1988 The Section 28 amendment, which banned local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexuality, comes into force.

Section 28Section 28Ian McKellen speaks publicly about his sexuality for the first time.

1989 On 20th May 1989 Stonewall is formed by a small group of men and women to oppose Section 28 and other barriers to equality.

Stonewall organises the first lesbian and gay receptions held at the Liberal Democrat, Labour & Conservative Party conferences.

1990 Lesbian and gay police officers meet to establish the Gay Police Association in September.

Gay Police Association

1991 Ian McKellen meets Prime Minister John Major. This is the first time any sitting Prime Minister has met with a gay rights activist
1992 Angela Mason joins Stonewall as Director.

Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) is founded.

The World Health Organisation declassifies homosexuality as a mental illness.

Press for Change was founded. The organisation offers lobbying and legal support for trans people in the UK.

1993 Stonewall begins the first major campaign for an equal age of consent.

The Case for Change
1994 The House of Commons vote for the gay male age of consent to be lowered to 18, still unequal.

Campaign to reduce the age of consent  Campaign to reduce the age of consentThe first pre-watershed lesbian kiss is broadcast on Channel 4’s Brookside.

1995 Almost 200,000 people attend London Pride in Victoria Park, East London, making it the biggest ever to date.

London Pride 1995  London Pride 1995

1996 Inland Revenue publish new guidelines recognising same-sex partners in pension schemes.Lisa Grant challenges South West Trains for sex discrimination for refusing to provide benefits for her same-sex partner.

1997Stephen Twigg is elected and becomes the first openly gay MP. In September Angela Eagle becomes Britain’s first MP to voluntarily come out as a lesbian.


In June the House of Commons vote to lower the age of consent for gay men to 16. However, a month later the House of Lords defeat the clause.

Waheed Alli becomes the first openly gay member of the House of Lords.

1999 The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho is bombed in a homophobic attack, killing three people and injuring over 70.

The television series Queer As Folk premieres on Channel 4.

2000 On 12th January the UK Government lifts the ban on gay people serving in the armed forces.

2001 After years of campaigning by Stonewall, the age of consent for gay men is lowered to 16. Equal at last!

 Stonewall sets up the Diversity Champions programme to help employers who want to treat their lesbian, gay and bisexual employees fairly.

Stonewall Scotland is founded.

2003 Ben Summerskill takes over from Angela Mason as Chief Executive of Stonewall.

New laws outlaw discrimination against lesbians, gay or bisexual people at work.

  On 18th November Section 28 is repealed in England and Wales. A huge victory for Stonewall!

Stonewall Cymru is founded.

2004 The Civil Partnership Act is passed.

The Gender Recognition Act is passed, allowing transgender people to change their legal gender, lobbied for by Press for Change.

2005 Jody Dobrowski is murdered on Clapham Common in a homophobic attack. His mum, Sheri, is voted Hero of the Year at the first Stonewall Awards for her articulate, heartfelt and compassionate speech outside the Old Bailey at the trial.

The first civil partnership takes place on 5th December.


  Sir Elton John and David Furnish are among the first to enter a civil partnership.

Stonewall launches the Education for All campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 comes into force, granting same-sex couples equal adoption rights.

2006 Stonewall launches the Stonewall Awards, celebrating achievements for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality. This goes on to become one of the organisation’s largest annual events.


2007 Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses Stonewall’s Equality Dinner.

8,728 civil partnerships are conducted.

 Stonewall launches its iconic ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ campaign.> IMAGE GALLERY

Stonewall’s recommended goods and services protections become law.
2008 The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act gives lesbian parents the right to have both names on the birth certificate of their child.

The Army becomes Stonewall’s 400th Diversity Champion.

2009 Stonewall conducts the first large scale study of lesbian and bisexual women’s health, Prescription for Change, resulting in improvements for women.

In September, Ian Baynham is beaten to death in a homophobic attack in Trafalgar Square.
  David Cameron apologises on behalf of the Conservative Party for the introduction of Section 28.

The law changes in Scotland in September to give same-sex couples equality in adoption and fostering.

The rugby star Gareth Thomas comes out as gay.

2010 The Equality Act 2010 is passed.
Ten years after the ban on gays in the military is lifted, all armed forces are members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme.

Stonewall releases FIT, the first ever film for schools to tackle homophobic bullying.

The new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred comes into force.

2011 The Department of Health lifts the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.

The "Alli Amendment" permits the celebration of civil partnerships in religious buildings.

Stonewall amends its charitable objectives to campaign internationally.

Ruth Davidson, an open lesbian, is elected to lead the Scottish Tory party.

 Stonewall’s Hero of the Year 2011 Roger Crouch gives a speech about the tragic suicide of his son Dominic at the annual Education Conference.

Read his speech here. Sadly, Roger later took his own life.

Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy are successful in their case against B&B owners who refused them a double room on the basis of their sexual orientation.

2012 The Protection of Freedoms Act is passed, allowing for historic convictions for consensual gay sex to be removed from criminal records.

London hosts the 2012 Olympics, which is hailed as the most diverse games ever, yet only 10 medallists are openly LGB.

Explicit references to homophobic bullying are introduced into Ofsted’s inspection framework.

2013 The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed in England and Wales.> IMAGE GALLERY


 Stonewall sends rainbow laces to all the professional football clubs in the UK to encourage players to show their commitment to stamping out homophobia from the sport.

Russia introduces anti-gay propaganda laws and Uganda passes a bill increasing sentences for those found guilty of homosexuality. In India, homosexual acts are re-criminalised by the Indian Supreme Court.

 Stonewall’s ’Gay. Let’s get the meaning straight’ campaign launches in schools to address the widespread use of homophobic language.

Stonewall launches the Global Diversity Champions programme.

Olympic diver Tom Daley comes out as bisexual, becoming a YouTube sensation.

2014 Ben Summerskill stands down as Chief Executive of Stonewall and Ruth Hunt is appointed Acting Chief Executive.

The Scottish Government passes legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.

 Casey Stoney, England Women’s football captain, comes out as lesbian.

The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales take place on 29th March 2014.> IMAGE GALLERY

Stonewall launches its No Bystanders campaign, to build a worldwide movement to tackle bullying and abuse.

Changes in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act means couples are no longer automatically required to dissolve their marriage should one partner change gender. However, the Act introduced provisions meaning their husband or wife must give consent to stay in the marriage before a Gender Recognition Certificate can be issued.

#LotsToDoClick here to find out about our latest campaigns.  Click here to find out how you can get involved.


Lots Done

In 2014 Stonewall turned 25. We’ve seen remarkable achievements for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality in Britain since we were founded in 1989 and we’re hugely proud of being part of these changes. To celebrate, we’ve pulled together our highlights to date. Browse the timeline above to see how far we’ve come in a quarter of a century!Sadly, we still have Lots To Do to completely change hearts and minds, in Britain and around the world. So find out about our current campaigns and how you can Get Involved.While you’re here, why not also share your stories? We’d love to hear from you! Video: Stonewall 25th Anniversary