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We made it! Thank you! ‘LGBTQIA Pride for Life Court Costs’ crowdfunder reached its target

A message from Ted

Thanks, everyone,  from the bottom of my heart for all that you’ve done – on January 1st 2021 we achieved the ‘LGBTQIA Pride for Life’ crowdfunder target – the best way to start the year!

You’ve not only given financial support for our legal case but given my partner Noel and me much appreciated emotional backing through a difficult, ongoing process (I can’t explain how it feels to discover that homophobic sneers, bruises and even cigarette burns have been inflicted on the man I love while he was in their ‘care’, or the battle it took to get him into a better home).  Additionally, your solidarity is helping give a strong message to the authorities that they can no longer ignore, with impunity, the needs of LGBT people in care.  Because whether we win or lose our case, we intend to publicly highlight the neglect, discrimination and abuse the authorities allow to be heaped on our elders.  We’re going to publicly hold them to account until they instigate regulations and training which provide considerate, attentive, understanding care to us and ours. No longer should we have to destroy our letters, diaries and photographs, wipe away our lives and loves from our biographies. No longer should LGBT people have to go into the closet to avoid homophobic abuse.  We’re going to fight for the respect and humane care we all deserve.  Thank you!

Background to the ‘LGBTQIA Pride for Life Court Costs’ campaign

Dearest, queerest (and allies) this is my beloved friend Ted. 

Ted is a living legend. As a very early member of the ‘Gay Liberation Front’ (GLF) which began the modern Pride movement as we know it, Ted should be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the GLF but instead is battling institutional homophobia, yet again. Ted’s life-long partner has been subjected to homophobic abuse in his care home and so we held a fundraiser for legal costs to hold the care home to account where his partner of nearly 50 years has suffered physical and homophobic abuse. 

There isn’t one LGBTQIA+ care home in the whole of the UK, so currently queers have to go into the closet or risk abuse and attacks in places which cannot cater for us.  The cruel irony of legends who have fought their whole lives for freedom like this suffering homophobia at the end of their lives is so cruel. 

We are taking this case forward for Ted and his partner but also to help raise awareness and ensure that hospitals, care homes and councils give LGBT elderly, disabled or hospitalised the full respect and care we all deserve, instead of forcing us into the closet to avoid abusive maltreatment. The following updates from Ted, though horrendous, are not the worst that elderly LGBT people, who sometimes have no children or family to support them, are suffering. 

1) The care home, our solicitor and barrister officially recognise minutes of the protection meeting held in March 2019 (attended by care home and council representatives, myself and my representatives) which state that the allegations of neglect and homophobic comments are substantiated

2) Our solicitor and barrister have registered that both the home and I possess videos and photographs of the bruises, including fist marks,` on my partners chest, stomach and waist.  I have two independent witnesses (one appearing in one of the videos) prepared to testify to the discovery of the bruises, while two whistle-blowing staff witnessed the incidents during which they were inflicted.  

3) Our solicitor and barrister have accepted from me my video, taken at the home in August, showing what look like several cigarette burns on the back of my partner’s right hand (he doesn’t smoke). 

4) It is uncontested that my partner had been held there for months, against both his and my wishes, without the legally required permission documents having been completed by the home

5) The official social worker’s report notes that a) when my partner was moved there the home had officially been declared as poor on important qualities of leadership  b) that it was inappropriate for my partner and could not meet his needs.  

6) The home’s security was so inadequate that though he was suffering from severe dementia, he was able to abscond on to traffic busy streets on four separate occasions (that we know of), with the home denying they had any responsibility to inform me of these incidents, which I learned of through whistle-blowers and a concerned social worker.

There were more problems associated with his being restrained at that place, but the above are serious, confirmed and can be mentioned on the funding site at this time.

BIG LOVE AND SOLIDARITY AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT! Ted and dan (contact us on gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com)

More about Ted

Ted is a Black LGBTQ activist and very early member of the Gay Liberation Front since its launch on 13th October 1970 – a grassroots movement for freedom that began Pride in the UK in 1972 currently celebrating its 50th anniversary as it began in 1970. Motivated by heroes like Huey Newton and Bayard Rustin to expand queer rights demand to calls for justice for all, Ted became active in GLF. He took the only photographs of the very first march through London by queer people (GLF’s Youth Group age of consent equality demands, August 1971), lived in a GLF commune for three years, worked for GALOP, wrote for Gay Times magazine, and co-founded Black Lesbians & Gays Against Media Homophobia, (BLAGAMH) which successfully fought media attacks on black gay footballer Justin Fashanu and against Buju Banton’s viciously homophobic song ‘Boom Bye Bye’. Though actually Ted Brown, he is quoted in books ‘Blowing The Lid’ and ‘No Bath But Plenty of Bubbles’ as Ted Walker-Brown. Contact Ted on gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com

15th / 16th May 2021 – Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention

The Bishopsgate Debates: REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION – for the poor and the marginalised’

LIVE-STREAMED FROM SPITALFIELDS ON Saturday/Sunday 15/16 May 2021 at The Bishopsgate Institute, a ticketed free event arranged by the GAY LIBERATION FRONT
We are the Gay Liberation Front, young and old, and we have a 51-year record of non-violent and often hilarious actions against the violence of the State”   

THE STATE’S IN A STATE!

To be Live-streamed from the Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, Spitalfields, London EC2M 4QH. A ticketed free event

Dedicated to the BLACK PANTHERS who held the first REVOLUTIONARY PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION in Philadelphia in September 1970

To include :

* 9 hours of live presentations from the Great Hall

* 4 hours of videos from activists round the world 

VOTE for “WE THE CITIZENS” assemblies in 10 Downing St   

The world’s young want to be proud of their countries. And the world’s old are tired of being ashamed of them.

THE BISHOPSGATE INSTITUTE – The Bishopsgate Institute is near Liverpool Street Station London and was founded in 1895 to provide “a public library, a public hall and meeting rooms for people living and working in the City of London.”  A thank you by the GLF to the Bishopsgate Institute for hosting us this May – publicising the Institute’s name and the immense help given by its staff – not only this May but every day of the year in non-lockdown times.

THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT (London) – Has 51 years’ experience of non-violent protest against exploitation and marginalisation of LGBT+ people. Lesbians from the Women’s Liberation Movement shared and led in policy-making from the beginning.  It was started in a lecture-room of London School of Economics in October 1970 by two white male students returning from the Black Panthers’ “Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention” of September 1970 in Philadelphia. That was a year after the Stonewall Uprising in New York of summer 1969 when lesbian, trans, bi and gay men rebelled against police persecution in New York.    

The idea behind – “ THEBISHOPSGATE DEBATES” – The name “Bishopsgate Debates” pays tribute to the “Putney Debates” held in Surrey by Parliament’s New Model Army in 1647 who, in opposition to Charles I’s army, remodelled the British isles on republican lines. 

Their Debates turned out disastrously for Ireland. They won’t this time..

Contact – For information about the event please contact the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) at gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com

* all arrangements subject to Covid regulations by 15 May

Press and testimonials from ‘A tribute to Bob Mellors – co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front’

Thank you to everyone who made this week’s commemoration so beautiful and powerful. The full video with speeches, readings and the photos from the streets in Warsaw will be coming soon. In the meantime, here’s a few testimonials and photos and a leading article in the Polish press.

25 years ago, Bob Mellors, a symbol of the British LGBT movement, was murdered in Warsaw’ OKO Press

On the 25th anniversary of Mellors’ death, the British Gay Liberation Front organized an event in London and Warsaw to commemorate the activist. His letters from Warsaw to a friend were read, among others, they also talked about the situation in Poland and the need for solidarity with LGBT people.

According to Adamczak, honoring the memory of Bob Mellers in both London and Warsaw has a symbolic dimension.

“In Great Britain, many people want to show solidarity with Poland. The pandemic is spoiling the ranks, but the involvement is growing. Activists raise money for Polish queer communities and organizations, and come out with cooperation initiatives. Bob is a symbolic figure here, a natural element and an announcement of this cooperation.”

As few as there are, it is in his biography that the realities of Central, Eastern and Western Europe intersect in a fascinating way.

Testimonials

‘Thanks so much everyone for their contribution. I knew Bob in the GLF in the 70’s. He was a quitely, determined activist with a huge, shy smile. He deserved so much more than his horrific death.’ Simenon Honoré

‘All Out is sending our love and solidarity to you all. We stand with you as you fight queerphobia and fascism in Poland.’ Matt Beard, Executive Director – All Out

‘Hugs from Poland’ Monika Tichy, Polish Pride activist and artist

‘Peace. A great yet modest man to whom British LGBTs owe a monumental debt of respect and love. Tragically, and unsurprisingly, his murder in Poland has not been solved or the culprit(s) apprehended.” Ted Brown, GLF activist, ‘This is radical love’ – the history of black queer Britain in pictures

***

Time – Wednesday 24th March 2021 4-5pm

Livestreamed from The Dome Club https://www.domeclublondon.co.uk  – 2A Dartmouth Park Hill, Tufnell Park, London NW5 1HL – independent live music and club nights venue

Press contact – gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com

Live Streaming – we will be streaming from the GLF facebook page herehttps://www.facebook.com/gayliberationfrontuk

Ticketssign up here, it is free!

Social Media – Facebook event link here

‘Gay liberation does not just mean reforms. It means a revolutionary change in our whole society.’ Gay Liberation Front Manifesto, 1971.

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in alliance with ‘Make Poland Queer Again’ will be hosting a commemoration in London and in Warsaw of the death 25 years ago on 24 March 1996 of Bob Mellors (b.1950), one of the founders of the Gay Liberation Front London in 1970.This event will include an unveiling of a plaque on the central Warsaw building where Bob lived and died alongside an online vigil.

BOB MELLORS
born 1950 in England – died 24 March 1996 in Warsaw
Gay rights activist
lived here

Make Poland Queer Again is a growing grassroots international movement organising for critical actions including the ‘Summer of Solidarity 2021’ whereby buses will leave from Britain to Poland to connect and empower the global LGBT+ solidarity movement against the ‘LGBT Free Zones’. plus’ and in solidarity with all Polish women in the recent attacks on their rights. LGBTQ+ and every woman is oppressed in common by sexist society.

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was founded in October 1970 by students Aubrey Walter and Bob Mellors after encountering the American Gay Liberation Front at the Black Panther Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in post-Stonewall Philadelphia (1970).Though it’s time as a political collective was short, the impact of GLF, through newspapers, acts of solidarity with other oppressed groups, pamphlets, phone lines, discos, demonstrations, communes, street theatre and marches, lasted long after it stopped organising in late 1973. Generations of people in the UK would come to understand their oppression by society through the work of GLF.

Bob was murdered. Polish police stated that the death was in the course of a burglary and they informed Interpol, but no arrest was ever made. The purpose is to introduce Bob’s career, his love of Poland, and his outstanding LGBT record, including non-binary pioneering and co-founding of GLF London, to young LGBT people in Poland.

Event running order –

  1. Welcome from the LGBTQIA+ Rep at The Dome Club
  2. Welcome and Intro from ‘Make Poland Queer Again’
  3. Show video recording of plaque unveiling in Warsaw
  4. Welcome from the Gay Liberation Front – Andrew and Nettie.
  5. Stuart’s interview with one of Bob’s friends
  6. Reading a letter from Bob Mellors mum
  7. Reading of Bob’s letters to Andrew from Warsaw when he was happy.
  8. The struggle for international freedom – and the focus of this Summer of Solidarity with Polish queer and feminist struggles! What’s happening / how to get involved.

Thank you to All Out for all your love and solidarity. Please support All Out with all your might. All Out is a global movement for love and equality. We’re mobilising thousands of people to build a world where no person will have to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity, because of who they are or who they love. https://allout.org/en

Gay Liberation Front (GLF) – 2021 Consciousness raising groups and action plans – get involved!

There’s some exciting plans afoot at the Gay Liberation Front with new consciousness-raising groups – see below! 

If you haven’t seen already check out GAY LIBERATION FRONT 2020  For full blog, videos and pictures see here. and here is the link where you can buy a copy of the 50th anniversary edition of the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto, 1971. – big up to everyone who made this happen! Have a listen too to ‘The One Fifty Marchers Episode Five: We’re Back…and so is the GLF!’

To get involved and be added to the mailing list please email gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com and sign up to the facebook group here

Next online GLF Think In is Wed 3 Feb 4.30 pm – email ajlumsden41@gmail.com for the login details. 

GAY LIBERATION FRONT (GLF) Consciousness Raising Groups

Ongoing – The Care Home Campaign – To continue the recent crowdfunder ‘LGBT+ Pride for Life’ campaign we are continuing to demand justice from Lambeth Council. Pls contact Ted on teddy.state1950@gmail.com

There isn’t one LGBTQIA+ care home in the whole of the UK, so currently queers have to go into the closet or risk abuse and attacks in places which cannot cater for us.  The cruel irony of legends who have fought their whole lives for freedom like this suffering homophobia at the end of their lives is so cruel. We are taking this case forward for Ted and his partner but also to help raise awareness and ensure that hospitals, care homes and councils give LGBT elderly, disabled or hospitalised the full respect and care we all deserve, instead of forcing us into the closet to avoid abusive maltreatment. 

March 2021 – Bob Mellors commemoration / Make Poland Queer Again

We’re co-operating with ‘Make Poland Queer Again’ in a Commemoration in Warsaw of the death there 25 years ago on 24 March 1996 of Bob Mellors (b.1950), one of the founders of the Gay Liberation Front London in 1970. Plans include an exhibition in Warsaw and a plaque on the central Warsaw building where Bob lived. We’re supplying help with archival memories of Bob and information about his work and are invited to attend.

Bob was murdered. Polish police stated that the death was in the course of a burglary and they informed Interpol, but no arrest was ever made. The purpose is to introduce Bob’s career, his love of Poland, and his outstanding LGBT record, including non-binary pioneering and co-founding of GLF London, to young LGBT people in Poland.

Make Poland Queer Again is a growing grassroots international movement organising for critical actions including the solidarity bus to Poland to connect and empower the global LGBT+ solidarity movement against the ‘LGBT Free Zones’. 

Spring / Summer 2021 – FRIENDSHIP CIRCLES is a new series of works made by original GLF activist, artist, journalist, writer and speaker Andrew Lumsden. It celebrates friends and friendships in all areas and aspects of his life and work. FRIENDSHIP CIRCLES will be curated by Dan de la Motte. As well as being a Queer performer, host, speaker and producer, Dan was the curator of GLF AT 50; The Art of Protest in 2020, MAKING AN EXHIBITION OF OURSELVES; BLOOLIPS AND RADICAL DRAG in 2019 and ANDREW LUMSDEN: A RETROSPECTIVE in 2018.

15/16th MAY – Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention

In September 1970 the Black Panthers fighting white supremacists in America held a Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention. We’re repeating the idea in London this Spring, Covid-19 permitting.

Two British students attended the Black Panther Convention in Philadelphia in 1970, flew back here, and started the Gay Liberation Front London in October 1970. The crowded meetings spread rapidly to Ireland, France and Italy.

Please see Camp Books brilliant Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention Zine’ 

It’s now the 50th birthday of that event. As we say “Something happened, and nothing was ever the same again.” Lots of us who were there in 1970 are still around, and with young activists of today we’re celebrating.

Themes in development are radical traditions in revolutionary organising denied to us schools; the ongoing youthquakes in Hong Kong, Uganda, Russia, Nigeria;  what the Black Panthers were really up to in 1970 when they held the original RPCC in Philadelphia in September 1970; online event with Cuba Gay Fest and Mariela Castro’s simultaneous Trans Pride events in Havana;  ageist homophobia and applications of the Radical agenda today. 

Where? : The Bishopsgate Institute near Liverpool Street Station and Spitalfields. Fully wheelchair accessible. The Bishopsgate Institute was founded in 1895 to provide “a public library, a public hall.

Who for? : Everybody: all sexualities and ethnicities, accompanied children and babies welcome. If we can have the event for real and physical, a free ticketed event. If virtual, we’ll give the access details in due course.

Who’s it by? : presenters made up of the Gay Liberation Front old and new and the organisers and staff of the Bishopsgate Institute. 

‘The 50th anniversary celebration of the first LGBT+ protest in Britain with those that were there ‘was magical’ .

Across the generations we continue the journey to freedom.

We are so excited to share this brilliant short documentary covering our key recent protests. Thank you Jess, Manu, Alvaro, Bishopsgate Institute and all the producers! 

A message from Jess – ‘2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the GLF in London and the first LGBTQ+ demo in Britain. After five decades of protest, the GLF veterans did not let Covid-19 stop them from celebrating these milestones and continuing the fight for ‘Absolute Freedom For All worldwide, which is far from over. It has been amazing getting to know and learning from the GLF this year. We put together this short film on the milestones of 2020’ 

GAY LIBERATION FRONT 2020 from Manuel García-Calvo Gutiérrez on Vimeo.

‘This exhilarating film shows that the Gay liberation Front is part of a revolution that is not over till we have absolute freedom for all.’ Nettie Pollard, original GLF activist

‘This is a passionate and inspiring film about Gay Liberation Front, past and present. It shows that the struggle for liberation is very much alive and gives us hope for the future.’ Geoff Hardy, original GLF activist

About the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) 50th celebration actions in 2021.

To get involved in our current organising in 2021 and for the 50th anniversary of Pride that the GLF began please email gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list and / or sign up to our facebook page here.

Thank you to Joseph Wilson for the video and to Mike Kear for the photos below you legends

On Friday 4th December 2020 we celebrated the demonstration led by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) against unjust laws and police misconduct that took place in Highbury Fields to commemorate the richness of our beautiful LGBT+ history, agitate for more queer anger and celebration, and to highlight the ongoing struggle for total freedom for all! We re-imagined the torchlight protest that took place 50 years ago which was organised in solidarity with Louis Eaks, chair of the Young Liberals, who was arrested for ‘importuning for an immoral purpose’ – cruising, to you and me. 

This was a commemoration of sexual freedom, in celebration of those who were there, and the next generation of young activists responding to the intersectional challenges faced by queer people today. LGBT+ hate crimes and injustice are on the rise all over the world, and we won’t stand for it.

‘In 1970 I suggested that the Gay Liberation Front’s first demo ought to be in Highbury Fields. I’m now 86 and send my love and remind us all that the word for the Highbury Fields demo in the slang of 1970 was a ‘zap’, meaning a bolt of electrical energy. Highbury Fields Forever! In solidarity and disgrace’ Eric Thompson

‘Still battles to be won, 50 years on from Highbury Fields gay rights demo’ in the Islington Tribune.

Last but not least listen thanks to JD and Frazer have a Listen to @150marchers podcast as they try to find and celebrate the brave individuals who marched that day on Highbury Fields.

Press requests – gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com. Thanks to Mike Kear for the beautiful pics!

Quotes

‘From the dark of the Fields to the light of the pub afterwards, we saw each other anew. We had shared our beliefs and convictions in public and acted them out in the world. We had made the first ever openly public demonstration in this country by homosexuals. Whatever barriers there were between us were let down that night. An emotional connection of solidarity and respect, for ourselves and each other was forged. It remains palpable to this day,” Stuart Feather, Blowing the Lid.

‘Highbury Fields was a UK defining moment in a global uprising and revolution against oppression and for liberation with sexual liberation at its heart.’ John Lloyd

“27th November 1970 was a watershed moment that challenged our police oppressors for the first time. It began our fightback, igniting a LGBT+ protest movement that in the following five decades rolled back straight supremacism and won the repeal of anti-LGBT+ laws.” Peter Tatchell

‘In 1970 gay men, lesbians and trans protested together on Highbury Fields not just about police abuse of power and unjust laws but also liberation, including sexual liberation for everyone – a revolution – Love and Liberation.’ Nettie Pollard.

‘Marking the 50th anniversary of the first LGBT march in London is of paramount importance today in bringing together queer individuals spanning multiple generations in order that we can celebrate and learn from those who have continuously fought for our rights over the last 50 years.’ Graham Martin

The GLF are also holding a People’s Revolutionary Convention at the Bishopsgate Institute in May 2021 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention (RPCC) organised by the Black Panther Party (BPP) that catalysed the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) into being. You are very welcome to be involved, unless you are a copper.

The Failure of Pride

Every privatised body invested in running Pride failed the LGBTQIA+ community this year, be it Pride in London, or the Mayor. Yet even Covid-19 failed to stop it.

This year, the survivors of GLF, celebrating their 50 years of activism; organisers of the first Lesbian and Gay pride march in 1972; ranks swelled by today’s young activists responding to the call of GLF – Reclaim Pride, were once more in charge of the day.

It’s four decades since GLF was ousted from running Pride by commercial organisations taking it in a direction that proves more expensive year by year, and more and more restricted. It has turned our community away from Pride as a political demonstration into a purely street carnival, the origins of which have been deliberately obscured by each passing administration.

It’s a curious thing that events conspired to give us the opportunity to take back our legacy and run the 48th London LGBTQIA+ Pride march. A stroke of poetic justice: the kind that only happens when you’ve worked for it.

The march this year was supported on the ground by Out L&G police. They had worked on all the details, right down to the traffic lights around Trafalgar Square that had in place the material with cut-outs of the GLF interlinked symbols of Venus and Mars, representing lesbians and gays, glowing red or green at the crossings.

Those Out police, we learned, openly volunteered to protect us. They wanted to be with us, to meet us; to tell us about their spouse and their family, and they thanked us for what we’d made possible.

Sure, we older dykes and radical queens were wary of the police at the beginning of the conversation, but that exchange between us and them felt human and heartfelt, and the recognition given to us as GLF survivors, was for all the thousands of gay libbers who had walked through the doors of GLF and stayed to make the change.

The 2020 Gay Pride march arranged by us, is proof if any were needed, that we as a community are capable of running Pride ourselves. The only question that needs to be clarified is – what is Pride in London for? Is it to make one rich man richer, or to enrich the community for everyone’s benefit?

Pride needs rethinking

Certainly, the present Pride in London controlled by Conservative Central Office, doesn’t work. The best model we’ve had was the Pride in London Charity which ran the event from the 80s to 2013 when Mayor Boris Johnson’s business shakedown smash-and-grab, saw the charity bankrupted. Boris Johnson handing the vacancy over to Cameron, and him gifting it to his gay communications officer working in 10, Downing Street.

Michael Salter’s administration never challenges the number of people allowed on the parade, or challenges Westminster Councils’ annual claim for restitution of earnings lost from parking tickets, because some spaces had to be closed to let the parade through.

These conservative conspirators are seeing their councils and their friends do alright out of us, while failing us on everything else; recognition of community, solidarity, intersectionality, self-declared gender identity, racism, LGBT migrants, or the gay liberation politics and culture that has grown up in our community over the last fifty years. Everything that makes our society, our lives, vibrant, authentic and more advanced than theirs.

The conservative Pride in London has imposed on us the military and its murderous and wicked industry, responsible for some of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times. Forced on us the banks responsible for the financial crash; 14 years and counting of austerity, and rip-off Britain utilities. Pushed hard right politics that encourages homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and racism, all on the rise and impacting heavily upon the precariat, low-paid and unemployed, more than it does on them, or so they think.  

There is also the issue of falling numbers of those attending Pride, and on this matter the Mayor has a role to play, indeed he has been doing so for some time. Sadiq Khan serves on the committee of the military and civil authorities that actually decides the maximum number of people there can be on the Pride parade.

Limiting Pride

Since the conservative party took over Pride there has been an annual decrease in how many people attend, from 30,000 down to 24,000 on the last of their Gay Pride marches in 2019. In the 1980s the numbers joining Pride were between 100,000 and 300,000 – and we went on afterwards to one of the London parks to celebrate, not pushed into the usual bars and separated, dispersed over the city instead of having that once a year come together party.

A note about Soho Pride. That is a separate event on the same day as Pride in London. Its cartel of publicans and brewers cater for a clientele who are not interested in the Out Pride concept. They prefer the closet, so, no worries there about loss of business in their manor.

Civic Pride

All these relationships with Pride, both personal and political need rethinking. GLF will therefore be providing a venue for this discussion and for many others at the upcoming Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Conference at the Bishopsgate Institute next May. Inshallah.

Let us be clear. We activists in Gay Liberation take our civic responsibilities very seriously, because we already know what the loss of that status means.

Gay Liberation Front at 50: The Art of Protest Exhibition – August 2020

Painting by GLF founding activist Stuart Feather – author of ‘Blowing the lid: Gay Liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens’

17-29 Aug – Platform Southwark, 1 Joan Street, SE1
FOR THE FIRST TIME: Exhibition celebrating the art work of Gay Liberation Front and other LGBTQ activists from the past 50 years.

Bookings are essential – please see the whole programme and book details on Outsavvy here

2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front in the UK, the movement that was born out of the Stonewall Uprising in New York and radically shifted the narrative around LGBTQ+ equality in the UK, leading to the first Gay Pride March in London in 1972. 

While other spaces have exhibited GLF artefacts before, this is the first ever exhibition to focus solely on the artwork, of whatever form, made for and by GLF activists from the last 50 years, as well as younger LGBTQ+ activist artists

Paintings, sketches, print work, placards, posters, banners and interactive instillations populate this exhibition, curated by Dan de la Motte (BLOOLIPS AND RADICAL DRAG, Platform Southwark 2019). Associate Curator is Lily Cheetah.

With accompanying festival of events, including:

Dan Glass reading from his book United QueerdomUCL URBAN LAB, Political Print Making Workshop with Brooke Palmieri of Camp Books and poster and print making workshop with Riposte.
Curated by Dan de la Motte with Associate Curation from Lily Cheetah
ENQUIRIES: @Dandelamotte / dandlmh@yahoo.co.uk / 07725402263

Queer rights veterans celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front and reclaim Pride – 27 June 2020

Please find below press links to our 50th celebration protest of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) – to get involved email gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list. Our regular ‘Think In’ gatherings (physical or virtual) will be updated here.

Gay Star News – LGBT+ veterans from the 70s mark 50th anniversary of UK’s Gay Liberation Front

12 of the activists from the London Gay Liberation Front have marched to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

They took the route of the cancelled Pride in London march on Saturday (27 June) to demand LGBT+ rights in the UK and worldwide.

Moreover the veterans made five demands:

1 For the UK to stop detaining and deporting LGBT+ asylum seekers.
2 Let people define their own gender, not doctors or the state.
3 Mandatory LGBT+ education in every school.
4 For religion to get its ‘hands off women’s and LGBT+ bodies’.
5 Solidarity with Black Lives Matter and LGBT+ people of color worldwide.

The Gay Liberation Front formed in 1970 and ran until 1974. While the GLF wasn’t the first LGBT+ campaign in the UK, it ignited the modern LGBT+ rights movement in the country.

Of course, many of the LGF’s founders have now died. Just 40 supporters joined the dozen veterans to ensure social distancing.

‘Freedom, including sexual freedom, for everyone’

GLF veterans marching.
The veterans are sticking to their ‘radical’ agenda 50 years on.Tris Reid-Smith

The activists, many in their 70s and 80s, emphasized modern concerns, including Black Lives Matter during the protest.

Ted Brown, aged 70, said: ‘GLF stemmed out of Stonewall 1969, which was a riot that took place after centuries of oppression against LGBT+ people.

‘We proved that the authorities will not listen unless we fight back, make a noise and cause a disturbance, as Black Lives Matter is doing now.’

Likewise, Nettie Pollard, 70, said ‘GLF still believes in revolution’

She added: ‘50 years ago, the Gay Liberation Front said “come out, change ourselves and revolutionize the world”.

‘Joining with other oppressed groups is the only way to work toward real change. Rights can so easily be taken away again. Liberation must mean freedom, including sexual freedom, for everyone.’

Meanwhile Andrew Lumsden, 78, emphasised that visibility remains important:

‘We insist on gathering in plain sight every year because for 2,000 years we were told to be invisible.

‘And we walk in honour of the young who are fighting in every country around the world. We think of LGBTs in Hong Kong, Poland, Chechnya, Brazil and Indonesia, who seek the dignities that ought not be denied to anyone.’

And Stuart Feather, 80, described the gay liberation movement as ‘the cosmic big bang beneath heterosexual and gay society’. He said it called on people to ‘to come out – be visible – break the taboo’. 

‘Radical social change is needed now’

The GLF veterans.
The Gay Liberation Front veterans.Peter Tatchell Foundation

Meanwhile Peter Tatchell, 68, remains the UK’s most famous activist and organized the anniversary march.

He said: ‘GLF did not seek equal rights within a flawed, unjust status quo. It campaigned for the transformation of society to end straight supremacism and stood in solidarity with all other oppressed people.

‘A similar agenda of radical social change is needed now, as the UK faces the threats of COVID-19, economic meltdown, institutional racism, climate destruction and the demonisation of trans people.

We support Black Lives Matter and the just demands of black communities and black LGBT+ people, like we did in the early 1970s.’

Likewise John Lloyd, 67, recalled how the GLF had always looked beyond the UK.

He said: ‘From the outset, GLF had an internationalist perspective. In 1973, Peter and myself represented GLF at the World Youth Festival in communist East Berlin, which was attended by over 100,000 young people from all over the world.

‘We spoke out for gay liberation and staged LGBT+ protests.

‘Despite being attacked by members of our own British delegation, our interventions for the first time put LGBT+ rights on the agenda of the left, social democratic, liberal and trade union movements in the UK and other countries.’

Further press links

Gay Star News – LGBT+ veterans from the 70s mark 50th anniversary of UK’s Gay Liberation Front

Openly – OPINION: LGBT+ statues would remind us to fight for freedom – by Dan Glass

GScene – Gay Liberation Front celebrates 50 years of Pride

Pictures – Pride London 2020 Queer rights veterans celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front and reclaim Pride – 27 June 2020 – photos by Nicolas Chinardet. More photos by Getty Images and on the Peter Tatchell Foundation website.

BBC News – Veterans walk London Pride route to celebrate 50th anniversary

Guardian – LGBT+ marches from London to New York call for end to racism

Openly – LGBT+ marches from London to New York call for end to racism

Reuters – Pride: London’s Gay Liberation front turns 50 – London’s ‘Gay Liberation Front’ celebrates 50th anniversary

Shropshire Star – Campaigners march in London as main Pride celebrations move online

BBC London News – 50 YEARS OF THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT! And the aim is ‘absolute freedom for all!’ Yes Ted Brown! Minute 16.00

27.06.20 – GLF Veterans March to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the London Gay Liberation Front

Saturday 27 June, 1pm BBC, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA

LGBT+ veterans in their 70s and 80s will march to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the London Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and to reclaim Pride with political demands.

Time – 1pm: Assemble outside BBC, Portland Place London W1A 1AA. We will march down to Trafalgar Square where there will be speeches by the founders of Pride. 

MAP: https://bit.ly/2N5zSmj

Please RSVP to say if you can attend at gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com – veteran or otherwise – and if you have any accessibility needs. 

Press requests – please email gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com ASAP.

Facebook event page click here / Instagram – GayliberationfrontUK

See the veteran’s demands and quotes below.

This year’s Pride in London parade on 27 June has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But veterans from GLF, 1970-74, will march anyway on the same day along the same route that the official Pride parade was due to follow. The march is coordinated by Peter Tatchell who was an activist in GLF.

GLF was formed in 1970 and is credited with being the beginning of the modern LGBT+ protest movement in the UK.

The GLF veterans Pride march will take place on Saturday 27 June, starting at 1pm outside the BBC in Portland Place W1A 1AA. 

The veterans and supporters will wear face masks and ensure social distancing. They will follow the planned official Pride route down Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket to Trafalgar Square, where there will be speeches from GLF veterans.

Putting politics back into Pride, the five demands of the GLF Pride march are:

1. End UK detention & deportation of LGBT+ asylum seekers

2. Let people define their own gender, not doctors or the state

3. Mandatory LGBT+ education in every school

4. Religion! Hands off women’s & LGBT+ bodies

5. Solidarity with Black Lives Matter & LGBT+ people of colour worldwide

Some of the other GLF veterans who will join the march commented:

Ted Brown, aged 70, said:

“GLF stemmed out of Stonewall 1969, which was a riot that took place after centuries of oppression against LGBT+ people. We proved that the authorities will not listen unless we fight back, make a noise and cause a disturbance, as Black Lives Matter is doing now.” 

Nettie Pollard, 70, said:

“50 years ago, the Gay Liberation Front said come out, change ourselves and revolutionize the world. Joining with other oppressed groups is the only way to work toward real change. Rights can so easily be taken away again. Liberation must mean freedom, including sexual freedom, for everyone. At Pride 2020, GLF still believes in revolution.”

Andrew Lumsden, 78, said:

“We insist on gathering in plain sight every year because for 2,000 years we were told to be invisible. This is the 50th calendar year in which we’ve walked the walk in London. We who were there in 1971 and 1972 walk now on behalf of our contemporaries who are too unwell, locked-down or far away, to join us. Many have already gone to LGBT+ heaven. And we walk in honour of the young who are fighting in every country around the world. We think of LGBTs in Hong Kong, Poland, Chechnya, Brazil and Indonesia, who seek the dignities that ought not be denied to anyone.”

Stuart Feather, 80, said:

“Gay Liberation was the cosmic big bang beneath heterosexual and gay society with its call to come out – be visible – break the taboo. From revolutionary chaos emerged two driving issues: misogyny and feminism. And two questions: what does it mean to be lesbian or gay, and how do we liberate ourselves? Based on the English revolution and the Quaker idea that ‘my word is my bond’, LGBT+ liberation will be the work of generations before there is general acceptance that without harm to others, my sexuality, my chosen gender, is my bond with society and no-one’s business but mine own.”

John Lloyd, 67, said:

“From the outset, GLF had an internationalist perspective. In 1973, Peter and myself represented GLF at the World Youth Festival in communist East Berlin, which was attended by over 100,000 young people from all over the world. We spoke out for gay liberation and staged LGBT+ protests. Despite being attacked by members of our own British delegation, our interventions for the first time put LGBT+ rights on the agenda of the left, social democratic, liberal and trade union movements in the UK and other countries.”

Peter Tatchell, 68, said:

“GLF did not seek equal rights within a flawed, unjust status quo. It campaigned for the transformation of society to end straight supremacism and stood in solidarity with all other oppressed people. A similar agenda of radical social change is needed now, as the UK faces the threats of Covid-19, economic meltdown, institutional racism, climate destruction and the demonisation of trans people. We support Black Lives Matter and the just demands of black communities and black LGBT+ people, like we did in the early 1970s.”

The march expresses its solidarity with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) people in the UK and worldwide. Oppression for none. Liberation for all.

‘Absolute Freedom for all Party – Gay Liberation Front 50th Birthday Party @ LSE’ Pics, video and where next?

Dear all Gay Liberation Front and friends, thank you so much for such an amazing ‘Absolute Freedom for all Party – Gay Liberation Front 50th Birthday Party’ held at the London School of Economics (LSE) – where it all began on 12th March – it was so much fun!

For the video click here – Absolute Freedom for all Party – Gay Liberation Front 50th Birthday Party

Read the full article in QX here on page 18 🙂 Thank you to Joseph Wilson for the film, Holly Buckle for the photos and Ifan Llewelyn and all at QX for the article 🙂

Since our magical night obviously the world has changed dramatically and I hope you are all ok and getting the support you deserve. Understandably so many couldn’t make it on the night itself. There are many amazing groups being set up in response such as Covid-19 Mutual Aid UKa group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. We focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need. Many movements are mobilising for  A Basic Income for all citizens during the coronavirus crisis months and the London Renters Union are calling for rent and mortgage freezes. Here’s a template letter to send to your landlord too. 

Our events and action programme for 2020 will be continuing but likely a lot of it online until the virus is over – if you would like to be involved in organising online meet ups and strategising the year then please get in touch!  We need all the revolutionary love, radical community organising and support for our community in these trying times because 2020 brings the 50th anniversary of the start of Gay Liberation in London, the moment everything changed in Britain by giving us Coming Out, Gay Pride and the first Gay Pride March in 1972, making 2022 the 50th anniversary of that political demonstration and celebration – 

GLF stands for liberation: the choice is always there – liberation or slavery.

Join Us! http://www.gayliberationfrontuk.home.blog. Please do get in touch with any ideas and to be added to the mailing list if you are not already on it at  gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com. if you are not already on it at  gayliberationfrontuk@gmail.com and sign up to our facebook group here.


ALSO! Here’s some exciting related news …

GLF AT 50: THE ART OF PROTEST (WORKING TITLE)

Dan de la Motte is curating an exhibition at Platform Southwark, 9-24 July. This will be an exhibition and celebration of GLF artwork; posters, badges, photos, banners, paintings and the like. Artwork relating directly to the GLF as well as artwork by GLF members themselves, from whatever era. To submit ideas or offer contributions for loan or potential sale, please email Dan dlM on dandlmh@yahoo.co.uk / 07725402263. The deadline for ideas/submissions is Thursday 30 April – after this time Dan and a committee will start planning the curation and get back to everyone to sort out logistics.

THE ROAD HERE – Queer activism podcast series

James came to the birthday party and he has been working on an amazing podcast series which documents the history of queer activism within the UK. In Peter Tatchells speech on the 50th birthday he mentioned that the world needs to hear more of our stories – and that’s exactly James’ intention with the podcast: to shine a light on the parts of our history which are largely unknown, told first-hand by the people who lived them. If you’re interested, the series website is https://www.theroadhere.com/ – it’s currently available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Contact James on theroadherepodcast@gmail.com if you are interested in sharing your story!

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