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It is no different now: following the 2016 EU referendum vote, homophobic hate crimes rose by 147 per cent.Attitudes The media plays a central role in shaping public opinion: offering partial, selective and ideologically-loaded access points to the world beyond our everyday experiences.This was not an isolated incident, but the tip of a growing iceberg of thinly veiled homophobia since the EU referendum.The right-wing press in Britain has a well-deserved reputation for homophobia.When, in February this year, published a story “revealing” that an NHS nurse used to star in gay porn, it tapped into existing anxieties around the implication of proximity between gay sex and the nation’s health.When singer George Michael (himself a frequent target of tabloid homophobia) passed away last year, This media assumption of wrongdoing in the high-profile death of a gay partner was also seen in 2009, when Boyzone singer Stephen Gatley passed away.These representations carry very real consequences: anti-LGBT bullying remains rife in schools, and LGBT people face disproportionate rates of mental health issues when compared to heterosexuals.

This is why media representation has been, and remains, such an important issue in the struggle for LGBT rights.The intervening years have seen vast changes in the legal rights and cultural visibility of LGBT people in the UK, to the point that it might now seem like the British LGBT community is on an unstoppable ascent to acceptance and equality.Yet in the last year, there has been a rising tide of anti-LGBT sentiment.Today marks 50 years since the first major gay rights reform in British history.The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decreed that, in England and Wales, it would no longer be illegal for two men over the age of 21 to have sex behind closed doors.