Parliament launches videos commemorating 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act

Besi Besemar July 9, 2017

Parliament has launched the second series of Your Story, Our History videos to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

The Sexual Offences Act decriminalised private homosexual acts between men aged over 21, while at the same time imposing heavier penalties on street offences.

Fifty years on, the videos explore the impact that Parliament has had on the LGBT+ communities in the UK. In the videos, Peter and Geoff, Nadine and Tia, and Jake, share their personal and moving experiences of how LGBT+ legislation passed by the UK Parliament has affected their lives.

Peter and Geoff comment on how the 1967 Sexual Offences Act changed their lives: “The Sexual Offences Act 1967 was a remarkable stepping-stone to what came afterwards. In 1994 the age of consent dropped to 18, and then in 2000 it became 16…finally, when the 2003 Sexual Offences Act passed I thought ‘thank goodness’…we are now absolutely in the criminal law on an equal footing with heterosexual people. I could think of younger people, our son, whatever his sexuality was going to be, and just think, well they will not have to go through all that fear that we went through…”

Nadine and Tia comment on how changes to the law affected their lives as Queer Woman of Colour: “When you are a queer woman of colour, you just feel like an anomaly a lot of the time…the Civil Partnership Act is incredibly important to me. I know that when I choose to have a family and when I choose to have children I’d really like to be able to know that my partner is an equal to me.”

Jake comments on how the Gender Recognition Act has shaped his gender identity: “For the first ten years of my life I prayed to God that I’d wake up as a boy as I was supposed to be. I never thought that I’d be happy…by the time I came to transitioning, the 2004 Gender Act had already come into effect, so I was never one of those people who wasn’t quite considered a citizen…being able to finally be seen as the male that you are on your birth certificate was just amazing. It just felt right.”

David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement, UK Parliament, said: “The Your Story, Our History films show how the legislation that Parliament has passed over the last 50 years has affected people’s lives and shaped the UK and its tolerance to different communities. We’re excited to be able to release these films this month, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.”

The #YourStoryOurHistory videos were commissioned by Parliament’s Outreach and Engagement Team as part of their ongoing programme of public engagement, which aims to demonstrate how Parliament affects people’s day to day lives, engage people the institution has not yet reached, and diversify the range of people who are involved with the work of Parliament.