Combined with the Public Order Act: 1986 and the Sexual Offences Act: 1967. Many gay and bisexual men found themselves being prosecuted for simply kissing their partners in the street.
The 1967 act was far from equal. The age of consent was twenty one, which meant young same sex lovers could never feel comfortable showing their affection towards their partner if they were in a heterosexual relationship with someone the same age.
Above: The early marches were more about equality and fighting for simple rights, including education.
I personally recall a friend had received a prison sentence because his partner was twenty, he was twenty five. If he was in a heterosexual relationship cases like this wouldn’t have happened. Imagine the mental stress this would put on young gay couples. It was common for disapproving parents to threaten going to the police because the younger was nineteen or twenty and the older in their early twenties..
Above: Many things we take for granted didn’t exist back in the 70s and 80s. The #lgbtqia acronym was just beginning it’s process of evolution and the term ‘gay community’ was used.
Attitudes brought on more chaos, with the fear of the Aids epidemic and the governments stance on education in schools and colleges. Soon Section 28 came into play and lasted till 2000. This meant that education about homosexual relationships didn’t start till much later. There is also evidence that to begin with there was confusion of what could be taught and therefore making the delay much longer.
Phobic views were rift in parliament but the then, so called ‘gay comuinity’, fought hard against in the late eighties through to nowadays.
Above: a newspaper clipping from this period, showing that prosecutions of young gay and bisexual were taken to court for simply doing something a heterosexual couple would have taken for granted.
Without the advent of gay right groups such as Stonewall UK and individuals such as Peter Tatchell we wouldn’t have such equality we experience in the UK today.
We have alot to thank for these pioneers that paved the way for the much better equality we have today. Although I am certain the likes of Tatchell or Cashman would scream at us……
It’s not over yet!
Here are a few articles about the early years you may enjoy.
The fight for equality in the age of consent in the UK:
Section 28 – A Brief look: