Joint session with the IHR History of Sexuality seminar
"This paper critically examines the 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act, which created the disregard process, and the 2017 Policing and Crime Act, which introduced statutory pardons for some men convicted of some homosexual offences. It demonstrates that amid disagreements among Parliamentarians there has been little willingness on the part of the government to offer more than caveat-laden apologies and limited action to redress past injustices. Despite media releases and popular understandings that place the number of pardons in the tens of thousands, legislation in England and Wales has only impacted a handful of living men. Queer men convicted for activity that included no sexual impropriety continue to be criminalised and denied the opportunity to clear their names. North of the border, however, in Scotland more expansive legislation has been passed that actually builds upon a bill defeated at Westminster, opening up further questions about who is worthy of exoneration.