Do you know your LGBTQ history?

Updated: Mar 26

As a counsellors working in the LGBTQ community, it’s so important we think about LGBTQ history. The timeline below shows a very brief whistle-stop account of some of the key points in LGBTQ history.

Whilst reading the list, think about what age each of your LGBTQ clients would have been in each year and consider how the laws might have affected each them.

Age is an important factor to consider in our counselling work as depending on what generation a client is in, they will have been affected in different ways.

Try to step into the frame of your clients and imagine how it might feel to have been gay at a time when it was a criminal offence to have sex with another man.

How might it have been for your clients who were not allowed to adopt a child, get married or donate blood? How might it have been to be trans and this not be a protected characteristic in the workplace? And how might it have been for it to be illegal to ‘promote homosexuality’ in schools? I write more about my experience of gay shame and Section 28 in my blog here.

As much as LGBTQ rights and laws have progressed over the past 50 years for LGBTQ folks, there is still a long long way to go. In particular, trans rights are at risk and transphobia is rising by the day in the UK.

To read more about what’s been happening over the past 5 years for trans rights, see Pink News recent article 'How did Britain become so transphobic? A brief history of government lies, media profit and trans suffering' here.

A whistle-stop of key points in LGBTQ history

Please Note: This is a very brief history. Many other major things have happened which it's important to be aware of.

  • 1967: The Sexual Offences Act decriminalises sex between two men over 21 ‘in private’

  • 1969: The Stonewall riots occur in the USA. Read more here.

  • 1979: The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (now known as World Professional Association for Transgender Health) is founded.