Stonewall (UK): Wikis


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Motto Equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. At home. At school. At work.
Formation 1989
Type NGO
Legal status Charity
Purpose/focus LGBT rights
Headquarters London/Edinburgh/Cardiff[1]
Region served United Kingdom
Chief Executive Ben Summerskill
Budget £3.6m
Staff 56

Stonewall is a lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity in the United Kingdom named after the Stonewall Inn of Stonewall riots fame. Now the largest gay equality organization in Europe, it was formed in 1989 by political activists and others lobbying against section 28 of the Local Government Act. Sir Ian McKellen, Lisa Power, Matthew Parris and Michael Cashman were among its founders. Stonewall GB is based in London. Stonewall Scotland has offices in Edinburgh and also includes work on transgender within its remit. Stonewall Cymru is in Cardiff and north Wales.

Although Stonewall was a lobbying organisation rather than membership organisation, it has diversified into policy development for the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people since Labour came to power.



It's most high profile achievements have been in parliamentary lobbying. Under Director Angela Mason (1992 to 2002) who was awarded an OBE "for services to homosexual rights", it saw amendments to the 2002 Adoption and Children Bill which treated lesbian and gay couples in the same way as heterosexuals. Under its current Chief Executive Ben Summerskill it was in successful parliamentary campaigns to:

  • repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act (2003),
  • recognise anti-gay hate crimes, through the Criminal Justice Act 2003,
  • introduce the Civil Partnership Act 2004 giving gay and lesbian couples a legal framework equivalent to civil marriage,
  • introduce the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations, protections against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services secured through the Equality Act 2006.
  • equalise treatment of lesbian parents and their children in the 2008 Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act
  • introduce an offence of incitement to homophobic hatred in the 2008 Criminal Justice Act, matching existing protections around race and religion.

Earlier high profile work was backing legal test cases in the European Court of Human Rights. These included:

Current Work

Stonewall's work now focuses on working with organisations to bring equality to gay, lesbian and bisexual people at home, at school and at work. Stonewall’s Diversity Champions good practice programme for major employers has risen from 100 members to over 550. [2] Organisations now engaged in the programme, between them employing over four million people, range from IBM and American Express in the private sector to the Royal Navy and MI5 in the public [3]

In 2005 Stonewall launched an Education for All programme, supported by a coalition of over 70 organisations, to tackle homophobia in schools [4] Stonewall's education work also includes the slogan 'Some people are gay. Get over it!' which has been seen on billboards, tube carriages and buses across Britain [5]

Stonewall's has also produced research reports in areas such as homophobic hate crime, lesbian health and homophobia in football. [6]


Stonewall holds a number of high profile events including the Stonewall Awards, the Stonewall Equality Dinner and the Brighton Equality Walk [7]


Peter Tatchell of Outrage has accused Stonewall of endorsing discrimination by holding champagne receptions for celebrities and politicians supported by HSBC, despite its being sued by Peter Lewis in 2005 for unfair dismissal on grounds of sexual orientation. However, Lewis did not win his case and expressed gratitude to Stonewall for its support.

In October 2008, Stonewall had as one of its nominees Julie Bindel, described by transfeminist groups as transphobic, for a Stonewall "Journalist of the Year" awardfor her supportive writing about lesbian issues. This led a protest at the awards event at which protest organisers claimed 150 activists. A much smaller counter protest in support of Bindel by the London Feminist Network attracted a few dozen protesters. Comedian Amy Lame, nominee for Entertainer of the Year, told “I think it [the protest] is insulting to Stonewall, to be honest. I think Stonewall has achieved so much for so many people – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – all of those people have been included in laws they helped to change." Bindel has apologised over the tone of the article Gender Benders Beware, By Julie Bindel, that appeared in The Guardian but stands by her view that people should question the basis of the diagnosis of male psychiatrists, at a time when gender polarisation and homophobia work hand-in-hand."[8]

See also


  1. ^ "About us". Stonewall. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ [6]
  8. ^ Grew, Tony (7 November 2008). "Celebs split over trans protest at Stonewall Awards". Pink News. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 

External links

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