1980

Rhode Island high school student Aaron Fricke makes national news by taking a gay date to his high school prom.

Dove and wheat chosen as logo of Dignity/Boston.

Members of Dignity/Boston participate in a lay ministry training program at the Paulist Center.

1981

Dignity/Boston participates in the Boston Area Coalition for Cuban Aid and Resettlement to help resettle Cuban Refugees in the Mariel Boat Lift.

Dignity/USA publishes A Disturbed Peace — Selected Writings of an Irish Catholic Homosexual by Dignity/Boston member Brian McNaught.

Dignity/Boston's first Liturgy in Celebration of Women held.

The first reports of a "gay cancer," later identified as AIDS, begin to surface in major cities across the United States.

1982

Two mainstream films, Making Love and Personal Best, tackle the issue of homosexuality.

The first international Gay Games are held in San Francisco.

Dignity/Boston member and Mayor's Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community Brian McNaught steps to the podium at Pride and announces the Mayor's Executive Order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and delivery of services by the City of Boston.

Dignity/Boston founds the Watchline, a hotline to monitor antigay violence in Boston.

1983

January 31, 1983: Dignity/Boston liturgy is interrupted by a bomb threat.

Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon star in the lesbian-themed film The Hunger.

Massachusetts Congressman Gary Studds becomes the first politician elected to national office to come out.

1984

Lunenberg, Massachusetts, town clerk Robert Ebersole comes out, becoming the country's first openly gay Republican elected official.

Friday Night Supper Program co-founded by Dignity/Boston and the Arlington Street Church.

The Boston Gay and Lesbian Political Alliance awards the Maximilian Kolbe Community Service Award to Dignity/Boston for its spiritual, political, and humanitarian service to Boston's GLBT community.

1985

February 22, 1985: Dignity/Boston offices at Arlington Street Church burned in a fire of suspicious origin.

The TV movie An Early Frost tackles the subject of AIDS.

Rock Hudson becomes the first major celebrity to publicly acknowledge that he has AIDS. He dies of AIDS-related complications shortly thereafter.

1986

In Bowers v. Hardwick, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that sodomy laws are constitutional and that states have the right to declare gay sex illegal.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declares that homosexuals are "intrinsically disordered" and that homosexual relations are morally wrong. Ratzinger also orders bishops "to deny use of Church property to organizations that do not accept strictures against homosexual relationships."

Catholics active in AIDS ministries angrily denounce Ratzinger's "Halloween Letter."

Dignity/Boston responds with a prayerful candlelight service outside the Cardinal's residence.

1987

The second GLBT March on Washington.

The AIDS memorial quilt is unveiled.

U.S. Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) becomes the first person elected to national office to voluntarily come out.

Dignity/USA declares that gay and lesbian people can express their sexuality physically "in a unitive manner that is loving, life-giving, and life-affirming."

Massachusetts bishops urge defeat of a gay-rights bill, stating that the bill is "unnecessary" and "poses threats to the good of society." 

The first Catholic-sponsored public service announcement in the nation to address the AIDS epidemic is filmed in Boston.

The Church refuses Dignity/USA's request to enter into dialogue with the gay community. Catholic dioceses begin to expel Dignity chapters from church properties.

The Boston Globe publishes "Gay Catholics Find Sanctuary Outside Fold," a front-page article on Dignity/Boston and its mission.

1988

The U.S. government bans discrimination against people with AIDS. World AIDS Day is observed for the first time.

Dignity/Boston services move from the basement of Arlington Street Church to St. John the Evangelist on September 18.

1989

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis signs into law the country's second statewide gay rights law.

The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. cancels a scheduled exhibit of photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe.

Dignity/Boston offices move from 355 Boylston Street to 95 Berkeley Street.

Dignity/Boston PO Box 170428, Boston, MA 02117 | Tel: 617.421.1915 Email: info@dignityboston.org
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