The BBC has announced a season of programming to mark the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalized homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21.
Led by programming on BBC2 and BBC4, with other content across BBC radio and online, the Gay Britannia season will feature stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community, while challenging existing preconceptions and prejudices.
On BBC2, What Gay Did For Art celebrates the contribution lesbian and gay people have made to popular culture, the visual arts, literature, theater and film; while Prejudice and Pride: The People’s History Of LGBTQ Britain on BBC4, reveals the precious mementos and memorabilia that have the changed the lives of LGBTQ people over the last 50 years. The documentary Is It Safe To Be Gay in The UK? on BBC2 uses testimony and found footage to explore the rise of attacks on lesbian, gay and transgender people.
Also on BBC4, Gluck charts the modern British history of female homosexuality and its representation in culture, literature, fashion and art, through the story of artist Hannah Gluckstein (1895-1978), who defied her contemporaries’ definitions of gender and sexuality. In addition, Mark Gatiss offers his and other writers’ responses to the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act in Queers.
On BBC3, Olly Alexander, lead singer of Years and Years and a powerful voice on LGBTQ rights, explores why the gay community is more vulnerable to mental health issues as he opens up about his own long-term battles with depression in Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay.
Additional programming includes the drama Against the Law and Man In An Orange Shirt, as well as highlights on BBC Radio.
“This is a rich and compelling set of programs that challenge us all. From the heart-breaking testimony of the men who lived through the years before partial decriminalization in Against The Law and Patrick Gale’s intensely personal Man In An Orange Shirt, to a documentary revealing the experience of people facing discrimination in the UK today, this season is a powerful examination of how far we have come, whilst also exploring how much further we have to travel,” said Patrick Holland, channel controller BBC2, in a statement.