LGBT rights are moving forward at a steady rate throughout the UK, and nowhere has this become more obvious than in the English capital. This brief article outlines key events in LGBT history.
2002 – 2012
In 2002, the British Parliament granted same-sex couples equal rights to adopt. Alan Duncan publicly came out, becoming the first Conservative MP to do so. In 2003, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland repealed Section 28, which banned schools and councils from “promoting” homosexuality.
The Labor Government passed the Civil Partnership Act in 2004. The act gave same-sex couples the same responsibilities and rights as heterosexual couples. Subsequently, the Gender Recognition Act was passed that same year. It gives trans men and trans women in London and elsewhere legal recognition as members of their chosen gender. They can now have a new birth certificate issued among other administrative conveniences.
In 2008, London hosted the Olympic Games and World Pride. Unfortunately, the Pride committee was unable to obtain sufficient funding and had to cancel a lot of the events.
2013 – 2019
The coalition government introduced the Bill on Same-Sex Couples in 2013. It came into force later that year. Queen Elizabeth II granted renowned scientist Alan Turing a posthumous pardon. Nikki Sinclaire became the first openly trans member of the UK Parliament that same year.
In 2014, England and Wales legalized same-sex marriage under the Same-Sex Couples Act. Queen Elizabeth II offered praise to the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard of London, an organization whose history spans four decades.
In 2016, there were a total of 40 LGBT UK members of Parliament, which is a world record. Nicholas Chamberlain came out as gay, becoming the first bishop in the Church of England to do so. In this period, developments in the culture scene weren’t as positive. According to a study by University College London, the number of LGBT culture spaces, bars, and clubs in the English capital decreased dramatically between 2006 and 2017 – from 121 to just 51.
Andy Street became the country’s first openly gay metro mayor to be elected directly in 2017. Robert Millar (now Philippa York) came out as transgender that year, becoming the first professional cyclist to have had a public transition. York is one of the most successful cyclists in the world.
In 2019, Laverne Cox became the first openly trans woman to be featured on the cover of British Vogue. She was chosen by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, as guest editor. Baritone Lucia Lucas became the first trans singer to take part in an English National Opera performance in London.