It's the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which helped spark the fight for gay rights around the world. During the s, being gay was classified as a mental illness in the US. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by police, and were shunned by many in society. Even here in the UK, being gay was a crime until But the Stonewall riots in were a landmark event in history, which helped to fight homophobia and campaign for equal rights. It was the second time that week the police had raided it.
Before and during the formation of the United Kingdom , Christianity and homosexuality were seen to clash. Same-sex sexual activity was characterised as "sinful" and, under the Buggery Act , was outlawed and punishable by death. LGBT rights first came to prominence following the decriminalisation of sexual activity between men, in in England and Wales , and later in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Sexual activity between women was never subject to the same legal restriction. Since the turn of the 21st century, LGBT rights have increasingly strengthened in support. Some discrimination protections had existed for LGBT people since , but were extended to all areas under the Equality Act A ban on LGBT individuals serving openly in the armed forces was officially lifted in , though a policy of non-enforcement had been in place since
Convictions under the Buggery Act were punishable by death. Usage terms Public Domain. Often a letter expressing terms of affection between two men was all that was required to bring a prosecution. Female homosexuality was never explicitly targeted by any legislation.
Andrew Lumsden was in his twenties when he decided to explore the gay world of Sixties London, as he puts it. Decades later, he is regarded as one of the pioneering figures in the fight for LGBT rights in the UK who brought about the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality some fifty years ago. In July , changes to the Sexual Offences Act legalised homosexual acts between men over the age of 21 in private in England and Wales.