Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

Gay man tears up discussing the impact Britain’s anti-gay laws have had on his life – WATCH

By Will Stroude

BBC Two have released footage of the heartbreaking moment a gay man tears up as he discusses the impact Britain’s anti-gay laws have continued to have on his life, 50 years after the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

In a preview clip from BBC Two docu-drama Against the Law, due to air at 9pm this Wednesday (July 26), several men old enough to remember gay life pre-1967 recall the reality of living in a society where they could have been jailed simply for expressing the basic human instinct to love.

Starring Daniel Mays and Mark Edel-Hunt, Against the Law dramatises the 1954 trial of Conservative English politician Lord Montagu for gay sex offences and features real-life testimony from gay men who lived through the era.

“Being gay was a very tricky business. It was frowned upon by society, it was punishable by imprisonment,” explains 89-year-old Roger Locklear in newly-released footage from the powerful new programme.

“If heterosexuals had been subject to the force of law, if their relationships had been frowned upon, it’s most unlikely they would have settled into long term marriages. They had public opinion and the law behind them.

“In the case of homosexuals, they had public opinion and the law distinctly against them. So the whole climate was opposed to the building of relationships.

“In fact I think many gay people half believed – because they were told so often – that if you were gay you couldn’t have a relationship.”

The exact human cost of that sentiment is drilled in as another man explains that he never wished to grow old alone.

“[Being gay] was a no-no, so I had to be on my own. So I’ve been used to it since childhood, being a loner,” he says tearfully.

“Never enjoyed it I can tell you. It was awful. But that’s that way it is.”

Against the Law airs this Wednesday (July 26) at 9pm on BBC Two. Another of the men featured in the programme, Keith Biddlecombe, was recently honoured with an Attitude Pride Award on behalf of all the men who suffered as a result of Britain’s anti-gay laws.

You can hear more about Keith’s story below and read the full feature in Attitude’s August issue – available to download and in shops now.

More stories:
Queer as Folk turns 18: Where are they now?
Sam Stanley hits back at relationship critics: ‘There’s a lot of hate from gay people’