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50th Anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 – Your guide to Legal Events celebrating the landmark legislation

2017 marks the 50th anniversary the Sexual Offences Act 1967 which decriminalized private homosexual acts. The Act marks the landmark legal decision to decriminalize homosexual acts in England and Wales. Prior to this, homosexual acts were punishable by imprisonment and were a criminal offence.

The Act was passed following the increased arrests and widespread imprisonment of gay men in the 1950s which itself resulted in the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957 which recommended that it should no longer be an offence for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts. The groundbreaking report also found that “homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease” contrary to the conventional ideas of the time.

Here at Saunders, we are passionate about social justice issues and upholding the civil liberties of all people. The rights of LGBT individuals are but one of the areas of social justice we work within. With a skilled and knowledgeable Civil Liberties department, we continually fight for the civil rights of our clients.

If you think your rights may have been infringed, call us on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online for a free, no obligation discussion.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, here is a selection of legal events celebrating this momentous legal turning point in LGBT history.

The University of Westminster have invited Peter Tatchell, Human rights campaigner and now the Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation to discuss the 50th anniversary focusing on police persecution at the time as well as discuss LGBT reforms.

Event details: 16 February, 6pm @ Regent Campus, University of Westminster, W1B 2HW.
Reserve your place here.

Hogan Lovells LLP will hold a panel discussion titled “Our Story: The History of LGBT Rights in the UK”. The evening will cover topics such as the evolution of LGBT-focused legislation and the effects these laws have had on LGBT life both in the UK and their consequences abroad. Panel members will include Patrick Lyster-Todd, the Director of Pride in London and the first British Armed Forces officer to transition gender, Caroline Paige.

Event details: 21 February, 6pm @ Hogan Lovells LLP London office, EC1A 2FG.
Book your place here.

The LSE Library have put on an exhibition titled “Glad to be gay: the struggle for legal equality” charting LGBT history from its early days, up to the passing of the 1967 Act and the subsequent campaigns and milestones achieved since. The exhibition draws from Hall-Carpenter Archives (the largest resource of gay activism history since the Wolfenden Report) and the Women’s Library collection, and runs until 7 April 2017.

Exhibition details: Free entry, 1 February 2017 – 7 April 2017 @ LSE Library, WC2A 2HD.

The Law Society are doubly celebrating February as LGBT History month and are holding a panel event to discuss the 1967 Act’s impact on both societal attitudes as well as its impact on the legal profession. Panel members will include various members of the legal profession and notably, Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls.

Event details: 28 February, 6pm @ The Law Society, WC2A 1PL.
Register here.

The National Archives at Kew are holding an afternoon of talks covering a variety of subjects from the role of lesbians in securing women’s suffrage to trans veterans from the British Armed Forces. Mark Dunton, of the National Archives, will give a talk discussing the 1967 Act and its context – covering the Wolfenden Committee’s recommendations and political attitudes to homosexuality in the 1960s and 1950s.

Event details: 11 February, 1:30pm – 5:30pm @ The national Archives, TW9 4DU.
Tickets and more info available here.

CMS Cameron McKenna are organizing a night of discussion exploring the evolution of LGBT rights over the past 50 years since the 1967 Act was passed. The evening titled: “LGBT History – a changing landscape?” will include speakers such as: Peter Tatchell; Lisa Power MBE, co-founder of the charity Stonewall; and Benjamin Cohen, CEO of PinkNews.

Event details: 15 February, 6:30pm @ CMS Cameron McKenna LLP London office, EC4N 6HN.
Register here to book your place. Limited availability.

The University of Birmingham is holding a talk: “Transgender Jurisprudence: Moving Beyond (Gender) Regulation.” Given by lecturer Flora Renz, the talk will dissect the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and discuss its effect on the lives of trans individuals and how the law and gender interact.

Free to attend, more details here: 23 February, 5:15pm @ University of Birmingham B15 2TT.

The People’s History Museum in Manchester is celebrating the passing of the 1967 Act and LGBT History Month by hosting a day of talks and activities. A wide variety of talks are on offer to accompany the museum’s new exhibition: “Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights.” Subjects covered by the numerous talks include the relationship between lesbian sexuality and the law, the role of trade unions in the fight for LGBT equality as well as a talk given by Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation.

The day will also include performances both at the museum and off-site as well as tours of the exhibition and the museum’s LGBT artifacts.

Event details: 26 February, 11am – 5pm @ The People’s History Museum, Manchester, M3 3ER.
Programme of the day’s events available here.





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