Posted on 06 July 2018 by Nancy Kelley, Deputy Chief Executive
Percentage of the population saying same sex relationships are ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ wrong. Source: British Social Attitudes Survey.
Over the last year, I’ve talked a lot about this graph. It’s the clearest example of a wider trend towards more liberal social values (see British Social Attitudes 34 for more). It’s also one of the fastest-changing social attitudes we have tracked over the decades.
But that’s not why it’s one of my favourite graphs.
I lived in San Francisco in my early 20s, surrounded by older friends and co-workers whose family and friendship circles had been decimated by HIV/AIDs.
I shook a bucket for Stonewall at the party to celebrate the equalisation of the age of consent (and got very drunk at the after-party with Jimmy Somerville!).
I married my wife in 2007 on the steps of a tiny town hall in Warren Vermont, and then she settled in England with me under a spousal visa.
We adopted our eldest son in 2012, thanks to a change in legislation that came into force in 2005 (the Adoption and Children Act, which isn’t on our graph).
We adopted our youngest son in 2015. At their school and nursery, the teachers talk about our family to the whole class, just like they talk about the other families.
My life (which I love!) is only possible because of a steady, long-term change in public attitudes to same sex relationships.
There is still a very long way to go before LGBT+ people can live their lives free of discrimination, as evidenced by the results of this week’s ground-breaking National LGBT survey. And as a White, cis-gendered lesbian with a good job I get a far, far easier ride than many LGBT+ folk.
But when I look at this graph, I’m always so grateful – for all the activists that fought for change, and for all the people who quietly and without fanfare just changed their minds.
Happy Pride week to all of you.