Beyond toleration: Privacy, citizenship and sexual minorities in England and Wales



McGhee D (2004) Beyond toleration: Privacy, citizenship and sexual minorities in England and Wales. British Journal of Sociology, 55 (3), pp. 357-375.

This paper examines two significant moments in sexual minority citizenship in England and Wales in relation to one of the Marshallian sets of rights, namely, civil or legal rights, focusing specifically on the Sex Offences legislation and policing practices. The first moment that will be examined here is the process whereby homosexual acts were decriminalized in the 1950s and 1960s; here special attention will be paid to the recommendations made by the Wolfenden Committee. The second moment is one we are currently experiencing, which is associated with the inclusive policing of sexual minority communities (especially lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities) under the provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and in the review of Sex Offences, especially in the consultation paper (Home Office 2000) and White Paper (Home Office 2002) associated with this review. Privacy and toleration dominate the first moment, at the same time it shall be demonstrated that privacy is also central to the British Sexual Citizenship literatures that have emerged in sociology in the post-Wolfenden context. However, as the title suggests, the second moment under examination points to the emergence of a rather more extensive sexual minority citizenship beyond the boundaries of ‘homosexual privacy’ (which British Sexual Citizenship Studies is not currently engaging with) and perhaps even beyond the boundaries of toleration through ever more ‘inclusive’ policing strategies and through the review of sex offences in which many discriminatory laws are being ‘de-homosexualized’.

Toleration; privacy; sexual citizenship; lesbian; gay; hate crime

British Journal of Sociology: Volume 55, Issue 3

FundersUniversity of Southampton
Publication date30/09/2004
Publication date online10/09/2004
Date accepted by journal01/05/2004

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Professor Derek McGhee
Professor Derek McGhee

Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences