Supporting LGBT Pride Month 2021 …. and there is lots to be proud of!

FLiP is proud to support LGBT Pride Month which lasts throughout June 2021. You may notice our firm’s logo has taken on the rainbow colours as just one indication of our support.

But what it is and why is it important?

LGBT Pride Month is an annual event that takes place in June. June, because that was when the Stonewall riots took place in New York City in 1969, an event that is often cited as the catalyst for the subsequent changes in the law that gradually improved the lives of LGBT individuals and families.

How has the law relating to LGBT issues changed in the UK since 1969?

The short answer is “very considerably”. In fact, changes started a little before 1969. It was 1967 when homosexual acts between men were largely decriminalised.  The Sexual Offences Act 1967, section 1 said: ‘A homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of 21 years’.  However, as the age of consent for heterosexuals was 16 then, the legislation itself was discriminatory. It was not until the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 that the age of consent was finally equalised.

Also in 2003 the Local Government Act 2003 was implemented. This repealed section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which had prohibited local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexuality and prevented them from spending money on educational materials and projects perceived to promote a gay lifestyle.

Another momentous achievement was the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 which became law on 5 December 2005. The Act created a marriage equivalent for lesbians and gay men but fell short of calling it marriage. That changed on 29 March 2014 when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 became law, finally allowing marriage for same sex couples.

So why is Pride Month important?

A possibly trite reply would be to say that rights that took so long to acquire can be lost and unless we remain vigilant and mark these occasions we might find attitudes and therefore the law regressing.

Also we must not forget the “T” in LGBT. Even in the UK where trans individuals have protection, there remain things that could be improved. It remains necessary for an individual to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria before they can transition, something that arguably stigmatises trans people by perpetuating the assumption that being trans is a mental illness. Similarly, as late as 2020 the High Court effectively trounced the concept of Gillick competence for young people by preventing the practice of prescribing puberty blocking drugs for trans children.  These and similar issues continue to make life less equal for trans people.

However, Pride Month and the events that mark LGBT rights are also important because there are many LGBT individuals around the world who continue to face significant discrimination. There are now 29 jurisdictions that accept same sex marriage, with Taiwan being the latest in 2019 (the only Asian country). So that leaves 166 countries where LGBT couples do not have full equality. More worryingly, gay sex remains illegal in many jurisdictions with the death penalty still applying in 8. These 8 are all countries where Sharia law applies and includes the popular holiday destination of Dubai (as part of the UAE). We need to show that such discrimination is not acceptable and do what we can to foster change.

At Family Law in Partnership we are leading experts in all issues relating to same sex couples including civil partnership agreements and same sex marriages, parenting and children issues and financial arrangements following a divorce or separation. Director David Allison is one of the leading experts in this area of law. For expert advice contact David or any of our other leading divorce and family lawyers at Family Law in Partnership E: or T: 020 7420 5000