February is LGBT History Month in the UK — a time to promote tolerance while 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 in South Africa, who ensured that LGBT discrimination was outlawed in his country’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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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.