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Gay Men and the Left in Post-war BritainHow the Personal Got Political$
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Lucy Robinson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074349

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074349.001.0001

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Gay liberation 1969–73: praxis, protest and performance

Gay liberation 1969–73: praxis, protest and performance

(p.65) 3 Gay liberation 1969–73: praxis, protest and performance
Gay Men and the Left in Post-war Britain

Lucy Robinson

Manchester University Press

The history of homosexuality has often presented gay activism as spontaneously erupting in a fit of excitement at the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in New York City was formed in reaction to the Stonewall Riots, but the Front took its political inspiration from the wider counter-culture, feminism, black power and anti-war, anti-psychiatry and free Speech movements. The GLF announced itself through three major campaigns; the defence of Louis Eakes which tackled the legal oppression experienced by lesbians and gay men, demonstrations against the evangelical National Festival of Light which challenged religious oppression and GLF's campaign against Dr Reuben's book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sex but Were to Afraid to Ask, which opposed oppression by medical institutions. It was when the GLF tried to act on the third liberational stage, to Change the World, that it came most directly into conflict with both the existing homosexual reform movement, particularly the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and the Trotskyite Left.

Keywords:   Gay Liberation Front, homosexuality, Stonewall Riots, counter-culture, Louis Eakes, gay men, lesbians, National Festival of Light, Campaign for Homosexual Equality, Left

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