The LGBT Labour has its roots in 1975 when some Labour Party members, previously active within the Young Socialists and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, formed the Gay Labour Caucus and began to develop a voice within the Party and the Labour movement. They started organising fringe events at Conference from that year onwards (a tradition that appears never to have been missed) and lobbied to ensure a voice for lesbian and gay people within the Party.
In 1978, at a meeting in Camden, London, the group adopted the name Labour Campaign for Gay Rights (later changed to explicitly include lesbians). They also decided that membership would not be restrcted to Labour Party members but seek to include a wider spectrum (although supporters of other parties were not eligible).
Right from the start, our role has been to lobby and campaign within the Labour movement (the Party, trade unions and Socialist Societies) and to campaign for Labour during elections. For instance, the 1983 election saw an LCLGR leaflet delivered round gay pubs saying "I'm not Wilde about Victorian Values".
In 1997, LCLGR issued an election manifesto. In 2001, the campaign centred on the homophobia of the Conservative Party and in 2005, the Campaign warned that going to bed with the Lib Dems (!) would lead to waking up with the Tories.
From 1975-1979, Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights activists worked to build relationships with supportive Labour MPs and to develop a dialogue with the Labour government. In the 1980s, with Labour in opposition and the right-wing Thatcher government in power, LCLGR concentrated its efforts within the Party to secure policies that supported full equality. At Bournemouth Conference in 1985, LCLGR won a card vote against the NEC and with the support of trade unions. LCLGR also launched Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners which was influential in securing trade union support. LCLGR ensured that the Labour Party policy committed to full equality from this period onwards.
Many members are active in local government and LCLGR members were crucial in the coalition to oppose the Conservative's Section 28 in 1988, which claimed to ban "the promotion of homosexuality". LCLGR secured Labour Party opposition and ensured that, when returned to power, Labour removed this hated law from the statute books. In 1994 we criticised the minority of Labour MPs who did not support the vote for an equal age of consent and a conference motion condemning them won 97.6% of the vote.
Labour's return to power in 1997 has seen the most progressive government ever on sexual orientation and gender identity. Among many injustices that have been removed, Labour introduced an equal age of consent, abolished all sexual offences that related to homosexuality, introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples giving equal rights with heterosexual marriage, made discrimination in the workplace and goods & services illegal and much, much more.
In 2002, LCLGR formally affiliated to the Labour Party as a Socialist Society. This gives us easy access to the NEC, the National Policy Forum and other Party structures. At the 2005 Labour Conference, LCLGR organised a contemporary resolution which overwhelmingly called for the government to bring forward legislation on equal right in the use of goods and services. This changed government policy and the law will come into effect in autumn 2006.
In 2007 LCLGR fully embraced the equality agenda becoming known as LGBT Labour or the Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.
Read more about LGBT Labour's history and how people in the Labour Party and Trade Unions campaigned for LGBT Equality within the party in our new landmark book: "Sodom, Gomorrah and the New Jerusalem" by Peter Purton with a Foreward by Chris Smith.