February is LGBT History Month in the UK – a time to promote tolerance whilst raising awareness of the prejudices still faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
It is also a chance to remember the events and people that have changed LGBT history around the world, from Edith Windsor in America to Nelson Mandela who ensured that LGBT discrimination was outlawed in South Africa’s constitution.
The UK has not always been accepting of LGBT people. British law first oppressed homosexuality in 1533, when it was made punishable by death.
It remained illegal for nearly 450 years, with playwright Oscar Wilde and revolutionary mathematician Alan Turing suffering under the harsh laws preventing it.
But in 1967, homosexual acts were decriminalised in the UK. Since then, Britain has seen its first Pride event, introduced same-sex marriage and given transgender people the right to a new birth certificate.
But there is more to do. Being gay is illegal in 70 countries. In seven, it is punishable by death. And in the UK, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime, according to research by Stonewall.
Read more about LGBT history in The Day’s special report.
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Is everyone a little bit gay? A new poll has found that four in 10 people are open to a same-sex experience. The number rises among young people. Is sexuality more fluid than we think?
The struggle for the true meaning of Pride
Should Pride be a protest or a party? We are halfway through LGBT Pride Month. But alongside the parades and celebrations, there are fears that hard-won gay rights are under threat.
Gay giraffes, lesbian bonobos and angry humans
Can animals be gay? It’s a question behind a fierce row. Some biologists think sexuality in the animal kingdom is as complex and diverse as that of humans. Others think the claim is nonsense.
Find out more about the Stonewall riots, which sparked the beginning of the gay rights movement over 50 years ago in this informative video. How have things changed since 1969, and what is left to do?
- Create a poster for LGBT History Month in your school.
- Write a news report about an LGBT person you admire. It could be a celebrity, politician, a historical figure, or even someone you know in real life.
- Create a timeline of LGBT history in the UK, including some of the dates mentioned above.