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ARTICLES ABOUT PNW QUEER
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Links to:

Oregon LGBTQ Timeline 1970-Present Oregon Trans Timeline Oregon LGBTQ Youth Timeline
     


Queer History Old OregonOREGON GAY HISTORY TIMELINE

1806
Lewis and Clark, seeking the mouth of the Willamette River, are directed by local Indians to a place where “two young men” live together, they having left the tribe to set up a home.

1811
A report is published about a woman in the Kutenai tribe in Oregon who dresses like a man and has a “wife.”

1843
A gathering of pioneers at Champoeg adopts the first code of laws for what now is Oregon. The code is adopted from the code of Iowa simply because a new arrival happened to have a copy of the Iowa code with him. Because the Iowa law didn’t outlaw sodomy, neither did Oregon.

1850
A new code of law adopted by the Oregon Territorial legislature does not include sodomy as a crime, keeping it legal.

1853
A new criminal code in Oregon makes sodomy a crime for the first time, with a penalty set at 1 to 5 years in prison.

1861
The Oregonian runs an article about President Abraham Lincoln and his “intimate friend,” Joshua Speed, who, it said, used to be “roommates.” A number of historians today believe that Lincoln and Speed had a long-term relationship.

1871
A slander case in Portland leads to a jury siding with a man seeking damages for having been accused of sodomy.

1871
Oregon suffrage leader Abigail Scott Duniway reprints in The New Northwest a tirade against her as a “gal with a manly air.”

1871
Judge Matthew Deady returns a group of prints from homoerotic frescoes from the walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum that had been proposed as donations to the public library. “I would not have believed such pictures ever existed,” he confides to his diary.

1875
Oregon Secretary of State S. F. Chadwick is accused of unethical practices in office. He defends himself by pointing out that his primary accuser has been charged with sodomy, thereby rendering him unbelievable.

1877
The Oregonian reports that it has become a “stock newspaper joke” to link the names of Samuel Bowles and Charles Francis Adams into “a sort of David and Jonathan tenderness and devotion” because of their “close and long enduring friendship.” Adams is a son of former President John Quincy Adams and himself a former government official.

1884
Congress extends all the laws of Oregon to Alaska. This gives Alaska Oregon’s sodomy law.

1886
Even though sodomy has been a crime in Oregon since 1853, it is not until this year that the first person is sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary for committing it.

1889
Twenty year old Charles Cowan is admitted to the Oregon State Penitentiary for sodomy and his record notes, “Anus opening large & scarred from plying his trade of Sodomist.”

1890
Two men enter the Oregon Penitentiary for sodomy a couple of weeks apart and the clerk entering information into the prison register writes “Sodomy !” for each, but does place an exclamation point after the crimes of manslaughter or rape.

1890
The Oregonian carries the story of Sandor/Sarolta Vay, a Hungarian woman raised as a boy. She marries ten different women.

1892
Marie Equi, Oregon’s first publicly known lesbian, arrives in The Dalles, Oregon to help her girlfriend Bessie Holcomb manage a homestead a few miles outside town. She is twenty years old. The two women emigrated to Oregon from New Bedford, Massachusetts.

1893
Marie Equi horsewhips a school superintendent in The Dalles, Oregon over a pay dispute involving her schoolteacher girlfriend, Bessie Holcomb. Newspapers describe the intimate, loving relationship of the two women. This is the first publicly reported lesbian relationship in the state.

1894
A neighbor reports a Gay male couple in Portland to the police and both are jailed.

1895
The Oregonian runs a feature on “old maids,” mentioning several famous contemporary women who’ve never married. They include a number of women now known to have been Lesbians: sculptor Harriet Hosmer, painter Rosa Bonheur, writer Sarah Orne Jewett, temperance leader Frances Willard, feminists Susan B. Anthony and Anna Dickinson, nurse Florence Nightingale, and Rose Cleveland, sister of the President, who had acted as the official White House hostess before he married.

1898
Oregon born itinerant laborer Hayes Perkins notes in his diary that he encountered a “homo sexual” traveling with his “punk” with him “constantly.” Clearly not understanding their relationship, Perkins states “they act like two sixteen year old lovers more than two friends.”

1899
The Portland Medical Society hears a paper read by a doctor concerning syphilis of the tonsil.

1899
At an a suffrage conference held in Michigan, Oregon’s indomitable woman suffrage leader, Abigail Scott Duniway, castigates any woman who doesn’t like men as a “sour-souled, vinegar-visaged specimen of unfortunate femininity, who owes the world an apology for living in it at all.” She thought such women should “steal away and die, in the company of the man who doesn’t like women.”

1901
By this year, Lownesdale Square in Downtown Portland was well known as a Gay cruising spot. This park was restricted to men (and Chapman Square was restricted to women) at the time.

1902
The Oregon Supreme Court sustains the will of a man in failing mental and physical health, which he made due to the threat of a stepson. The stepson and a friend threatened to accuse the older man of sodomy unless he signed over half his estate to his wife and paid each of them $1,000 immediately.

1903
The Northwest Medical Journal reviews Havelock Ellis’s work, Analysis of the Sexual Impulse—Love and Pain—The Sexual Impulse in Women, and engages in its first discussion of homosexuality.

1903
Marie Equi becomes one of the fist sixty women doctors – and first known lesbian doctor -- in Oregon. She graduated from the University of Oregon Medical Department, now Oregon Health & Science University in a class of five men and five women.

1904
Lesbian physician Marie Equi opens a medical practice in Pendleton, Oregon with doctor Mary Ellen Parker. They also lived together in town. Parker’s practice falters, and the two women relocate to Portland.

1906
Marie Equi is touted in Oregon press for her heroic response in Portland’s relief mission to victims of the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The California governor and San Francisco mayor praise her work; the US Army awards her a medal. She becomes Oregon’s first publicly acclaimed LGBTQ hero.

1906
In late May, Marie Equi is entangled in front-page scandal involving her girlfriend, Harriet Speckart (an Olympia Brewery heiress), and the Speckart family over a family inheritance. In an allusion to their lesbian relationship, Equi is accused of wielding a mysterious, hypnotic power that alienated the younger woman from the affections of her family.  

1906
Marie Equi works in the Oregon woman suffrage campaign to obtain the right to vote for women. The effort, the fifth time the measure went before voters, was defeated.

1906
Marie Equi mounts a short-lived campaign to be appointed to Portland’s new post of public market inspector. She receives the endorsement of the national and state suffrage associations. The Oregonian declares Equi had “the strongest endorsement of any candidate.” She withdrew her name from consideration when it was clear the mayor intended to appoint someone else. 

1907
Gay businessman Theodore Kruse purchases the Belvedere Hotel at Fourth and Alder in Portland. Inside is the Louvre Restaurant, which Kruse turns into a “bohemian” place that becomes a thriving spot for Portland’s Gay men. A separate “Gent’s Dining Room” has mirrored walls and palm trees. The restaurant is cited by newspapers for frequent liquor law violations and is called a “front” for “immoral activity.”

1907
Lesbian physician Marie Equi and Harriet Speckart, who had been living together notoriously, win second-prize for their float in the first Rose Festival.

1907
Lesbian physician Marie Equi and heiress Harriet Speckart, known to live together openly in a lesbian relationship, enter Portland’s first Rose Festival in the category of “Carriage and Four” – a four wheel-carriage pulled by two horses. They win second place and receive a $50 prize.

1911
Openly Lesbian physician Marie Equi presents a paper to the Multnomah County Medical Society regarding her treatment of a male patient who had gonorrhea of the throat.

1911
Gay businessman Theodore Kruse is reported as missing by his wife. When another woman is suggested, his wife responds for publication, “I never knew of his having associated with another woman. I laugh at such a suggestion because I had virtually to drive him out with the young men of his acquaintance to attend banquets or other social affairs.” Kruse later is seen traveling with various other men and returns to Portland several months later. He and his wife are divorced almost immediately afterward.

1912
English military hero and Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden Powell makes an appearance in Portland but is met by a huge, hostile crowd holding what newspapers call “ribald” banners mocking his quotes about Boy Scouts. Newspapers note he is accompanied by an entourage of “young men” and later in the year a local paper formally outs him to Portland readers.

1912
Five young Gay men, including one couple, out for a nighttime drive in what is now Lake Oswego, are accosted by a robber on the highway. Two of the men, including one of the couple, are killed by the robber, and two others are injured. During the trial of the perpetrator, the surviving half of the couple is trapped by a defense attorney into acknowledging that he and one of the deceased men were sitting intertwined on the back seat.

1912
Nell Pickerell, passing herself as Harry E. Allen, is arrested in Portland on a Mann Act (white slavery) charge. When it is learned that she is a woman dressed as a man, the charge is dropped, but she is prosecuted for vagrancy. Traveling with her is Isabelle Maxwell, whom Pickerell claimed to have married. Lesbian physician Marie Equi visits with Pickerell. Portland policewoman Lola Baldwin comments harshly on Pickerell and Maxwell in her official records.

1912
The “Vice Clique Scandal” breaks in Portland (frequently erroneously called the “YMCA Scandal.”) After a general vice investigation in the city, 68 men are involved including a few who have some prominence in the city. The Oregon Journal coins the term “vice clique” to refer to the men, and two of the three other dailies begin using it regularly to refer to them as well. Six trials are held and four other men plead guilty to charges involving private, consensual sexual activity. Three convicted men appeal their convictions and all are freed by the Oregon Supreme Court.

1912
Following the breaking of the “Vice Clique Scandal” in Portland, Oregon Congressman A. W. Lafferty pledges to have Congress investigate homosexuality on a nationwide basis. Nothing comes of his pledge and two Oregon newspapers ridicule his proposal as a mere cover for his own well known sexual interest in underage females. However, naming the Portland Scandal specifically, the U.S. Justice Department orders its agents throughout the country to turn over whatever information it has on “vice conditions” in various cities to local officials.

1912
A vaudevillian named Frank Gumm moves to Portland and manages the Crystal Theater in North Portland.  He amazingly tried to live as openly Gay wherever he lived, but as a result frequently was forced to relocate.  He obviously planned to stay in Portland, because he registered to vote and helped organize a “screen club.”  However, in the fall of 1913, some unknown “something” happened in Portland that made him give up living openly.  He left town and returned to Wisconsin, where he proposed marriage to a woman who had pursued him unsuccessfully.  They married and had three daughters, all of whom showed musical talent.  His youngest daughter, Frances, showed the greatest talent of all.  In 1935, at age 13, she was signed by MGM to a film contract under the stage name of Judy Garland.

1912
Lesbian physician Marie Equi serves on the executive boards of the Oregon Equal Suffrage Association and the College Equal Suffrage League to help win the vote for women in Oregon on the sixth try. Equi fumes over the “personal rancor and bias” of the national suffrage leaders against Oregon’s longtime suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway. The measure passes.

1913
On New Year’s Day, the body of Edwin “Sid” Ghirardelli is found in his room at the Byron Hotel in Downtown Portland. He has committed suicide by poison after being fired from his job for being Gay and being rejected by his prominent San Francisco family for the same reason. His family had sent him to Portland to keep him away from various men in San Francisco and told his Portland employer to keep an eye on him to be sure he didn’t “stray.” When Ghirardelli “strayed,” he was fired.

1913
Lesbian doctor Marie Equi serves as president of the Eight-Hour League of Portland, a group seeking an eight-hour workday. She works to get such legislation placed on the state ballot.

1913
In reaction to the Vice Clique Scandal, the Oregon legislature amends the state’s sodomy law to broaden it to cover virtually any erotic act whatsoever except the missionary position and triples the maximum penalty to 15 years in prison.

1913
Also in reaction to the Vice Clique Scandal, the Oregon legislature enacts a law authorizing the sexual sterilization of “sexual perverts” and “moral degenerates.” A referendum is launched against the new proposal and, in what can be classified accurately as this nation’s first Gay rights referendum, Oregon voters repeal the law by a 56% 44% margin. The law is favored by a majority of voters in only four counties scattered around the state. During the campaign, a Portland man signing his name “Duncan Fraser Ph.D.” has a letter to the editor published in the Oregon Journal opposing the law and defending “homo-sexualists.” Noted social activist Emma Goldman comes to Portland to campaign for the law’s repeal as well.

1913
The national publication Physical Culture notes sex education is offered in Oregon this way: “In Oregon they post pertinent warnings coupled with an offer of private instruction, in all public toilet rooms – which is proper – but that sort of thing does not belong in the curriculum of the public schools.”

1913
William Quartier, the Oregon State Penitentiary’s pharmacist, is arrested for sodomy “under dramatic circumstances” at work, but local newspapers give no further information.

1913
A Portland newspaper reports that “an insane moral pervert” is removed from the local YMCA.1913
Marie Equi joins a labor strike by women workers at an east Portland fruit cannery. Newspapers regard her as a leader of the strike which evolved into one of Portland’s first free speech fights. Rough treatment by the police leaves Equi badly bruised, and she declares the incident has radicalized her.

1915
Marie Equi provides abortions to her patients, starting sometime between 1903 and 1915. She is skillful, discreet, and never encounters legal problems for the illegal procedure. She is one of a handful of licensed physicians in Portland known to provide abortions

1915
Multnomah County Juvenile Court Judge William Gatens warns parents to be wary of “girl chums.”

1915
Marie Equi legally adopts an infant girl who she names Mary. This is the first known legal adoption by a known lesbian in Oregon. She raised the child with Harriet Speckart.

1915
Social activist Emma Goldman makes a speech in Downtown Portland defending homosexuality. Although Portland police arrested her for her speech on birth control, they did not interfere with her speech on homosexuality.

1916
In June lesbian physician Marie Equi disrupts the largest parade ever held in Portland to protest war preparedness during the lead-up to the US entering WWI. She entered the parade in an automobile festooned with banners that proclaimed “Prepare to Die, Workingman. JP Morgan & Co Want Preparedness for Profit” and “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” She was attacked by attorneys and members of the Knights of Columbus.

1916
Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger visits Portland. During her second talk, Portland police arrest and jail Sanger, Marie Equi and two other women for distributing the pamphlet “Family Limitation.” Portland is the only city to arrest Sanger during her national tour. Equi also revises Sanger’s pamphlet to appeal more to working men and women.

1916
Marie Equi leads protest against suffragists campaigning for the Republican presidential nominee, Charles Evans Hughes, so supported suffrage. Equi favored re-electing President Woodrow Wilson since he promised to keep the US out of WWI.  Equi is arrested but then released.

1916
In a year of conflict, lesbian doctor Marie Equi rushes to Everett, Washington to provide medical care to members of the Industrial Workers of the World who joined a labor strike at a lumber mill. Equi is the most prominent Western physician to assist the radical labor organizers.

1917
The US Department of Justice raids the offices of Dr. Marie Equi – and many other radicals across the country – seeking evidence of anti-war espionage. Equi regularly mounts soapboxes in Portland’s Park Blocks downtown and castigated the government’s Liberty Loan campaigns, believing working class people should not be expected to buy war bonds they could not afford.

1917
Ignoring the will of the voters in the sterilization referendum of 1913, the Oregon legislature passes a new sterilization law covering “sexual perverts” and “moral degenerates.” Oregon, more than any other state in the nation, tends to use castration on male prisoners and ovariotomy on female prisoners.

1917
Just a few years after his involvement in the Vice Clique Scandal, local photographer John Moffitt begins running ads in the Portland City Directory calling himself “The Photographer of Men.”

1917
Alberta Lucille Hart (b 1890) graduates from University of Oregon Medical School. After graduation, Hart undergoes a hysterectomy (transition ca 1918) and lives the rest of her life as a man, Dr. Alan L. Hart, marrying twice. Hart is among the first female-to-male transsexuals to undergo surgery in transition. Dr. Alan L. Hart dies in 1962.

1918
Two Oregon prisoners file a lawsuit challenging the right of the state to sterilize them sexually. One is a straight man convicted of rape, the other a Gay man convicted of sodomy. The straight man withdraws his lawsuit and allows himself to be castrated, but the Gay prisoner convinces the state not to castrate him.

1918
For delivering an anti-war speech in Portland, Marie Equi is charged with sedition under the recently passed Sedition Act that outlawed virtually all political dissent. Federal agents arrest her; she is released on a $10,000 bail.

1918
The Oregon Supreme Court upholds the sodomy conviction of a man of Greek ancestry, Tom Kapsalas, for consensual sex in a Columbia County lumbering camp. At his trial, the prosecution calls the jury’s attention to the “past glories of Greece.” Kapsalas enters the Oregon Penitentiary at the height of that year’s Spanish influenza pandemic and dies from the disease shortly after arrival.

1918
Lesbian anarchist and physician Marie Equi initiates a lesbian affair with Irish nationalist Kathleen O’Brennan. The two women live together in the Oregon Hotel downtown, and O’Brennan helps manage Equi’s defense against sedition charges. Equi’s long-time companion, Harriet Speckart, leaves Equi and Portland with their daughter and settles in Seaside.

1918
Lesbian physician and social activist Marie Equi is convicted in Portland of sedition for opposing U.S. involvement in WWI. During her trial, the federal prosecutor refers to her as a “degenerate” and “an unsexed woman.” She is sentenced to three years at a federal prison. Equi is assaulted by a federal agent outside the courtroom.

1919
Convicted of sedition, Marie Equi appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Charles Erskine Scott Wood, a prominent Portland attorney and philosophical anarchist, represents Equi. He emphasizes that citizens need free speech especially in time of war. “People don’t need constitutional guarantees at their picnics and prayer meetings,” he told the court. The judges upheld the conviction. The US Supreme Court declined to review Equi’s case.

1920
Lesbian doctor Marie Equi, age 48, begins her prison term at San Quentin. She serves ten months after President Wilson commuted her sentence to one year. FBI director J Edgar Hoover prevents Equi from receiving a parole or pardon. She is released after ten months.

1921
Harry Staben, who had been involved in the 1912 1913 Vice Clique Scandal, is arrested and held briefly on a charge of murder. He is released after he gives police his alibi for the date in question – that he had gone to a Portland café and was picked up by a man for sex and was with the man at the time the murder occurred.

1921
A Marion County trial court strikes down the state’s sterilization law that had been used on 127 people.

1923
The Oregon legislature enacts a new sterilization law that both eliminates the definition of “sexual perverts,” and eliminates any need for these “perverts” to show reproductive potential in order to be sterilized.

1925
The Oregon legislature broadens the sterilization law to require anyone convicted of sodomy to be referred to the Board of Eugenics for possible sterilization.

1927
Harriet Speckart, former lesbian lover of Marie Equi, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Seaside, Oregon at age 44.

1927
Prominent labor radical Elizabeth Gurley Flynn suffers a physical breakdown in Portland and receives medical care from Dr. Marie Equi.  The two women begin living together in Equi’s SW Portland home and continued to do so throughout the Depression in a close, sometimes intimate, relationship.

1928
A second Gay sex scandal occurs in Portland when about 10 men are arrested for private, consensual sexual activity.

1928
The Oregon Supreme unanimously interprets the state’s broad sodomy law to include as sodomy the consensual masturbation of another person.

1930
Portland police begin giving psychological tests developed by noted psychologist Lewis Terman to arrested homosexuals. The tests, given without explanation as to their purpose, are designed to determine each arrestee’s degree of masculinity or femininity.

1933
President Franklin D. Roosevelt grants lesbian Marie Equi a full pardon for her conviction of sedition.

1934
Lesbian physician Marie Equi, now retired and mostly bedridden, leaves her home to give moral and financial support to Portland laborers involved in the West Coast Maritime Strike.

1935
Oregon Governor Charles Martin announces that no prisoner convicted of a sex crime will be pardoned unless sexually sterilized first. He also asks the state legislature for a broader sterilization law patterned on that of Nazi Germany. In a special session that year, Martin gets a new law that requires a list of names of all known “sexual perverts” to be turned over to the state’s Board of Eugenics for possible sterilization, whether or not these “perverts” commit a crime.

1936
A Portland auto garage runs a classified ad for an employee and says it was “No job for a cream puff.” This is a contemporary euphemistic term for a gay man.

1937
A Gay sex scandal in Seaside involving 14 men is reported in the Astoria newspaper. The story is printed only after one of the arrested men commits suicide in the Clatsop County Jail.

1939
The Oregonian editorializes on the death of bisexual sex researcher Havelock Ellis that he wasn’t very important or respected in the scientific community. A long letter to the editor in reply from a Portland woman argues the opposite.

1941
The Oregon Attorney General issues an opinion that physicians performing sterilization operations on “sexual perverts” have an absolute immunity from liability.

1941
Through the end of this year, 182 men and no women have entered the Oregon Penitentiary for sodomy related charges; 172 for sodomy, nine for attempted sodomy, and one for solicitation of sodomy.

1948
New York Governor Thomas Dewey, in an upset, defeats former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen in the Oregon Republican primary for President. Dewey’s campaign is managed by the large Portland advertising agency of Joseph Gerber, who had been one of the men involved in the 1912 Vice Clique Scandal in Portland. One of the features of the campaign is the introduction of the modern Presidential debate format, created by Gerber, used for the first time in Salem and broadcast nationwide on radio.

1948
Portland police dedicate an article in their publication to the city’s “sex deviate problem.” They handled “perverts” by sending a “squad of officers” to parks and “other public meeting places, where perverts have been known to congregate,” and obtaining detailed descriptions of both them and their cars. This information then was compiled and cross indexed in police records to aid in apprehending offenders reported by “children.”

1949
A classified ad in the Oregonian appears for a new book, the “revealing and sympathetic tale” of the “misunderstood world of homosexuals,” The Gay Year.

1950
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission allows the reinstatement of a Portland bar’s liquor license only with the proviso that it cease drag shows. Beginning in 1949, Portland police began undercover infiltration of bars to report on drag shows, same sex dancing, and sexual solicitation.

1950
Portland police official Earl Biggs publishes his book Sex, Science and Sin: A Study of Normal and Abnormal Sex Activity of Our Time in Relation to Science, The Law, and Religion, in which he argues for the decriminalization of consensual homosexual behavior. After 20 years on the police force investigating sex crimes, Biggs comes to the conclusion that society is unjust in bringing the criminal law to bear on consensual behavior. As a result of the publication, Biggs is contacted by Dr. Alfred Kinsey. The two develop a warm friendship. Biggs visits the Kinsey Institute the following year, and Kinsey comes to Portland a few months after that.

1951
An out-of-state gossip newspaper claims a large and organized sex ring at the Portland YMCA, but investigation reveals it is a fabrication.

1952
Portland Mayor Dorothy Lee, up for reelection, proposes a five point program aimed at ridding Portland of “sexual deviates.” The program is not enacted and voters throw Lee out of office.

1952
Psychiatrists object to the planned showing of the film Danger! Strangers in Portland public schools. The film concerns a man kidnapping a girl. One psychiatrist warns that the film is “not at all a true pattern of the homosexual.” Thus, local officials thought that Gay men were interested in girls.

1952
On July 13, longtime physician and activist Marie Equi, 80 years of age, dies of renal disease in a nursing home located outside Portland. Her entombment took place at Portland Memorial, a crematorium in southeast Portland. Her vault lies side-by-side with that of Harriet Speckart, her lover of 13 years.

1952
The book USA Confidential claims there is a “fairy club” at Portland’s Lincoln High School.

1952
At campaign stops in Eugene and then Portland, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon speaks innuendo that Democratic Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson is Gay. Stevenson had entered into an agreement with opponent Dwight Eisenhower that Stevenson would not raise Eisenhower’s adulterous affair with Kay Summersby in return for Eisenhower’s pledge not to raise Stevenson’s homosexuality. Nixon apparently wasn’t party to the agreement.

1953
Oregon joins the parade of states enacting a “psychopathic offender” law. These laws were scientifically unfounded and operated from the premise that “sexual deviates” operated at a middle level of mental functioning, neither sane nor insane. The result in most states was a rounding up of homosexuals for “cure” in mental institutions.

1957
Oregon becomes the second state (after California) to enact a law prohibiting anyone convicted of sodomy from being a public school teacher.

1958
The Oregon Supreme Court rejects the challenge of the parents of a murdered boy to the Governor’s commutation of the death sentence of their son’s murderer. It was a sex crime in the Medford area.

1960
A Gresham business runs a classified ad in the Oregonian seeking an employee. It says, “No long-haired men, please.” This is before the predominance of 1960s long hair, and was a frequently used term for homosexual men.

1961
Lesbian Jeannace Freeman is arrested with her lover, Gertrude Jackson, for the murder of the other woman’s two children. Freeman had convinced Jackson that the children were in the way of their relationship. Upon arrest, Freeman tells reporters, “I’m the butch one.” At her trial in Madras several months later, she appears in skirts and lipstick. She is convicted and sentenced to death. She is on death row at the time of the 1964 statewide vote that abolishes the death penalty, so Governor Hatfield commutes her sentence. Freeman’s name is used by death penalty supporters as a reason to oppose abolition.

1961
A man attempting to be arrested in a Portland park restroom for sexual activity so violently resists that the arresting officer is hospitalized.

1961
The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously rules that the state’s very broad sodomy law outlaws cunnilingus.

1962
An Oregon legislative committee investigating “social problems” learns that the Oregon State Hospital recently fired several Lesbian employees.

1963
Another Gay sex scandal in Portland breaks out and is the subject of lurid headlines in news stories and headlines, including “They Prey on Boys.”

1964
Oregon Journal columnist Doug Baker states that the “Unmentionables,” his term for homosexuals, were so numerous in Portland that one local businessman promised to take “vigilante action” against them.

1964
The Portland City Council asks the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to revoke the liquor licenses of all of Portland’s Gay and Lesbian bars. The OLCC refuses, noting that the bars are operating within the law.

1965
The state’s sterilization law is amended to delete references to “sexual perverts” and “moral degenerates.”

1966
The Oregon Supreme Court upholds the sodomy convictions of a Gay male couple who had been reported to police by a neighbor.

1968
The Oregon Supreme Court finds the book Lesbian Roommate obscene. The decision later is reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1969
A few of Portland’s female impersonators organize the Portland Forum, which provides social and cultural activities for the gay community.

1970
The Second Foundation of Oregon (Portland) and The Gay People’s Alliance (Eugene) also start in

1970
1970 Vortex I rock festival organized at McIver State Park near Clackamas as celebration of music and and an alternative to proposed rioting at American Legion Convention in Portland

1970
Portland Gay Liberation Front forms after John Wilkinson and Holly Hart write articles about Portland gay life in the Willamette Bridge. Portland State College Gay Men's Union begins meeting. The Gay People's Alliance forms in Eugene.

There's a new, improved post-1970 timeline! Follow this link to view it.

1970
The Oregon Supreme Court rules that the state’s broadly worded sodomy law outlaws “golden showers.”

1971
The Second Foundation sponsors the first gay pride celebration with indoor events such as dances.

1971
The Second Foundation publishes a gay newspaper called The Fountain.

1971
The Imperial Sovereign Rose Court holds its first public elections to select an Empress instead of having judges select one during a Ball. Tracey St. James wins the election and becomes Empress XIV. In 1972, Darcelle becomes the 15th Empress.

1971
Second Foundation organized by committee of Fr. Kiernan Healy, Neil Hutchins, and Dennis Kennedy. Officers are George Oberg, Larry Beck, and Dave Fredrickson. Holds dance in the Pythian Building for first National Gay Pride week. Portland's Gay newspaper launched by Neil Hutchins as The Fountain.

1971
First identified worship service of a Metropolitan Community Church held at Centenary-Wilbur Methodist Church. The attempt falters, but eventually the congregation is established in 1976 under guidance from Denis Moore, David and John Rushong, and Nita Gates.

1971
Several feminist lesbians form the Prescott House as a halfway house for women who were getting out of prison. Later it becomes the Bradley Angle House -- a place to help female victims of domestic violence. The organization continues to be strong to the present.

1971
Oregon repeals the 1913 sodomy statute, effective January 1, 1972, making Oregon the fourth state in the union to repeal its sodomy law. Despite repeal of the law, a catch-all solicitation law, "accosting for deviate purposes" was added to the code

1972
Peggy Burton, a teacher at Cascade Union High School in Turner, Oregon, files suit in U.S. District Court to regain her job after the school board fires her in 1971 for being a lesbian. The case lasts over four years. The Court (Judge Gus Solomon) ruled that she was entitled to back pay, but not reinstatement. Burton becomes a medical technician and does not teach again.

1972
First Portland Gay Community Center opened by Second Foundation above the Other Inn Tavern, 258 SW Alder St. Financial woes close doors after 6 months. Dahl & Penne's Tavern (founded 1898) becomes center of gay culture in Portland for 10.5 years.

1973
The first Oregon gay-rights bill (HB 2930) is introduced in the Oregon legislature by newly-elected State representative Vera Katz. The Bill misses passage by two votes.

1973
A Woman’s Place Bookstore opens in S.E. Portland. It moves to several locations during its 17-year existence.

1973
Groups from around Oregon meet in Portland for the first Oregon Gay Political Caucus. Groups include the Klamath Gay Union, Southern Oregon College Gay Students Union, Eugene Gay People’s Alliance, Salem Area Gay Activists, Portland Gay Women’s Liberation, Portland Gay Men’s Liberation, Portland Lesbian Mothers, and the Second Foundation of Oregon.

1973
Pythian Building becomes home of "Six Under", a collection of gay offices, a second Gay Community Center, a version of MCC, and The Fountain. Financial woes eclipse success.

1973
A Gay father in Oregon who has had sole custody of his two sons for 11 years is told by a court that he has to end his relationship with another man in order to keep custody of his sons.

1974
The Portland City Council adopts Resolution Number 31510 banning job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for city employees. The vote was 3-2, with Connie Macready, Charles Jordan, and Neil Goldschmidt voting yes; Mildred Schwab and Frank Ivancie voting no.

1974
A few lesbians buy land in Southern Oregon and start the collective, Womanshare. Women living in Wolf Creek and other communal land publish WomanSpirit.

1974
The Portland Association of Gay Equality wants Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt to issue a proclamation for Gay Pride Week, but the Mayor does not issue one.

1975
Bradley Angle was founded by women who had enough violence for a lifetime and were ready to change their lives. Named for Sharon Bradley and Pam Angle, who died from the violence of living on the streets in Portland, Oregon, Bradley Angle was the first domestic violence shelter on the West Coast. As of 2011, Bradley Angle provides a continuum of domestic violence and sexual assault support services for survivors and their children.

1975
Portland Town Council (PTC), a gay-rights organization, lobbies the state legislature for gay rights. The Bill does not pass. In 1976, the PTC publishes an 80-page booklet titled: A Legislative Guide to Gay Rights. PTC hopes the guide will educate legislatures about gay issues so that eventually a gay-rights bill will pass.

1975
About 200 people attend Portland’s first outdoor, public gay pride celebration.

1975
Larry Copeland and Jerry Weller organize the Portland Town Council, a group more political than the Second Foundation. About 200 people attend Portland's first outdoor public gay pride celebration.

1975
A second civil rights bill is introduced into the Oregon House of Representatives.  It fails, but comes one vote closer to passage than in 1973.

1976
Parents Ann Shepherd and Charles Knapp set up a table at the Gay Pride rally for folks to sign up for Parents of Gays. Later the group grows into the Portland chapter of P-Flag.

1976
Portland Town Council has a fundraiser for Vera Katz and Stephen Kafoury. The spaghetti feed nets $230. PTC splits the money between Vera and Stephen.

1976
Governor Bob Straub calls statewide task-force to examine discrimination. Members include Ann Shepherd, Holly Hart, Libby Anderson and city commissioner Gladys McCoy. Recommends a parental support group.

1976
Metropolitan Community Church founded and chartered (1977), Rev Austin Amerine founding pastor.

1976
In primary elections for the Oregon legislature, several anti-Gay incumbents lose to supporters of the civil rights bill even though the incumbents used their challengers’ support against them in the election.

1976
In the general election, Congressman Les AuCoin of Oregon, who co-sponsored the federal sexual orientation civil rights bill is targeted by opponent Phil Bladine for his sponsorship, but wins reelection handily.

1976
The Superintendent of the Oregon State Police states his opposition to having Gay members.


1977
Oregon enacts a domestic violence law which covers all cohabitors, regardless of gender.

1977
Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt issues a proclamation for Gay Pride Day. Negative phone calls pour into his office as opponents launch a short-lived effort to oust the Mayor.

1977
Eugene City Council amends the city’s human rights ordinance to prohibit discrimination against gays in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

1977
Portland’s Metropolitan Community Church moves to the corner of NE 24th and Broadway.

1977
The Dyketones perform at a New Year’s Eve party. They dress in politically incorrect clothes and put lesbian-themed lyrics to songs – thus changing My Girl into My Dyke.

1977
MCC purchases 1909 Church of Good Tidings at NW 24th & Broadway for $ 87,000; takes possession in Jan 1978 and becomes de-facto gay community center and most visible location of the Gay Community

1978
Terry Bean networks with national leaders, eventually forming the National Gay Task Force.

1978
Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt issues a proclamation for Gay Pride Day

1978
Eugene voters repeal by a margin of 61% the city ordinance that protects gays from discrimination.

1978
This year’s Oregon Women’s Conference has the greatest number and variety of lesbian workshops in conference history.

1978
A bi-sexual support group gets underway thanks to a notice in the Portland Town Council newsletter.

1978
San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is assassinated; galvanizes gay communities nationwide. A memorial at MCC features speakers Multnomah County Commissioner Barbara Roberts, Holly Hart, and Jerry Weller.

1979
Portland Community Bowling Association begins with 50 bowlers and ten teams. By 1985, the association grows to 285 bowlers on 50 teams in three leagues.

1979
A candlelight march at South Park Blocks coincides with National March in Washington DC, co-sponsored by Portland Town Council and MCC.

1979
The Oregon Court of Appeals overturns a visitation restriction on a Lesbian mother, six years after a Gay father was forced to end his relationship to keep his sons.

1980
Ten incidents of gay bashing in Laurelhurst Park in Portland are reported during July and August.

1980
Portland Gay Mens' Chorus founded by MCC choir Director Gary Coleman, Steve Fulmer, and Mark Jones. First concert held at Steve Suss' Embers/Rafters.

1981
Portland Women’s Counseling Collective organizes a lesbian support/therapy group that meets on Thursday nights.

1981
Cascade Chapter Knights of Malta incorporated in Portland. In 1989, the chapter opens membership to women.

1981
The Oregon Court of Appeals strikes down the state’s law against “accosting for deviate purposes,” a catch-all solicitation law aimed at Gay men.

1982
Terry Bean, John Baker, Keeston Lowery, and Dana Weinstein start a new political organization called Right to Privacy. Later it becomes known as Right to Pride. The organization raises $17,000 during its first Lucille Hart fund-raising dinner ($50 a plate), named after the first female-to-male transsexual to undergo surgery in Oregon (Lucille Hart/Alan Hart, 1917-18).

1982
Gay Pride changes its name to Lesbian and Gay Pride.

1982
First AIDs-related death in Portland. r.

1982
Neil Hutchins founds the Cascade Voice; staffer "Raunchy" Robert Paul Dunn starts The Eagle Newsmagazine 3 years later; staffer Jay Brown establishes Just Out (1983).

1982
Windfire rap group for GLBT teens starts at Holly Hart's Old Wives Tales, facilitated by Frank Jerkins.

1983
Cascade AIDS Project forms.

1983
Just Out publishes its first issue in October 1983.

1983
In October, Just Out publishes its first edition with The Dyketones on the cover.

1983
Black Lesbians and Gays United forms in Portland.

1983
The "Dirty Triangle" disappears on SW Alder St when the Grand Oasis, the Other Inn, and Dahl & Penne's close, for unrelated reasons.

1983
Brown Mac-Donald and others form Cascade AIDS Project (CAP); Steve Fuller works with PGMC to organize PALS (Personal Active Listeners) to support dying men.

1983
The Oregon Court of Appeals rules that teachers can not be dismissed for conduct unrelated to their teaching in a case brought by a Gay teacher.

1984
Katharine English, a lesbian lawyer and strong supporter of gay-rights, becomes a Juvenile Court referee. While she was a lawyer, she worked behind the scenes to educate judges about gay and lesbian issues.

1984
Multnomah County Commission approves an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for county employees. Opponents threaten to force a public vote. To avoid an election, the commission repeals the ordinance in March of 1985 and replaces it with a resolution affirming the same concept.

1984
Bud Clark elected mayor, supports gay/lesbian community; campaigns and celebrates at The Dirty Duck.

1984
Rose Court former empress XXIV Esther Hoffman dies of AIDS; his estate helps start CHESS (Community Health and Essential Support Services) including Esther's Pantry and Todd's Closet in 1985. These are first housed next to the Dirty Duck, then in the basement of the Embers.

1985
Northwest Gender Alliance reaches out for new members with an ad in Just Out.

1985
Portland Mayor Bud Clark proclaims June 28th as Portland Gay Men’s Chorus day.

1985
Portland Police Chief Penny Harrington appoints Deputy Chief Tom Potter as the Portland Police Bureau’s liaison between the police and the gay community. While there have been other liaison between the groups, Potter is the first to be officially appointed.

1985
Barbara Roberts, elected Oregon Secretary of State in 1984, requests PGMC to sing at her inauguration, definitely elevating public awareness of Oregon's gay community.

1986
Lesbian Community Project (LCP) starts after a conference is held at Portland State University where women discussed their needs. LCP offers a place for lesbians to meet. It also offers a variety of services including seminars on homophobia and self-defense, sign-language classes, Spanish classes, New Year’s Eve dances and softball tournaments. The organization closes in 2008, but the softball tournaments continue.

1986
The Portland Lesbian Choir begins. It is the first choir with “lesbian” in its title.

1986
First AIDS vigil in Portland, sponsored by MCC; led by Amanai Jabari, Wendell Glean, & Larry Foltz.

1987
The Portland City Council approves an ordinance stating that city employees cannot be fired solely because they are gay or lesbian. The ordinance pulls together all the existing city personnel policies including the resolution adopted in 1974.

1987
Governor Neil Goldschmidt signs an executive order that forbids discrimination against gays in the hiring and firing of state employees.

1987
In Bend, Oregon the Other Side forms to help people with AIDS. Soon it grows into an organization that serves as a political and non-political base for lesbians and gays in that area.

1987
The Portland City Council approves an ordinance stating that city employees cannot be fired solely because they are gay or lesbian, combining existing city personnel policies, including the 1974 resolution.

1987
CAP (Cascade AIDS Project) organizes 'From all Walks of Life" walk-a-thon.

1987
Lady Elaine Peacock hosts first of 28 "Peacock in the Park" celebrations in Washington Park Rose Garden & raises funds for Audria Edwards Youth Scholarship fund.

1988
After being rejected two years in a row, Phoenix Rising becomes the first gay and lesbian organization in Oregon to join United Way. United Way allocates $16,000 to Phoenix Rising (mainly a counseling service) for the following year.

1988
Tri-Met pulls the Cascade AIDS Project ad “We can live together” from buses after receiving complaints that the ad promotes homosexuality.

1988
OCA initiates Ballot Measure 8; it is approved by 53% or Oregon voters, which repealed Governor Goldschmidt's anti-discrimination executive order. Measure 8 was later overturned by Court decision.

1988
National AIDS quilt displayed at University of Portland, and later at Memorial Coliseum; Juniper House and Assisi House pioneer residential health care.

1989
For the first time, there is a gay and lesbian sponsored float in Portland’s Rose Festival Starlight Parade.

1989
Equity Foundation organized by Terry Bean, Karen Keeny, Jim Vigher, and John Grigsby

1989
Oregon enacts a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation.

1990
Oregon Children’s Services Division certifies lesbians Tracy Henson and Dee Ferguson as foster parents.

1991
Gail Shibley becomes the first open lesbian to join the state legislature.

1991
The Oregon Citizen’s Alliance (OCA) files and initiative petition for a constitutional amendment that becomes Measure 9 on the November 1992 ballot. The measure would require government and schools to recognize homosexuality as being abnormal, and the measure lumps homosexuality with pedophilia, bestiality, sadism and masochism.

1991
Several employees at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) sign up their partners for health insurance by scratching out the word “spouse” and replacing it with “domestic partner” on the insurance forms. The act leads to the Tanner versus OHSU lawsuit.

1991
The Portland City Council adopts a civil rights ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.

1991
Five lesbian couples file for marriage licenses at the Multnomah County Marriage License office. Their requests are denied. The Lesbian Community Project organized the event as part of National Coming Out Day.

1991
Barbara Roberts, long-time friend of the LGBTQ community, becomes Governor of Oregon.

1991
Several employees at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) sign up their partners for health insurance by scratching out the word "spouse" and replacing it with "domestic partner" on the insurance forms. The act leads to the Tanner versus
OHSU lawsuit.

1992
First Congregational United Church of Christ becomes the first mainstream congregation to be “Open and Affirming” to gays, lesbians and bisexuals and hires openly gay pastor Rev. Paul Davis.

1992
Multnomah County becomes the first public employer in Oregon to extend health benefits to domestic partners of county employees. The benefits become effective on July 1, 1993.

1992
The Oregon Court of Appeals strikes down 1988’s Ballot Measure 8 as being unconstitutional.

1992
Bonnie Tinker forms Love Makes a Family. The organization incorporates in 1993. It offers support to gay and lesbian parents. In the summer of 2009, Bonnie Tinker dies in a bike accident while attending a conference on the East Coast.

1992
In May, voters in Springfield, Oregon pass an OCA-sponsored ballot measure that prohibits the city from offering human rights protection to homosexuals. Voters in Corvallis reject a similar measure.

1992
Measure 9 is defeated at the polls in Nov. The OCA vows to take issue to smaller towns, which become commonly known as "Son of 9" measures.

1992
The Oregon Court of Appeals strikes down OCA’s 1988 Ballot Measure 8 as being unconstitutional

1993
The OCA sponsors anti-gay ballot measures in cities and counties throughout the state. By March of 1994, the OCA has 20 wins despite a state law that bars cities and counties from enforcing these “son-of-9” ballot measures.

1993
In June, The City of Portland extends health benefits to domestic
partners of city employees.

1994
Oregon voters defeat the OCA’s anti-gay ballot Measure 13, which would have amended the state constitution to prohibit governments from extending anti-discrimination protections to homosexuals.

1994
Thomas Lauderdale forms "Pink Martini" to help rally morale after Measure 9 divides voters.

1995
Even though it is illegal to discriminate against people who have AIDS, the Cascade AIDS Project still receives one or two phone calls a week from people who say they have been denied housing because of their HIV/AIDS status.

1995
The Lucille Hart dinner (named after pioneering female-to-male transsexual Lucille/Alan Hart, transition ca 1918), begun as a fundraiser in 1982 by Terry Bean, John Baker, Keeston Lowery, and Dana Weinstein to benefit Right to Privacy/Right to Pride, has a name change. It is now known as the Right to Pride Dinner.

1995
Urban League and MCC work to form Brother-to-Brother, a support organization for gay and questioning African-American men.

1995
Phoenix Rising Foundation organizes SMYRC (Sexual Minority Youth Recreation Center)

1996
A Multnomah County Judges rules in favor of Chris Tanner’s lawsuit against OHSU for domestic partner benefits. The ruling is appealed.

1996
Phoenix Rising receives a $9,000 grant to serve transsexual and transgender young people.

1996
Basic Rights Oregon forms.

1996
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, led by Rodney Page, vote unanimously to invite MCC membership; leads to UFMCC denomination joining World Council of Churches

1996
The Oregon Court of Appeals overturns a fine for wearing a Gay rights button in a polling place.

1996
In the Republican primary for U. S. Senate, anti-Gay leader Lon Mabon wins only 8% of the vote.

1996
The Oregonian editorializes against same-sex marriage.

1997
Eugene extends health benefits to city employee domestic partners.

1997
First Annual Shepherd's Award Dinner, which became eventually became "A Class Act" fundraiser for Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund of the Equity Foundation.

1997
Eugene extends health benefits to city employee domestic
partners.

1998
In reference to the Tanner versus OHSU lawsuit, the Oregon Court of Appeals rules that all state and local governments must offer spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners. And the ruling prohibits private employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring, firing, and pay.

1998
The Portland City Council passes a resolution that implements nondiscrimination protections on the basis of gender (transgender or transsexual) identity.

1998
Murder of Wyoming college freshman Matthew Shepherd galvanizes community; leads to The Laramie Project

1999
Scott Meisner, Eugene’s first openly gay council member, becomes president of the city council. The unanimous vote by other council members places him second in command behind the mayor.

2000
The OCA has yet another anti-gay measure on the ballot. Ironically, this is also number 9. It would have forbidden public schools from doing anything that “encourages” homosexuality. Like Measure 9 in 1992, this one also fails to pass.

2001

2002
The Oregonian announces it will publish same-sex commitment announcements.

2002
Governor John Kitzhaber issues an apology on behalf of the state for the many years the state practiced eugenic sterilization.  Many Gay men and Lesbians had been sterilized, along with others.

2004
Multnomah County briefly grants 3000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples; On March 3, 100 couples marry at Keller Auditorium; 16 at MCC. In November, Oregon voters pass Measure 36, banning same-sex marriages by State Constitutional Amendment. Multnomah and Benton Counties voted to keep same-sex marriage.

2004
Openly Gay Rives Kistler is appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court, becoming the first openly Gay or Lesbian Supreme Court Justice in the United States.  He wins his retention election over right-wing opposition with 60% of the vote.

2005
Oregon Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriages are not legal. Same-sex couples get a refund for the 60 bucks they spent on their marriage licenses.

2005
SB 1000, an anti-discrimination bill proposed by Governor Ted Kulongoski, stymied by House Speaker Karen Minnis, who refuses to bring the bill to the floor.

2006
Q-Center, Portland's first LGBTQ community center since 1978, opens, rapidly becoming the choice venue for musical, political, artistic, and community events and meetings. Effort is led by City Commissioner Sam Adams and Aaron Hall.

2006
Open Lesbian Virginia Linder is elected to the Oregon Supreme Court, becoming the first open Lesbian Supreme Court Justice in the United States.

2007
Oregon Legislature passes legislation to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations, and employment. A companion bill allows for same-sex couples to register as domestic partners

2008
Sam Adams is elected Mayor of Portland, becoming the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.

2009
The Oregonian runs a feature to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.

There's a new, improved post-1970 timeline! Follow this link to view it.

 

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