This site uses cookies. By continuing, your consent is assumed. Learn more

137.6fm shares

What year did homosexuality become legal in uk


I feel ambivalent about the celebrations: The act was just a start. My new research reveals that an estimated 15,plus gay men were convicted in the decades that followed the liberalisation.

Not only was homosexuality only partly decriminalised by the act, but the remaining anti-gay laws were policed more aggressively than before by a state that opposed gay acceptance and equality. In total, from andnearlymen were arrested for same-sex acts. The legislation repealed the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for anal sex.

But it still discriminated. The age of consent was set at 21 for sex between men, compared with 16 for sex between men and women; a decision that pandered to the homophobic notion that young men are seduced and corrupted by older men.

Navigation menu

The punishment for a man over 21 having non-anal sex with a man aged was increased from two to five years. It continued to be a crime if more than two men had sex together or if they were filmed or photographed having sex by another person. Seven men in Bolton were convicted of these offences and two were given suspended jail terms — in The reform applied to only England and Wales, not being extended to Scotland until and to Northern Ireland until It did not include the armed forces or merchant navy, where sex between men remained a criminal offence.

Gay military personnel and merchant seamen could still be jailed untilfor behaviour that was no longer a crime between gay civilians. Legislation authorising the sacking of seafarers for homosexual acts on UK merchant ships was repealed only last month.

The two main gay crimes continued to be anal sex, known in law as buggery; and gross indecency, which was any sexual contact between men including mere touching and kissing.

There was also the offence of procuring — the inviting or facilitating of gay sex. The law against soliciting and importuning criminalised men chatting up men or loitering in public places with homosexual intent, even if no sexual act took place. Men were convicted under this law, before and afterfor merely smiling and winking at other men in the street. There were also arrests under ancient legislation against indecency, such as the Town Police Clauses Act and the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act The decriminalisation meant that homophobic laws were not enforced in some circumstances.

But many aspects of gay male life remained criminal. In fact, the repression grew much worse. Gay saunas were raided. Gay and bisexual men, and some lesbians, continued to be What year did homosexuality become legal in uk until the s for public displays of affection, such as kissing and cuddling, under public order and breach of the peace laws.

News feed