May 25 in LGBTQ History

1895: Oscar Wilde is convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years’ hard labour.

1913: Colonel Alfred Redl, former chief of Austrian counterintelligence, commits suicide when it becomes known that he has been blackmailed, on account of his homosexuality, into working for the Russians for the past year. Later in the century, the Redl affair will be cited by U.S. senators as evidence of the security risk homosexuals pose.

1977: The San Francisco school board votes 7 to 0 to include materials on homosexuality in the sex education curriculum of the city’s public schools.

1977: An early-morning fire at New York City’s Everard Baths leaves nine men dead and seven others critically injured.  Fire officials later blame the blaze on a smoldering mattress in one of the baths’ cubicles, and on the absence of a working sprinkler system in the building.

1978: More than fifteen thousand gay men and lesbians attend a special “Gay Night” at Disneyland to benefit the Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center. It is the largest private party the theme park has ever had.

1995: In Egan v. Canada the Supreme Court of Canada rules that sexual orientation is a prohibited ground of discrimination under Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a part of the constitution. Section 15 does not explicitly list sexual orientation, but is designed to permit the addition of new grounds by the courts. The ruling will have a wide impact since Section 15 applies to all laws, including human rights laws that prohibit discrimination by all employers, landlords, service providers and governments.

2007: Colorado and Iowa ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the private sector.

 

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