nero

Photo: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

A.D. 64
Roman emperor Nero marries male buddy Pythagoras. (Aw!) Then marries male buddy Sporos, but only after having him castrated. (Ew.)
Shakespeare

Photo: Leemage/Getty Images

1600
Shakespeare writes third play in which cross-dressing female is central to plot; confusing, given that all female parts already played by male actors.
whitman

Photo: FPG/Getty Images

1860
153 years of orientation speculation launched by Walt Whitman's sweet lines "We two boys together clinging, / One the other never leaving."
Mae West

Photo: Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

1927
Firebrand Mae West writes play—The Drag—about life in closet. Broadway premiere foiled by NYPD; visionary play still performed today.

Photo: Courtesy of Cleis Press

1950
Lesbian pulp novels start to heat up publishing landscape; saucy titles (Anything Goes; We, Too, Must Love; The Girls in 3B...) abound.
Robin Tyler

Photo: N. Von Sternberg

1978
Robin Tyler releases first comedy album by out lesbian; later quips, "If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in sick to work." Zing!
ikea

Photo: Pierre-Franck Colombier/AFP/Getty Images

1994
Pro: Ikea runs groundbreaking TV ad featuring two gay men. Con: Ikea customers of all orientations still forced to assemble own furniture.
Ellen DeGeneres

Photo: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

1997
Ellen DeGeneres reveals sexuality in Time magazine, discusses decision on—what else?—The Oprah Winfrey Show.
will and grace

Photo: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

1998
NBC sitcom Will & Grace helps mainstream TV come out of closet; bestows Sean Hayes, Megan Mullally on grateful world.
big gay ice cream

Photo: Courtesy of Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

2009
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck charms New Yorkers with the "Bea Arthur" (vanilla with dulce de leche and Nilla Wafer crumbs, for the Bea-curious).
lgbt

Photo: Courtesy of Blake M. Oakey

2010
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage creates the "It Gets Better Project" web campaign; thousands inspired to record videos of support for LGBT youth.
mckinney

Photo: Dana Edelson/NBC/ NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

2012
Saturday Night Live hires first openly lesbian cast member, Kate McKinnon (she of the spot-on Ann Romney impression). Bless her.

Next: 5 things we can't stop smiling about this month

NEXT STORY

Next Story

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD