Gay Left

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Gay Left
Formation 1975
Extinction 1980
Type Marxist organization for gay men based in the United Kingdom
Purpose Marxist analysis, gay activism
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Location London, England, United Kingdom
Region served
United Kingdom
Membership 15
Official language
English

Gay Left was a collective of gay men who produced a journal of the same name published every six months in London, England between the years 1975 and 1980. It was the aftermath of the evaporation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Marxist Group.[1]

Its goal was to contribute towards a Marxist analysis of homosexual oppression and to encourage in the gay movement an understanding of the links between the struggle against sexual oppression and the struggle for socialism.[2]

The journal initially described itself as "A Socialist Journal Produced by Gay Men", which evolved into "A Gay Socialist Journal" by the magazine's end. That transition, in itself, spoke volumes for the vigorous debate that ran throughout Gay Left's life between the collective and lesbians who, though none ever joined the collective, frequently contributed articles.(see Contributors table below)

The Collective[edit]

In all a total of 15 gay men became part of the collective at one point or another with nine members at the start and nearly half of them forming part of the final eight.[2] The group met on alternate Fridays and Sundays from 1974 until 1980. As well as editorial planning, the members also wrote a collective statement keynoting each issue.

Issue/Name Issue 1
Autumn 1975
Issue 2
Spring 1976
Issue 3
Autumn 1976
Issue 4
Summer 1977
Issue 5
Winter 1977/8
Issue 6
Summer 1978
Issue 7
Winter 1978/9
Issue 8
Summer 1979
Issue 9
Winter 1979/80
Issue 10
Summer 1980
Keith Birch Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Gregg Blachford Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Bob Cant Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Emmanuel Cooper Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Ross Irwin Green tickY
Randall Kincaid Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Angus Suttie Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Jeffrey Weeks Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Nigel Young Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Derek Cohen Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Ron Peck Green tickY Green tickY
Richard Dyer Green tickY
Simon Watney Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Phil Derbyshire Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Tom Woodhouse Green tickY Green tickY

The Journal[edit]

Alongside more historical articles like ‘Where Engels Feared to Tread’ (GL 1), which traced the evolution of Marxist attitudes towards sexuality and gender, were articles on struggles in the workplace like ‘Gays and Trade Unions’ (GL 1), ‘The Gay Workers’ Movement’ (GL 2), ‘All Worked UP’ (GL 3), ‘Gays at Work’ (GL 6 and 7), and ‘Work Place Politics: Gay Politics’ (GL 10); and pieces on the attitudes of leftist organisations towards the gay issue, such as ‘A Grim Tale’, about the International Socialists’ Gay Group (GL 3) or ‘Communists’ Comment’ (GL 4).

Gay Left was also a leader in exploring gay culture in its broadest sense. Gays in film formed a continuous theme following a ground- breaking article by Richard Dyer in GL 2, with regular reviews (for example, of Fassbinder (GL 2)), and coverage of Ron Peck’s attempts to make his film, ‘Nighthawks’ (Ron was then a member of the collective and other members were involved in the film making). Andrew Britton challenged ‘Camp’ (GL 6), and there were pioneering articles on ‘Gay Art’, the gay singer, Tom Robinson and the theatre group Gay Sweatshop (GL 7). Richard Dyer’s article ‘In Defence of Disco’ (GL 8) was one of the first to take disco seriously as an expression of the new gay consciousness. Mandy Merck explored Gay TV in GL 10 at the start of what proved to be a revolution in the ways in which lesbians and gays were represented.

Contributors[edit]

Gay Left's contributors included many experienced activists, particularly in the field of feminism, education and workplace politics.[2]

Issue/Name Issue 1
Autumn 1975
Issue 2
Spring 1976
Issue 3
Autumn 1976
Issue 4
Summer 1977
Issue 5
Winter 1977/8
Issue 6
Summer 1978
Issue 7
Winter 1978/9
Issue 8
Summer 1979
Issue 9
Winter 1979/80
Issue 10
Summer 1980
Alison Hennegen Green tickY
Andrew Britton Green tickY Green tickY
Barry Davis Green tickY
Bea Campbell Green tickY
Caroline Airs Green tickY
Celia Holt Green tickY
Chris Jones Green tickY
David Fernbach Green tickY Green tickY
David Landau Green tickY
David Thompson Green tickY
David Widgery Green tickY
Dennis Altman Green tickY Green tickY
Fred Bearman Green tickY
Glenn McKee Green tickY
Hans Klabbers Green tickY Green tickY
Helen Bishop Green tickY
Jacky Plaster Green tickY
Jamie Gough Green tickY
Jane Lewis Green tickY
Jeff Dudgeon Green tickY
John de Wit Green tickY
John Lindsay Green tickY
John Quinn Green tickY
John Shiers Green tickY
John Warburton Green tickY
Kate Ingrey Green tickY
Kay Young Green tickY
Ken Plummer Green tickY
Lindsay Taylor Green tickY
Lindsay Turner Green tickY
Mandy Merck Green tickY
Margaret Coulson
Margaret Jackson Green tickY Green tickY
Marie Walsh Green tickY
Patrick Hughes Green tickY
Paul Hallam Green tickY
Peter Bradley Green tickY
Ros Coward Green tickY
Sarah Benton Green tickY Green tickY
Sarah Maguire Green tickY
Shauna Brown Green tickY
Stephen Gee Green tickY
Sue Bruley Green tickY Green tickY
Sue Cartledge Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
Teresa Savage Green tickY
Tom O'Carroll Green tickY Green tickY

Other activities[edit]

Gay Left organised a conference in London in July 1977 titled ‘What is to Be Done?’ (possibly after the famous pamphlet of the same name by Vladimir Lenin) and edited and wrote chapters for a book published by Alison and Busby in 1980 titled Homosexuality, Power and Politics.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Knitting Circle - Gay Left Collective
  2. ^ a b c "Issue 1". Gayleft1970s.org. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 

External links[edit]