Peter Tatchell comes to College for thought provoking talk

Human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, marked the 1967 Sexual Offences Act 50 year anniversary with a talk to Shrewsbury Colleges Group students.

This year celebrates 50 years since the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967 got passed, a major piece of legislation that decriminalised many anti-homosexual laws. Peter Tatchell, who is best known for his work with LGBT social movements, came to speak to students about the history and implementation of the bill.

Mr Tatchell is a significant figure of history and is celebrating his 50th year as an activist. On November 29, in the Wakeman hall of English bridge Campus, students and staff of Shrewsbury Colleges Group had the exciting privilege of listening to his interesting discussion on the history of this act, the more recent acts and what it means for the future of the LGBT community.

He commented: “I was delighted to talk at the Shrewsbury Colleges Group on the 50 year battle for LGBT equality in the UK. I'm sure pupils were shocked to learn about the scale of homophobic discrimination and violence in the past, and that the criminalisation of homosexuality across the whole of the UK only ended four years ago. It is astonishing to think that gay men could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment until 1967. We've made huge progress since then and I am proud to have been part of those changes."

Sian Squire, Classical Civilisation teacher from English bridge Campus said: “Our A level History students have been studying changes in society over the last 100 years. One of the biggest changes in the C20 has been the increase of rights and recognition for LGBTIQ persons. As well as the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, in 2013 Britain passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act which legalised same sex marriage. Same sex attraction has gone from being a criminal act to being accepted and even celebrated in Britain within 100 years. This has led to a massive change in attitudes and society over the last few decades.

“In the 1950s, an ex-headmaster from Shrewsbury, John Wolfenden was commissioned to write the Wolfenden Report. It made several recommendations which were eventually realised in the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. We invited Peter Tatchell to speak to students because his name has been synonymous internationally with lobbying for LGBTIQ rights for many years. He is able to motivate and enthuse our students; we’re really excited to have him visit.”