Posters thumbnailsNot 'gay rights'; but 'equal rights'. Since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the 1960s, there has been much campaigning for lesbian and gay people to have the same rights as heterosexuals. Along the way, legal milestones have included:

  • Equalisation of the age of consent to 16.
  • Repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.
  • Lifting of the ban on gay people in the armed forces.
  • Protection from discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation.
  • Creation of civil partnerships.

Despite the many changes, gay people cannot marry, are discriminated against by religion-based employers, are not protected from discrimination when it comes to products and services, and still face inequitable practices when it comes to such things as donating blood.

Equality is more than just a legislative issue - it is also an ethical and social one. How would a heterosexual person react if they couldn't walk down a street hand-in-hand with their partner without the fear of being attacked? Attitudes need to change, and homophobia die, before gay people can truly be described as equal.

People living with HIV can face stigmatisation and discrimination on the basis of their HIV+ status. See our section HIV-related discrimination for more information.