Dallas S. Drake – first openly gay firefighter (Fire Motor Operator) in 1989 in the upper Midwest (Burnsville Fire Department, Burnsville, Minnesota).
A group of 75 bisexuals marched in the 1987 March On Washington For Gay and Lesbian Rights, which was the first nationwide bisexual gathering. The article “The Bisexual Movement: Are We Visible Yet?“, by Lani Ka’ahumanu, appeared in the official Civil Disobedience Handbook for the March. It was the first article about bisexuals and the emerging bisexual movement to be published in a national lesbian or gay publication.
Becky Smith and Annie Afleck became the first openly lesbian couple in America granted legal, joint adoption of a child.[
Matthew Shepard was taken from this world to soon. His journey will never be forgotten. On the date of his passing we honer him and others who have been taken from us.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. He was taken by rescuers to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died six days later from severe head injuries.
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with first-degree murder following Shepard’s death. Significant media coverage was given to the killing and to what role Shepard’s sexual orientation played as a motive in the commission of the crime. The prosecutor argued that McKinney’s murder of Shepard was premeditated and driven by greed. McKinney’s defense counsel countered that he had intended only to rob Shepard but had killed him in a rage when Shepard made a sexual advance toward him. McKinney’s girlfriend told police that he had been motivated by anti-gay sentiment but later recanted her statement, saying that she had lied because she thought it would help him. Both McKinney and Henderson were convicted of the murder, and each received two consecutive life sentences.
Shepard’s murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the “Matthew Shepard Act” or “Shepard/Byrd Act” for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law. Following her son’s murder, Judy Shepard became a prominent LGBT rights activist and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard’s death inspired films, novels, plays, songs, and other works.
Sally Ride first went into space in 1983. In 2012, she died, and her obituary revealed that Ride’s partner of 27 years was a woman, Tam O’Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend, who met Ride when both were aspiring tennis players. Ride had also been married to a man previously. Ride is thus the first and only known LGBT astronaut.
Randy Shilts was hired in 1981 as a national correspondent by the San Francisco Chronicle, becoming “the first openly gay reporter with a gay ‘beat’ in the American mainstream press.”
In the early 1970’s Angela Douglas founded TAO (Transsexual/Transvestite Action Organization), which published the Moonshadow and Mirage newsletters. TAO moved to Miami in 1972, where it came to include several Puerto Rican and Cuban members, and soon grew into the first international transgender community organization.