Members of the LBGT community have faced trials and struggles that have shaped the way that our lives pan out today. In our lifetime alone, the LGBT community have seen devastating adversity but also milestones worthy of spectacular celebration. Here is a timeline of some of the most pivotal moments and milestones that the LGBT community have seen so far; in our lifetime.
In the year 2000 the UK government lifted the ban that prevented gay and bisexual men and women from serving in the armed forces. It is well known that the armed forces have a regrettable past concerning the treatment of gay men in particular. In the past people used term “psychopath” to brand those amongst the ranks who were thought of being “effeminate” or “queer” in any way. Historically, the armed forces used extreme and devastating punishments because it was considered indecent and abnormal to be gay so the inclusion of LGBT recruits in 2000 was a massive leap in the right direction.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that gay couples can’t genetically share a child. For many, adoption is a desirable option. In 2002 the government granted equal rights to same-sex when applying to adopt. This allowed couples to start their own families regardless of their orientation and free of discrimination from the law.
Nowadays we should think of gender as being on a spectrum , with identities and orientations in abundance. Up until 2004 you were either legally considered to be “male” or “female”, but this year pinpoints a milestone with the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act.This laid focus to the Trans community and granted them full (and legal) recognition in their own appropriate gender. This new piece of legislation enabled trans people to acquire new birth certificates, and although gender options were still limited to “male” or “female”, this was a huge step forward in the right direction for the trans folk of our community.
This next milestone has been included because it was very prevalent within our years at school. The red campaign posters from Stonewall boldly stating ‘Some People Are Gay! Get Over It’ began circulation in 2007. These posters could be seen displayed in all sorts of places. They sent this clear and simple message to homophobia working towards changing the treatment of gay people for the better. Especially for those who may have been questioning, or those that were simply too young, these posters were a brilliant source of empowerment and comfort for gay people everywhere.
The year 2010 saw a monumental change to the LGBT community with the introduction of the Equality Act. This particular Act of law unifies over 100 different pieces of legislation. These enforced equal and fair to rights to all people regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or ability. What’s particularly special about the emergence of this law, is the protection of gender reassignment against discrimination. In addition the official recognition of this choice in society first emerged. The Equality Act most definitely catapulted us in the right direction towards acceptance of all genders possible within society. It also allowed individuals to feel more secure when making the right choices for their lives.
By the time this was introduced, we were both fully immersed into the world of education. Thinking about it, it is quite shocking to discover that this next moment only just occurred at this stage of our lives. In 2012, explicit guidance concerning LGBT students was incorporated into the inspection framework for Ofsted. These developments to Ofsted’s framework should protect school age members of the LGBT community from bullying and prejudice; more specifically homophobic language. Also, learning was directed towards becoming more central to people of all different background. There is hope to educate children to be more tolerant and accepting. Unfortunately homophobic abuse still occurs frequently in schools. It is encouraging to know that the education system are being directed to take immediate action against it.
2014 is potentially a pinnacle of the Gay rights movement and LGBT history in general. The 2013 Marriage Act officially came into force this year and granted gay couples the right to marry, the first gay marriages taking place towards the end of March 2014. Finally, 16 years after the first of us was born, same-sex couples can build a life like heterosexual couples have always been privileged with. We can now do so legally without worry or having to wait a lifetime.
The final moment in LGBT history that we’re including is a bit of a double edged sword. Previously to 2011, gay and bisexual men were not allowed to donate blood due to supposed ‘infection risks’. In 2011, the ban was lifted but any gay and bi male candidates were required to adhere to the 12 month celibacy clause. To be considered eligible to donate this clause must be followed. In 2017 the celibacy clause was decreased to 3 months lessening the restrictions on gay/bisexual men’s choice to donate. It till begs the question, why is there still a ban? The screening process attached to blood donation is already so extensive. Is this something that will change, and will we be enlightened as to why it still exists?
And now we have begun a new decade of…
In our lifetime, UK law and attitudes have made giant steps forward towards the LGBT community being equal members of our society, although there is still some way to go. It is very exciting to see what will happen in 2020 and over the next ten years, and how the LGBT history will evolve!