LGBTQ+ activists gathered for a candlelit vigil outside the London School of Economics to commemorate 50 years since the founding of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) movement.
On October 13 1970, the GLF was founded at the London School of Economics by students Bob Mellors and Aubrey Walter. From the meeting’s initial attendance of 19 people, it soon sparked an LGBTQ+ movement which fought back against dominant prejudices and discrimination.
GLF veterans and supporters held a candlelit vigil celebrating the groundbreaking organisation 50 years after it was founded. Over 30 activists were in attendance, all of whom were abiding by COVID-19 regulations with face masks and social distancing.
Speakers at the 50th anniversary vigil included GLF veterans Ted Brown, Andrew Lumsden, John Lloyd, Bruce Bayley, Eric Ollenshawe, Michael Parkes and Peter Tatchell. They addressed the significance of this organisation and how it impacted LGBTQ+ representation at the time.
Stuart Feather, aged 80, stated, “Gay Liberation was the cosmic big bang beneath heterosexual and gay society with its call to come out – be visible – break the taboo. My sexuality, my chosen gender, is…no-one’s business but mine own.”
Geoff Hardy, aged 70, shared, “The central message of GLF was Gay is Good, accept yourself, come out! We challenged ourselves and others around racism, gender roles, sexism and class. We demanded the freedom to be ourselves, without apology.”
Along with the candlelit vigil for GLF, the Peter Tatchell Foundation released a video documenting the organisation’s history over on their YouTube channel. It showcases the different demonstrations they organised and how 50 years on, they are still fighting for queer liberation.
Gay Liberation Front activist from 1971-74, Tatchell, aged 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. Fifty years on, we honour the heroes of the GLF.”
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