Stonewall turns 30: 'There's still so much work to be done'

Stonewall is today celebrating its 30 year anniversary, marking three decades of its fight for LGBT rights, but claims there is 'still so much more to be done'.

The charity was founded in 1989 by Sir Ian McKellen, Lord Michael Cashman and Lisa Power to oppose Section 28, which was introduced to try and ban conversations about same-sex relationships in school.

However, the charity claims its impact is ‘still felt today’, with research it published in 2017 showing half of LGBT pupils (52%) still hear homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’, down from seven in 10 in 2012.

“While much of this has changed for the better, there’s still so much work to be done. Many LGBT people don’t feel safe walking down the street and the struggle for marriage equality in Northern Ireland goes on,” Stonewall co-founder Lisa Power MBE said.

“Our community is one of the strongest groups out there and we can’t stop fighting until every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person is accepted without exception.”

Since inception, Stonewall has worked alongside activists and fellow campaigning organisations to help secure key legislative changes that have transformed the lives of LBGT people.

To celebrate its anniversary and to highlight these changes, the charity has launched a new national out-of-home advertising campaign, showing eight LGBT people and families living the reality of legislative change.

It has also teamed up with Aardman animations on a new short film to showcase the history of Stonewall and LGBT equality featuring Sir Ian McKellen.

The charity’s chief executive, Ruth Hunt said: “Our 30th birthday is a hugely exciting milestone, where we get to look back at how much we’ve achieved. Britain’s LGBT movement has won major victories on employment rights, parenting rights, partnership rights, serving in the military and equal age of consent. But we can’t be complacent.

“The divisive debates we’ve seen recently around LGBT-inclusive education have echoed the conversations that took place when Section 28 was introduced. We fought long and hard against those dark times, but two years of debates about trans people’s existence in the media and online have put us in danger of going backwards.

“When we question one group’s right, we expose the rights of everyone to be questioned and debated. Now more than ever, we need everyone who cares about equality to show their support to make the world a better place for every lesbian, gay, bi and trans person.”

Stonewall is currently recruiting for a new chief executive following the announcement that Hunt will be leaving the charity in August.

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