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Parliament launches video series about how LGBT laws have changed lives

July 7, 2017
Big Ben with the Pride flag

The UK Parliament has launched a web series to commemorate 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The legal change, which affected England and Wales, was passed in July 1967.

Now the Speaker and Parliament have made a series of videos telling the stories of LGBT people affected by law changes.

The ‘Your Story, Out History’ initiative, backed by Speaker John Bercow, aims to highlight how parliament has affected the lives of LGBT Brits.

Peter and Geoff, two of the people featured in the short films, have been together 37 years.

The couple knew they were gay when the law was changed, but decriminalisation wasn’t the only legal barrier they would be affected by.

Many years later they were refused the right to stay at a B&B for their anniversary, purely because they were a gay couple.

This practice is now illegal in the UK.

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The pair said: “The Sexual Offences Act 1967 was a remarkable stepping-stone to what came afterwards.

“In 1994 the age of consent dropped to 18, and then in 2000 it became 16…finally, when the 2003 Sexual Offences Act passed I thought ‘thank goodness’…we are now absolutely in the criminal law on an equal footing with heterosexual people.

“I could think of younger people, our son, whatever his sexuality was going to be, and just think, well they will not have to go through all that fear that we went through…”

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Nadine and Tia, two Queer Woman of Colour featured, said: “When you are a queer woman of colour, you just feel like an anomaly a lot of the time…the Civil Partnership Act is incredibly important to me.

“I know that when I choose to have a family and when I choose to have children I’d really like to be able to know that my partner is an equal to me.”

Jake, a trans man, said Gender Recognition Act has shaped his identity: “For the first ten years of my life I prayed to God that I’d wake up as a boy as I was supposed to be.

“I never thought that I’d be happy…by the time I came to transitioning, the 2004 Gender Act had already come into effect, so I was never one of those people that wasn’t quite considered a citizen.

“Being able to finally be seen as the male that you are on your birth certificate was just amazing. It just felt right.”

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament said: “The Your Story, Our History films show how the legislation that Parliament has passed over the last 50 years has affected people’s lives and shaped the UK and its tolerance to different communities.

“We’re excited to be able to release these films this month, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.”

Parliament has also launched its first LGBT tours.

Members of the public can now walk around the House of Commons and House of Lords while learning the history of LGBT liberation in the UK.

The tour includes plenty of facts about the building itself, too – who knew the roof of Westminster Hall was built by a gay man?

LGBT Tours of parliament will be running on July 8.

More: Conservative, John Bercow, Labour, LGBT, MPs, parliament, Politics

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