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An investigation into the relationship between gay activism and the establishment of a gay community in Birmingham, 1967-97

By Jeremy Joseph Knowles


This study charts the establishment of a gay community in Birmingham from the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised male homosexual acts in England and Wales, to the 1997 general election. This saw New Labour end eighteen years of Conservative governments in Britain, which had frequently pursued an anti-gay agenda. This investigation examines the impact of the national Gay Liberation movement in Birmingham and particularly how gay activism, as collective acts of resistance, contributed to the development of a sense of community among the lesbian and gay inhabitants of the city during the 1970s and 1980s. It then documents the developments of a gay ‘village’ in Birmingham in the 1990s, with a brief comparison made to Manchester’s Gay Village. This study blends oral history testimonies with archive material drawn from both local and national gay archives, as well as newspapers and local council records. The thesis ends in 1997 with the organisation of the city’s first official Gay Pride Festival. The Gay Pride Festival represented a watershed for Birmingham’s gay community, symbolising a kind of mass ‘coming out’ process during which Birmingham’s gay community established a long-term physical and cultural location for itself within the city

Topics: DA Great Britain
Year: 2010
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