The fight for LGBTQ+ equality

The fight for equality in the UK has been long and hard fought. The resources below provide key moments in the history of LGBTQ+ rights in Britain, and look in more detail at the lives and identities of queer and trans women.

Discover and learn

A short history of LGBTQ+ rights in the UK

Join Steven Dryden to trace the journey of the LGBTQ+ community from 1533 to today, exploring the battles for equality that were fought and the legislative changes made.

Transgender identities in the past

Centred on the story of Eliza Edwards, who was found to be ‘a perfect man’ upon their autopsy in 1833 – E-J Scott, Jay Stewart and Annie Brown discuss the challenges on finding trans lives and experiences in archives.

Mary Wilkins on falling in love

Listen as Mary Wilkins describes her experiences of falling in love in the early 20th century, and how she felt she had to ‘suffer it alone’ even though female homosexuality was never explicitly targeted by any legislation.

Scrapping Section 28

Learn about how three lesbians abseiled into the House of Lords during a debate on Section 28 – part of a government Act that stopped ‘the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship’.

Explore further

Black and white line image of 3 women with long hair

Lesbian magazines

*Arena Three* and *Sappho* were two key publications for lesbian and bisexual women in the UK from the 1960s through to the early 1980s. Explore these magazines and their impacts.

Banner reading 'Votes for Women'

The campaign for women’s suffrage

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act granted some women the right to vote in parliamentary elections; the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 gave men and women equal voting rights for the first time. Discover how suffragists and suffragettes campaigned for this democratic right.

""

Reproductive rights and the Women’s Liberation Movement

Explore the progress made by the Women’s Liberation Movement in the fight for reproductive rights in the UK.

""

Campaigns for equal pay in the 20th century

Campaigners have long fought for equality for women in the workplace. Discover some key moments from the 20th century in the fight for equal pay.

Read more

Cropped image from illustrated poster in support of the Grunwick Dispute 1977. It shows a line of women holding placards demanding union access

Remembering the Grunwick dispute

The Grunwick dispute marked a critical moment in labour history in the UK, especially for women and migrant workers. Sundari Anitha and Ruth Pearson look at the events leading up to the dispute and the key figure of Jayaben Desai, and examine its significance today.