Seven moments that matter in LGBT+ History

This month is LGBT+ History Month and it’s an important time to reflect on the past.

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This month is LGBT+ History Month. We're reflecting on moments that mattered to the LGBT+ Community. This isn't a complete list, but are some of the important milestones.

The Stonewall Riots

In 1969 Marsha P. Johnson, a trans-right activist and African-American was a key figure in the events that followed the police raid on the Village gay bar the Stonewall Inn on 28 June 1969 in America. This event set off the first Gay Pride in 1970 and Johnson alongside friend Sylvia Rivera started STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). Gay liberation and equal rights might not be where they are today without these activists.

The World Health Organisation declassifies same-sex attraction as a mental Illness

If you ask someone from the LGBT+ community who is over thirty they’ll remember that people used to see same-sex attraction as a mental illness that needed to be cured. It wasn’t until 1992 when the World Health Organisation declassified same-sex attraction as a mental illness.

London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

It’s 1974 and London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard is formed, it’s now called Switchboard LGBT+ helpline. Support services like this have been lifelines after the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality at the end of the 60s. It was a leading source of information on HIV/AIDS in the 80s and supported the community in the aftermath of the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in 1999.

Section 28 was taken off the statute books

In 2003 Section 28 was repealed! But what is Section 28?

Section 28 was part of the local Government Act 1988. It meant that no local authority could intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.

Why did it matter?

For one, it meant that if a student in school was facing homophobic bullying, a teacher could not in law signpost the student to an LGBT+ support service as it could be seen as promoting homosexuality. It also meant there could be no LGBT+ sex education.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Gender Recognition Act of 2004 came into effect on April 4 2005, this allowed for people who have gender dysphoria to change their legal gender. Gender dysphoria is a term to explain how an individual can feel as though their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth. Not all people who are Transgender have gender dysphoria, but for some, this was a huge win in allowing them to change their legal gender.

UK Black Pride launches

In 2005 Lady Phyll co-founded the largest Black gay pride event in London and it has taken place annually ever since. It’s often been flagged that Pride events lack diversity and this event gave promenance to the Black LGBT+ community.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Northern Ireland

On 13 January 2020 same sex-marriage became legal in Northern Ireland with the first same-sex marriage taking place in the February. Until this point in time, same-sex couples could only have civil partnerships when that was passed in 2005 for the United Kingdom. This means that same-sex marriages are now legal across the United Kingdom. The Marriages (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 only approved of same-sex marriages in England and Wales, Scotland recognised same-sex marriage in 2014.

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