Be LGBT in the wrong country and you can get stoned for free…
So here we are again. Another year. Another LGBT+ History Month. But who cares right? History is in the past after all and it is where we are now and it’s going into the future that matters right? Yeah, I get that. Always good to focus on what we can do to make things better, to improve ourselves, and educate others so they can improve themselves. At the same time, it is very useful to know what things were like in the past. History does seem to repeat itself so it is educational for all, not just kids at school.
And as a bi-sexual woman, I can safely say that I am very glad I was born in the 70s and not beforehand as quite frankly being LGBT sucked as I was growing up here in the UK, but it would have been way worse if I had been born any earlier, so for that, I am grateful. So here is a potted history of the past few centuries in the UK as far as I know it…
- 1533 – The Buggery Act made male homosexuality kind of hard (pun intended) as sodomy aka anal sex was was made illegal. Conviction punishable by death.
- 1861 – Changed from a death sentence to minimum of 10 years in prison for sodomy. The irony is not lost on me given the ‘don’t bend over to get the soap’ jokes about males in prison!
- 1885 – Now ANY homosexual act between males is considered illegal even in private. They also tried to introduce female homosexuality as a thing to be discriminated and punished for but luckily (for me) they decided it wasn’t a big thing and they didn’t want to encourage females to explore it by publicising it as part of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
- 1957 – Wolfenden Report basically said that homosexual acts in private should no longer be a criminal offence – but don’t celebrate yet as it didn’t become law until……
- 1967 – Homosexual Acts between two men over 21 in private was finally decriminalised in England. Took another couple of decades for Scotland and Northern Ireland to follow suite in 1980 and 1981 though.
- 1988 – Good ole Maggie Thatcher then decided it was a good idea to not promote homosexuality to kids and banned local authorities promoting or funding anything to do with LGBT issues. Thanks to Maggie kids like me did not get to learn about LGBT issues in school and could not get support needed to deal with the bullying, discrimination and harassment you often get for being LGBT.
- 2003 – It took a long time to get the legislation repealed and an apology was given by David Cameron in 2009 – to little to late but I will take it none the less.
- 2004 – Same-sex couples can get ‘married’ – or as close as possible to it anyway in legal terms
- 2010 – The Equality Act gave LGBT employees protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation at work. How on earth this took so insanely long to become law is beyond me as being bullied, sacked or worse for your sexuality seriously sucks (understatement I am aware)
- 2013 – Marriage is finally an option for same-sex couples – about blooming time! Scotland follows suit in 2014 and Northern Ireland in 2020 – better late than never eh!
So yes being LGBT in the UK has not been a great thing to be in general. Aside from the death penalty or decades in prison, there has been bullying, discrimination, harassment, sackings, assaults, murders among general homophobia and non-acceptance.
People who are LGBT in the UK have no choice but to live in a society where many people do not understand or respect them, simply because of who they love and are attracted to, and so they either have to live with this or live a life which is a lie.
On a positive note for people who live in the UK, there are many great things about being LGBT here compared to other counties around the world. Generally speaking, you can get the support you need for physical and mental health, you can work, marry and generally live your life freely, no matter who you are. In other countries such as the ones listed below, you can still receive the death penalty for basically being who you are, which is never acceptable.
- Brunei (death by stoning)
- Mauritania (death by stoning)
- Nigeria (death by stoning)
- Pakistan (death by stoning)
- Qatar (death by stoning)
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Now I highlighted the countries that still carry out stoning to death as quite frankly the idea that this is still a ‘thing’ is horrendous to me. What a barbaric idea! Someone has “committed a crime” so we are going to get family members, neighbours, and local people to come and throw heavy stones, which you can’t avoid as you are buried in sand to make sure you are an easy target, and you then die a slow, painful death. It’s not even like they get a chance to prove their innocence, or that it’s regulated in any way – not that would make it OK, but still. It’s barbaric and beyond comprehension why anyone would do this to another human being ever.
So to summarise – LGBT history month is still needed as long as anybody in the world can be killed for being LGBT. As long as the death penalty exists, as long as discrimination, harassment, inequality in the workplace and society in general exists, we need to have LGBT history month. I look forward to the time when we do not need LGBT history month and I never have to write a blog like this ever again.
You can do your bit in helping support the LGBT community by
1) sharing this blog via your social media
2) by heading over to https://lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk/ where there a plenty of resources available for schools, workplaces, and other organisations. You can support the charity by donating or buying badges etc from their shop too.