Activity 2: Changing attitudes
This activity relates to the entry ‘1967 (Legal) Sexual Offences Act’ that appears in the timeline in Section 2.1.
Listen to, first broadcast in December 1966, in which Leo Abse is questioned on the Bill which was at that time passing through Parliament (Today, 1966). As you listen, reflect on how attitudes have changed since the programme was first broadcast.
Are there any terms or ways of speaking employed by Leo Abse which you do not think a British politician would use today? Note down some of the main changes in attitudes in the box below.
You have hopefully noted down a number of changes. For example, could you imagine a BBC interviewer today say to a politician that in introducing such a reform he and the government would be ‘condoning something that is absolutely wrong and immoral’? Some individuals may still believe that legalising homosexuality in certain circumstances ‘is absolutely wrong and immoral’, but mainstream thinking has changed and such comments today would be thought by many to be reactionary, intolerant and unacceptable. Similarly, would you expect a mainstream politician today to say ‘we do not condone homosexuality’ or to refer to ‘discrete homosexuals who live out their unfortunate condition in private’?