Informative Piece by Ella Trew
LGBTQ+ history still has an impact on today. It’s important to understand the effort put in to allow people to be themselves and be with those they love. It has been a difficult journey but our world is beginning to challenge prejudice and see equality when it comes to someone’s gender or sexual orientation.
Homosexuality was not decriminalised in the UK until 1967; until then, acts of homosexuality would result in prison time. Many protests have brought us to the point where people can express themselves how they choose without judgement. An important protest was the Stonewall Riots: in 1969, gay people fought back against police violence. This became a significant event in gaining full rights for gay people although it wasn’t until 2015 that same-sex marriage was legalised in the U.S. The UK legalised gay marriage in 2013 and the first same-sex marriage had taken place in March 2014.
Learning about LGBTQ+ history helps young people to feel accepted when they are exploring the possibility of other sexualities and genders. Opening up conversations about LGBTQ+ help to reduce stigma and encourage young people to be more accepting of each other. A range of figures in history were homosexual and their lives have become inspiring stories to young LGBTQ+ people. An example would be Alan Turing, a code-breaker of Bletchley park. He and his team worked to decrypt German messages throughout WW2, he was a great asset and considerably contributed to Britain’s victory but was later prosecuted for homosexuality. There are a huge number of LGBTQ+ members who have paved the way to freedom: Marsha P. Johnson who helped homeless LGBTQ youth, Magnus Hirshfeld who was a doctor who pioneered the understanding of human sexuality and gender, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs nicknamed ‘the first gay person to publicy out himself’ and Barbara Gittings declared ‘Mother of Lesbian and Gay Liberation’ to name a few.
The fight for LGBTQ+ rights shows us how the world has evolved and how we continue to change our attitudes each day. History is an example of how people can work together to bring about equality for us all and make a change. Not only does it demonstrate how far the movement has come but it illustrates the methods of doing so. Through the media, we see how the fight continues all around the world and history pulls together the collective sense of unity. People should continue to be educated on the history of the LGBTQ+ community to bring awareness and to support places where homosexuality is still not as accepted as here in the UK.
Here at Bassaleg, the QSA group works hard to support young people and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and encourage diversity wherever possible. If you are interested in speaking with a member of the QSA or want to reach out for support at The Hwb , speak to your Form Tutor, Director of Wellbeing or check a Want To Talk? Poster for more options.