LGBTQ+ Pride Flag

LGBT+ History Month: the history of LGBTQ+ employment rights

February is LGBT+ History Month – a month dedicated to raising awareness of and combating prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. The awareness month has taken place every year since 2005. This year’s theme is ‘Politics In Art: The Arc Is Long’.

To commemorate the month, here is a brief timeline of the history of LGBTQ+ rights and employment.

  • 1967 – The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises sex between two men over 21 and ‘in private’ in England and Wales.
  • 1992 – World Health Organisation declassifies same-sex attraction as a mental illness.
  • 1996 – The landmark case – P vs S and Cornwall County Council – finds that an employee who was about to undergo gender reassignment was wrongfully dismissed. The case is the first piece of case law, anywhere in the world, which prevented discrimination in employment because someone is trans.
  • 1999 – The European Court of Human Rights rules that the discharge of two Royal Navy personnel on the basis of their sexual orientation is a breach of their right to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • 2000 – The UK Government lifts the ban on lesbians, gay men and bi people serving in the armed forces.
  • 2001 – Stonewall launches their Diversity Champions programme to help employers who want to treat their LGBTQ+ employees fairly. (Work Well, as part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust is a member!)
  • 2003 – Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations becomes law in the UK, making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gay and bi people in the workplace.
  • 2004 – The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is passed giving trans people full legal recognition in their appropriate gender.
  • 2010 – The Equality Act 2010 officially adds gender reassignment as a protected characteristic.

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and are unemployed or experiencing difficulties at work, support is available. Check to see if you’re eligible for one of our supported employment services or contact the Work Well Advice Line for confidential advice.