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YouthSpeak

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YouthSpeak was a London-based gay rights campaign organisation in the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1998 by Chris Morris and other young activists who were fighting for an equal age of consent. It was funded by Sir Ian McKellen.

Anyone under 26 who supported equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people could become a member. The organisation was run by an elected committee.

The group's main achievements were:

  • Encouraging young gay people to tell their own stories about how the unequal age of consent affected them. They met MPs, talked to journalists, took part in television debates, and spoke at various conferences of teachers, social workers and welfare organizations.
  • Confronting Baroness Young and asking her why they should be made criminals for having loving relationships.
  • Projecting a laser beam onto the face of Big Ben, demanding "16 for all".
  • Presenting a petition to Tony Blair, signed by 20,000 students and teachers who wanted section 28 to be repealed.
  • Inspiring the formation of a fully national LGBT young people's organisation - the Queer Youth Alliance.

The group was wound up in 2000 when the age of consent was made equal for everyone, as part of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.


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