Since the turn of the 21st century, LGBT rights have been increasingly strengthened in support and this month is the celebration of what has been overcome in order for the LGBT community to be rightfully accepted into society. Wales and the United Kingdom have their own LGBT tales from the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’ to ‘Alan Turing’ history is rife with LGBT figures that demonstrate despite the punitive laws that were in place across the United Kingdom love prevailed. Although society has come a long way in terms of acceptance of the LGBT community, the road to complete equality is still distant. A report by ‘Unhealthy Attitudes’ found that 10 percent of health and care staff have witnessed colleagues expressing the belief that lesbian, gay and bi people can be cured of their sexual orientation. It is alarming that despite conversion therapy being proven to not work, as well as an abhorrent that conversion therapy is even a discussion in the twenty-first century. Discrimination is fundamentally abominable, and LGBT history month is one of the best ways to remember those who challenged gender and sexuality roles and ideas.
The Ladies Of Llangollen
Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were commonly known as the Ladies of Llangollen. The pair were two upper-class Irish women whose romantic relationship scandalized and fascinated their contemporaries during the nineteenth century. The pair made several attempts to make a getaway due to their families disagreeing with their romantic relationship. After many failed attempts the pair left Ireland on 9th May 1778, arriving in Milford Haven the following day Sarah began writing a journal about their escape named ‘ An Account Of A Journey In Wales… By Two Fugitive Ladies. Through family contacts the pair were introduced into high society of the area and slowly accepted. They shared the same bed for over fifty years and consistently referred to one another as ‘beloved’ or ‘my better half’. At the end of their lives together Eleanor went blind and referred to Sarah who became her nurse as ‘My Sweet Love’. Eleanor died in 1829, and Sarah two years later. The pair have always been at the forefront of LGBT history, and demonstrate sheer determination and courage in a period where the LGBT community were not seen as equals within society.
The Hero Of World War Two Alan Turing was arguably one of the leading men throughout World War Two, and without his knowledge Great Britain and the allied forces would have been defeated by the Nazi’s. During World War II, Turing was a leading participant in wartime code-breaking, particularly that of German ciphers. He worked at Bletchley Park, the GCCS wartime station, where helped decipher German Enigma encrypted signals. He also wrote two papers about mathematical approaches to code-breaking, which became such important assets to the Code and Cypher School Despite Turing’s heroic efforts to the United Kingdom, Turing was a homosexual during the 1950’s, whereby it was illegal to be a homosexual. Turing s admitted to police—who he called to his house after a break-in—in January, 1952, that he had had a sexual relationship with the perpetrator, 19-year-old Arnold Murray, he was charged with gross indecency. Following his arrest, Turing was forced to choose between temporary probation on the condition that he receive hormonal treatment for libido reduction, or imprisonment. He chose the former, and soon underwent chemical castration through injections of a synthetic oestrogen hormone for a year, which eventually rendered him impotent.
The LGBT community have overcome mass hurdles in terms of acceptance of homosexuality however in terms of other sexual and gender origins the twenty first century has barriers to overcome. Whilst legally for trans-gender people it is becoming easier to change ones gender, and with gender reassignment allowed on the national health service it is evident that British society is becoming even more accepting of trans gender people. Whilst legally it may seem that trans people are accepted within communities, verbal and physical assault on trans gender people is at an all time high.