1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.
1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.
1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.
May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.
1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.
Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.
June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.
1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.
1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.
2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state the following year.
June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.
June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.