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British Library of Political and Economic Science

Gay Liberation Front


Reference code(s): GB 0097 HCA/Gay Liberation Front

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: Gay Liberation Front

Date(s): 1970-1979

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 2 boxes

Name of creator(s): Gay Liberation Front


Administrative/Biographical history:

The first meeting of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) took place on 13 Oct 1970 in a basement classroom at the London School of Economics, and was instigated by Aubrey Walters and Bob Mellors, who had been influenced by the development of the GLF in the USA. It was the beginning of a three year period of great activity, including demonstrations, debates, street theatre, the establishment of a new gay press, and the establishment of communes. Local GLF groups were founded across the country, with Leeds and West Sussex being particularly active. The first ever public gay protest in Britain took place on 27th. November 1970, when approximately 80 GLF members gathered for a torchlight demonstration on Highbury Fields, Islington. In August 1971 the GLF organised a further public event when members marched along Islington's Upper Street back to Highbury Fields. This was an exclusively GLF event but led to the first real Pride in London in 1972. In the spring of 1973 the London GLF set up the support group Icebreakers. The first issue of Come Together, the journal of Gay Liberation was produced in 1971. By the mid-seventies, the influence of the GLF in the USA and elsewhere had begun to decline. Throughout its existence the GLF had no formal management structure. An account of the GLF entitled No bath but plenty of bubbles: an oral history of the Gay Liberation Front, 1970-1973 was written by Lisa Power.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), 1970-1979, comprising: Material created by the London GLF, 1970-[1976], notably Diaries, 1971-1974; accounts and financial reports, 1973-1974; notes and papers on GLF meetings, including the Steering Committee and the General Meeting, 1971-1972; copies of GLF newspapers and journals, including Come Together, 1971, Gay International News, 1970s and Gay News, 1972-1974; GLF newsletters, [1971-1974]; papers on various subjects, mainly relating to gaining gay rights through activism, 1971-[1975]; flyers and tickets for GLF events, [1971-1975], including Gay Pride, dances and discos, Christmas parties, and concerts. Papers of local Gay Liberation Front groups, 1970-1979, mainly comprising newsletters, leaflets, flyers and tickets for events, stickers, and articles on gay rights and legal reform, as well as some administrative materials such as accounts and reports on accommodation. Material created by the Gay Liberation Front Youth Group, 1974, namely a flier for a protest march against the age of consent for homosexual men. Material relating to the Festival of Light, [1971-1975], mainly concerning the disinformation campaign by the GLF. Miscellaneous GLF material, [1970-1979], including tickets for events, leaflets, details of campaigns, GLF publications, badges, photographs of GLF demonstrations and stickers.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged according to accession.

Conditions governing access:

Apply to Archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Apply to Archivist for copyright details.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Full handlist and on-line catalogue available.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

As the GLF did not have a formal structure, no official deposit of papers has been made. The GLF materials in this collection have been gathered together from numerous deposits made by individuals involved in the movement.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Hall-Carpenter Archives at the British Library of Political and Economic Science also contain material relating to the Gay Liberation Front in the papers of Rupert Beach, John Chesterman, the Union Place Collective, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, the Gay Activists Alliance, Antony Grey, Peter Tatchell, and the Hall-Carpenter ephemera and journals collections. There are further papers relating to the GLF in the papers of Mary Macintosh and Michael James.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 2000

Bisexuality | Sexuality
Gay liberation movement | Liberation movements | Political movements
Homosexuality | Sexuality
Lesbian, gay and bisexual campaigning groups | Groups
Lesbian, gay and bisexual rights | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Lesbianism | Sexuality
Radical drag | Political movements
Transvestism | Life styles | Cultural life | Cultural conditions

Personal names

Corporate names
Festival of Light
Gay Liberation Front
Gay Liberation Front Youth Group
Gay Pride