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October 27 in LGBTQ History

1970: To protest a September 1970 Harper’s cover story entitled “The Struggle for Sexual Identity,” in which editor Joseph Epstein had lamented homosexuals as “an affront to our rationality” and homosexuality as “anathema,” Columbia graduate student Pete Fisher stages a sit-in at the magazine’s Park Avenue offices with 40 other Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) members. Although the sit-in does not elicit an official response from the magazine, it leads to GAA’s national Television debut and has an enormous impact on future media coverage of lesbian and gay issues.

1990: After 38 years on the books, a federal law prohibiting gay and lesbians foreigners from entering the U.S. is repealed by Congress.

1992: The Federal Court of Canada orders the Canadian military to stop discriminating against gays.

1992: Allen R. Schindler, Jr., an American Radioman Petty Officer Third Class in the United States Navy, is brutally murdered for being gay. He was killed in a public toilet in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan by shipmate Terry M. Helvey, who acted with the aid of an accomplice, Charles Vins. The ensuing murder case becomes synonymous with the gays in the military debate that had been brewing in the United States culminating in the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” bill.

1999: The Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio, Texas rules in Littleton v. Prange a post-operative transgender woman remains legally male and therefore her marriage to a biological male was invalid.

1999: The government of the Canadian province of Ontario changes 67 laws to give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples.

2003: Statistics from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation show that 16.7 percent of hate crimes committed in the country in 2002 were due to bias against the victim’s perceived sexual orientation, the highest rate in the 12 years federal records have been kept.

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