First mention in English common law of a punishment for homosexuality.
Treaties in England prescribed that sodomites should be burned alive.
Buggery Act introduced by Henry VIII brought sodomy within the scope of statute law for the first time and made it punishable by hanging.
Death penalty for buggery in England and Wales abolished under the Offences Against the Person Act.
First published use of the term ‘homosexuality’ by Karoly Maria Kertbeny, a German-Hungarian campaigner.
Criminal Law Amendment Act creates the offence of ‘gross indecency’ and thus became the first specifically anti-homosexual act. It became known as the ‘blackmailer’s charter’.
Trials of the famous author Oscar Wilde saw him sentenced to two years prison with hard labour under the 1885 Act for Gross Indecency.
“Sexual Inversion” by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds published. First book in English to treat homosexuality as neither a disease nor a crime, maintaining that it was inborn and unchangeable.
The Holocaust – Nazi Party comes to power in Germany. During the next 12 years whilst the Nazis are in power an estimated 50,000 gay men were sentenced and imprisoned, some of whom faced the death penalty. Up to 15,000 gay men were deported to concentration camps and made to wear the pink triangle symbol which identified them as homosexual men.
Many of these Pink Triangle detainees were subjected to starvation and hard labour, castration, medical experiments and collective murder actions. Lesbianism was not illegal. However, there is historical evidence of police records being collected on lesbians and of lesbians being sent to concentration camps on the grounds of their sexual orientation. They were known as Green Triangle detainees. New research shows that in Austria lesbians were criminalised and liable for prosecution and persecution.
Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male” stating that 4% of men identified as exclusively homosexual and 37% had enjoyed at least one homosexual experience in their lives.
Kinsey publishes “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female” which stated that 2% of women identified as exclusively lesbian and 13% had enjoyed at least one lesbian experience in their lives.
Wolfenden Committee formed to consider the law in Britain relating to homosexual offences.
The Sexual Offences Act becomes law, determining much police activity against homosexuals in the UK for the rest of the century.
Wolfenden Report published.
Foundation of the Homosexual Law Reform Society.
“Victim” released, the most important British film on a gay theme pleading for tolerance towards homosexuals and an end to the blackmail of gay men.
Sexual Offences Act came into force in England and Wales and decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age and ‘in private.’
Nazi laws against homosexuality repealed in Germany.
Stonewall riot began in New York on night of 27/28 June.
Committee for Homosexual Equality (CHE) formed in Britain.
First ever organised lesbian and gay Pride march held in New York to commemorate the Stonewall riots.
London Gay Liberation Front (GLF) founded at the London School of Economics.
First gay demonstration in the UK took place in Islington.
First gay march through London took place, ending with a rally in Trafalgar Square, protesting against the unequal age of consent for gay men.
Lesbians invaded the platform of the Women’s Liberation Conference in Skegness, demanding recognition.
Law Lords found the International Times magazine guilty of ‘conspiracy to corrupt public morals’ for publishing gay contact advertisements.
Gay News, UK’s first gay newspaper, founded.
First UK Pride carnival and march through London held on 1 July.
First UK gay helpline founded.
First UK national gay rights conference held.
Action for Lesbian Parents founded after three high-profile custody cases where lesbians were refused custody of their children.
National boycott campaign of British Home Stores after BHS sacks openly gay trainee.
Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (later called Lesbian & Gay Christians) founded.
First ever gay TV series, “Gay Life” commissioned for British TV by London Weekend Television.
Gays the Word bookshop opens in London.
Male homosexuality decriminalised in Scotland.
European Commission ruled unanimously that the British government was guilty of breaching Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing to legalise consenting homosexual behaviour in Ulster.
First black lesbian and gay group founded.
Male homosexuality decriminalised in Northern Ireland with the passing of law reform in the House of Commons.
Terrence Higgins Trust launched, named after the gay man thought to be the first to have died with AIDS in the UK.
Peter Tatchell, a Labour Party candidate, defeated in a by-election in Bermondsey after a vicious anti-gay campaign by tabloid newspapers and local Liberals.
Questions asked in Parliament about ‘pretty police’ entrapment.
New lesbian and gay television series, One in Five, shown on Channel 4.
Same sex sexual activity becomes legal in Guernsey.
Chris Smith, MP for Islington South in London, first MP to come out as gay while in office.
GALOP, the first gay policing project, founded.
Gay Times first published.
Customs and Excise raid Gays the Word bookshop in London, sparking a high profile public campaign to defend the shop against claims of “importing indecent books”. (Customs and Excise dropped their charges just before Pride in 1986.)
Changing the World, a charter of gay rights published.
London Lesbian and Gay Centre opened in Cowcross Street, Farringdon with a grant from the GLC.
South Wales miners joined the Pride march to thank lesbians and gay men who supported them during the coalminers strike.
A South Staffordshire councillor called for 90% of lesbians and gays to be gassed to prevent the spread of AIDS. A subsequent sit-in at the councillor’s house by 12 members of the Lesbian & Gay Youth Movement was broken up violently by the local police and all were arrested and remanded for 10 days. When the case went to court all were released and later legal action taken against the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for wrongful imprisonment was successful.
Pink Paper founded.
Section 28, preventing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by local authorities, comes into force, with protests in London and Manchester.
Lesbians abseiled in the House of Lords and also got into BBC1’s newsroom, while Sue Lawley was reading the Six O’Clock News, in protest against Section 28.
The first British national conference for lesbians and gay men with disabilities was held.
Stonewall set up to oppose Section 28 and other blocks to equality for lesbians and gay men.
World Health Organisation (WHO) declassifies homosexuality as a disease listed under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
Same sex sexual activity legalised in Jersey.
OutRage! set up in May after the murder in London of gay actor Michael Boothe.
Successful lobby on the Human Embryo Fertilization & Embryology Bill ensuring lesbians continued to have access to services.
Lesbian & Gay Police Association (LAGPA, later the Gay Police Association GPA) formed.
Isle of Man decriminalises homosexuality.
House of Commons votes to reduce gay male age of consent to 18. Huge disappointment that it had not been reduced to 16.
OutRage! ‘outs’ eight bishops, and provoked debate within the Church of England.
Gaytime TV launched and one million tuned in every week.
First challenge to the High Court on the gay ban in the Armed Forces.
UK Inland Revenue published new guidelines recognising same-sex partners in pension schemes.
Guernsey’s first gay group Courage set up to tackle age of consent.
GCHQ relaxed its regulations relating to the employment of gays and lesbians. Subsequently M16 also changed its policy, but M15 refused to change.
The Commission of the European Convention on Human Rights (EHCR) found in the case of Euan Sutherland that unequal age of consent violates convention rights.
On 1 May the British general election went to Labour and gave seats to out-gays Ben Bradshaw and Stephen Twigg. Chris Smith became Britain’s first out-gay cabinet minister when appointed National Heritage Secretary. Labour MP Angela Eaglebecomes first MP to come out voluntarily as lesbian.
New Labour Government recognised same sex partners for immigration purposes.
Waheed Alli took his place in House of Lords as the UK’s first openly gay life peer.
On 30 April, a bomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan, a gay pub in Old Compton Street, Soho, the third in a series of bombs targeted at minorities by a lone extremist. Three people died and several were injured.
Immigration policy changed, meaning gay couples only needed to fulfil a two year, rather than four, probationary period.
Law Society proposed that unmarried partners, including same sex couples, should be legally recognised.
ECHR overturned the ban on gays in the armed forces.
Rail companies finally agreed to give same sex partners the same travel subsidies as heterosexual couples.
Dame Butler-Sloss, Chair of the Family Law Division, stated that gays should be able to foster and adopt and the Children’s Society lifted their five year ban on lesbian and gay fostering and adoption.
House of Lords ruled that same sex partners should be treated as family and have the right to succeed a tenancy.
Law Commission proposed that partners of same-sex couples should be able to claim damages in fatal accident cases.
Scotland proposed to repeal Section 28 as part of the Ethical Standards in Public Life Bill.
Angela Mason received an OBE for services to the gay community and appeared in the Observer’s 300 most powerful people in the UK.
Reduction of the Age of Consent to 16 included in the Queen’s speech.
Repeal of Section 28 included in the Local Government Bill.
Metropolitan police launch initiative against hate crimes, including homophobic crime.
UK Government lifts the ban on lesbian and gay men serving in the armed forces and Channel Islanders who identify as LGBTQ are allowed to serve.
UK Age of consent reduced to 16.
German and Swiss Bank compensation programme extended to include gay victims of the Holocaust.
Equal rights granted to UK same sex couples applying for adoption.
Repeal of Section 28.
Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations became law on 1 December making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the workplace in the UK.
UK Civil Partnership Act passed in November, giving same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples.
UK Sexual Offences Act abolishes the crimes of buggery and gross indecency.
First Civil Partnerships take place in Northern Ireland.
UK Government amends the Equality Bill, including a clause to make it illegal to discriminate against lesbians and gay men in the provision of goods and services – from NHS care through to hotels and restaurants.
Jersey equalises the age of consent.
Guernsey introduces legal right to change gender.
UK Parliament passes provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, creating a new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred.
Guernsey allows IVF access for Lesbians.
Guernsey lowers age of consent for same sex relationships to 16 in line with heterosexuals.
UK introduces the Equality Act
Civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy were successful in their case against B&B owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull. Hall and Preddy were refused a double room at the B&B on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Jersey introduces Civil Partnership Act.
Jersey allows same sex adoption, and step-child adoption.
UK Parliament approves the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
First Marriages of Same Sex Couples take place in UK.