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Gay Liberation Front

GAY LIBERATION FRONT | MENRUS.CO.UK2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front in the UK but, before we dive in, it's worth providing a little context:

Gay Liberation Front, US

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the US was set up as a direct consequence of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969 in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City. Initially, it organised a march continuing the momentum, demanding the end to the persecution of homosexuals, but went on to have wider political aims calling out racism, taking an anti-capitalist stance, and challenging the traditional (nuclear) family and (traditional) gender roles. The events at this time are widely considered to be the catalyst for the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the US.

Gay Liberation Front, UK

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the UK was set up a year later in 1970 though it's worth noting the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was partially decriminalised homosexuality only three years earlier. Some argue, rightly in our opinion, that the 50-year anniversary in 2017 was premature. The criminalisation of homosexuality in the UK did not, in fact, end until 2013.

The GLF was quickly recognised as a political movement by the media, and undertook high-profile direct action, notably disrupting the opening of the Festival of Light (1971) organised by Mary Whitehouse. (Drag, kissing, mice and horns were involved).

By 1974, the movement had splintered (internal disagreements) but, without question, the GLF a remains a primary catalyst for things to come including greater visibility, and  London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (today Switchboard LGBT), Gay News (which ran to 1983), and Icebreakers (a support group for gay men and lesbians) from which Gay's the Word emerged.

Gay Liberation Front (UK) | Wikipedia
Gay Liberation Front | LGBT Archive

Gay's the Word | Wikipedia
Gay's the Word bookshop | LGBT Archive
Campaign for Homosexual Equality | Wikipedia
Campaign for Homosexual Equality | LGBT Archive
Gay News | Wikipedia
Gay News | LGBT Archive
Icebreakers | LGBT Archive

Power of Pride: Gay Liberation Front mark their 50th anniversary in London | Gay Times | 14 Jul 2020
Veterans of London’s Gay Liberation Front will lead a Pride protest parade this weekend | Time Out | 24 Jun 2020
Veterans walk London Pride route to celebrate 50th anniversary | BBC News | 27 June 2020
Liberation Front veterans to march Pride in London parade route despite cancellation due to coronavirus | Pink News | 15 Jun 2020
Don’t fall for the myth that it’s 50 years since we decriminalised homosexuality | The Guardian | 23 May 2017
Peter Ackroyd: A secret history – 2,000 years of gay life in London | The Guardian 20 May 2017

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