26/07/2017 13:27 BST | Updated 26/07/2017 13:29 BST

Theresa May - Apologise And Compensate Gay Men


Dear Theresa May,

Apology & compensation for men convicted under unjust anti-gay laws.

On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which is this Thursday, 27 July, I am asking you to consider making a public apology on behalf of the whole nation to all men who were convicted under discriminatory, anti-gay laws, both before and after 1967, and to announce that those still alive will be given compensation for their terrible suffering.

Around 100,000 men were convicted of consenting homosexual behavior following the outlawing in 1885 of all same-sex acts; with at least 15,000 of these men being convicted after the Sexual Offences Act was legislated in 1967. The latter law was only a partial decriminalisation.

The criminalisation of homosexuality continued in parts of the UK until 2013.

Of the men who were convicted prior to, and following, the 1967 legislation, an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 are still alive.

These men deserve an apology and compensation for their painful, heart-breaking persecution. Many were jailed and nearly all endured devastating knock-on consequences.

They often lost their jobs and became near unemployable and semi-destitute because of the stigma associated with having a conviction for a homosexual offence. Some experienced the break-up of their marriages and lost custody and access to their children. Families and friends disowned them and they were abused and sometimes assaulted in the street.

Many descended into a downward spiral of depression, alcoholism, mental illness and suicide or attempted suicide. The psychological and emotional scars were devastating and long lasting.

That's why they need and deserve a Prime Ministerial apology - and state compensation.

You can read my comprehensive, detailed exposure of the intensified police and judicial persecution of gay and bisexual men after 1967 here:

The 'gross indecency' law of 1885 had been used to convict the computer genius Alan Turing in 1952 and, before him, to jail the playwright Oscar Wilde in 1895.

Together with the criminalisation of anal sex, the gross indecency legislation was finally repealed in England and Wales by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. As a result, for the first time in 470 years these two nations had a criminal code that did not penalise gay sexuality.

In Northern Ireland, the ban on anal sex was finally repealed in 2008. Scotland's anti-gay laws were abolished in 2009 but, in the case of sodomy, did not take effect until 2013.

Gay sex ceased to be a crime across the whole of the UK only four years ago - 46 years after 1967.

I would be very grateful if you would consider making this important symbolic gesture of atonement, healing and reconciliation.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell