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Timeline: 1950s


11 November 1950

  • The first meeting of the Mattachine Society is held (Los Angeles, United States of America). The Mattachine Society is one of the earliest homophile organisations in the USA. Links: Wikipedia, LAGANZ


  • Paul De Rungs is court martialed after being charged with buggery (New Zealand). De Rungs, a 16-year old army cadet, had made a formal complaint about being raped. He was subsequently charged himself. Link: LAGANZ

15 January 1952

  • Maata Mahupuku dies (Palmerston North). Mahupuku is buried in the private burial ground of the Mahupuku family at Kehemane beyond Martinborough. Links: Te Ara,

4 May 1952

  • Politician Chris Carter is born (Auckland). Carter would later become the first openly gay Member of Parliament in New Zealand. Links: Wikipedia, Parliament

7 October 1952

  • Politician and academic Marilyn Waring is born (New Zealand). Link: Wikipedia

10 March 1953

22 April 1953

  • Charles Farthing is born (Christchurch). Farthing would later become a pioneering doctor specialising in the early recognition and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Links: New Zealand Medical Journal, Wikipedia


3 June 1954

7 June 1954

  • Computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing dies (United Kingdom). An inquest determined Turing had committed suicide. However Turing's mother believed that the cyanide poisoning was accidental, resulting from her son's careless storage of laboratory chemicals

22 June 1954

28 August 1954

  • Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme are convicted of murdering Pauline's mother Honora Rieper (Wellington). Parker and Hulme were given indeterminate sentences in different prisons and released after five years. Links: Te Ara, Wikipedia, Guardian,

15 September 1954

  • A committee chaired by Lord Wolfenden begins looking into homosexual offences and prostitution (United Kingdom). The resulting report is published in 1957. Link: Wikipedia

16 November 1954

  • AIDS activist and educator Bruce Burnett is born (Auckland). Link:


  • Singer-songwriter Mahinarangi Tocker is born (Taumarunui). Link: Wikipedia

5 April 1955

  • Politician Maryan Street is born (New Plymouth). Street became New Zealand's first openly out lesbian elected to Parliament in 2005. Link: Wikipedia

October 1955

  • The Daughters of Bilitis is formed (San Francisco, United States of America). The Daughters of Bilitis is the first known lesbian rights organisation in the USA. Link: Wikipedia

5 October 1955

9 October 1955

  • Singer Shona Laing is born (New Zealand). Laing first came to prominence in 1972 as a 17-year-old schoolgirl, coming runner-up in the television talent show New Faces with her song 1905. Laing's biggest hit songs included (Glad I'm) Not a Kennedy and Soviet Snow. Link: Wikipedia


  • Choreographer and dancer Douglas Wright is born (Auckland). Link: Wikipedia

28 April 1956

  • Daniel Fielding is born (New Zealand). Fielding would later help establish the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt in December 1988. Link: Tributes Online

4 September 1957

  • The Wolfenden report is published (United Kingdom). One of the recommendations in the report was that "homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence.". Link: Wikipedia

November 1957

  • Politician Georgina Beyer is born (Wellington). Beyer would later become the world's first openly transsexual Mayor and Member of Parliament. Links:, Wikipedia

21 November 1957

  • Historian Gavin McLean is born (Otago region)

4 August 1958

  • Politician Tim Barnett is born (Warwickshire, United Kingdom). While in Parliament Barnett introduced the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 and was also heavily involved in the Civil Union Act 2004. Links:, Wikipedia, Parliament


  • The Attorney-General H.G.R. Mason tries unsuccessfully to have the penalties for homosexual acts reduced (New Zealand). Links: Queer History NZ, Te Ara