LGBT+ History Month

Why do we celebrate LGBT+ History Month?

LGBT+ history month celebrates the achievements and progress of LGBTQIA+ people, whose stories have historically been underrepresented in mainstream accounts of history. At Your SU, we will be hosting a series of events to bringing together members of the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. Find out what's on below!

Community groups and support for LGBTQIA+ Students:

LGBTQ+ History through the Decades

A snapshot of some of the key milestones throughout LGBTQ+ History that has enabled us to continue campaigning and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Stonewall.org has a full timeline going into further detail.

  • 1951: Roberta Cowell – First known British Trans woman to undergo reassignment surgery and have her birth certificate changed
  • 1954: The Wolfenden Committee is formed after successions of well-known men are convicted of ‘indecency’, calling into question the legitimacy of the law.
  • 1958: The Homosexual Law Reform Society is founded to campaign for the legalisation of same-sex relationships in the UK

  • 1963: The Minorities Research Group becomes the UK’s first lesbian social and political organisation and goes on to publish a monthly journal – Arena Three.
  • 1964: The North Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee (NWHLRC) is founded to promote legal and social equality for lesbians, gay men and bi people.
  • 1966: Trans support group, The Beaumont Society, is founded to provide information and education to the general public, the medical and legal professions on ‘transvestism’ and to encourage research aimed at fuller understanding.
  • 1967: The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises sex between two men over 21 and ‘in private’. It did not extend to the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces, or Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, where sex between two men remained illegal.
  • 1969: North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee becomes a UK-wide organisation and is renamed as the Committee for Homosexual Equality (CHE). The Committee attracts support from leading figures in the medical profession, the arts and the church.
  • 1969: The Stonewall riots in America - a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, Manhattan. This key event triggers the modern LGBT liberation movement in the US and beyond.

  • 1970: London Gay Liberation Front (GLF) is established in the UK. It is based on a parallel movement in the US based on revolutionary politics.
  • 1972: The first Pride is held in London, attracting approximately 2,000 participants.
  • 1972: Gay News, Britain’s first gay newspaper is founded.
  • 1973: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality holds the first British gay rights conference in Morecambe, Lancashire.
  • 1974: London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, a London-based information and support helpline, is established
  • 1974: Jan Morris, Welsh historian, author and travel writer, releases Conundrum, a personal account of her transition.
  • 1975: The Liberal Party (now the Liberal Democrats) became the first UK political party to support LGBT rights, passing a motion at conference to support ‘full equality for homosexuals’, including equalising the age of consent
  • 1976: The Gay Christian Movement is founded at a public meeting at the Sir John Cass School in the City of London (the organisation's name later changed to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and then One Body One Faith in 2017).
  • 1979: Founding of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, now the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

  • 1980: Sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ is decriminalised in Scotland.
  • 1980: The first Black Gay and Lesbian Group is formed in the UK.
  • 1981: A landmark court case finds that Northern Ireland’s criminalisation of same-sex acts violates the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • 1982: The Homosexual Offences Order decriminalises sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ in Northern Ireland.
  • 1982: Terry Higgins dies of AIDS in St. Thomas’ Hospital, his partner Rupert Whittaker, Martyn Butler and friends set up the Terry Higgins Trust (which became the Terrence Higgins trust), the UK’s first AIDS charity.
  • 1983: The UK’s first national lesbian and gay TV show, One in Five, is shown on Channel 4.
  • 1984: Chris Smith, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, speaks openly about his sexual orientation and becomes the first openly gay MP, 10 years after Maureen Colquhoun came out as the first lesbian MP.
  • 1984: Edinburgh Bisexual Group, the first bi group in Scotland, is founded. In addition to group meetings, the group also sets up the first bi-specific helpline in the UK.
  • 1988: UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, introduces Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. The Act states 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".
  • 1988: Sir Ian McKellen comes out on the UK’s BBC Radio in response to the government’s proposed Section 28 in the British Parliament.
  • 1988: Denmark becomes the first country in the world to give legal recognition to same-sex partnerships.
  • 1989: Stonewall UK is formed in response to Section 28 and other barriers to equality. Founding members include Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman.

  • 1990: Lesbian and gay police officers established the UK’s Lesbian and Gay Police Association.
  • 1990: The first Pride event is held in the UK city of Manchester.
  • 1990: Northern Ireland holds their first Pride parade.
  • 1991: Sir Ian McKellen meets UK Prime Minister John Major - the first time any sitting Prime Minister has met with LGBT activists.
  • 1992: World Health Organisation declassifies same-sex attraction as a mental illness.
  • 1992: Following a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat Federal Conference in 1991, Press For Change, a key lobbying and legal support organisation for trans people in the UK, is established.
  • 1994: The UK House of Commons moves to equalise the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to 16. The vote is defeated and the age of consent is instead lowered to 18. An age of consent for same-sex relations between women is not set.
  • 1994: The UK Crown Dependency of Isle of Man fully decriminalises homosexuality.
  • 1996: The landmark case - P vs S and Cornwall County Council - finds that an employee who was about to undergo gender reassignment was wrongfully dismissed. It was the first piece of case law, anywhere in the world, which prevented discrimination in employment or vocational education because someone is trans.
  • 1997: UK Government recognises same-sex partners for immigration purposes.
  • 1998: Waheed Alli becomes the first openly gay member of the House of Lords and one of a few openly gay Muslims.

  • 2000: Legislation is introduced to repeal Section 28 in England and Wales. The bill is defeated. Scotland abolishes Section 28. It remains in place in England and Wales.
  • 2001: The age of consent is lowered to 16 (having been lowered from 21 to 18 in 1994), making it the same as the age of consent for straight people.
  • 2002: Equal rights are granted to same-sex couples applying for adoption.
  • 2002: In the Goodwin v the United Kingdom case, judges ruled that the UK Government should accommodate the needs of trans people by issuing new birth certificates and permitting marriage to someone of the opposite gender.
  • 2003: Section 28 is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, lifting the ban on local authorities from ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality’.
  • 2003: Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations becomes law in the UK, making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gay and bi people in the workplace.
  • 2004: The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is passed, granting civil partnership in the United Kingdom. The Act gives same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married straight couples in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • 2004: The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is passed giving trans people full legal recognition in their appropriate gender. The Act allows trans people to acquire a new birth certificate, although gender options are still limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’.
  • 2005: Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 empowers UK courts to impose tougher sentences for offences aggravated or motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, or their presumed sexual orientation.
  • 2005: The Adoption and Children Act 2002 comes into force allowing unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for joint adoption.
  • 2007: The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 outlawed the discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education and public functions on the grounds of sexual orientation.
  • 2008: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 recognises same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos.
  • 2008: Gendered Intelligence (GI) is founded in the UK to increase the understanding of gender diversity.
  • 2009: David Cameron apologises on behalf of the Conservative party for the introduction of Section 28.

  • 2010: The Equality Act 2010 officially adds gender reassignment as a protected characteristic.
  • 2010: Stonewall secures an amendment to the Equality Act 2010 to remove the ban on religious groups from holding civil partnerships on their premises.
  • 2010: 10 years after the ban on lesbian, gay and bi people in the military is lifted, all armed forces are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme.
  • 2010: A new offence of ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’ comes into force in the UK.
  • 2012: Explicit reference to homophobic bullying in schools is introduced into Ofsted’s inspection framework in the UK.
  • 2013: Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed in England and Wales.
  • 2013: Alan Turing is given a posthumous royal pardon for his conviction of ‘gross indecency’ which resulted in his being chemically castrated and later committing suicide.
  • 2014: The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 officially comes into force, with the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales taking place on 29 March 2014.
  • 2014: Scottish Government passes legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in Scotland.
  • 2017: The Government issues a posthumous pardon to all gay and bi men who were convicted under pernicious sexual offences laws in the last century which enabled police to criminalise people for being gay or bi.
  • 2017: Amendments made to the Children and Social Work Bill, which will make relationships and sex education (RSE) mandatory in all schools in England and Wales from 2019.
  • 2017: The Department of Health reduces the deferral period for gay and bi men wishing to donate blood from 12 months to three months.
  • 2017: The UK Supreme Court rules that the discrimination against same-sex couples on pensions rights needs to end immediately.
  • 2018: A consultation on reform of the Gender Recognition Act receives over 100,000 responses, with the vast majority supportive of reforms to the Act that would improve trans people’s lives.
  • 2019: The first Bi Pride UK event is held, the first bi-specific Pride event in the UK and the largest bi gathering in history.

  • 2020: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Northern Ireland.
  • 2020: Religious leaders from every major faith come together in a show of unity to urge the UK government to legislate a ban on conversion therapy
  • 2021: The UK census includes questions on gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time, meaning that data can be gathered on the numbers of LGBT people across the country.
  • 2021: The Government announces plans to legislate to ban conversion therapy, as well as setting up a new fund to increase the support available for survivors.

Latest Updates

Upcoming Events

Two students in SU shirts smiling Your Students' Union LGBT+ History Month Open Event and Exhibition
23rd February 6pm - 9pm
The Courtyard, The Hub
For our final History Month event, come along to network with local organisations supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in Coventry, see some of the creative work made at our other events and enjoy some exciting performances!
Coventry University (Coventry campus) | LGBTQIA+ Students
Your Students' Union LGBTQIA+ Coffee Hour
29th February noon - 1pm
The Coach House, The Hub
Come along to a relaxed coffee hour where you can speak to other LGBTQIA+ students and take part in some calming activities!
Coventry University (Coventry campus) | LGBTQIA+ Students

Upcoming Events

Your SU: London External: Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month - LGBT+ Barking and Dagenham Adult Social
22nd February 5pm - 6:30pm
Dagenham Learning Centre, 1 Church Elm Lane, Dagenham, RM10 9QS
This event is organised by the LGBT+ Barking and Dagenham Adult Social Network and Barking and Dagenham Council.
LGBTQIA+ Students | CUL Dagenham
Your SU: London External: Queer History Night: Cruising the National Maritime Museum
22nd February 6pm - 9pm
National Maritime Museum, Romney Rd, London, SE10 9NF
LGBTQIA+ Students | CUL Dagenham
Your SU: London External: Newham Queer Fest
2nd March 7pm - 11:59pm
Old Town Hall, Stratford, 29 The Broadway, London, E15 4BQ
Coventry University London | LGBTQIA+ Students | CUL Dagenham | CUL Greenwich

Upcoming Events

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