Five decades after the landmark legislation that changed gay rights forever, how far has the LGBT community come and how far does it have left to go?

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised private homosexual acts between two men over the age of 21. Whilst the act was a significant victory for the LGBT+ community, battles are still being fought across the country to bring true equality, whether it’s campaigning for same sex marriage and adoption or asking a bakery to make your wedding cake.

Our panel, featuring some of Britain’s most influential LGBT+ figures, Polari founder Paul Burston, activist Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, will celebrate some of their own LGBT heroes, discuss how much progress has been made over the past half-century, and assess what issues the community still has to tackle today.

 

 

About The Speakers

Paul Burston

Paul Burston is the critically-acclaimed author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His latest novel The Black Path, was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016 and was a bestseller at WH Smith. He is the host of the award-winning LGBT literary salon Polari at the Southbank Centre, and founder of the Polari First Book Prize.

Photo by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris

Phyll Opuko-Gyimah

Phyll is co-founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride.  She also sits on the Board for Justice for Gay Africans which focuses on Human Rights, challenging racism and discrimination. In 2015, Phyll was named in the Independent’s Rainbow List as one of the top 100 most influential LGBT people.

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967. He is a member of the queer human rights group OutRage!, and the left-wing of the Green Party. Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally.

About The Author

Simon Hall

Simon Hall is Professor of Modern History at the University of Leeds. His research interests lie in the post-war social and political history of the United States – with a particular focus on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the anti-Vietnam War protests, and the gay liberation struggle – as well as global protest and rebellion during the Cold War. His most recent book, 1956: The World in Revolt (London: Faber and Faber, 2016), is out now in paperback.