15 years of LGBT+ History Month

Posted on February 4, 2020
LGBTQ+ flag in wind

LGBT+ History Month has been celebrated every February in the United Kingdom since 2005. The annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and related civil rights movements celebrates the achievements and contributions of the LGBT+ community, whilst raising awareness of the work left to do in the fight for equality.

At Jefferies Solicitors, we pride ourselves on the specialist advocacy we are able to provide for the LGBT+ community and are committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in our firm and through our services.

We think the 15th anniversary of LGBT+ History Month in the UK serves as the perfect opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards equality for and by the LGBT+ community. From laws concerning the decriminalisation of homosexuality to those enabling legal recognition of transgender individuals, there have been seismic shifts in attitudes towards diversity of sexuality and gender in the last century

Here are the landmark pieces of legislation charting the journey into the progressive society we have become today:

1982 – The Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order

Following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967, and in Scotland in 1980, Northern Ireland’s Homosexual Offences Order marked the end of homosexuality being considered an offence under the law throughout the United Kingdom.

2002 – Adoption and Children Act

The Adoption and Children Act gave unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, the right to apply for joint adoption from 2005 onwards. This allowed adoption agencies to facilitate same-sex couples looking to adopt more easily and has led to many more children being adopted from care in the United Kingdom as a result.

2003 – Repeal of Section 28

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by local authorities and in Britain’s schools. A decade of campaigning culminated in the repeal of Section 28 in Scotland in 2000, and for the rest of the United Kingdom in 2003. In recent years, the fantastic work of educators and campaigners in schools is responsible for overturning the legacy of this legislation, and instead promoting inclusivity and tolerance in our nation’s classrooms.

2004 – Civil Partnership Act, Gender Recognition Act

This was a big year for the LGBT+ community: Same sex couples were given the opportunity to have the same legal standing as married heterosexuals, with the legalisation of civil partnerships in 2004. For transgender individuals, the legal right to change their gender from the one assigned to them at birth was also a huge step forward.

2008 – Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act

This Act constituted a major review and update of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, making it easier for same-sex couples to be recognised as the legal parents of their child.

2010 – Equality Act

This very significant piece of legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender, among numerous other protected characteristics, therefore protecting the LGBT+ community from unfair treatment in the workplace and being refused goods, facilities or services.

2012 – Protection of Freedoms Act

A watershed moment in the path of LGBT+ History, the Protection of Freedoms Act allowed for historic convictions for consensual sex between men to be removed from criminal records.

2013 – Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

Officially coming into force in 2014, the Act gave same-sex couples the same right to marry as opposite-sex couples. This right was extended to Northern Ireland in 2020, meaning same-sex marriage is now open to all same-sex couples throughout the United Kingdom.

If you are looking for a law firm that can specialise in supporting LGBT+ individuals in all aspects of life’s affairs, Jefferies have the experience and expertise to advise you.

We are sensitive to the particularities involved in cases concerning LGBT+ individuals, couples and their families, and provide tailored services including:

Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements for same sex relationships
Expertise surrounding same sex parent family law, including surrogacy
Divorce and dissolution for same sex marriages or civil partnerships
Cohabitation agreements for same sex couples not married or in a civil partnership
Equality and diversity discrimination in the workplace cases
Advice for employers on complying with the latest equality and discrimination legislation

Call one of our friendly solicitors today on 01702 332311 or contact us to discuss how we can help you.

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