In 1988, 20 women and men, most of whom had been active in gay politics long before the campaign against Section 28, which had brought me into their world, felt that the campaign should continue and broaden its demands. They planned a professional lobby group. It was an education to follow the legal arguments for our constitution and about law reform, to clarify our aims, to catch the excitement of single-issue politics. Mostly I listened. Someone even had to tell me about the Stonewall riots after which the group would be named.
The founding of Stonewall was confirmed in my house at a press conference attended by three sceptical journalists from the gay press. Not all gay people approved. We were self-appointed, not democratic like the grassroots Campaign for Homosexual Equality. We would tend to play things safe, not be radical enough in word or deed like Peter Tatchell and Outrage!. A group of middle-class Londoners had no right to represent all gay people in the UK.
Over 20 years, Stonewall's success in diplomatically initiating law reform has belied these initial worries. From the outset, Stonewall had depended on volunteers of whom I'm one. The daily work is done by Ben Summerskill, the current director, and his staff of 20.
Any one interested in legal and social equality for gay people in UK should know about Stonewall's essential initiatives - www.stonewall.org.uk
1990: This Age of Discrimination
Throughout its recent leader "Homosexual Politics", The Times misuses the crucial word. Let us be clear. 'Homosexual" can refer to either gender. But the age of consent at issue concerns only gay men. Read More
1993: On the Anniversary of Oscar Wilde's Arrest
In London 98 years ago, as today, two of the most popular hits in the West End Theatre were An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. 98 years ago this week, the author’s name was removed from the hoardings outside the theatres and, shortly after, the plays themselves were taken off. Read More
1993: URGENT: to Simon Garfield from Ian McKellen
"Should the age of consent - that is the age at which people can legally have sex together in private - be the same for everyone irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation, or not?" Read More
1994: It is a Question of Human Rights, Not Numbers
I was on a TV phone-in last week and during the course of a quarter of an hour segment, there were 2,000 calls from young men in the country who wanted to know how to tell their parents they were gay. Read More
2008: Stonewall Equality Dinner Keynote
It was 20 years ago. The biggest story regarding gay people in this country was about AIDS, and our lives were beginning to become a matter of public discussion. Read More