Event Timeline: Before 1950

1846: Sodomy, or crime against nature, formally outlawed in Michigan.

1865: Sarah Emma Edmonds publishes Nurse and Spy in the Union Army (Hartford, Ct.: W. S. Williams and Company, 1865).

1882: Oscar Wilde lectures at the Detroit Music Hall.

1893: Dr. Henry Hulst of Michigan advocates hypnosis as an alternative to castration for treating homosexuals.

1903: Michigan outlaws gross indecency between males.

1918: Swedish female impersonator Lind performs at the Majestic Theatre in Kalamazoo.

1924: Sex perversion makes headlines in murder trial of former University of Michigan students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold.

1927: Visiting a buffet flat in Detroit, blues singer Bessie Smith watches two men perform same-sex lovemaking.

1928: Unpublished novel left at death of University of Michigan grad Avery Hopwood leaves hints of playwright's homosexuality.

1929: A Detroit physician calls Radclyffe Hall's lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness "completely faithful."

1934: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas visit Ann Arbor.

1937: Police chief orders ban on female impersonator acts at Detroit nite clubs.

1937: Ruth Ellis moves to Detroit and begins hosting lesbian and gay house parties.

1939: Michigan enacts criminal sexual psychopath law.

1939: Michigan outlaws gross indecency between females.

1939: Sweetheart Bar, Detroit's earliest known lesbian bar, opens on Third Avenue.

1940: Arrested for an alleged homosexual offense, Bert Chapman begins 31 years in state mental hospitals.

1942: Club Frontenac in Detroit postpones female impersonator show due to arrest of stars on morals charges.

1942: Sam "Bookie" Stewart opens the Silver Dollar on Farmer Street in Detroit.

1945: Billie Hill is disowned by her mother after coming out as lesbian at age 20.

1946: Director of Kent County veteran's center urges Navy to liberalize its strict stance on homosexuality.

1946: Man leaps to his death from Detroit Police headquarters after being arrested during raid at the Ten Eleven Bar.

1947: Gay comedic entertainer Bramwell "ChiChi" Franklin begins career at Uncle Tom's Plantation in Detroit.

1947: Ninth-grader Barbara Grier takes streetcar to Detroit Public Library to seek information on homosexuality.

1948: New state regulation prohibits bars from becoming rendezvous or hang-outs for homosexuals.

1949: Longtime lesbian bar the Palais opens on Beaubien in Detroit.

1949: The Flame Bar opens on Washington in Ann Arbor.


Images of Gay Men