8 Key Moments in LGBTQ+ History

The LGBTQ+ community is rich with history and stories that need to be told. Together TV is launching its second annual Diverse Film Fund to elevate LGBTQ+ filmmakers to be able to tell stories from their community. These amazing films will add to the canon of LGBTQ+ stories and continue the conversation about LGBTQ+ lives that have been legislated against since the 16th century. 

Pride balloons

16th - 19th Century

Starting in the 16th century under the reign of Henry VIII, The Buggery Act (1533) was passed. The act targeted general sodomy, but male homosexual acts were the most commonly convicted and publicised. The Victorian Age was another period that brought controversy and legislation against LGBTQ+ communities. The Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885) specifically targeted males in the LGBTQ+ community and even encouraged blackmail against LGBTQ+ people. 

For the largest part of history people in the LGBTQ+ community have not been able to express themselves and have their voices heard, which is why having a platform to share their stories is so important. Blaise Singh’s debut short film The Beyonce Experience premiered as part of the 2021 Diverse Film Fund and shares the story of Aaron Carty who gave up a career as a police officer to live his dream of becoming a positive role model for the black LGBTQ+ community as a Beyonce drag act. Aaron’s struggle in running a media agency, producing and performing 'The Beyonce Experience,' but still finding time to volunteer for UK Black Pride is a testament to the history of the power of LGBTQ+ and minority movements. 



Aaron’s success showcases the work of those in the LGBTQ+ community who came before him. The rise of civil rights in the 1960s and 70s saw the first gay newspaper published and the first UK Gay Pride march organised in 1972. The march ran from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park with around 1,000 people marching.

Pride march


Even with progression forward and more stories being told, the LGBTQ+ community was harshly legislated against in the 1980s. Under the government of Margaret Thatcher, the Local Government Act (1988) denied local authorities from supporting their LGBTQ+ constituents, withdrew funding from arts projects, and censored LGBTQ+ educational and resource materials. 

Sex Secrets: Transexual Stories


Thoughts and policies regarding the LGBTQ+ community transitioned in the 2000s, and in 2001 the UK Government lifted the ban on lesbian, gay, and bisexual people serving in the armed forces. Before this, LGBTQ+ service members had to keep their sexual orientation secret or be fired.

LGBTQ+ military personnel and their stories have always been forced to hide, but Gamechangers: Transmilitary opens the doors to tell the story of four determined soldiers fighting to defend the freedom of their country whilst fighting for LGBTQ+ rights so they don’t need to hide their true identities. Tune in on 6 March to catch their amazing stories.


After the military policies transitioned, more legislation started coming out of the closet. The Employment Equality Regulations (2003), which overtuned Section 28, made it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the workplace. A year later, the Gender Recognition Act (2004) gave trans people full legal recognition in their appropriate gender. 

Over the course of a year, Sex Secrets: Transsexual Stories follows five different Scottish trans women as they navigate life on the road to discovering who they really are. The film showcases these women who aren’t just part of their communities and fighting for acceptance, but have ordinary jobs as bus drivers, mail couriers, and more which they could have been denied prior to 2003.


2010s and now

Rainbow bells were tolling on 17 July 2013 when the Marriage Act was passed and gave same-sex couples the opportunity to get legally married. A watershed moment for English and Welsh LGBTQ+ men dating back to before Henry VIII came in 2017 when the Policing and Crime Act pardoned all historic criminal convictions of gross indecency. A campaign for the pardon to be implemented in Scotland and Northern Ireland is ongoing.

Every February, LGBT+ History Month is an annual event organised by the UK LGBT charity, Schools OUT. The struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community as well as the events throughout history have shaped today's society, and programmes like Gamechangers: Transmilitary, Sex Secrets: Transsexual Stories, and The Beyonce Experience share amazing stories of people in the LGBTQ+ community.

rainbow flag

Enjoy Together TV anywhere, anytime.
For free.

Watch Now