A Timeline of events from the mid 1980s to 1999

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The possibility that Section 28 might pass into law led many people to campaign against it.


Nottingham Switchboard volunteer Richard Scholey wrote letters to many Peers to try to sway the vote. This precipitated a call to Switchboard from Lord Longford, who wanted clarification on some of the points in Richard’s letter. Their arguments failed and he voted for Section 28 which became law in 1988.

To find out more about Section 28, click on the picture of Lord Longford

Negative attitudes of certain politicians were given an airing in March 1993 when the OutHouse received an unsigned letter from a Councillor saying “You lot should be put down”.


This led to a march which passed through Hockley to the Council House carrying a black-draped coffin. On the coffin was the inscription "Here lay the remains of Nottingham City Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy."

coffin Longford

In 1997 group of people, including some from the GAi Project and Nottingham Trans Network, decided that it was time that Nottingham had its own Pride festival.


They called it Pink Lace. Broad Street was closed off to traffic, stalls were set up down one side of the street and bands perfomed on the steps of Broadway Cinema. It was small scale, but fun. To find out more about Nottingham's Pride festivals, click HERE

1998's Pink Lace festival was much more ambitious and bigger. It transferred itself to the grounds of Nottingham Castle where its stayed and expanded still further in 1999.


There were complaints from some snooty residents of The Park that the noise distracted them from their accustomed Saturday afternoon's in the garden.

KateandDarth PinkLace98

1999 was the year that the government lifted the ban on lesbians and gays in the armed forces.


Former RAF nurse Jeanette Smith, ex-RAF administrator Graeme Grady, ex-Royal Navy lieutenant-commander Duncan Lustig-Prean and ex-naval rating John Beckett took their case to the Strasbourg court after it was rejected by the Appeal Court in London.


The European judges declared unanimously that such a bar on entry into the army, navy and air force was illegal.

In 1999 Nottingham's Broadway Cinema held a benefit for Nottingham Switchboard.


The film was "Singalonga-Sound-of-Music".


Not world shaking LGBT News, of course - we only include it here so we can show our favourite picture.

lustigprean Singalonga SOM3

After receiving a Lottery grant of nearly a quarter of a million pounds, the Outhouse Project bought these premises on Cranbrook Street. Those who had waited so long for the promised LGB Community Centre thought that they were home and dry.


Unfortunately the grant wasn't enough to complete the refurbishment and the optimism about finding further grants was misplaced. The building had to be sold and the money returned to the Lottery.

To find out more about OutHouse,

click on the picture


To move to the next Timeline, click HERE

AIDSiceberg1 AIDSiceberg2

The Government's iconic AIDS adverts appeared in 1987. Despite the growing knowledge about HIV and AIDS, newspapers still revelled in peddling myths. In other cases, the newspapers rejoiced in wearing their morality hats.


People were afraid that gay plumbers might infect a cistern. Afraid that you could 'catch AIDS' from Communion wine. Afraid that you could catch HIV from sharing communal baths.  In Nottingham, a gay swimming group caused a reaction which was reported in all the main daily papers and practically every provincial paper when schools withdrew pupils from their swimming lessons because they though they would catch AIDS. "Mothers fear AIDS risk" said the headlines. There was no AIDS risk and mothers didn't fear it until the newspapers told them to. To read more about the Nottingham Gay Swimming furore, click HERE.


"The infection’s origins and means of propagation excites repugnance, moral and physical, at promiscuous male homosexuality – conduct which, tolerable in private circumstances, has with the advent of “gay liberation” become advertised, even glorified as acceptable public conduct, even a proud badge for public men to wear." (The Times).


The then-Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, James Anderton, referred to people "swirling about in a human cesspit of their own making".


By 1986, some newspapers saw sense. “The time when the average Spectator reader could think of the AIDS epidemic as being someone else’s problem is past. The disease has spread beyond the high risk groups in which it started and is no longer confined to homosexuals, drug addicts, prostitutes and the victims of contaminated blood transfusions”. Though one could still argue about the idea that AIDS "started" in the high risk groups.



In the Autumn of 1991 a lesbian couple were expelled from the ASDA store in Hyson Green after they kissed each other.  As a response, Nottingham Outrage organised a Kiss-in in November 1991. The picture shows one of several couples kissing by the ASDA checkouts and other people holding banners.


Even the local BBC estimated that over 100 people took part in the Kiss-in.

Greg Woods

In 1998, Gregory Woods was appointed Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University. The first such appointment in the UK, this was regarded in some quarters as being controversial. The British National Party saw it as a further sign of national decline. In the Sunday Mirror the Tory shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe called Woods’ career “a phenomenal waste of public money”.


In the same year, Yale University Press published Professor Woods’ monumental History of Gay Literature, the first book of its kind.