chapter  Chapter 12
15 Pages

United Kingdom: Changing Political Opportunity Structures, Policy Success and Continuing Challenges for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Movements

WithKelly Kollman, Matthew Waites

This chapter explains the argument that both the latter aspects of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals (LGB) politics in the UK, in part, can be explained by the unfavourable political opportunity structures in which these movements had to operate during most of the second half of the twentieth century. It outlines the post-war history of LGB movements in the UK and argues that the organization and influence of such movements have been strongly affected by the relatively closed nature of the British state and the historic lack of elite allies in the British political system. The Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS) was created in 1958 to persuade parliament to adopt the Wolfenden recommendations. The Wolfenden Committee was set up by the Home Office in 1954 to review 'homosexual offences' alongside prostitution, after a number of high profile court cases revealed both the harsh nature of the existing laws against sex between men, and their uneven application.