18th November is “Black Friday”, when the suffragettes and police clash violently outside parliament following the failure of the first Conciliation Bill. One suffragette, Ellen Pitfield, later dies from her injuries.
The National Insurance Act, proposed by the then chancellor, David Lloyd George, came into force in 1911. It included a universal maternal health benefit, putting the issue of maternity rights on the political agenda.
The British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology was founded by a group of theorists and activists, with Edward Carpenter as president.
Carpenter was a proponent of the theory of the homosexual as a third sex, and lived openly with his lover, George Merrill. The society was particularly concerned with homosexuality, aiming to combat legal discrimination against homosexuality with scientific understanding.
British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act. The 1914 British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act meant that not only did ‘aliens’ – that is, foreign-born residents, have to carry an alien registration card, but British women across the Empire who married such men automatically lost their British nationality.
The Eligibility of Women Act was passed, allowing women to be elected into Parliament.
The Sex Disqualification Removal Act is passed ensuring women’s entry into the professions. For the first time women could become lawyers, vets, and civil servants.
London homosexuals began to gather openly in public places such as pubs, coffee houses and tea shops for the first time. Waitresses ensured that a section of Lyons Corner House in Piccadilly Circus was reserved for homosexuals. The section became known as the Lily Pond.
London’s first gay pub, The Cave of the Golden Calf, opened in Heddon Street, off Regent Street.
In November 1913, John Richard Archer (1863-1932), the son of a black Barbadian father and a white Irish Catholic mother, was elected mayor of the south London borough of Battersea.
The Maternal and Child Welfare Act is passed empowering local authorities to provide new services such as day nurseries, health visitors and child welfare clinics.
The First World War Creates 1.5 million Disabled Men across the UK.
A series of violent disturbances targeting black, Arab and other minorities occurred in nine of Britain’s main ports after the demobilisation of First World War service personnel. Not only the result of anger and resentment at ‘coloured’ men ‘taking’ white men’s jobs but also ‘their’ women.
Oxford University admits Women, but limits the numbers of women to 1 for every 6 men.
More unions of disabled war veterans are formed and blind workers march on London, against poor pay and conditions. Results in the first legislation passed, introduced and supported by disabled people. Many disabled war veterans fought for the right to work as part of the Unemployed Workers Movement.
An amendment is proposed to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act to make lesbianism an act of ‘gross indecency’, with the same punishments metered out to gay men.
A 30-year-old British athletic champion, Mark Weston of Plymouth, transitioned from female to male. The story appeared in some national newspapers, including the News of the World (31 May 1936).
Over five million men served in the British armed forces during World War II. Of these, it’s likely that at least 250,000 were gay or bisexual (based on projections from the 1990-91 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles which found that six per cent of men report having had homosexual experiences).
The Sex Discrimination Removal Act allows women access to the legal profession and accountancy.
The Criminal Law Amendment Act was amended in the House of Commons to include a section to make sexual “acts of gross indecency” between women illegal, and was passed in the House of Commons. However the section was defeated in the House Of Lords and thus never became law.
Women gained the right to vote.
Dr Dorothy Garrod becomes First Female Professor at Cambridge University.
Women’s conscription into industry prompted debate over their “double burden”.The National Service Act is passed introducing conscription for women.
All unmarried women between the ages of 20 and 30 are called up for war work.
The Disabled Persons Employment Act requires employers with 20 or more staff to ensure that 3% of employees are registered disabled.
Sir Harold Gillies and his colleague Ralph Millard carried out female-to-male confirmation surgery on Michael Dillon. Dillon underwent at least 13 surgeries between 1946 and 1949 and was elected for surgery on the pretext of treating a malformation of the Urethra (hypospadias), in order to conceal the exact nature of the surgery.
On 31 July in Rotherham, an English schoolteacher, Kenneth Crowe, aged 37, was found dead wearing his wife’s clothes and a wig. He approached a man on his way home from the pub, who upon discovering Crowe was male, beat and strangled him.
John Cooney was found not guilty of murder and sentenced to five years for manslaughter.
In response to the violence and unfair treatment of gay men, the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was passed seventeen years later.
Roberta Cowell becomes the first Briton to undergo male-to-female confirmation surgery on 16 May.
Sir John Nott-Bower, commissioner of Scotland Yard, began a campaign to weed out homosexuals from the British Government. During the early ’50s as many as 1,000 men were locked up in Britain’s prisons every year amid a widespread police clampdown on homosexual offences.
It advised the British Government that homosexuality should not be illegal.
Alan Horsfall, Labour councillor for Nelson, Lancashire, tables a motion to his local Labour party to back the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The motion is rejected, but Horsfall and fellow activist Anthony Grey later form the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee.
1,345 nurseries had been established – compared with the 14 existing in 1940 – to help women to juggle work and childcare. Formal maternity leave remained firmly off the agenda.
Learie Constantine is the first black person to gain an MBE.
Cambridge University admits women to membership and degrees, but the statute limited the numbers of women to 1 for every 10 men.
Greater London Association of Disabled People (GLAD) set up.
Dr Dorothy Garrod becomes First Female Professor at Cambridge University.
In Britain, legal reforms say that women teachers and civil servants should receive equal pay.
The Homosexual Law Reform Society was founded in the United Kingdom following the Wolfenden report, to begin a campaign to make homosexuality legal in the UK.
On 12th May April Ashley becomes the first person to have male to female sex re-assignment surgery.
In the House of Lords, Lord Arran proposed the decriminalisation of male homosexual acts (lesbian acts had never been illegal).A UK opinion poll found that 93% of respondents saw homosexuality as a form of illness requiring medical treatment.
Founding of trans organisation the Beaumont Society.
850 women machinists at the Ford factory in Dagenham went on strike over equal pay. They disputed the classification of their work as unskilled – a label which seemed to justify them being paid less than their male colleagues.
The Home Secretary confirms that Sir Ewan Forbes is male and can succeed to the baronetcy, despite having been registered and originally brought up as female.
The Equal Pay Act is introduced in the UK, which prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay.
The Gay Liberation Front emerged in Britain. Gay Pride or LGBT pride begins the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The Nullity of Marriage Act was passed, explicitly banning same-sex marriages between same-sex couples in England and Wales. The parliamentary debates on the 1971 act included discussion on the issue of transsexualism but not homosexuality.
Spare Rib was a feminist magazine published by a collective founded by Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe and including Sue O’Sullivan and Amanda Sebestyen.
Ten Women Admitted to the London Stock Exchange.
Sybil Phoenix is the first black woman to receive an MBE for her work in fostering.
London Icebreakers forms, offering a 24-hour helpline staffed exclusively by LGB people and offered gay-affirmative support.
The Campaign for Homosexual Equality holds the first British gay rights conference in Morecambe, Lancashire.
The Manchester Gay Alliance formed by the University’s Lesbian & Gay Society, CHE, a lesbian group and transvestite/ transsexual group.
The UK introduces its first maternity leave legislation through the Employment Protection Act. The Employment Protection Act made statutory maternity pay a requirement for employers, and legislated against dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy.
British journal Gay Left begins publication.
The Race Relations Act 1976 was established by the UK Parliament to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race.
The first gay lesbian Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference took place to discuss workplace rights for Gays and Lesbians.
The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) was founded as the International Gay Association (IGA) on 8 August during the conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Coventry, England, at a meeting attended by 30 men representing 17 organisations from 14 countries.
The Coventry conference also called upon Amnesty International (AI) to take up the issue of persecution of lesbians and gays.
At the end of the decade, trans* individuals still had neither identity rights nor legal protection.
The Minorities Research Group (MRG) became the UK’s first lesbian social and political organisation. They went on to publish their own lesbian magazine called Arena Three.
In the House of Commons Conservative MP Humphry Berkeley introduced a bill to legalise male homosexual relations along the lines of the Wolfenden report.
The bill never became law, and Berkeley lost his seat in the 1966 general election. He ascribed his defeat to the bill.
Sexual Offences Act came into force in response to the unfair treatment of gay men. This act decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age.
Sislin Fay Allen First Black Policewoman.
Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) formed as the first British gay activist group.
Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Bill became an Act of Parliament: passed without input from disabled people.
Association of Disabled people (APG) established.
Paul Hunt writes a letter to The Guardian newspaper calling for equality for disabled people. His letter inspires the start of a united struggle against discrimination. Alf Morris MP was appointed as Britain’s first Minister for Disabled People.
Europe became the first nation to allow citizens to legally change their sex.
Brixton Black Women’s Group is formed. Brixton Black Women’s Group campaigned on many issues including racism in education provision, and the discriminatory practice of the contraceptive drug Depo Provera being prescribed to black women on a long-term basis.
Trevor McDonald becomes the first black British newsreader.
Maureen Colquhoun came out as the first Lesbian MP for the Labour party.
The United Nations declared an International Year for Women in order to raise global awareness of women’s rights. Since 1975 International Women’s Day has been celebrated annually on 8 March.
Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation was set up, the first organisation to argue for a ‘social model of disability’
Scope open‘s Beaumont College in Lancaster offering both residential and day programmes to learners aged between 18 and 25 with a broad range of physical and learning disabilities.
British Council of Disabled People’s Organisations was set up to campaign for disabled people’s rights.
Margaret Thatcher is Elected Britain’s First Female Prime Minister.
The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 decriminalized homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age “in private” in Scotland.
The first Black Gay and Lesbian Group was formed in the UK.
Shocking Pink Collective set up. The collective published 16 issues written by and for young women with an emphasis on topics like contraception, abortion, sexuality, lesbianism / queer issues, violence against women, women culture / music etc., skill sharing (e.g. how to form a band, a women’s group etc.), racism and women’s rights.
The European Court of Human Rights struck down Northern Ireland’s criminalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults.
Lady Mary Donaldson becomes the first woman Lord Mayor of London.
Gay men are asked not to donate blood.
Chris Smith, newly elected to the UK parliament declares: “My name is Chris Smith. I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and I’m gay”, making him the first openly out homosexual politician in the UK parliament.
Diane Abbott First Black Woman Elected to the British Parliament.
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 enacted as an amendment to the United Kingdom’s Local Government Act 1986, on 24 May 1988 stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
In July, following the murders in a short period of time, of Christopher Schliach, Henry Bright, William Dalziel and Michael Boothe, hundreds of lesbians and gay men marched from the park where Boothe had been killed to Ealing town hall and held a candlelit vigil.
In September, lesbian and gay police officers established the Lesbian and Gay Police Association (Lagpa/GPA).
Betty Boothroyd becomes the first female Speaker in the House of Commons.
This begins a public inquiry by Sir William Macpherson into the Metropolitan Police.
Mermaids founded for children with gender dysphoria.
Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, becomes the first MP to come out voluntarily as a lesbian. Gay partners were given equal immigration rights. Equality Network established in Scotland.
The UK Sex Discrimination Act is amended to include protection on the basis of Gender Reassignment.
The Self Help Association for Transsexuals (SHAFT) was formed as an information collecting and disseminating body for trans-people.The association later became known as ‘Gender Dysphoria Trust International’ (GDTI).
Baroness Young becomes the First Woman Leader of the House of Lords.
Moira Stuart becomes Britain’s first black women news presenter.
The Commission of Restrictions Against Disabled People (CORAD) report advised that there should be legislation and a Commission to implement it. This was turned down by the Government, but CORAD began the campaign for civil rights legislation that culminated in the Disability Discrimination Act. There were 17 attempts made to introduce comprehensive and enforceable civil rights for disabled people.
- Nottingham’s Chameleon group for Trans people started in 1983.
The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) is founded.
The Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Act enables women to retire at the same age as men. It also lifts the legal restrictions which prevent women from working night shifts in factories.
Dr John Anthony Roberts becomes first person of African ancestry to be a QC in England and Wales.
The campaign group Stonewall UK is set up to oppose Section 28 and other barriers to equality.
Regard is founded to challenge homophobia in the disabled people’s movement and the exclusion of disabled people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. Disability Living Allowance and Disability Working Allowance were introduced to help pay for the extra costs disabled people incur.
Disability Awareness In Action established to support disabled people’s self-advocacy empowerment internationally and promote and protect disabled people’s human rights.
After years of campaigning by disability activists, the Conservative Government introduces legislation to outlaw discrimination against disabled people.
The Disability Discrimination Act gives new rights for disabled people in employment and access to services.
Labour election victory doubles the amount of female MPs, doubling the number of female MPs from 9% to 18% – a historic first.
New Labour law swept into power, the Employment Relations Act granted all employees a minimum of three months’ unpaid parental leave, while mothers were entitled to 18 weeks’ paid leave.
The Macpherson Report brought on by the death of Stephen Lawrence leads to specific measurements taken to diversify the police force. Including detailed targets for black and Asian officers, and the creation on the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and the abolition of the ‘double jeopardy rule’.
The World Health Organisation change the definition of homosexuality from being a mental health illness.
29% of London’s population belongs to a minority ethnic group (2001 Census, Office of National Statistics).
The last two pieces of unequal law regarding gay male sex are changed.
- The European Commission of Human Rights provisions of the age of consent for homosexual acts came into force throughout the United Kingdom on 8 January 2001, lowering the age of consent to 16. Under the act consensual group sex for gay men is also decriminalised.
Same-sex couples were granted equal rights to adopt. Alan Duncan became the first Conservative MP to admit being gay without being pushed.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act strengthens and amends the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act of 1985.
Employment Equality Regulations made it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gays or bisexuals at work.
The Civil Partnership Act came into force on 5th December allowing same-sex couples to obtain the same rights and responsibilities as civil marriage.
Treatment of lesbian parents and their children is equalized in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008
The legislation allows for lesbians and their partners (both civil and de facto) equal access to legal presumptions of parentage in cases of in vitro fertilisation (“IVF”) or assisted/self insemination (other than at home) from the moment the child is born.
- Parliament passes provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, creating a new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred.
- Some 7,169 Civil partnerships were conducted in 2008.
Tidjane Thiam becomes First African to lead a FTSE 100 Listed Company.
First female Muslim MPs elected to parliament. Rushanara Ali, Shabana Mahmood and Yasmin Qureshi are all labour MPs.
Step-free access to public buildings for wheelchair users.
Barbara Ross receives an OBE for her work with trans people.
Nikki Sinclaire comes out as transgender, thus becoming the United Kingdom’s first openly transgender Parliamentarian.
Major General Susan Ridge becomes the first ever female senior officer in the British Army.
Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, became the first woman and the first openly bisexual person to be named number one in the OUTstanding & FT Leading LGBT executive power list.
Just 22% of women will receive the full amount of the new single tier state pension compared to 50% of men.
The Labour government scraps the policy of barring homosexuals from the armed forces.
Clara Furse becomes the first female to occupy Chief Executive position of the London Stock Exchange.
Transgender Conference held at the University of East Anglia, now a biennial event
Paul Yaw Boateng becomes UK’s First black cabinet minister as he is appointed Chief Secretary of the Treasury.
26.5% of students starting a first degree law course in 2003 were from minority ethnic groups. (Law Society factsheet: ‘Minority ethnic group solicitors 2004’).
Section 28, which banned councils and schools from intentionally promoting homosexuality, is repealed in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows people to legally change gender.
The United Kingdom Gender Recognition Act becomes law on the 10th February. Offering transgender people full legal recognition of change of gender.
Transgender rights activists Professor Stephen Whittle awarded OBE and Christine Burns awarded the MBE, both for services to gender issues.
Women aged 17-20 outnumber and out-perform men of the same age in higher education with 37% of men in higher education compared to 49% women.
The Labour Government Prime Minister Gordon Brown makes an official public apology on behalf of the British government for the way in which Alan Turing was chemically castrated for being gay, after the war.
- Opposition leader David Cameron apologises on behalf of the Conservative Party, for introducing Section 28 during Margaret Thatcher’s third government.
The Equality Act is amended to improve step-free access to public buildings for wheelchair users. Equality and Human Rights Commission calls in evidence on disability- related harassment in Britain.
Disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families are being hit hard by cuts to the benefits and services they need to live their lives.
There was a protest in May 2011, when an estimated 8,000 disabled people marched on Parliament, and further protests across the country on the 22nd October 2011.
The coalition government unveils its Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on 25 January.
Same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales on the 29th of March under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
- Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland was passed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014, received Royal Assent on 12 March 2014 and took effect on 16 December 2014.
- Queen Elizabeth II praises the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for their 40-year history, the first time the Crown has ever publicly supported the LGBT community.
Bobbie Cheema-Grubb QC becomes the first Asian woman High Court judge.
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29% of MPs are women. The UK ranks 39th in the world for representation of women in parliament.