The reasons 2015 is better for LGBT people than Back to the Future II could have imagined

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The world of 2015 may be far from that depicted in the film Back to the Future II, but there are quite a few reasons why it is probably better for LGBT people.


Despite there being no widely-available hoverboard (yet), the world has changed for the better for LGBT people in Britain.

Here are eight reasons LGBT people are better off than the version of 2015 in the film.

  • Marty McFly wouldn’t have been able to have sex if he was gay and lived in the UK in 1989. It took until 2001 before an equal age of consent was introduced in the UK.
  • You can’t be sacked for being gay. Back in 1989 when Back to the Future II was released, an employer could sack you just for being gay. Since 2003, this has been against the law in the UK.
  • You can serve in the military if you are gay. In 1989 the ban was still in place. Gay people have been able to serve in the military since 2000.
  • In 1989, when the film was released gay couples couldn’t jointly adopt children. Since 2005, this has been possible. Since 2009, when a lesbian couple have a child, both the birth mother and her partner are named on the birth certificate.
  • Also, in 1989, a shop, hotel or another business could ban you from being served because you were gay. This was rectified in tn 2007, it also meant that an adoption agency can no longer turn you down from adopting a child because you are gay, even if they are a religious agency.
  • Section 28 was in force back in 1989. Introduced in 1988 by the Thatcher Government, banned “promoting homosexuality” to minors, and was repealed by Tony Blair’s Labour Government in 2003 for England and Wales. It was repealed in Scotland in 2000. The Local Government Act which repealed the measure in England and Wales received royal assent in 2003 but schools and local authorities had a week to phase out the practice.
  • In 1989, the legal framework for gender recognition for trans people was patchy. Since 2005, the Gender Recognition Act gives trans people legal recognition as members of the sex appropriate to their gender allowing them to acquire a new birth certificate and full recognition of this gender in regards to other laws.
  • Marriage, and even civil partnerships were an unimaginable right for same-sex couples in ’89. Now same-sex couples in England, Scotland and Wales can marry. Unfortunately if he was from Northern Ireland, he would still be banned from marrying.
 When it comes to Britain, future gazers would probably not have imagined that the ban on gays serving in the military, jointly adopting children or marrying would likely have been dropped by 2015. Add to that an end to discriminating against people on the grounds of their sexuality in the workplace or in goods or services and 2015 and beyond looks like a better place than the film could ever have imagined.
Of course the situation is not quite as good in the US, where the film is set but rights have improved considerably since then, with same-sex marriages now available in 30 states in addition to Washington DC.