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Timeline of Pride

From the 1969 Stonewall Riots to the present day, what has happened in LGBTQ+ history that has made today what it is?

Leah Heath

Wellbeing Advisor

June 1, 2022

June is LGBTQ+ Pride month, and in aid of this, at WorkLife by OpenMoney we would like to celebrate by educating people in our network about the LGBTQ+ community, their achievements and what there is still left to do in terms of activism.

For the first blog of this month, we’d like to highlight some key moments in the history of LGBTQ+ history.

1969 - 1999

While the LGBT community has existed for as long as humanity has itself, a good place to begin is the 1969 Stonewall riots in America. If you don’t know, these were demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. This event triggered an LGBT liberation movement in America which then acted as a catalyst in other countries.

It was partly due to the fact that in 1972 the first UK Pride event was held in London, and shortly after in 1975, The Liberal Party became the first UK political party to support LGBT rights.

In the 1970s, there was a large amount of discrimination in workplaces of the LGBT community, so in 1977 the first gay and lesbian Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference took place to discuss workplace rights. This was a huge step towards LGBT equality in the workplace, which we still strive for today!

In the 1980s, there were some legislative changes that were in favour of homosexual men. In 1980 homosexuality was no longer illegal between two men in Scotland, and in 1982 The Homosexual Offences Order decriminalised sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ in Northern Ireland. Both over a decade after it was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967.

However, the advancement of the LGBT+ agenda was derailed somewhat in 1988, when Margaret Thatcher introduced Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. The Act stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. In response to this, Stonewall UK, an organisation committed to the advancements of LGBTQ+ rights, was founded.

Shortly after in 1990, the first Manchester Pride event was held, and in 1992 the World Health Organisation declassified same-sex attraction as a mental illness.

Tragically, in 1999, one of Soho’s oldest LGBT bars in London, Admiral Duncan was bombed. The attack killed 3 and wounded around 70 people. Following the attack, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner delivered a speech which marked a turning point for the relationship between the Metropolitan Police and the LGBT community.

2000 - present

It wasn’t until 2000 that the ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces was lifted, and in 2002 a law was changed to allow gay people (and also unmarried couples) to adopt children.

As this suggests, in this period we see a shift in legislation and cultural attitudes to the LGBTQ+ community. In 2003, 15 years after it was introduced, Section 28 was repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, following Scotland who repealed it three years earlier. This is a significant event in LGBTQ+ Pride as Section 28 had reinforced feelings of shame and abnormality since its instatement, its abolition offered local authorities, for example schools and social services, to be able to provide education on LGBTQ+ lifestyles and relationships.

It was in 2004 that The Civil Partnership Act gave same sex couples the same rights as married opposite sex couples. It was now the first time that same sex couples were able to obtain a legally recognised way of binding their relationship.

In the same year, The Gender Recognition Act gave trans people full legal recognition in their gender, which was huge for attitudes towards the trans community. This also helped the trans community feel comfortable and respected in their identities, which up until this point was difficult.

Following this, The Equality Act 2010 states that no service provider or employer may discriminate against anyone because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender-fluid or non-binary. This Act set a standard for how the LGBTQ+ community should be treated within society. It helped communicate to people outside the community that they were expected to treat anyone who defined themselves as LGBTQ+ with respect and decency by law, if not by courtesy and acceptance. It worked towards safeguarding their lives as a normal and legitimate section of society.

In 2013 The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed. This legalised same sex marriages, which differ slightly from Civil Partnerships. Until then it had been banned for civil partnership ceremonies to include religious readings, music or symbols and forbidden for them to take place in religious venues, regardless of the views of the building's owners, amongst other details.

A big movement towards embracing these changes was a posthumous pardon in 2017 by the British Government to all the gay and bi men who were convicted in the last century under sexual offences laws.

While the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights has come a long way since the Stonewall Riots, there is still work to do to gain true equality and acceptance in society. To eradicate all discrimination and hate crime, we need to continue educating ourselves. At WorkLife by OpenMoney, we are doing our best to do just that, and using this opportunity to become a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

WorkLife is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion amongst our people, and eliminating unlawful discrimination. An important part of our DNA is ensuring that everyone is included.