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Praxis, protest and performance
Lucy Robinson

3 Gay liberation 1969–73: praxis, protest and performance And the faggots won’t seem so funny . . . when the revolution comes1 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 riots are named after the bar where they took place, The Stonewall Inn, which was the most popular lesbian and gay venue in Greenwich Village, New York City. Its clientele were predominantly drag queens, butch lesbians and hustlers, and the riots were a reaction against ongoing police

in Gay men and the Left in post-war Britain
How the personal got political
Author: Lucy Robinson

This book demonstrates how the personal became political in post-war Britain, and argues that attention to gay activism can help us to rethink fundamentally the nature of post-war politics. While the Left were fighting among themselves and the reformists were struggling with the limits of law reform, gay men started organising for themselves, first individually within existing organisations and later rejecting formal political structures altogether. Gay activists intersected with Trotskyism, Stalinism, the New Left, feminism and youth movements. As the slogan of the Gay Liberation Front proclaimed, ‘Come out, come together and change the world’. Culture, performance and identity took over from economics and class struggle, as gay men worked to change the world through the politics of sexuality. Throughout the post-war years, the new cult of the teenager in the 1950s, CND and the counter-culture of the 1960s, gay liberation, feminism, the Punk movement and the miners' strike of 1984 all helped to build a politics of identity. When AIDS and Thatcherism impacted on gay men's lives in the 1980s, gay politics came into its own. There is an assumption among many of today's politicians that young people are apathetic and disengaged. This book argues that these politicians are looking in the wrong place. People now feel that they can impact the world through the way in which they live, shop, have sex and organise their private lives. The book shows that gay men and their politics have been central to this change in the post-war world.

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The British far left from 1956
Editors: Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

This book explores the role of the far left in British history from the mid-1950s until the present. It highlights the impact made by the far left on British politics and society. The book first looks at particular strands of the far left in Britain since the 1950s. It then looks at various issues and social movements such as Trotskyism, anti-revisionism and anarchism, that the left engaged (or did not engage) with, such as women's liberation, gay liberation, anti-colonialism, anti-racism and anti-fascism. The book focuses on how the wider British left, in the Labour Party and amongst the intelligentsia, encountered Trotskyism between the 1930s and 1960s. The Socialist Party (SP) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) traditions have proven to be the most durable and high profile of all of Britain's competing Trotskyist tendencies. Their opponents in the International Marxist Group and the Socialist Labour League/Workers' Revolutionary Party (SLL/WRP) each met limited success and influence in the labour movement and wider social movements. The SWP and Militant/SP outlived the 'official' Communist Party of Great Britain and from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present day have continued to influence labour movement and wider politics, albeit episodically. The book is concerned with providing an overview of their development, dating from the end of the Second World War to the onset of the 2009 economic crisis.

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Rebecca Jennings

introspective and predicated on a political claim to ‘normality’, undermine assumptions of lesbian participation in an emerging ‘counterculture’. Representations of the bar subculture and lesbian organisations such as the Minorities Research Group and Kenric, in particular challenge the accepted narrative of pre-Gay Liberation Movement politics. The conventional account of post-war sexuality, in particular, is either one of triumphant gays overcoming prejudice or a paradoxical deflation of the radical potential of pre-1970s sexual cultures. However, oral accounts of the

in Tomboys and bachelor girls
The revolutionary left and gay politics
Graham Willett

largest portion of the far left in Britain during these years. Focusing in this way has the advantage of allowing a detailed and close-grained study, and limiting the time period does little damage to the story because, by the end of the 1970s, the various political positions were largely set. The subsequent decades exhibit not much more than the repeated application of the various theories of gay equality/gay liberation developed early on.1 Prehistory Homosexuality erupted onto the public agenda in the mid-1950s, as a series of sex scandals drove the government of

in Against the grain
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Lucy Robinson

Foucault, argued that homosexuality provides capitalist society with clear cut lines between the permissible and the impermissible which renders sexuality a disciplinary construct that divides different types of behaviour. After all, as Bakhtin – whose Carnival is exemplified by the gay liberation movement’s performative challenge to workplace politics, recognised, ‘the body and bodily life have a cosmic and at the same time an all-people’s character’.6 This understanding of homosexuality as the key to all of society was at the heart of the gay liberation movement

in Gay men and the Left in post-war Britain
Tommy Dickinson

5 Liberation, 1957–1974 Many members of the GLF [Gay Liberation Front] can testify to the ineffectiveness of aversion therapy in reorientation of their sexual desires and to the totally destructive effect [this] has had on their personality and adjustment. Our plan, therefore, is for homosexuals seeking advice from you to be given reassurances from you that they are fully capable of living a full, worthwhile and happy life and that many other men and women are doing just that. This positive attitude substituted for attempts to provide treatment and cure will

in ‘Curing queers’
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From Gay Left Collective to Greater London Council, paedophile identity and the state of the Left
Lucy Robinson

5 The next big thing: from Gay Left Collective to Greater London Council, paedophile identity and the state of the Left there was no one left to speak out for me.1 Introduction Punk and RAR took on the liberation movements’ emphasis on culture and lifestyle. The GLF had not helped to build a world-wide revolution. For all intents and purposes, it appeared that many of the original aims of gay liberation ‘[could] be gained this side of socialism’.2 This chapter looks at what gay activists did instead of the third liberational stage. In the late 1970s and early

in Gay men and the Left in post-war Britain
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Tommy Dickinson

Epilogue The APA’s 1974 decision to remove homosexuality from its DSM, along with social protests and a newly emerged gay liberation movement, eventually led to the curtailment of medical treatments to cure homosexuality. A conservative turn in the 1980s, however, provided the cultural and social foundations to reclassify homosexuality as a contagious pathology, and this could offer a context to explain why the WHO took a further eighteen years before it mirrored the APA’s decision to remove homosexuality from its diagnostic manual. In 1981, the Centre of

in ‘Curing queers’
From the 1960s to the 1990s
Nizan Shaked

Conceptual Art and identity politics: from the 1960s to the 1990s When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations, there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counter-revolutionary, because they are not. (Huey P. Newton (1970))1 In the eighties, none of my students knew what Conceptualism was. I believe, along the lines of Hal Foster’s theorization, that

in The synthetic proposition