Stonewall Equality Limited

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This page describes the campaigning organisation; for other uses of the term "Stonewall", and for its origin, see Stonewall (disambiguation).

Stonewall Equality Limited, generally referred to simply as Stonewall, is a British LGBT campaigning organisation. It was founded in 1989 by a small group of women and men who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act. It is often quoted as “ten men and ten women” – though people argue over who those ten men and women were. Sir Ian McKellen, Matthew Parris, Lisa Power, Michael Cashman and Olivette Cole-Wilson were chosen for The Reunion programme on BBC [1]. Douglas Slater was featured as one of the primary founders in David Mixner’s book “Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage[2]. Matthew Parris left Stonewall in 2020, and a number of other key people who were involved in the organisation in its early years, including Kate Harris, have also left disillusioned with the stand the organisation has taken in recent years on gender identity and self identification.


Section 28 was a piece of legislation designed to prevent the so-called 'promotion' of homosexuality by a local authority; as well as stigmatising gay people it also galvanised the gay community. Stonewall's aim from the outset was to create a professional lobbying group that would prevent such attacks on lesbians, gay men and bisexuals from ever occurring again. Stonewall has subsequently put the case for equality on the mainstream political agenda by winning support within all the main political parties and now has offices in England, Scotland and Wales.

Stonewall is renowned for its campaigning and lobbying. Some major successes include helping achieve the equalisation of the age of consent, lifting the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military, securing legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt and the repeal of Section 28. More recently Stonewall has helped secure civil partnerships and ensured the recent Equality Act protected lesbians and gay men in terms of goods and services.

Stonewall Diversity Champions

Stonewall also works with a whole range of agencies to address the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the wider community. Their Diversity Champions programme has offered advice and support to over 600 organisations including IBM, Barclays, Barnardos, DCLG and the Royal Navy.[3]. Companies can pay a fee to be assessed by Stonewall and compete to be placed in their top employer lists. In 2020 Newcastle City Council was placed top.

Other projects

Stonewall's Education for All campaign, launched in January 2005, aimed to tackle homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools by working with a wide coalition of groups.

On 23 September 2003 Stonewall was granted charitable status (Charity Registration Number 1101255).

Stonewall receives no public funding and raises all its money itself in a range of ways including donations, sponsorship, and fundraising events.

Stonewall and trans issues

Originally Stonewall did not promote trans issues, saying that it preferred to leave them to organisations that specialised in that field. However in February 2015 it extended its remit to campaign for LGBT, rather than just LGB, equality. "This change marks a significant moment in Stonewall’s history" remarked Ruth Hunt [4]. In 2020 Matthew Parris left Stonewall as he could not reconcile himself to their approach on transgender issues [5]. Others have criticised Stonewall for confusing gender with sex and harming lesbian and gay rights in the process [6].

Directors and Chairs

Chief Executive Officers of Stonewall to date have been:

Cathryn Wright is Chief Operating Officer.

Jacqueline Davies was appointed Chair of Stonewall in 2012, replacing David Isaac.[7]

External links

BBC Radio 4 programme “The Reunion”, where Sue MacGregor brings together some of the founders of Stonewall to tell their story. Available on BBC iPlayer.


  3. Accessed: 2015-12-17. (Archived by WebCite® at
  4. Ruth Hunt, Stonewall Chief Executive, "Stonewall and Trans Equality". Accessed: 2015-12-17. (Archived by WebCite® at
  5. The Times 18 November 2020
  7. "Jacqueline Davies appointed Stonewall Chair", Stonewall, 24 October 2012