At LGBT Foundation we have a rich and passionate history of grassroots activism and community involvement, with a track record dating back to 1975.
As the needs of LGBT people have changed so have we, responding to an evolving landscape as well as to changes to health and support needs.
LGBT Foundation (and it’s predecessor The Lesbian & Gay Foundation) formed out of the merger of two community groups, both initially serving LGBT people in Manchester.
Manchester Lesbian & Gay Switchboard Services (MLGSS) began life 45 years ago, on 2 January 1975. Following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, six gay men came together in a back bedroom to provide an information and support service for the growing number of men starting to come out. To this day, the Helpline remains a vital part of the Foundation’s work, delivered by both staff and trained volunteers.
In 1994, our current Chief Executive Paul Martin OBE became one of the founder members of Healthy Gay Manchester, having arrived in Manchester in 1989. The charity was formed in response to the HIV epidemic and was dedicated to improving sexual health amongst gay and bi men.
In April 2000 the two charities merged, becoming the the UK’s largest health and community charity for LGBT people, yet retained its community activism origins. In 2015 we became fully trans inclusive and changed our name to LGBT Foundation.
Over that time we’ve witnessed and responded to:
• the country’s response to the decriminalisation of homosexuality;
• the emergence of HIV and AIDS and its devastating impact as well as inspirational response from our communities;
• the passing and the subsequent abolition of Section 28;
• the removal of homosexuality from the WHO list of mental illnesses;
• the ending of the ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces;
• the gaining of adoption rights for same sex couples and equal birth rights for lesbians and bisexual women;
• the passing of the Gender Recognition Act;
• essential workplace protections as well as protections in the provision of goods and services for all LGBT people;
• the introduction of Civil Partnerships and same-sex marriage equality