As this year comes to a close, we look ahead to 2024 and the major LGBTQ+ anniversaries that will take place in the next 12 months.
These include dates marking world-changing firsts, the launch of leading LGBTQ+ charities, key political moments and the death of an LGBTQ+ trailblazer.
29 March: Same-sex marriages officially started in England and Wales on this date in 2014, under the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.
16-23 September: The first Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as Bi Week, took place in 2014 and is now held every year to celebrate bisexual identities, as well as raising awareness about the stigma bi people continue to face.
16 December: On this date 10 years ago, Scotland caught up with England and Wales, legalising same-sex marriage.
17 May: On this date in 2004, the first legal same-sex marriages in the United States took place in Massachusetts. Marcia Hams and Susan Shepherd were the first gay couple to be given a legal marriage licence in the state, commenting on the 10th anniversary of the day in 2014 that it was “the beginning of that feeling that we could talk naturally about our relationship as heterosexual couples do and really have that mean something to the people that we were talking to”.
April: DIVA, the world’s leading magazine for queer women and non-binary people, published its first edition during this month in 1994. It remains an agenda-setting publication which founded Lesbian Visibility Week and has featured cover stars including actors Ellen DeGeneres, Samira Wiley and Sarah Paulson.
May: The first issue of gay men’s magazine Attitude hit the shelves in this month in 1994. Since then, the magazine has featured a host of famous faces on its cover, including Boy George, Madonna, Tony Blair and even Prince William – the first British royal to front a gay publication.
April: In 1984, gay media brand Gay Times was established when its first edition was published, alongside its parent title HIM. During its 40-year history stars such as singer Arlo Parks, Cabaret star Liza Minnelli and Graham Norton have graced the cover.
25 June: On this date in 1984, famed French philosopher Michel Foucault died of an Aids-related illness in Paris. His ideas about knowledge and power, sexuality and subjectivity deeply influenced a number of fields and are still cited today.
November: “Good afternoon, I’m Chris Smith. I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I’m gay.” Now Baron Smith of Finsbury, speaking at a rally in Rugby, Warwickshire, after the Tory town council had U-turned on a policy which outlawed employment discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, he became the first openly gay male British member of parliament. He went on to be the first gay Cabinet minister in political history – a post now called culture secretary – and, shortly before standing down at the 2005 general election, the first MP to reveal he was HIV-positive.
4 March: In 1974, LGBT+ Switchboard opened its lines to the queer community for the first time. During the course of its 50 years, the charity has supported people with coming out, finding gay bars, seeking health support, how to report hate crimes and everything and anything in between.
2 April: Kathy Kozachenko made history by becoming the first openly gay person to successfully run for office when she was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in Michigan. Just 21 at the time, she ran on Human Rights Party ticket, winning her seat by 52 votes. Speaking to NBC News in 2020, she said not a “lot of people know about me” because they often attribute the title of first out elected official to Harvey Milk.
England, London, Gay Pride Parade, Strand, 1979, June 30, parade, banners, Metropolitan Police escort, Police sergeant, London Gay Switchboard, Gay Teachers Group. (Photo by: Bob Battersby/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
24 December: In 1924, the state of Illinois granted the charter for a non-profit organisation called the Society for Human Rights, making it the first gay rights organisation in the United States. A few months after its foundation, the group folded after its members were arrested. Despite the short lifespan, it was a precursor to the gay rights movement to come.