Conservative MP Iain Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, told Parliament how he questioned whether he would be able to pursue his dream of entering politics because he feared a backlash over his sexuality. He worried about being “cast aside”. Homophobic bullying was rife while he was a boy at school in Glasgow, and it took him many years to get over the feeling of being different and isolated.
Then he criticised the Tories’ defeated and discredited section 28 legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government banning schools and councils from promoting homosexuality.
“Just looking at a career you want to pursue, and thinking you can’t, is very damaging. I, for a long time in my teenage years and early 20s when I decided that politics was my passion and this was a career I wanted to pursue, I did think for a time, “actually I can’t do it”. I would live in fear of being revealed for who I was, something that was so innate in me – I can’t change being gay, that’s the way I was born. It’s as natural as being left-handed, right-handed, or the colour of your hair, or whatever. But I felt I can’t pursue a career in politics because I’m so afraid that I’d be cast aside and prevented from doing it, exposed, whatever, because of who I was. And that was in the late 1980s, early 1990s.”
That’s why we fought it.
Orlando United | 17002
Orlando City’s Soccer Club has unveiled 49 rainbow seats in its stadium, in honour of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting of June 2016. The team has replaced a section of seating in the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
It is the latest in a line of tributes the Soccer Club has paid to the victims of the incident.
It was in 1967 the UK law was changed to legalise homosexuality between two consenting males. The 1967 act amended the law of England and Wales regarding homosexual activity, with Scotland following suit in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982.
The British Museum’s new exhibition will highlight the previously-hidden gay histories within its collection, and creates a treasure map of historic LGBTQ moments and objects held by the museum.
The Museum has a coin featuring the Roman emperor Hadrian on one side, and his male lover Antinous on the reverse. Antinous, who would have been part of a harem of the emperor’s lovers, drowned in the Nile river during a lion hunt, leaving the emperor distraught.
Other events will be taking place across the UK at the British Museum, the Red House, the Walker in Liverpool, the Russell-Cotes museum and gallery, and more.
Gaétan Dugas | Anonymous/Associated Press | 16489gh
The alleged “Patient Zero” of the American AIDS epidemic was a French Canadian flight attendant named Gaétan Dugas, who died of AIDS in 1984. Mr Dugas was exonerated last week. Far from being the instigator of an epidemic, he was merely one of thousands of its victims.
There’s a more detailed article on our sister website, Gay History.
Highbury Fields, 1971. Picture: Islington Local History Centre | 16460ga
A new LGBT archive is being created in Islington, London, a borough steeped with LGBT history. Today Islington council launched an appeal for people to scour their homes for LGBT memorabilia – photos, posters, flyers etc – to build the archive, which is likely to be housed at Islington Museum in St John Street.
150 brave campaigners held Britain’s first ever gay rights protest in November 1970 in Highbury Fields. A torchlight rally was organised by the Gay Liberation Front in response to the arrest of Louis Eakes in the Fields. Mr Eakes, of the Young Liberals, was detained for cruising several men in a police entrapment operation. Mr Eakes claimed he was asking them for a light.
Germany is set to compensate up to 50,000 men convicted under a historic law which was still in effect until the late 1960s. “Paragraph 175” was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, and made homosexual acts between men a criminal offence.
Since the end of World War II, a total of over 140,000 men were convicted, and 50,000 were prosecuted under Paragraph 175. €30m will be made available in compensation to survivors, depending on individual cases, and taking the length of sentence into consideration.
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the draft law, which will be formally announced later in October, will offer “relatively uncomplicated” individual claims, as well as allowing for collective claims.
Derek Kendall/The Historic England Archive | 16407ga
The homes of Oscar Wilde (pictured), Benjamin Britten and Anne Lister are being relisted as part of a gay history project undertaken by Historic England, Pride of Place.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said buildings and places were witnesses to events that shaped society, but lesbian and gay stories had often been neglected. “Too often, the influence of men and women who helped build our nation has been ignored, underestimated or is simply unknown, because they belonged to minority groups. Our Pride of Place project is one step on the road to better understanding just what a diverse nation we are, and have been for many centuries. At a time when historic LGBTQ venues are under particular threat, this is an important step.”
Police officers stand on the steps of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto in the early hours of Feb. 7, 1981 after gay rights demonstrators marched there in protest of the arrests on Feb. 5, 1981 of 253 men in four city steam baths | The Canadian Press/UPC/Gary Hershorn | 16242ga
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders made a historic apology today for raids on four gay bathhouses in the Canadian city that took place 35 years ago. The events caused activists to mobilise for gay rights in Canada. He called the raids “one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.” The February 1981 event was notable for its “destructiveness” and that the raids did not occur on only one night.
“The 35th anniversary of the 1981 raids is a time when the Toronto Police Service expresses its regrets for those very actions. It is also an occasion to acknowledge the lessons learned about the risks of treating any part of Toronto’s many communities as not fully a part of society.”
“Recognizing diversity requires consistently renewed practice strategies and reaching out to communities and vigilance in challenging stereotypes. Policing requires building mutual trust and that means forging links with the full range of communities that make up this extraordinary city. The Toronto Police Service recognizes the lessons from that period have continuing relevance for the creation of a more inclusive city.”
Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun and a colleague paid a visit to one of the bath houses at the time, in search of a story.
…Subsequent to the raids on the four bathhouses in which 300 men were arrested for being found-ins or operators of a bawdy house, I was assigned by the Sun to spend the night in one with fellow reporter John Paton. …On the night of our own Operation Soap, I was nervous lining up to get into the Romans II bathhouse on Bay St., mainly because I didn’t know what to expect.
The fact you had to check-in and be admitted through a secured door after paying your entry fee and receiving a towel didn’t help.
What would I say if I was propositioned? Would there be orgies? If I saw someone underage being compelled into sexual acts, wouldn’t I have a moral obligation to intervene?
Nothing like that happened.