STONEWALL SIL­VER

25 years fight­ing for LGBT rights

Pride Life Magazine - - Contents -

In 1989 a small band of men and women came to­gether, driven by the de­sire to see the re­cently passed Sec­tion 28 of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act re­pealed. What sounded like a harm­less piece of re­gional leg­is­la­tion in­spired one of the most suc­cess­ful cam­paign­ing char­i­ties.

Twenty-five years on and Stonewall has clocked up nu­mer­ous po­lit­i­cal suc­cesses. We turn the clocks back to 1988 to see how it all started – and how Stonewall has played a key role in trans­form­ing the lives of les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple.

1988

Sec­tion 28 of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act comes into force. It bans lo­cal au­thor­i­ties from “pro­mot­ing” ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, ef­fec­tively pro­hibit­ing schools from of­fer­ing support to les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual young peo­ple or men­tion­ing gay is­sues in the class­room.

1989

On 20 May 1989 Stonewall is founded.

1991

Ian McKellen, a Stonewall founder, meets Prime Min­is­ter John Ma­jor. This is the first time any sit­ting Prime Min­is­ter meets a gay equal­ity cam­paigner.

1993

Stonewall starts a ma­jor cam­paign for an equal age of con­sent. In 1993 it is il­le­gal for men un­der 21 to have sex with other men. This leads to a re­duc­tion in the age of con­sent to 18, fol­low­ing a House of Com­mons vote.

1997

Stephen Twigg is the first openly gay MP to be elected, with An­gela Ea­gle be­com­ing Bri­tain’s first MP to come out vol­un­tar­ily as a les­bian. Twelve months later, Wa­heed Alli be­came the first openly gay mem­ber of the House of Lords.

2000

The ban on gay peo­ple serv­ing in the armed forces is lifted. This fol­lows a suc­cess­ful le­gal chal­lenge at the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights launched by for­mer forces per­son­nel and Stonewall.

2001

The age of con­sent is equalised, low­er­ing the age of con­sent to 16 for gay and bi­sex­ual men and for the first time cov­er­ing les­bians and bi­sex­ual women.

Stonewall es­tab­lishes the Di­ver­sity Cham­pi­ons pro­gramme, to help em­ploy­ers make their work­places more gay-friendly, and Stonewall Scot­land is founded.

2003

Les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual staff in work­places across the coun­try are pro­tected from dis­crim­i­na­tion and ha­rass­ment at work after the in­tro­duc­tion of leg­is­la­tion lob­bied for by Stonewall. Be­fore this you could lose your job for be­ing gay.

Sec­tion 28 is fi­nally re­pealed, after years of lob­by­ing by Stonewall, and Stonewall Cymru is founded - giv­ing the char­ity a voice in Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales.

2005

The first Civil Part­ner­ships take place in De­cem­ber, after the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion passed in 2004. Civil Part­ner­ships prove far more popular than ini­tial gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates. The Adop­tion and Chil­dren Act 2002 also comes into force, grant­ing same-sex cou­ples equal adop­tion rights, and Stonewall’s Ed­u­ca­tion for All pro­gramme, which tack­les anti-gay bul­ly­ing in schools, starts.

2007

Stonewall’s iconic “Some Peo­ple Are Gay. Get Over It!” cam­paign starts. The cam­paign – de­signed to tackle anti-gay bul­ly­ing in schools, is sup­ported by high pro­file celebri­ties.

Stonewall’s goods and ser­vices pro­tec­tions be­come law. Th­ese make it il­le­gal for ho­tels to turn away gay cou­ples, or for pub­lic ser­vices to dis­crim­i­nate against gay peo­ple.

2008

New leg­is­la­tion gives les­bian par­ents the right to have both their names on the birth cer­tifi­cate of their child as the Hu­man Fer­til­i­sa­tion & Em­bry­ol­ogy Act, which Stonewall lob­bied for, comes into force.

2009

Stonewall pub­lishes the first large scale study of les­bians’ and bi­sex­ual women’s health. The study re­veals huge health in­equal­i­ties faced by les­bians and bi­sex­ual women and paves the way for sim­i­lar re­search for gay and bi­sex­ual men in 2011. In Scot­land, the law changes to give same-sex cou­ples equal­ity in adop­tion and fos­ter­ing.

2010

Stonewall pro­duces FIT, a film to help teach­ers tackle anti-gay bul­ly­ing in sec­ondary schools, and a new of­fence, cham­pi­oned by Stonewall, of in­cite­ment to ho­mo­pho­bic ha­tred comes into force, mak­ing it il­le­gal for peo­ple to stir up ha­tred against les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple.

2011

Stonewall amends its char­i­ta­ble ob­jec­tives to cam­paign in­ter­na­tion­ally.

2013

A huge cam­paign by Stonewall and gay rights ac­tivists sees equal mar­riage leg­is­la­tion suc­cess­fully pass through Par­lia­ment. The first same-sex mar­riages take place in Eng­land and Wales in March 2014. In Scot­land equal mar­riage leg­is­la­tion is passed in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

IN THE FU­TURE…

While much has been achieved, there’s still much to do. While leg­is­la­tion now gives les­bian, gay and bi­sex­ual peo­ple full equal­ity, so­cial equal­ity is still some way off.

STONEWALL FOUNDER IAN MCKELLEN LEAV­ING DOWN­ING STREET IN 1991

OUT GAY MPS STEPHEN TWIGG AND AN­GELA EA­GLE

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: STONEWALL’S ANTI- GAY BUL­LY­ING FILM; LORD WA­HEED ALLI ( PIC­TURE THEO GRZEGORCZYK); THE ARMY AT PRIDE; STONEWALL AT PRIDE; STONEWALL’S ICONIC CAM­PAIGN; THE NAVY AND THE RAF AT PRIDE

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