|1600 - 1899
||James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England.
It is joked that 'Elizabeth was King: now James is Queen'. His reign
is characterised by honours bestowed on male favourites such as Robert
Carr, the first Scot to sit in the House of Lords, and George Villiers,
whom he calls his 'sweet child and wife'.
||The Beggar's Benison club is founded in Anstruther,
Fife. Members celebrate male sexuality, drink from phallic-shaped
goblets and are initiated through collective masturbation rituals.
||Isabel Gunn, disguised as Orkney lad John Fubbister,
joins the Hudson's Bay Company, becomes the first European woman in
western Canada, and works as a labourer freighting goods inland, before
being found out in 1807 when giving birth.
||Jane Pirie and Marianne Woods open a school in Drumsheugh Gardens in Edinburgh's New Town. The following year a pupil accuses them of 'inordinate affection' for each other, causing the school to close. Despite winning a court case, they lose money and reputation. The Drumsheugh case inspires theatre and film (1934, 1961).
||Dr James Barry, born Margaret Ann Bulkley, graduates from University of Edinburgh Medical School, making history as the first person assigned female at birth to become a British medical doctor. He serves for 46 years as an army medical officer, is the first surgeon to carry out a caesarean, and rises to Inspector General Surgeon of the British Army. His secret is not discovered till after death: the army stops access to his records for 100 years.
||Walter Scott's novel Redgauntlet portrays Darsie
Latimer, a hero who eludes conventional masculinity, is kidnapped
and forced to wear a woman's riding outfit and is characterised by
same-sex attraction. The following year Scott visits the Ladies of
Llangollen who share a same-sex marriage in Wales 1780-1829.
||Aleister Crowley, the occultist and bisexual who is labelled by the popular press
as the wickedest man in the world, buys Boleskine House on the shore of Loch Ness and takes the title
'Laird of Boleskine and Abertarff'.
|1900 - 1949
||Murray Hall, politician, businessman and twice married
man-about-town, dies in New York and is discovered to be Mary Anderson,
born in Govan.
||Major-General Sir Hector Macdonald, after a brave and distinguished military career,
commits suicide in Paris rather than face a court martial for 'acts of gross indecency' in the colonies.
'Fighting Mac', son of a crofter, remains a national hero in Scotland, with a 100 ft high memorial built
above Dingwall in 1907.
||Duncan Grant, painter born Rothiemurchus near Inverness
1885, sets up house at Charleston in Sussex with Vanessa Bell and
his lover David Garnett. Other male lovers include Maynard Keynes.
With Vanessa he has a daughter Angelica and a life together that lasts
until her death in 1961. His first commission in 1911 had included
a mural of a naked man swimming, criticised by the Times for its potentially
'degenerative influence on the children of the working classes'.
||Siegfried Sassoon meets fellow poet Wilfred Owen
at Craiglockhart Hospital, Edinburgh.
||CK Scott-Moncrieff, poet born Stirlingshire 1889,
and educated at Winchester (expelled for publishing a story about
sexual liaisons between students) and Edinburgh University, publishes
the first volume of Proust's great French novel in English, a translation
hailed as one of the greatest of all time.
||Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, both from poor working-class Ayrshire families,
meet at Glasgow School of Art and become inseparable as lifelong partners and artists,
known as the 'Two Roberts' or simply 'The Roberts'.
||Edinburgh born journalist Harry Whyte asks whether a communist and homosexual, like himself, can be a member of the Communist Party. Based in Moscow, he writes to Stalin and argues against the new law that had re-criminalised homosexuality in the Soviet Union.
||Lillian Hellman turns the Drumsheugh case (1809)
into the play 'The Children's Hour' – a big hit on Broadway,
it is banned in the UK.
||Scottish Colourist painter Francis Cadell dies and leaves his estate (including artworks later worth a fortune) to his lifelong friend and companion Charles Oliver, the model for bather portraits on Iona.
||Norman McLaren, pioneer of film animation, born Stirling 1914 and educated at Glasgow School of Art, meets his life partner Guy Glover at the ballet in London. McLaren goes on to open an animation studio at the National Film Board of Canada, wins an Oscar and becomes one of the world's most influential experimental filmmakers.
||Luís Cernuda, the exiled gay Spanish poet who wrote of forbidden pleasures
and the conflict between reality and desire, takes up a lectureship at the University of Glasgow,
and creates an idealised world of memory and imagination to set against Glasgow's utilitarianism and puritanism.
|1950 - 1969
||Wolfenden Report recommends to parliament the decriminalisation
of male homosexuality in private between consenting adults over 21.
||Wolfenden Report's recommendation on homosexual law
reform rejected by General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
|The Lord Chamberlain lifts the ban on reference to
homosexuality on stage.
||Hellman's play 'The Children's Hour' finally becomes
a film (an earlier version made the illicit affair heterosexual) known
in Britain as 'The Loudest Whisper'.
||Sexual Offences Act enacted in England and Wales
(not Scotland or Northern Ireland), decriminalising male homosexuality
in private between consenting adults over 21.
||Horse McDonald gets her first guitar on her tenth birthday.
Born in Fife, her formative years in Lanark are difficult due to dysphoria with her gender and sexuality.
She finds escape through music, forms a band, and goes solo in 1996.
||Formation of the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG)
to campaign for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Scotland.
|1970 - 1979
||Peter Maxwell Davies, one of our greatest composers,
visits Hoy, Orkney and decides to live there. In 1977 he founds the
internationally famous St Magnus Festival. In 1999 he moves to Sanday
where he lives with his partner Colin.
||Cobweb disco, Scotland's first gay disco, organised
by Scottish Minorities Group.
|SMG Glasgow Women's Group founded.
|SMG Edinburgh Women's Group founded with their magazine
|SMG meetings move to the Catholic Chaplaincy basement
at 23a George Square, Edinburgh.
||Scottish Minorities Group (SMG) launches a campaign
to decriminalise homosexuality in Scotland.
|Edinburgh Gay Switchboard formally established.
||The first International Gay Rights Conference is
held in Edinburgh, leading to the formation of the International Lesbian
and Gay Association in 1978.
|Scottish Minorities Group buy 60 Broughton Street to set up
a gay centre in Edinburgh, with a café, information centre, meeting rooms and befriending service.
||In Glasgow, 534 Sauchiehall
Street becomes Britain's first named Gay Centre. Celebrity visitors include singer songwriter
Tom Robinson and writer and actor Quentin Crisp.
||Scottish Minorities Group (SMG) becomes Scottish
Homosexual Rights Group (SHRG).
|SMG News becomes Gay Scotland.
||Rhona Cameron, born Dundee 1965, turns 14 in her
hometown of Musselburgh and begins asking out girls. Her memoir 1979:
A Big Year in a Small Town is published in 2003. Establishing herself
as a top standup comedian, she hosts Gaytime TV on BBC 2 in 1998.
|1980 - 1989
||Scots law on male homosexuality brought into line
with English law, by a Robin Cook amendment to the Criminal Justice
Bill: decriminalised in private over 21.
||Lavender Menace opens in Forth Street, Edinburgh,
becoming Scotland's first LGBT bookshop.
||European Parliament approves its first resolution
in support of lesbian and gay rights.
|Jimmy Somerville (born Glasgow 1961) is lead singer
on debut album of Bronski Beat 'The Age of Consent'. The album includes
a pink triangle on the front, while inside it lists the different
international ages of consent for gay sex. Top track 'Smalltown Boy',
reaching no. 3 in UK charts, is about a boy leaving a bullying hometown
to find love.
|Clyde Unity Theatre stages its inaugural production,
John Binnie's first play, 'Mum, Dad, There's Something I've Got To
||West and Wilde bookshop (previously Lavender Menace)
opens in Dundas Street, Edinburgh.
||Section 28 (2A in Scotland) prevents the 'promotion'
of homosexuality by local authorities. It generates protests throughout
UK including 15,000 in Manchester and 10,000 in London.
||Stonewall Youth Project is established in Edinburgh,
becoming the national organisation LGBT Youth Scotland in 2003,
dedicated to the inclusion of LGBT young people in the life of Scotland.
|And Thus Will I Freely Sing, an anthology of gay
and lesbian writing from Scotland, edited by Toni Davidson, is published
|1990 - 1999
||Edwin Morgan comes out at 70. In 1999 he is made
Glasgow's Poet Laureate, and in 2004 he is appointed as the Scots
||The Glasgow Gay and Lesbian Centre is launched (later
to become the Glasgow LGBT Centre) on 17 March 1991 with fundraising
and awareness raising.
||The Crazy Jig, a second anthology of Lesbian and
GayWriting from Scotland, edited by Joanne Winning, is published by
||Glasgay! is founded as Scotland's annual celebration
of queer culture and grows to be the largest multi-artform festival
of its kind.
|Bob Cant, born Dundee 1945, publishes Footsteps and
Witnesses: Lesbian and Gay Lifestories from Scotland.
||House of Commons votes to reduce the gay male age
of consent to 18. Bitter disappointment amongst the crowds outside
leads to a riot in the precincts of Parliament for the first time
for 150 years.
|Dundee LGB Switchboard is established.
|BBC runs the cult camp comedy series The High Life
about Air Scotia, co-written by Alan Cumming, who plays one of the
stewards. Cumming, born Perthshire 1965 and educated at RSAMD in
Glasgow, becomes a Hollywood star, comes out as bisexual in 1999
and has a civil partnership ceremony in London in 2007.
||The Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (LAIC),
set up in London in 1984, relocates to Glasgow Women's Library.
|Opening of the Glasgow Gay and Lesbian Centre (later
to become the Glasgow LGBT Centre) at 11 Dixon St., attended by local
MPs George Galloway, Maria Fyfe and Mike Watson, MEP Bill Miller and
rock star Horse McDonald. Edwin Morgan read a poem specially written
to mark the opening.
|Garry Otton launches Scottish Media Monitor for Gay
|Talking Bollocks, dramatic monologues based on real
life stories of gay men, is presented by 7:84 Theatre Company at the
Citizens Theatre for Glasgay.
|United Nations considers lesbian and gay rights abuses
for the first time, at its International Tribunal on Human Rights
Violations Against Sexual Minorities.
||MCT Theatre Company, the first Scottish lesbian and
gay theatre company, is founded by Christopher Deans, Lorenzo Mele,
and Rachel Jury. Their first production is Molly's Collar and Tie,
a history of the LGBT experience in Scotland.
|Bette Bourne delivers the Alasdair Cameron Memorial
Lecture, Glasgow University, 1996. Alasdair Cameron, who died in June
1994, was involved in the promotion of new theatre and performance,
as teacher, writer, critic and historian.
|European Parliament approves a resolution calling
for an end to 'all discrimination and/or inequality of treatment concerning
homosexuals' in every country of the European Union.
||Equality Network is formed to campaign for equality for LGBT people in Scotland,
and holds its first Equality for All conference.
|Healthy Gay Scotland is launched.
|British government recognises same-sex couples in
||Generations of Space exhibition, curated by Dianne Barry,
captures the changing nature of LGBT space in Glasgow from the 1950s to the 1990s.
|Fingerlicks, on being out and a dyke in Scotland, is presented by MCT at Glasgay.
|In Jackie Kay's novel Trumpet, Scottish jazz musician
Joss Moody is found on his deathbed to be a woman, a secret known
only to his wife Milly. Trumpet wins the Authors' Club first novel
award and the Guardian fiction prize.
||Camp comedian Craig Hill has his Edinburgh Fringe
debut. His first
public success had been winning a talent contest at the age of
ten in his home town of East Kilbride, impersonating Cleo Laine.
|Bank of Scotland pulls out of its deal with US TV
evangelist Pat Robertson, who describes Scotland as a 'dark land overrun
|2000 - 2009
||Clause 2A (Section 28) repealed in Scotland: only
Conservatives vote against. It takes three more years for Section
28 to be repealed for England and Wales.
|Age of Consent is equalised in the UK.
|British government lifts the ban on homosexuals serving
in the armed services.
|March for Equality and Diversity takes place in
Edinburgh as a broad-based demonstration including STUC.
|Diverse Artists (2000 - 2006) set up at Glasgow LGBT Centre with members from the Poets and Writers Group and FLAGVA (Federation of Lesbian and Gay Visual Artists).
|Dundee LGB Switchboard becomes Diversitay LGBT Group
to reflect the full Tayside area and to be inclusive to Trans people.
|Just Pretending, exploring how conventions of marriage
and family exclude LGBT people, is presented by 7:84 Theatre Company
Scotland at the Tron for Glasgay.
|The Orkney Lad: The Story of Isabel Gunn is filmed
as a docu-drama in Orkney.
||The Convention Rights (Compliance)(Scotland) Act
complies with the European Convention on Human Rights and repeals
the law that had criminalised gay sex where more than two people are
present. The repeal is enacted 2 years later in the rest of the UK.
||Establishment of OurStory Scotland, to collect, archive
and present the stories of the LGBT community. Inaugural exhibition
is 'Becoming Visible' at Glasgow LGBT Centre.
|European Court of Human Rights rules that UK law
breaches the rights of transsexual people, by not recognising change
of gender, and by not allowing transsexual people to marry someone
of the opposite gender.
|Scottish Catholic schools' sex education guidelines
are revised for the first time in nearly 30 years: though they still
see the sex as 'wrong', they permit discussion of homosexuality and
acknowledge that sexual orientation is 'not the same for everyone'.
||Edinburgh's LGBT oral and community history project
is named 'Remember When'.
|ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association)
Europe conference in Glasgow is the biggest ever.
|Margaret Smith becomes the first openly lesbian MSP.
|Patrick Harvie becomes the first openly bisexual
|Discrimination in the workplace on grounds of sexual
orientation becomes illegal for the first time.
||Sexshunned, a community drama project based on individual
testimonies, collective reminiscence work and dramatic improvisation,
is presented by 7:84 Theatre Company and OurStory Scotland at The
Arches for Glasgay.
|Gender Recognition Act is passed, providing full
legal recognition for transsexual people's gender realignment, including
the right to a new birth certificate.
|Civil Partnership Act passes through UK parliament,
offering same-sex couples the opportunity for the first time of legal
recognition similar in scope to civil marriage.
||February is declared officially LGBT History Month
in Scotland and rest of UK.
|First civil partnerships are registered in public
ceremonies in Scotland on 20 December (Northern Ireland on 19 December
and England and Wales on 21 December).
|Queer Stories project is launched by OurStory Scotland
with support from the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund. Storytelling
events begin with Queer Stories at Glasgay 2005 and continue throughout
2006 in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh and Inverness.
|| Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 gives same-sex bidie-ins (cohabiting and not registered as civil partners) the same legal rights as mixed-sex bidie-ins (cohabiting and unmarried) with the exception of adoption rights, which are due to be granted in subsequent legislation.
|Dumfries and Galloway launches a new LGBT Centre, which also acts as a base for LGBT Youth Scotland to run regional services.
|Rainbow City, Stories from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Edinburgh, is presented by Remember When as a major exhibition at the City Art Centre, a vibrant play as part of Queer Stories, and a beautiful and moving book.
|Jo Clifford, transgender playwright and Professor of Theatre at Queen Margaret University, speaks about gender identity at Edinburgh 's Festival of Spirituality and Peace and adapts Faust for the Lyceum Theatre in a gender-shifting production seen as a symbol of renewed energy in Scottish theatre.
|OurStory Scotland holds storytelling events throughout the country, including verbal and visual storytelling, audio and video recordings, and the collection of over 150 episodes written by LGBT people. OurStory Ceilidh is a sell-out success at the Trades Hall in Glasgow, combining music, dance and stories in the best tradition of the ceilidh, with 20 LGBT storytellers from all over Scotland telling their story live.
||Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in provision of goods, facilities, and services in the UK.
|Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 allows joint adoption by same-sex couples.
|Scottish Transgender Alliance is formed to address issues of prejudice
and the lack of information and support for transgender people in Scotland.
|BiScotland, after several years of operation, becomes a recognised Scottish Charity.
|Glasgow LGBT Centre relocates to Glasgow City Council owned premises at 84 Bell Street.
|First ever LGBT exhibition at the People's Palace
(Winter Gardens) in Glasgow displays visual and verbal storytelling
by OurStory Scotland.
||Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act ends discrimination against
LGBT people in relation to fertility treatment in the UK.
|Sex Discrimination (Amendment of Legislation) Regulations 2008
extend protection from discrimination on grounds of gender reassignment by banning
direct discrimination and harassment by most providers of goods, facilities and services in the UK.
|RoundABout, Aberdeen city centre exhibition curated
for OurStory Scotland by Mark Duguid and Charlie Hackett, is officially
opened at Robert Gordon University Union by the Lord Provost of
|OurSpace exhibition in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and
Museum in Glasgow, the largest civic museum and art gallery in the
UK, is the first major LGBT exhibition at a Scottish museum.
Curated for OurStory Scotland by Dianne Barry, it is officially opened
by Hilary Third of the Equality Unit of the Scottish Government.
||Scottish Parliament passes Green MSP Patrick Harvie’s Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill with no opposition and no amendments. Extending previous definitions of hate crime based on religious or racial hatred, the legislation allows Scots courts to issue tougher sentences where crime involves hatred based on disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
|Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 abolishes the
old 'homosexual offences' of sodomy and gross indecency, and amends
sexual offences law to avoid discrimination in terms of gender and
|National LGBT Forum is commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide web information promoting equality for LGBT people in Scotland.
|Transformance, a performance of stories from transgender lives, is directed by Jo Clifford and staged at the LGBT Centre in Glasgow.
|Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art hosts an LGBT exhibition
the latest in its biennial Social Justice series, including
OurStory Scotland exhibitions entitled Drawn Out & Painted Pink (cartoons
by Kate Charlesworth and David Shenton) and Our Vivid Stories. After
the stramash surrounding an exhibition Made in God’s Image,
Culture and Sport Glasgow deny censorship when they refuse to
show three works by Dani Marti about HIV positive gay men.
|Our Vivid Stories, a collaboration between OurStory
Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland, led by Dianne Barry and Julie Ballands,
opens at GoMA and goes on to be screened at the CCA Glasgow for Document
7 human rights film festival.