United Kingdom, Europe

Contemporary British attitudes towards LGBT rights and homosexuality are regarded as generally liberal. The age of consent stands at 16 - regardless of sexual orientation. In 2004, the Gender Recognition Act created a process for transsexual and transgender people to change their legal sex. The landmark Civil Partnership Act 2004 created a parallel legal structure to marriage, giving gay couples all the rights and responsibilites of marriage, including the eligibility to apply to adopt children. In addition, discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in many fields, including housing, employment and the provision of goods and services. Likewise, Her Majesty's Armed Forces allows LGBT individuals to serve openly. In December 2008, the United Kingdom - along with 65 other countries - signed a United Nations declaration calling for the global decriminalization of homosexuality.

 

News & Reports:

 

UK’s first-ever Pride train staffed by all-LGBT+ crew makes its kaleidoscopic maiden journey

A Pride train has been launched by Avanti West Coast that will be staffed by an all-LGBT+ crew. The company, which operates on routes from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Wales and Scotland, unveiled the train on Tuesday, two months after the end of Pride Month – which is actually comparatively timely for a British… Read more »

Hector MacDonald

Major-General Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald, KCB, DSO (Scottish Gaelic: Eachann Gilleasbaig MacDhòmhnaill; 4 March 1853 – 25 March 1903), also known as Fighting Mac, was a Victorian soldier. The son of a crofter, MacDonald left school before he was 15, enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders as a private at 17, and finished his career as… Read more »

A British court ruling may change laws for LGBT+ people around the world

Through a quirk of history and law, a court in London could help end sodomy laws and bring in same-sex marriage in dozens of countries. Years of legal battles around same-sex marriage in Bermuda will come to a head 5,548kms away in London on 7 and 8 December this year. And the result may help… Read more »

Gay Couples In Northern Ireland Begin Registering To Marry: First Weddings Set For Valentine’s Day

Gay and lesbian couples in Northern Ireland began registering to marry as a new marriage law took effect on Monday. Northern Ireland was the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex couples could not wed. Last year, lawmakers in the UK overwhelmingly backed a plan to extend marriage equality to the region if the… Read more »

Same-sex marriage now legal in Northern Ireland

Same-sex marriage is now legally recognised in Northern Ireland. From Monday, same-sex couples will be able to register to marry, meaning the first ceremonies will take place in February. For couples who are already married, their marriage will now be legally recognised in Northern Ireland. However, those who are already in a civil partnership will… Read more »

No single gene associated with being gay

A genetic analysis of almost half a million people has concluded there is no single “gay gene”. The study, published in Science, used data from the UK Biobank and 23andMe, and found some genetic variants associated with same-sex relationships. But genetic factors accounted for, at most, 25% of same-sex behaviour. Advocacy group GLAAD said the… Read more »

The gay cleric who made me think again about the church

Opinion: Documentary maker Cherish Oteka on why she made her new film, Too Gay For God? and the Reverend Jide Macaulay I still remember it clearly; I was sandwiched in a row full of loud and proud religious folk dressed in their Sunday’s finest at our weekly church service. Our respected pastor, as passionate as… Read more »

Pride Edinburgh reveals headliner for this year’s music festival

Edinburgh is also launching a Humans of Pride project ahead of the parade Pride Edinburgh will return to Bristo Square on Saturday 22 June to celebrate the LGBTI community in the capital of Scotland. This year’s unapologetic theme This Is Me will be a way to honor the many Humans of Pride that have made… Read more »

Thousands rally in Northern Ireland in support of gay marriage

The Belfast rally was led by the same-sex partner of slain journalist and LGBTQ advocate Lyra McKee. Thousands of people marched through Belfast on Saturday to demand the recognition of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, the only region of the United Kingdom where it does not have legal status. Attempts to legislate for same-sex marriage… Read more »

Russian embassy wrapped in Pride flag to protest Chechnya’s anti-gay purge

They unfurled the flag alongside handing in a petition calling for the Russian government to intervene ‘We’re here to hand in some post,’ Eleanor Kennedy said into the intercom outside the Russian Embassy, London. Kennedy, alongside dozens of placard-holding supporters, were handing a petition calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to respond to the second… Read more »

London’s first trans pride is coming

Mark your calendars for 14 September London’s first trans pride will launch on 14 September. London Trans Pride ‘centers and celebrates trans people, trans narratives, trans experience’ according to a Facebook event posted on Tuesday (23 April). The all-day festival will include music, performances, stalls, talks, and artwork at a yet to be confirmed location.… Read more »

Royal Ascot relaxes dress code to make the races more LGBTI-inclusive

Elegant racegoers of the Royal Ascot will now be able to dress for the gender they ‘feel most comfortable with,’ it was announced today (5 March). The policy is part of a diversity drive to be more LGBTI-inclusive, according to The Telegraph. Visitors can dress according to their true selves, but must nevertheless not break… Read more »

Memories of Britain’s First LGBT+ Pride in 1972

Way back in the early 1970s, I was a member of the newly-formed Gay Liberation Front. It was Britain’s first direct action human rights movement of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. To combat the invisibility and denigration of the queer community, we decided to organise a ‘Gay Pride’ march, with the theme of… Read more »

Gay computer hero Alan Turing named greatest person of 20th Century

The father of computer science beat Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela to be named BBC Two’s Icon Alan Turing, the father of computer science who was also gay, was named the most ‘iconic’ figure of the 20th Century on Tuesday (5 February). Public voting during a live broadcast of BBC Two’s Icons: The… Read more »

Number of people identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual hits record high, figures show

Young people most likely to identify as LGB, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) The number of people identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) has hit a record high in the UK, new figures show. Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the figure increased by 50,000 in 2017, with… Read more »

‘It is possible to be Muslim and a lesbian’

Miriam hid her sexuality from her strict Muslim parents for years. When she eventually did come out to them, she found it impossible to translate “lesbian” into Punjabi or Urdu. She explains how the conversation put an end to her double life “playing the straight woman” but caused a rift so deep that her father… Read more »

Marriage equality campaigners urge UK govt. to extend rights to Northern Ireland

Activists want to see marriage equality reach in Northern Ireland in 2019 Marriage equality activists have urged the UK government to extend same-sex marriage laws to Northern Ireland. Campaigners said they will increase the pressure on Westminster to spread marriage equality to all parts of the UK. Stephen Donnan, a campaigner with LGBTI rights group… Read more »

Love letter between nuns shows the true story of queerness in the Middle Ages

Exclusive: GSN speaks to Professor Erik Wade about historical queerness A professor at the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany recently posted a love letter between two medieval nuns on Twitter. GSN covered the letter and how pure it was. In looking to learn more about the two women, and their possible love story, GSN… Read more »

‘Kill the Gays’ Uganda MP receives award at Britain’s Parliament

Despite her notorious homophobic views, Rebecca Kadaga received the award for being one of only a few female leaders in Africa A British thinktank has defended giving an award to the politician from Uganda behind the infamous ‘Kill the Gays’ bill. Rebecca Kadaga is the House Speaker in the Ugandan parliament and was recently award… Read more »

Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru elects its first openly gay leader

Adam Price is the first ever out gay politician to serve as party leader in Wales Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru has elected its first openly gay leader. Adam Price won the leadership challenge from the party’s incumbent leader Leanne Wood. He received 2,863 votes, while Wood got 1,286. Price served as MP from 2001… Read more »

Queer legend Oscar Wilde honored with portrait on wing of Boeing aircraft

A tribute Wilde would both love and mock Irish poet, playwright, and queer icon Oscar Wilde is being honored with a portrait on two Boeing aircraft. Norwegian airlines have launched two aircraft – a Boeing 737 MAX and a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – ahead of the legendary poet’s birthday on 16 October. The airliner often… Read more »

This is how we have made 2018 the biggest ever year for Pride in the UK

3.5 million people attended at least one parade in the United Kingdom in 2018 Pride in the UK in 2018 is officially the biggest it’s ever been. We’ve shimmied, marched, partied, advocated, demonstrated, laughed, campaigned, loved, sung, and spread the message, and this year we’ve done it in bigger numbers than ever before. As the… Read more »

This is how we have made 2018 the biggest ever year for Pride in the UK

3.5 million people attended at least one parade in the United Kingdom in 2018 Pride in the UK in 2018 is officially the biggest it’s ever been. We’ve shimmied, marched, partied, advocated, demonstrated, laughed, campaigned, loved, sung, and spread the message, and this year we’ve done it in bigger numbers than ever before. As the… Read more »

Dundee welcomes first ever Pride

The first ever Dundee Pride is due to get underway for a day-long celebration of Scotland’s LGBTI community The East Coast of Scotland will be breaking out the rainbow flags this weekend as celebrations start for the first ever Dundee Pride. Officiated over by local drag star Buschie Fandango, the event will kick off on… Read more »

In over 40 countries, laws against homosexuality are a lasting legacy of British rule

After scrapping a regressive 19th century law that criminalised homosexuality, India has joined the ranks of the few former colonies to abandon a lasting legacy of British rule. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was introduced by the British in 1861, inspired by the 1553 Buggery Act that outlawed homosexuality in England. It… Read more »

‘The king and his husband’: The gay history of British royals

Ordinarily, the wedding of a junior member of the British royal family wouldn’t attract much global attention. But Lord Ivar Mountbatten’s has. That’s because Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, is expected to wed James Coyle this summer in what has been heralded as the “first-ever” same-sex marriage in Britain’s royal family. Perhaps what… Read more »

The Economic Cost of Homophobia

Foreword It is my pleasure to present the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s report into an often ignored consequence of anti-LGBT+ criminalisation – The Economic Cost of Homophobia. This report does not consider the important human rights arguments against criminalising homosexuality. Instead, it argues that in addition to the moral considerations, nations have a monetary and economic… Read more »

The government’s treatment of gay refugees shames Britain

The Home Office is deporting desperate people to places where they face persecution – often because of colonial-era laws “My neighbours will put a tyre around my neck and set it on fire.” That is what Rosemary fears will happen if she, a lesbian, is deported by Britain back to Nigeria. She fled her homeland… Read more »

Thousands of gay and bisexual men are to be formally pardoned after a new law was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament.

Consenting sexual activity between men over the age of 21 was only decriminalised in Scotland in 1981. It was a further 20 years before the age of consent for gay men was lowered to 16. The new law will pardon men convicted of having consensual sex with other men before it was decriminalised. It will… Read more »

Northern Ireland can’t and won’t follow Ireland’s footsteps – the UK must act

Opinion: Don’t waste time on Northern Irish referendums on abortion or same-sex marriage. It would delay crucial human rights laws and could be ignored The Irish referendum result over the weekend was a truly amazing moment. It shows Ireland is a united country, with both urban and rural, behind social progress and human rights. But… Read more »

Commonwealth of homophobia: One billion live under anti-gay laws exported by Britain

As royals, politicians and diplomats gather in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), millions of their LGBT citizens continue to suffer under oppressive discriminatory laws. British colonists made laws outlawing homosexuality that reflected Britain’s own Victoria penal code, transplanting them on to every country they conquered. ? While British politicians have largely… Read more »

The Evolution of One of Fiction’s Gay Liberators

Alan Hollinghurst, one of England’s most celebrated novelists, has changed with the times and found new ways to surprise. When he was in his early 20s, Alan Hollinghurst, the English novelist, had a very English conversation with his father, a regional bank manager who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. They… Read more »

This tiny island just passed same-sex marriage

The small island of Saint Helena has passed same-sex marriage by an overwhelming parliamentary vote. The South Atlantic Ocean island of just 4,500 people saw its legislative body approve of marriage equality by nine votes to two. ? With just Governor Lisa Phillips’ approval needed to sign the bill into law, weddings could happen within… Read more »

The gay royals from history that you aren’t taught about at school

For hundreds of years, the monarchy has had hidden gay and bisexual members, sometimes more secretive than the next. Despite a member of the Royal Family rarely having come out publicly as gay or bisexual, many well-known figures lived relatively openly with same-sex partners or lovers. ? From William III to James I, the Royal… Read more »

Scotland to pardon gay men with historical convictions

Nicola Sturgeon offers apology in Holyrood to thousands of men prosecuted for having sex under old laws Thousands of gay men in Scotland prosecuted for having sex will be automatically pardoned in a new bill that will also allow many to get previous convictions removed from their records. The bill will pardon men who were… Read more »

Muslim woman reveals abuse growing up as a lesbian in Pakistan

A Muslim woman has described how hard it was growing up as a lesbian in Pakistan, where homosexuality is illegal. ‘Zayna’, 40, who moved to the UK in 2010, said she was discriminated against because of her sexuality but always stayed true to herself. Shopkeeper raped customer when she asked if she could charge her… Read more »

Prime Minister Theresa May challenged over deportation of LGBT asylum seekers

Prime Minister Theresa May has been challenged in Parliament over the deportation of LGBT asylum seekers. People can seek asylum in the UK on the grounds that they face persecution in their home country because of their sexuality or their gender identity. However, the Home Office procedures for processing LGBT asylum seekers has been repeatedly… Read more »

UK’s first same-sex Anglican church wedding takes place

The first same-sex wedding in a UK Anglican church has taken place in Scotland. The Church of England and Church in Wales are both legally banned from carrying out same-sex weddings, but the Scottish branch of Anglicanism, the Scottish Episcopal Church, is not bound by the same laws. In a break from traditional Anglican teachings,… Read more »

Lost portrait of King James’s gay lover resurfaces after 400 years

A lost portrait of King James’s rumoured gay lover has been found after more than 400 years. The portrait, by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, was rediscovered hanging in a property in Glasgow, where it had been assumed it was a copy. However the painting, was verified to be real by antiquities expert Dr Bendor… Read more »

Hate crime against gay and bisexual people in Britain rises by 78 per cent

Hate crime against gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Britain has risen by a massive 78 per cent in the last four years. The proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people who have experienced a hate crime rose from nine per cent in 2013 up to 16 per cent in 2017. The new research by… Read more »