UK LGBTQ+ History Timeline

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the radio silence on here, I have literally no excuse apart from laziness and the fact that I have been spending a lot of time with my pals!

It was pride month last month which I celebrated by writing a newsletter for my school as I had nothing else do to and wanted to do some more writing before I started journalism at uni in September.

I wrote a section about LGBTQ+ history in the UK but it was drastically cut down as it needed to be easy to read so I thought I would share the timeline here to educate more people about queer history!

There has been so much progress in giving LGBTQ+ rights and intergration into society as it is becoming normalised to be gay or any part of the queer community. However even though there has been so much progress there is still a long way to go for the fight for equality, for example, it is still illegal to be gay in 66 countries.  However, the UK has come very far in the fight for equality,  which should be celebrated.

LGBTQ+ History in the UK

  • 1885 – The Criminal Law Amendment made ‘gross indecency illegal in the UK. This law was used to convicted males where acts of crime could not be proven. It was the law, which convicted Oscar Wilde to 2 years hard labour in 1895 and Alan Turning in 1952 to chemical castration with oestrogen injections due to their relations with other men.
  • 1910 – the Women’s suffrage movement brings female same sex desires into the eyes of the public and it was broadly assumed that if you were a suffragette you were a lesbian.
  • 1914 to 1918 – during the first World War gay relationships between soldiers were common as it acted as a form of escapism from the war
  • 1939 to 1945 – during World War II homophobia was more prominent but gay relations between soldiers were still common, this was shown through war poetry which came out at the time
  • 1940’s – at the end of the 1940’s the term transsexual was coined. Trans people obviously existed before this but there was not the terminology to describe it
  • 1967 – The Sexual Offences Act UK decriminalised sex between two men “in private” and over the age of 21, but this was just in England and Wales and didn’t include the armed forces or navy.
  • 1969 – the Stonewall riots took place in New York and acted as a catalyst for LGBTQ+ movements in the UK and the rest of the world
  • 1972 – the first pride march happened in London which had 2,000 participants
  • 1980’s – the HIV/ AIDS crisis swept the nation
  • 1980 – sex between two men over the age of 21 and “in private” was decriminalised in Scotland and the first black gay and lesbian group was formed
  • 1982 – sex between two men over the age of 21 and “in private” was decriminalised in Northern Ireland
  • 1983 – gay men are asked to not donate blood to UK blood banks among the AIDS/ HIV crisis
  • 1984 – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign is launched in of support of workers in the miners’ strikes in 1984 and 1985
  • 1988 – Prime Minister Margret Thatcher introduces section 28 which bans the intention of promoting homosexuality and prevents schools teaching about same sex relationships
  • 1990 – the first pride event is held in Manchester and Northern Ireland
  • 1992 – The World Health Organisation removes same sex attraction as a mental disorder
  • 1994 – the age of consent is lowered to the age of 18 for same sex male couple but an age of consent for same sex female couples is not set
  • 2000 – the UK government lifts a ban on queer people serving in the armed forces and Scotland abolishes section 28
  • 2002 – age of consent equalised to 16, same sex couples given equal rights to adopt and the Goodwin vs UK trial ruled that the UK government should accommodate the needs of the trans community by issuing new birth certificates and permitting marriage
  • 2003 – section 28 is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • 2004 – Civil Partnership Act allows civil partnerships for same sex couples and the Gender Recognition Act allows trans people to get gender recognition certificates for people who are over the age of 18
  • 2008 – The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act allows same sex couple to be the legal parents of children conceived through donated sex cells
  • 2010 – The Equality Act includes gender reassignment, sex and sexual orientation as protected characteristics from discrimination
  • 2013 – Brighton holds the first Trans pride
  • 2013/14 – full marriage equality in England and Wales
  • 2014 – full marriage equality in Scotland
  • 2015 – full marriage equality in Ireland, this is done so through a referendum with an over whelming majority for marriage equality
  • 2016 – Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida which united the LGBTQ+ community more than ever due to vigils being held all over the world in remembrance for the 49 people tragically killed
  • 2020 – full marriage equality in Northern Ireland

I hope you feel more educated about queer history as I think that it is massivley overlooked in schools and often forgotten about as it is sometimes seen as a taboo subject.

What did you do to celebrate pride?


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