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

Knowles, Jeremy Joseph (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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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.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Cook, Hera
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Modern History
Subjects:DA Great Britain
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:686
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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