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Our impact

Campaigning as part of a global movement since 1989, we have helped create transformative change in the lives of LGBTQ+ people across communities in the UK.

We were founded on 24 May 1989, one year to the day since Section 28 became law. Section 28 of the Local Government Act was a piece of legislation that banned the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ by schools and councils across Britain, and led to a total suppression of LGBTQ+ identities in schools.

Our founders were a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28. They knew our communities needed a professional campaigning organisation who would fight for our rights in politics, in the media, in the courts and everywhere we learn, work, pray and just exist.

We have travelled a path since Section 28 to every child in most of the UK learning about our lives, families and relationships as part of the national curriculum.

That same path has taken us from a world where our relationships were criminalised to one where we have equal rights to love. And, for those of us who want to, equal rights to marry, or to have children. 

We have been part of every major fight for LGBTQ+ rights since 1989, including:

An equal age of consent for gay and bi men

The end of Section 28 in Scotland and England and Wales

Same-sex couples becoming free to adopt children

LGBTQ+ people becoming free to serve openly in the Armed Forces

Protection from discrimination at work

The right for same sex-couples to have civil partnerships

The right for LGBTQ+ couples to be legally recognised as parents

The right for same-sex couples to get married

LGBTQ-inclusive teaching in the national curriculum

We’re proud of the legal rights we’ve helped win.

We’re also proud of our work with thousands of people every year to fight to make their community – whether village or city, school or university, bank or charity, sport club or faith community – a place where LGBTQ+ people can thrive.

Since 2000 we’ve worked with thousands of the UK and the world’s leading employers through our Diversity Champions programme and our Workplace Empowerment programme. We’re proud to see so many more LGBTQ+ people celebrated and supported at work.

And since 2004, we’ve worked with tens of thousands of teachers and their schools through our School and College Champions programme to put the freedom, equity and potential of LGBTQ+ children and young people at the heart of our education system. We now support local councils to support LGBTQ+ children and young people right across their communities with our Children and Young People’s Services Champions programme.

And through the Rainbow Laces campaign, which started in 2013, more than a million LGBTQ+ people and allies have laced up to make sport everyone’s game. The Rainbow Laces campaign has led to sport bodies from the Premier League to community cricket clubs working with us to make LGBTQ+ inclusion a reality on their playing fields.

We see the impact of our programmes in the LGBTQ+ people who are proud and assured in who they are and are in themselves, who feel valued and included and able to thrive, and champion the rights of others in our community.

We are proud of who we are and what we have achieved together, and we know more change is desperately needed.

In every community in the UK, and around the world, LGBTQ+ people are still being abused, thrown out of their homes, and bullied in schools and workplaces. The institutions that should protect us – our governments, communities, faith institutions and families – too often stand silent, or actively harm us.

And for some LGBTQ+ people, these harms are particularly acute. From racism to ableism, misogyny to classism, LGBTQ+ people of colour, LBTQ+ women, LGBTQ+ people who are disabled, those of us living in poverty, who are of faith, and many more of us, are held back and pushed aside as we make our way through life.

Stonewall will continue to stand with, and fight for, the freedom, equity and potential of all LGBTQ+ people. Until the world we imagine is the world we live in.

Learn more about the key breakthrough moments for LGBTQ+ equality.

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