Age Of Consent: LGBT History Month
The age of consent refers to the age at which you can legally have sex.
Did you know the age of consent for heterosexuals in the UK is 16 and has been since 1885?
The age of consent for homosexuals has a colourful history.
Read on to find out more.
Age Of Consent Timeline
1861 The death penalty for homosexuality was abolished in England.
1885 Heterosexual age of consent rises from 13 to 16.
1967 The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalises sex between two men over 21 and ‘in private’. It did not extend to the Merchant Navy or the Armed Forces, or Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, where sex between two men remained illegal.
1977 A Bill to reduce the age of consent to 18 is defeated in the UK House of Lords.
1980 Sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ is decriminalised in Scotland.
1982 The Homosexual Offences Order decriminalises sex between two men over the age of 21 ‘in private’ in Northern Ireland.
1983 UK Crown Dependency, Guernsey, decriminalises sex between two men.
1990 The UK Crown Dependency of Jersey decriminalises sex between two men.
1992 The UK Crown Dependency of Isle of Man repeals sodomy laws (homosexuality was still illegal until 1994).
1992 Stonewall begins its first major campaign for an equal age of consent in the UK.
1994 The UK House of Commons moves to equalise the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to 16. The vote is defeated and the age of consent is instead lowered from 21 to 18. An age of consent for same-sex relations between women is not set.
1994 The UK Crown Dependency of Isle of Man fully decriminalises homosexuality.
1997 Euan Sutherland complained to the European Commission of Human Rights that the age of consent for gay people was two years higher than for heterosexual people. The Commission ruled in Euan’s favour, leading to the equalisation of the age of consent in 2001.
1998 In June, The House of Commons votes to lower the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to 16 in England. However, a month later the House of Lords defeats the clause.
2000 Stonewall’s campaign to reduce the age of consent for same-sex relations between men aged 16 is successful as changes are made to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000. Group sex between men is also decriminalised.
2001 The age of consent is lowered to 16 (having been lowered from 21 to 18 in 1994), making it the same as the age of consent for straight people
2006 In the Isle of Man the age of consent is equalised and Section 28 is repealed.
About Gina Battye
Gina Battye is a world-renowned LGBT+ Inclusion, Psychological Safety and Intersectionality Consultant and Trainer for Multinational Corporations, Fortune 500s, TV, Film and the Global Press.
As featured in: Sky News, BBC Radio, Forbes, Psychologies, Cosmopolitan.
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