October 4, 2002—Transgender teen Gwen Araujo is murdered by four men in Newark, CA for not disclosing she was transgender; she died at age 17.
October 5, 2004—A Louisiana judge throws out an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage
October 6, 2014 – The United States Supreme Court denies review in five different marriage cases, allowing lower court rulings to stand, and therefore allowing same-sex couples to marry in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin. The decision opens the door for the right to marry in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
October 6-7, 1998—Matthew Shepard is tied to a fence and beaten near Laramie, Wyoming. He is eventually found by a cyclist.
October 9, 1998 – Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney from Laramie, Wyoming, make their first court appearance after being arrested for the attempted murder of Shepard. Eventually, they each receive two life sentences for killing Shepard.
October 11, 1987—The AIDS Quilt (concept by Cleve Jones, an LGBT activist in San Francisco) was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., during the National March on Washington for LGBT Rights. It covered a space larger than a football field and included 1,920 panels.
October 11, 1988—The first National Coming Out Day is observed.
October 12, 1998—Matthew Shepard died from severe head injuries at age 21.
October 14, 1979—The first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, a large political rally, took place in Washington, D.C; it drew between 75,000 and 125,000. Lesbian activist/comic/producer, Robin Tyler, emceed the main stage at the march. Subsequent marches took place in 1987, 1993, 2000, and 2009.
October 18, 2012—The 2nd US circuit Court of Appeals rules that that the defense of marriage act violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause, deciding in favor of widow Edith Windsor.
October 19, 2022 – The Social Security Administration announces that people can now choose their sex marker in their Social Security records.
October 20, 2010—The first observance of Spirit Day took place; it started by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillian, created in response of bullying-related issues of gay students. Supporters wear purple. The tradition of the third Thursday of October was established in 2013.
October 21, 2013—Same-sex marriage becomes legal in New Jersey by court decision.
October 25, 2006 – The New Jersey Supreme Court rules that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples.
October 27, 2021 – The State Department announces that the US has issued the first US passport with an X gender marker. “As the Secretary announced in June, the Department is moving towards adding an X gender marker for non-binary, intersex, and gender non-conforming persons applying for a U.S. passport or CRBA,” State spokesperson Ned Price says in a statement.
October 28, 2009 – Obama signs the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.
October 31, 1969—Time Magazine run’s cover story entitled, “The homosexual: Newly Visible, Newly Understood.”
October 1956—The first monthly nationally distributed lesbian publication, The Ladder, was published by The Daughters of Bilitis with 20 pages and 175 copies.
October 1969—Nuestro Mundo forms as first queer organization in Argentina.
October 1974—Lesbian Connection begins publication by the Ambitious Amazons in Michigan.
Sources: AIDS Memorial, CNN, HRC, US Dept. of State, History Calendar Project, Library of Congress, Gay and Lesbian Issues.