The Gateways club and the emergence of a post-war lesbian subculture
in Tomboys and bachelor girls
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A vibrant lesbian bar culture emerged alongside gay male subcultures in London and other British towns and cities before the Second World War and played an important role in the development of collective lesbian identities in the post-war period. This chapter focuses on the metropolitan lesbian scene in London and the Gateways nightclub. Particularly, where the collective identity of a lesbian subculture is apparent and through which the intergenerational conflicts with the lesbian and gay political groups can be clearly traced. The Gateways was a members-only club throughout the 1950s and 1960s and prospective patrons had to apply for membership, in writing, forty-eight hours in advance of their visit. Historiographical accounts of the US lesbian bar culture have focused on class as the important distinguishing feature of different lesbian communities, constructing the bar community as working class, in contrast to a more discreet middle-class lesbian community.

Tomboys and bachelor girls

A lesbian history of post-war Britain 1945–71


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