Daisy Payling
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Lesbian and gay politics
in Socialist Republic
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Lesbian and gay activists in Sheffield often organised in ways distinct from the wider activist milieu. This chapter explores how, against a backdrop of rising homophobia and constraints to local government funding, Sheffield’s labour movement failed to recognise the political significance of sexual identity at a moment when left-wing lesbian and gay activists were turning more fully towards it; focusing on creating safe social spaces, providing counselling and information around sexuality and gender identity, and responding to HIV/AIDS. The development of gay discos and phone lines was inherently political and in those spaces Sheffield’s gay community was formed. By the late 1980s Sheffield University’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Society became an important voice for sexual minority rights in the city; working out internal divisions and making attempts to connect to people outside Sheffield’s universities. Members formed Lesbian and Gay Fightback to organise against homophobic legislation and succeeded in building bridges with Sheffield City Council over fostering.

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Socialist Republic

Remaking the British left in 1980s Sheffield


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