientation, and gender identity) Michigan (executive branch of state gov, sexual orientation) New Mexico (private sector, sexual orientation, and gender identity) Pennsylvania (public sector, sexual orientation)

  • 2004: Indiana (public sector, gender identity) Louisiana (public sector, sexual orientation) Maine (public sector, sexual orientation, and gender identity)

  • 2005: Illinois (private sector, sexual orientation, and gender identity)

  • 2006: New Jersey (private sector, gender identity) Washington (sexual orientation and gender identity) Washington DC (private sector, gender identity)

  • 2007: Colorado (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) Iowa (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) Kansas (public sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) Michigan (public sector, gender identity) Ohio (public sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) Oregon (private sector, sexual orientation and gender identity) Vermont (private sector, gender identity)

  • 2009: LGBT included in federal hate crime law Delaware (private sector, sexual orientation)

  • 2012: Gender identity discrimination banned in healthcare insurance The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a regulation to prohibit LGBT discrimination in federally assisted housing programs. San Francisco voted to become the first U.S. city to provide and cover the cost of sex reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender residents.

  • 2013: Puerto Rico (sexual orientation and gender identity) Delaware (gender identity) Virginia (executive action) California enacted America's first law protecting transgender students; the law, called the School Success and Opportunity Act, declares that every public school student in California from kindergarten to 12th grade must be "permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records."

  • 2014: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the first Title VII action taken by the federal government on behalf of transgender workers.

  • 2015: The first U.S. congressional forum on anti-transgender violence was held.

  • 2016: "An Act Relative to Transgender Discrimination" was passed by the Massachusetts senate prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations based on gender identity.


  • 2001: Sodomy Repeal - Arizona

  • 2002: Sodomy Repeal - Arkansas Sodomy Repeal - Massachusetts

  • 2003: Sodomy/same-sex sexual activity decriminalized nationwide by the UN.

Psychology/Medicine 2001-2018

  • 2013: Banned in New Jersey and California

  • 2015: Banned in Oregon, DC, and Illinois

  • 2016: Banned in Vermont

  • 2017: Banned in New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Nevada

  • 2018: Banned in Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, and New Hampshire

  • 2019: Banned in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado. (After this map, Peurto Rico became the most recent state to ban conversion therapy.

  • 2015: On 12 February 2015, USA Today reported that the commandant of Fort Leavenworth wrote in a 5 February memo, "After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate [Chelsea] Manning's treatment plan." According to USA Today, Chelsea Manning remains a soldier, and the decision to administer hormone therapy is a first for the U.S. Army.

  • 2001: First memorial honoring LGBT Veterans - Desert Memorial Park in California

  • 2004: James McGreevey, then governor of New Jersey, came out as gay, thus becoming the first openly gay state governor in United States history.

  • 2006: State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, became Alabama's first openly gay public official when she was elected in 2006. Kim Coco Iwamoto became the first transgender official to win statewide office in Hawaii.

  • 2007: First presidential forum in the United States focusing specifically on LGBT issues. Six Democratic Party candidates participate in the event. GOP candidates were asked to attend but turned it down.

  • 2008: Portland voters elected openly gay Sam Adams (Oregon politician) mayor. Annise Parker was elected as the first openly gay or lesbian mayor of Houston, Texas. Kate Brown was elected as the Oregon Secretary of State in the 2008 elections, becoming America's first openly bisexual statewide officeholder. Silverton, Oregon elected Stu Rasmussen as the first openly transgender mayor in America. The first ever U.S. Congressional hearing on discrimination against transgender people in the workplace was held, by the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

  • 2009: Diego Sanchez became the first openly transgender person to work on Capitol Hill; he was hired as a legislative assistant for Barney Frank.

  • 2010: Phyllis Frye became the first openly transgender judge appointed in the United States. Donna Ryu became the first Asian-American woman, first Korean-American, and first lesbian to be appointed as a judge of the United States District Court, Northern District of California

  • 2011: Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed making it acceptable for homosexual service people to be open about their sexuality without being legally liable for discharge. Fred Karger began his unsuccessful run for the 2012 Republican nomination for President, which made him America's first openly gay Republican presidential candidate.

  • 2012: The first same-sex couple became engaged in the White House (Ben Schock and Matthew Phelps). Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly announce support for same-sex marriage on 9 May. Marlene Pray joined the Doylestown, Pennsylvania City Council in 2012, though she resigned in 2013; she was the first openly bisexual office holder in Pennsylvania. Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly lesbian or gay U.S. Senator. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) became the first openly bisexual person elected to the US Congress. Stacie Laughton became the first openly transgender person elected to any American state legislature when she won a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

  • 2013: The first United Nations ministerial meeting on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals was held. Rep. Mark Pocan's spouse Philip Frank became the first same-sex spouse of a federal lawmaker to officially receive a House Spouse ID. The U.S. Senate confirmed Nitza Quiñones Alejandro to a federal judgeship, making her the first openly gay Latina to hold such a post. U.S. Air Force Under Secretary Eric Fanning took over as acting secretary of the U.S. Air Force, becoming the highest ranking openly LGBT official at the Department of Defense; he is openly gay.

  • 2014: Maite Oronoz Rodriguez became the first openly gay person to be nominated for a seat on Puerto Rico's Supreme Court, and was confirmed for the seat later that year. Darrin P. Gayles became the first openly gay African-American man to be confirmed as a U.S federal judge. Judith Ellen Levy was confirmed by the Senate as the first openly lesbian federal judge in Michigan. Toni Atkins was elected as the first openly lesbian speaker of the California Assembly. She served as acting governor for one day in this capacity.

  • 2015: Robby Mook became the first openly gay manager of a major presidential campaign (Hillary Clinton's campaign.) Randy Berry is appointed the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. President Barack Obama became the first president to use the words "lesbian," "bisexual", and "transgender" in a State of the Union speech. President Obama appointed Raffi Freedman-Gurspan to serve as an Outreach and Recruitment Director in the Presidential Personnel Office, making her the first openly transgender appointee to work inside the White House.

  • 2016: Eric Fanning became the first openly gay Secretary of the United States Army. Santa Clara County became the first county government in the U.S. to raise the transgender pride flag. Trans United Fund was founded; it is the first group of its kind, a 501(c)(4) organization of transgender leaders focused on transgender issues. Misty Plowright became the first openly transgender candidate to win a major party primary for the US House of Representatives. Misty Snow became the first openly transgender candidate to win a major party primary for the US Senate. Kate Brown was elected as governor of Oregon, and thus became the first openly bisexual person elected as a United States governor (and indeed the first openly LGBT person elected as such). The UN Security Council condemned the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting; this statement marked the first time the U.N. Security Council used language recognizing violence targeting the LGBT community.

  • 2017: Jess Herbst, mayor of New Hope, came out as transgender and thus became the first known openly transgender elected official in Texas history. Two openly gay candidates were elected to the Anchorage Assembly (Christopher Constant and Felix Rivera), becoming the first openly LGBT elected officials in Alaska. Andrea Jenkins became the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States when she was elected to the Minneapolis City Council. Tyler Titus, a transgender man, became the first openly transgender person elected to public office in Pennsylvania when he was elected to the Erie School Board. He and Phillipe Cunningham, elected to the Minneapolis City Council on the same night, became the first two openly trans men to be elected to public office in the United States. Allison Ikley-Freeman was elected as Oklahoma's first lesbian lawmaker. President Trump determined that transgender people should not be able to enlist in the military. Judge ruled denying Trump's bid.

  • 2018: Kyrsten Sinema became the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Senate. Sharice Davids was elected as the first openly gay Native American in the US Congress, the first openly LGBTQ member of the Kansas congressional delegation, and the first openly gay person representing Kansas on the federal level. Christine Hallquist became the first openly transgender candidate for governor nominated by a major political party in the United States when she was nominated for governor of Vermont by the Democrats.

Other 2001-2018

  • 2003: The first lesbian sex scene in broadcast TV history occurred, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  • 2004: The first trans pride march was held in San Fransisco.

  • 2005: Publication of the first human rights report on the situation of intersex people, by the Human Rights Commission of the City and County of San Francisco.

  • 2008: Angie Zapata, a transgender woman, was murdered in Greeley, Colorado. Allen Andrade was convicted of first-degree murder and committing a bias-motivated crime, because he killed her after he learned that she was transgender.

  • 2011: Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of California and Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles became the first same-sex couple chosen to share the first kiss upon a U.S. Navy ship's return.

  • 2012: The first same-sex marriage at the U.S. Military Academy was held for a young lieutenant and her partner (Ellen Schick and Shannon Simpson) at the Old Cadet Chapel in West Point's cemetery

  • 2013: Autumn Sandeen, a U.S. veteran and transgender woman, received a letter from a Navy official stating, "Per your request the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been updated to show your gender as female effective 12 April 2013."

  • 2014: California became the first state in the U.S. to officially ban the use of trans panic and gay panic defenses in murder trials.

  • 2015: The inaugural White House Trans Women Of Color Women's History Month Briefing was held. The (American) Department of Veterans Affairs opened its first clinic for transgender service members.

  • 2018: Land O'Lakes named Beth Ford its first female CEO, making her the first openly gay woman CEO to run a Fortune 500 company.

Current Year LGBT Events, Progress, and Discrimination

LGBT Events in the US

  • Lillian Bonsignore became the first openly gay and the first female chief of EMS Operations for the New York City Fire Department.

  • Jeanine Nicholson became San Francisco's first openly LGBT fire chief.

  • Megan Rapinoe became the first openly gay woman in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

  • On April 12th, transgender people were banned from serving in the military. The law stated that service people may only serve in the "basis of their biological sex".

  • In June, in celebration of LGBT Pride Month, the LGBT pride flag was displayed on the Colorado, Wisconsin, and California State Capitols, for the first time in US history.

LGBT Patchwork of Protection

Birth Certificate and Legal ID rights

Equal Rights to Service in public places

Recognition of Non-binary Gender Identity

Tennessee LGBT Facts

  • A bill in Tennessee introduced in February of 2019 argued against the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision with the argument that they need to “defend natural marriage between one man and one woman, regardless of any court decision to the contrary.”

  • On June 2, 2019, a Tennessee pastor and detective said in a sermon that people who were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender were “freaks” and “worthy of death”. In the sermon, delivered on the pastor, Grayson Fritts, also called for the government to send a riot team to a Pride parade scheduled for June 22 in Knoxville. He said L.G.B.T. people should be arrested, tried, and if convicted, executed. On the church's official website, Fritts makes his stance on homosexuality by the following quote: “A person will only burn in their lust toward the same gender if they have been given over to a reprobate or rejected mind. God said homosexuality should be punished with the death penalty, as set forth in Leviticus 20:13. No homosexual will be allowed to attend or join All Scripture Baptist Church.”

  • Tennessee United Methodists apologize on behalf of the church for the harm done to LGBT members by the hate sermon mentioned above.

  • Local (to the Tennessee pastor who held the hate sermon) Cracker Barrel denied said pastor's church members service on the grounds of their right to deny service on the basis of discrimination and hatred/hostility.

LGBT Laws in TN

  • Sodomy was decriminalized in 1996

  • Same-sex unions of any sort are not officially recognized by the state although the Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex unions in 2015.

  • Domestic partnerships get benefits in certain cities (including Knoxville and Nashville), but is not provided throughout the state even though the supreme court official forced legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.

  • Same-sex adoption prohibition was repealed in 2007 and is now legal.

  • State law does NOT prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity although some counties and cities do have their own laws against it.

Sexual orientation and gender identity in pink, sexual orientation in blue. Grey = no protection.
  • There is an official hate crime law that covers sexual orientation since 2001, but it does not cover gender identity.

  • As of 2019, there are no rights for Tennessee transgender residents to change their legal gender.

Again, this has been a LOT of information. But this has been so fun to study and write! I hope that I've informed someone through this process and I hope to see notable progress within the next year concerning LGBT rights especially in the mental health field. Thanks for reading and, as always, feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have comments/questions/concerns!



Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page