14 / 5 / 2015 4.49pm
James Taylor is head of campaigns at Stonewall.
Just over a year ago on 29 March 2014, England and Wales witnessed a milestone for equality as same-sex marriage came into law.
Since then, we’ve seen countless couples across England, Scotland and Wales celebrate with spectacular ceremonies to rapturous response.
For some people, this was and still is seen as the final hurdle in the battle for lesbian, gay and bisexual legislative equality. And to an extent, those people are right.
Stonewall was founded in response to Section 28, a piece of legislation that banned the ‘promotion of homosexuality within schools’. Since 1989, Stonewall has come a long way, as has progress for the lesbian, gay and bisexual community it has historically represented.
The ban on gay people serving openly in the military was lifted, Section 28 was repealed, the age of consent was made equal and it became illegal to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
Now, often dismissively, people say: ‘You’ve got marriage. What’s left?’ It’s assumed that now LGB people are equal in law, our fight for acceptance is over.
However, we know that this is far from the case:
- Over 75,000 young people will be bullied this year simply for who they are
- 1 in 5 lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience hate crime on our streets
- 7 in 10 fans have witnessed homophobia on our football terraces.
And there is still much to do on trans equality. Trans people are still not equal in law, and a number of laws affecting trans people must still be addressed. Since becoming trans-inclusive in February 2015, after a six-month consultation with over 700 trans people, Stonewall will be integrating trans equality across all our work from challenging bullying in schools to tackling hate crime on our streets, we’ll be using our voice and 25 years of experience to help create real change for trans people.
Whilst it certainly is fantastic that we’re now able to marry our same-sex partner in the same way as our other friends and families could before us – lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality is still far from won in Britain. We need your help to continue doing this, and progress Stonewall’s work improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Britain and abroad.
Because for better and for worse, there is still so much left to do.
Stonewall is renowned for its campaigning and lobbying. Some major successes include helping achieve the equalisation of the age of consent, lifting the ban on LGB people serving in the military, securing legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt and the repeal of Section 28. More recently Stonewall has helped secure civil partnerships and then equal marriage and ensured the recent Equality Act protected lesbian, gay and bisexual people in terms of goods and services.
Find out more about the work of Stonewall on their website.