LGBT history month is celebrated in February to recognise the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their respective fields. During this month, the community will work to raise awareness against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
Multiple events have been organised across the UK to campaign for the inclusion of the LGBT community in society and to promote equality and diversity in public interest. The idea of the history month is to educate and inform about sexuality as well as gender identity.
The history of achievements by LGBT people in the UK date back to the early 19th century and IBTimes UK has compiled a list of landmark moments.
1. First homosexual rights group formed: In 1893, George Cecil Ives, an early campaigner for the LGBT rights, organised Order of Chaeronea, the first homosexual rights group in England. The Order of Chaeronea was a secret society working for the interest of homosexuals.
In the same year, the first English-language medical textbook about homosexuality titled Sexual Inversion was published. It was written by Havelock Ellis and John Addington Symonds,
2. Lesbian novel published: In 1928, a lesbian novel titled The Well Of Loneliness was published. Written by British author Radclyffe Hall, it narrates the plight of homosexual couples as they face social isolation and rejection. The novel basically called for allowing basic rights to homosexuals and lesbians. The book was banned after official medical advice that it would encourage female homosexuality and lead to "a social and national disaster".
3. First homosexual play screened: The year 1959 saw a significant change in the British society as the entertainment industry extended their support for the community. South was the first depiction of homosexuality on British television by ITV, which was hailed as a great achievement in raising awareness of sexual preferences.
4. Movie highlighting blackmail of gay people: After ITV's initiative, director Basil Dearden took charge to speak for the community through his film Victim. Released in 1961, the movie narrated the story of a bisexual barrister. The movie was considered highly controversial at that time, but it helped in creating a public opinion on decriminalising homosexual acts in private.
5. Gay sex decriminalised: In 1967, the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised sex between men in England and Wales. According to the law, private homosexual acts between two men aged 21 and above was legal. The act, however, was not applicable for Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces.
6. First social group for homosexuals formed: In 1968, the first group in the country to work and support the social needs of gay people was formed. The St Katharine's Group was an outcome of the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in public. The group stopped functioning since 1994.
7. Gay political movement and march launched: In 1970, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) conducted their first meeting and by 1971, the UK gay community was recognised as a political movement and soon started campaigning for the basic rights of homosexuals. In 1971, the same group conducted the first London Gay March starting from Hyde Park toTrafalgar Square. Over 200 people attended the march.
8. LGBT Consortium founded: The LGBT Consortium was founded to focus on the development of the people in the LGBT community . It also work at supporting the individual rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
9. Civil Partnership Act introduced: The year 2004 was remarkable for gay and lesbian couples after the introduction of Civil Partnership Act 2004 which offered equal legal rights to same-sex couples like other married couples. However, the couples were restricted from organising the ceremony in a place of worship.
10. Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed: But everything changed for same sex couples after the historic introduction of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. This allowed lesbian and gay couples to get married in the same manner as heterosexual people.