How these LGBTI people’s lives have changed in 50 years and fighting for equality

Image credit: Desmond Charles Perry-Wong


Article on How these LGBTI people’s lives have changed in 50 years –

LGBTI older people have been sharing their heartbreaking experiences as the UK marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales.

Gay Star News spoke to members of Opening Doors London are a community group for older LGBTI people.

They speak about leading double lives, hiding their identity because of the crushing fear of being found out.

The Sexual Offences Act received Royal Assent on 27th July 1967

This partial decriminalization only made homosexual activity taking place in private premises legal.

Legislation repealed the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for gay sex between two men in private, over the age of 21.

Margaret, a trans woman, said the UK was a very different and rigid society 50 years ago:

‘You left school, you got a job, you got married, you had kids… but that’s what you did because everyone else did it.’

The LGBTI seniors also had a message for young people.

Marion is a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front. She spoke about a swinging pendulum of changing rights in history, warning:

‘They may have the struggle to face… if they know what happened before they’ll be better prepared.’

Meanwhile in Singapore,

Reference: Article on Older Gay Couples on Their Fight for Equality-

Mainstream society in Singapore was largely unaware of the existence of a local LGBT community until the publication of a groundbreaking series of articles in 1972 by the evening tabloid of the day, “New Nation” (see main article: Singapore’s first newspaper articles on the LGBT community). Indeed, there were many LGBT individuals themselves who were also ignorant of this fact until the seminal expose hit the newsstands.

Since then, courageous individuals, the first of whom were artists Jimmy Ong and Tan Peng in the early 1990s, have gradually and sporadically come out to the general public. This was initially via the local press and subsequently, as the Internet gained widespread penetration by the 2000s, more commonly through the online media.

The law was repealed in part by the Sexual Offences Act 1967 when homosexual acts were decriminalized in England and Wales, with remaining provisions being deleted later. Section 377A has been on the statute books since the 1930s and has been retained even after the Penal Code review of October 2007.

Even though the Act still exists, the community still stands strong and support their freedom to love.

Pink Dot is an annual, non-profit, free-for-all event which started in 2009 in support of the LGBTQIA community in Singapore, recently became open to Singaporeans and PRs only. The event is hosted at Hong Lim Park every year since 2009, allowing demonstrations organized by Singaporeans to be held at the park when the rules governing the activities conducted at Singapore’s speaker corner was relaxed in 2008.

“If you talk about engagement with Singapore as a whole, Pink Dot is the only platform that does that. Its mere existence helps me begin conversations with people who have questions about the LGBTQ community but don’t know how to go about it. Over the years, we’ve seen people come out because of Pink Dot, as well as support from families and straight people. ” said Olivia Chiong, during the skype call with Rice Media.

This lack of representation and visibility is why, throughout our conversation, Otto Fong, one of the LGBTQ community’s most well-known advocate constantly reiterates his support for Pink Dot.

To him, even critics can only be a good thing: “When you have objections, you will also have those who are willing to look at the other side of things. Every time Pink Dot happens, there will be conversations, especially among the young.