Marking 50 years of legality

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It was in 1967 the UK law was changed to legalise homosexuality between two consenting males. The 1967 act amended the law of England and Wales regarding homosexual activity, with Scotland following suit in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982.

The British Museum’s new exhibition will highlight the previously-hidden gay histories within its collection, and creates a treasure map of historic LGBTQ moments and objects held by the museum.

The Museum has a coin featuring the Roman emperor Hadrian on one side, and his male lover Antinous on the reverse. Antinous, who would have been part of a harem of the emperor’s lovers, drowned in the Nile river during a lion hunt, leaving the emperor distraught.

Other events will be taking place across the UK at the British Museum, the Red House, the Walker in Liverpool, the Russell-Cotes museum and gallery, and more.

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/british-arts-gay-history-2017-797522


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Islington gets a gay archive

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Highbury Fields, 1971. Picture: Islington Local History Centre | 16460ga

A new LGBT archive is being created in Islington, London, a borough steeped with LGBT history. Today Islington council launched an appeal for people to scour their homes for LGBT memorabilia – photos, posters, flyers etc – to build the archive, which is likely to be housed at Islington Museum in St John Street.

150 brave campaigners held Britain’s first ever gay rights protest in November 1970 in Highbury Fields. A torchlight rally was organised by the Gay Liberation Front in response to the arrest of Louis Eakes in the Fields. Mr Eakes, of the Young Liberals, was detained for cruising several men in a police entrapment operation. Mr Eakes claimed he was asking them for a light.

http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/heritage/highbury_fields_gay_rights_demo_was_a_watershed_moment_islington_museum_to_set_up_first_lgbt_archive_1_4729260

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German victims of Paragraph 175 to get compensation at last

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Gay prisoners in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen with pink triangles. Germany, December 1938 | Unknown photographer | Socialist Worker | 16448gh

Germany is set to compensate up to 50,000 men convicted under a historic law which was still in effect until the late 1960s. “Paragraph 175” was part of Germany’s criminal code from 1871 to 1994, and made homosexual acts between men a criminal offence.

Thousands of gay and bisexual men were arrested and incarcerated in NZI concentration camps. Those who managed to escape the camps were often arrested again under Paragraph 175. The persecution continued well after the end of World War II. Gay men were often socially ostracised as well as losing their homes and jobs.

Since the end of World War II, a total of over 140,000 men were convicted, and 50,000 were prosecuted under Paragraph 175.

€30m will be made available in compensation to survivors, depending on individual cases, and taking the length of sentence into consideration.

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Heiko Maas | Heiko Maas | 16449gh

Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the draft law, which will be formally announced later in October, will offer “relatively uncomplicated” individual claims, as well as allowing for collective claims.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/germany-compensate-50000-gay-men-who-were-jailed-their-sexual-orientation-1585450

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Dublin’s gay secrets!

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Dublin in the late 1970s had a secret gay scene, based on the local coffee shops and pubs, explains Liam Collins.

There was an underground scene comprised of married men, priests and prominent public figures who lived in constant fear of being ‘outed’.

The more obvious gay scene was centred around the theatre and RTE, which was known by some in both the gay and political communities as ‘Fairyhouse’. Bartley Dunne’s pub, along with Rice’s and Tobin’s nearby, formed a triangle of ‘gay-friendly’ pubs before the term was widely in use. None of them were strictly gay and they liked to keep an eclectic clientele so that prominent figures in the legal profession, actors and the like would not stand out as being obviously homosexual at a time when it was illegal.

The response by the authorities to the murder of a gay man called Charles Self “was to round up 1,500 known gay men and build a data bank of fingerprints and photographs and ask who they slept with and for their partners’ names,” according to Brian Merriman, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. “This action traumatised and destroyed many lives.”

The Garda file notes: “Many of his friends and acquaintances can best be described as an arty set with different attitudes and behaviour patterns from that of ordinary and conventional members of society.”

in 1993, homosexuality in the Republic was decriminalised by the Minister for Justice Maire Geoghegan-Quinn after a successful legal challenge by David Norris, who is now a Senator.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/special-reports/dublins-gay-scene-was-hidden-but-it-was-thriving-34925814.html


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Remembering Everett George Klippert

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in February 2016 that he “intends to recommend that a pardon under the authority of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy be granted posthumously” to Everett George Klippert, the only Canadian to be declared a dangerous sexual offender simply because he was gay.

“Everett Klippert’s case was instrumental in the government’s decision to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults,” said Cameron Ahmad, press secretary to the Prime Minister.

Everett George Klippert was born in 1926, and was convicted of 18 counts of gross indecency by a Calgary court in 1960, and spent four years in prison after pleading guilty to having consensual sex short of intercourse with other men. (Intercourse, or “buggery,” was a separate offence.) After a second conviction in 1965 on four additional counts of gross indecency, and a sentence of a further three years, the Crown attorney in Yellowknife applied to have him designated a dangerous sexual offender.

Two psychiatrists examined Mr. Klippert and concluded that he was not a pedophile or in any way inclined to violence but he was likely to once again seek out sex with men upon his release. Justice John Sissons then designated Mr. Klippert a dangerous sexual offender, and sentenced him to life imprisonment – in effect, for being gay.

In 1967 he Supreme Court of Canada upheld the designation in a 3-to-2 ruling, causing a furor in Parliament and the press. Then-justice minister Pierre Trudeau introduced legislation that, among other provisions, decriminalized consensual homosexual acts between two adult men. “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” he told reporters.

A similar bill became law in 1969, when Mr. Trudeau was prime minister. But for reasons that remain unclear, Mr. Klippert was not released on parole until 1971, having spent a total of 10 years in prison. Mr. Klippert moved to Edmonton, where he found work as a truck driver, and died in 1996, at the age of 69.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-to-consider-pardon-for-gay-men-convicted-under-pre-1969laws/article28927302/

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/the-rocky-road-to-gay-rights

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Australia: Sydney apologises to the 78ers

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Fairfax/Getty | 16121gh

On a Saturday evening, June 24, 1978, supporters of gay rights took to the streets of Sydney, inspired by international Gay Solidarity Celebrations, which spread globally following the Stonewall Riots of 1969. A celebration at Taylor Square on Oxford Street turned into a violent police crackdown.

During the parade, demonstrators followed a single truck down the street. When the truck reached Hyde Park, where speeches were to take place, police pounced and shut down its music system and arrested the driver.

Supporters continued their march along William Street and into Darlinghurst Road and walked into a police trap, where paddy wagons and officers waited for them . There was a bloody and violent clash between police and the gay rights activists. 53 people were arrested. Many of them were subjected to ill treatment in custody.

Homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1984.

For the first time, the government of the state of New South Wales has apologised to gay rights activists who were involved in the violent 1978 parade. Many of the original group of 500 LGBT supporters, known as the “78ers,” were present in NSW Parliament on 24 February 2016 as MPs apologised on behalf of the government.

Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith presented the apology motion for “the harm and distress the events of 1978” had on the group and their families.

“We recognise that you were ill-treated, you were mistreated, you were embarrassed and shamed, and it was wrong. I hope it’s not too late that you can accept an apology but also we want to recognise that for all of that pain that you went through, you brought about fundamental change in this society and fundamental change for the many gay and lesbian people like myself, who can be open and relaxed about ourselves. You were the game changers.”

http://mashable.com/2016/02/24/apology-1978-mardi-gras/#iAg1MXrIbGqU

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Robert Leopold Spitzer

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Robert Spitzer | 15512

Robert Leopold Spitzer, an influential psychiatrist who played a defining role in creating agreed-upon standards to describe mental disorders, died on Friday 25 December 2015 in Seattle. He is credited with helping to stop homosexuality being regarded as a pathological condition.

Mr Spitzer died from complications related to heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. He was born on May 22, 1932, in White Plains, New York. He was 83.

In the early 1970s, Spitzer met with gay-rights activists and determined that homosexuality could not be called a disorder if homosexuals were comfortable with their sexuality. At the American Psychological Conference in 1973, he pushed for the association to drop homosexuality as a medical disorder from its manual. It became a major turning point for the gay rights movement.

“A medical disorder either had to be associated with subjective distress — pain — or general impairment in social function,” he told the Washington Post, explaining his reasoning. Since gay people were comfortable and happy being gay, and functioned like everyone else in their daily lives, they did not suffer from any disorder.

In 2001, after two years of interviews with 200 ‘ex-gay’ men and women who had been through sexual reorientation therapy, he courted controversy when he concluded that gay people can turn straight if they really wanted to, but in 2012 he publicly said that he wanted to redact that paper, because the study was flawed.

Some gay rights activists attribute the U.S. Supreme Court’s judgment allowing gay marriages in 2015 partially to the work done by Mr Spitzer.

http://www.ibtimes.com/robert-spitzer-psychiatrist-who-helped-transform-gay-rights-dies-83-2240335

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Ian Harvey, MP and gay campaigner

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After a career in the forces including war service, University, marriage and public service on local councils, Ian Harvey stood for Harrow East in the 1950 general election, winning the seat and holding it in the 1951 and 1955 general elections. From 1955 to 1957 he was secretary of the 1922 Committee. He was appointed a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply in 1956, becoming a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office in 1958. Unfortunately he was not there for long.

In November 1958, Harvey and a Guardsman from the Coldstream Guards were found in the bushes in St James’s Park and arrested; Harvey tried to give a false name on arrest. Both were charged with gross indecency and breach of the park regulations; when tried on 10 December, the indecency charge was dropped and both were fined £5.

‘A young guardsman in uniform passed me at a slow pace and I knew what that meant,’ he explained later. ‘I turned and caught up with him and we went into St James’s Park.’

‘If (as I fear) he is guilty, he must resign his post in the Govt and his seat in Parliament,’ then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan wrote in his diary. ‘I saw him this morning and did my best to comfort him. But it is a terrible thing and has distressed me greatly.’

Harvey resigned his ministerial post and his seat, forcing a by-election early in 1959; he paid the guardsman’s fine as well as his own.

In 1971 he published his book, To Fall Like Lucifer. From 1972 onwards he was the Vice-President of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and from 1980 onwards Chairman of the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality. He continued to serve on various public bodies until his death.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Douglas Harvey RA, born 25 January 1914, died 10 January 1987.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2339300/Liberace-Tory-minister-seduced-guardsmen–bitterly-divided-Britain-Historian-David-Kynaston-tells-battle-gay-rights-split-country.html


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Gay Marriage legal in the whole US – Supreme Court ruling 26 June 2015

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Jim Bourg/Reuters | 15157

On 26 June 2015 the US Supreme Court decided 5-4 that individual state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, and that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires all 50 states to issue marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples.

The first legal gay marriages in the US were conducted in Massachusetts in 2004. By the time of the decision, 36 states and Washington DC were allowing same sex marriages.

The case was known as Obergefell versus Hodges.

The US became the 21st nation in the world to recognise same sex marriage throughout the country.

The author of the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, wrote:

The Court now holds that same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/26/gay-marriage-legal-supreme-court


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