Stonewall marks 30 years of fighting for equality

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To celebrate its anniversary, Stonewall has launched a new national out-of-home advertising campaign

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24th May 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Stonewall, Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, is marking 30 years since the organisation was founded to oppose Section 28.

Back in 1989, the newly introduced law effectively banned conversations about same-sex relationships in school.

It ushered in a dark era where homophobic bullying flourished, and young LGBT people were left to suffer in silence.

This devastating legislation also forced LGBT teachers into the closet or out of a job.

The struggle to repeal Section 28 took years, but its impact is still felt today. Stonewall’s 2017 research found that half of LGBT pupils (52%) still hear homophobic slurs “frequently” or “often”, down from seven in 10 in 2012.

Sir Ian McKellen, Lord Michael Cashman, Lisa Power and 11 other founders set up Stonewall with the specific aim of stopping Section 28. Although Section 28 eventually passed, what the founders created went on to become one of the most successful campaigning organisations.

Stonewall has since grown into a strategic LGBT charity and, working alongside activists and fellow campaigning organisations, it has helped secure key legislative changes that have transformed the lives of LGBT people.

Full LGBT equality is still not yet a reality and Stonewall is currently campaigning for full equality for trans people, inclusive education for all schools and equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

To celebrate its anniversary, Stonewall has launched a new national out-of-home advertising campaign.

The campaign shows eight LGBT people and families living the reality of legislative change. Their stories bring to life the progress made in areas from marriage and family rights, to workplace protections and LGBT-inclusive education. It also shows where work is still needed, such as trans equality. 

To coincide with the 30th birthday campaign launch, the charity has also teamed up with Aardman animations on a new short film to showcase the history of Stonewall and LGBT equality featuring Sir Ian McKellen.

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall said: “Our 30th birthday is a hugely exciting milestone, where we get to look back at how much we’ve achieved. Britain’s LGBT movement has won major victories on employment rights, parenting rights, partnership rights, serving in the military and equal age of consent. But we can’t be complacent.

‘The divisive debates we’ve seen recently around LGBT-inclusive education have echoed the conversations that took place when Section 28 was introduced. We fought long and hard against those dark times, but two years of debates about trans people’s existence in the media and online have put us in danger of going backwards.

“When we question one group’s right, we expose the rights of everyone to be questioned and debated. Now more than ever, we need everyone who cares about equality to show their support to make the world a better place for every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person.”