Queer in the city: London
- Article written by: Steven Dryden
In 2017 Peter Ackroyd published Queer City: Gay London from Romans to the present day. The book coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 which partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales.
Following the publication of the Wolfenden Report, the Homosexual Law Reform Society allowed a forum for LGBTQ people to come together as and fight for legislative change.
Wolfenden Report, 1957
The Wolfenden Report recommended that 'homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should be no longer a criminal offence'.View images from this item (3)
In October 1970 the first meeting of Gay Liberation Front UK was held at the London School of Economics. Think-ins quickly grew to over 200 people. Regional groups began to meet, a manifesto was written and activism flourished.
Gay Liberation Front Manifesto
The 1971 Gay Liberation Front Manifesto proclaimed that ‘Homosexuals, who have been oppressed by physical violence and by ideological and psychological attacks at every level of social interaction, are at last becoming angry.’View images from this item (1)
The communes of LGBTQ people that came together were one of the most radical experiments to be born out of the Gay Liberation Front UK. The communes in Brixton, Bethnal Green and Notting Holland all questioned what family and societal norms were, and the prominence of the nuclear family at the centre of British life.
Queer City: London was an event held at the British Library on 7 August 2017 to coincide with the exhibition Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty. This wide-ranging discussion touches upon lesbianism in Paris, Black Pride, queer life in the regions, and much, much more.Presented here in an edited format, the release commemorates the London Pride parade 2020, which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The full recording can be heard in the British Library Reading Rooms.
Queer City London
A panel discussion on changes in homosexual lives in London over the past 50 years. It was an accompanying event to the British Library exhibition Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty.
The panel is chaired by writer and performer Chris Green. A member of the legendary Duckie Collective, Green's characters are as diverse as his output on stage, screen and radio. Green has performed around the world and in many of the UK’s largest cultural institutions.
Rikki Beadle Blair MBE is an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, singer, designer, choreographer, dancer and songwriter. Blair is the artistic director of the multimedia production company Team Angelica. Blair’s works include the screenplay for Nigel Finch’s film Stonewall (1994) the major Channel 4 TV series Metrosexuality (2001), and two national tours of FIT, a play developed to help tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools (2007, 2008).
Diana Souhami is a writer of short stories and plays, but is perhaps best known for her numerous works of biography, which include Gluck (1988), Gertrude and Alice (1991), and The Trial of Radclyffe Hall (1998). Souhami’s latest published work explores the role of lesbians in the development of modernism in Paris.
Dr Kate Graham is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Westminster, where her work focuses on Early Modern drama, particularly revenge tragedies. Graham is director of the Queer London Research Forum which was established in 2003 to investigate London’s queer histories from the mid-1800s to the present day.
Paul Flynn has worked as a journalist for two decades. He was a columnist for Attitude magazine, i-D, Dazed, Fantastic Man and various newspapers. Flynn’s first book Good As You (2017) was long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize, and charts 30 years of pop culture and social change that transformed the UK for gay men.