Stonewall was set up in 1989 to oppose Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, a viciously homophobic piece of legislation introduced by the then Conservative government. The section stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
Stonewall was named after the famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City which is widely considered to be the trigger point for the US, and wider, LGBT+ liberation movement. 28 June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the riots in New York.
The language used by Section 28 was deeply divisive and intensely homophobic. It served to perpetuate discrimination in the UK and particularly impacted children and young people.
However Section 28 also roused strong political opposition and galvanised the LGBT+ community in the UK. The nationwide campaign for the repeal of Section 28, which Stonewall took a pivitol role in, took 15 years but was eventually successful. Scotland repealed the provision in 2000 and in 2003 the rest of the UK followed suit.
More than that, Stonewall helped to change hearts and minds as it worked tirelessly for the LGB+ and now Trans community thanks to its current and sadly departing CEO, Ruth Hunt.
Stonewall has come a long way in 30 years, It has helped change the landscape for LGBT+ youth who are thankfully growing up in a more inclusive UK. But the fight isn’t over. As Stonewall say, we must strive for Acceptance Without Exception.
So we at Bindmans wish Stonewall a very Happy 30th Birthday and wish them many many happy returns!