Sexual orientation and gender identity
Sexual orientation and gender identity

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Sexual orientation and gender identity

2.1 Timeline: gays, lesbians and the law

The timeline relates to both legal developments and social and cultural events. It is intended to show how the law and attitudes have changed over time. The timeline is divided into two bands: an upper (dark) band and a lower band. The lower band is further divided into ‘legal’ and ‘social and cultural’ events. You will find instructions for navigating the timeline at the start of the timeline itself.

Dates marked with an asterisk have an additional activity for you to undertake as you work through the timeline.

At points as you work your way through the timeline you will be given the opportunity to ‘find out more’. If you follow them, you will find additional information which you may find interesting, but which is not crucial to your understanding of the topic being examined. You may therefore choose not to follow these links.

It is recommended that the first time that you work through the timeline you should move through the dates in chronological order using the upper band to gain a historic perspective of how the law and attitudes have changed. This is probably the best way to see how legal and social approaches have changed over time. Alternatively, you could, for example, use the lower band to follow the legal developments and then follow social and cultural events. Later, you can simply go back and click on a specific event in the lower band that interests you or about which you would like to remind yourself.

The timelines contain links to activities for you to reflect on your learning. We recommend that you open these activities in a new window or tab so that you can easily return to the timeline. (The activities also appear in the appendix to the course, so you can find them easily again if you need to.)


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus