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Gay Public Displays of Affection


Written by Liz Cookman
06 Wednesday 06th February 2013

“You're fucking queer, shame on you” -  the reaction of one passing man in our short for Channel 4's Random Acts, Gay Public Displays of Affection.

Punishment for homosexuality was first mentioned in English common law in 1290. For over 700 years homosexuality could land you in exile, prison or worse. It wasn't until the 1960s that we finally saw sense and the movement towards equality began. In 1967 private consensual homosexual acts were decriminalised for the over 21s, it was a monumentous step forward for the UK.

It wasn’t until as recently as 2001 that the age of consent was lowered to 16, the same as that of heterosexuals. Now gay, lesbian and bisexual couples can adopt children, spend, live and work as they choose, join in civil partnership and soon in full-blown marriage too. The stuffy boys from parliament have (mostly) laid their bigotry to rest, it's time evrybody else caught up.

Back in 1990, 300 gay people staged a group ‘kiss-in’ at Piccadilly Circus to protest against a spate of police arrests. There hasn’t been a single gay person arrested for kissing since, even before the laws were changed. Despite this, there is still a social stigma attached to gay public displays of affection. Watch our video, Gay PDA, for Channel 4's Random Acts and see how we tackled the issue - head on.


For more information on gat rights, visit

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