Gay History 101: October 1, 2014

PEOPLE

Quentin Crisp (born Denis Charles Pratt, 25 December 1908 – 21 November 1999) was an English writer and raconteur. Crisp grew up with effeminate tendencies, which he flaunted by parading the streets in make-up and painted nails, and working as a rent-boy.  The interviews he gave about his unusual life attracted increasing public curiosity. In 1975/76, the television version of The Naked Civil Servant was broadcast on British and US television and made both actor John Hurt and Crisp himself into stars. This success launched Crisp in a new direction: that of performer and lector. He devised a one-man show, began touring the country with it and it became  a long-running hit, both in England and America. Crisp defied convention by criticizing both gay liberation and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Stephen Russell Davies, (born 27 April 1963) OBE, better known by his pen name Russell T Davies, is a Welsh television producer and screenwriter whose works include Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose, The Second Coming, Casanova and the 2005 revival of the classic British science fiction series Doctor Who.

FACTS:

Gay News was a pioneering fortnightly newspaper founded in England in 1972. A collaboration between former members of the Gay Liberation Front and members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality ( CHE), Gay News was a response to a nationwide demand by lesbians and gay men for news. The paper played a very important and loud role in the struggle for gay rights in the UK of the 70's. It was described as the movement's "debating chamber". It ceased publication in April of 1983 after a long and costly legal battle with the courts, (brought on by the "moral vigilante" of the time, Mary Whitehouse), for printing a homoerotic poem about Christ,  written by James Kirkup. The poem that created a storm was called "The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name". It can be read at http://torturebyroses.gydja.com/tbrkirkup.html (Warning: some readers might be offended by the content of the poem)

In late 2005Westminster City Council decreed that all LGBT bars and businesses that operated in its jurisdiction, including those in Soho and Covent Garden, remove their pride flags claiming that such flags constituted advertising which was forbidden in its planning laws. Businesses would be required to apply for permits to be allowed to fly flags but those businesses that did apply for permission found their applications turned down for spurious reasons. Following media allegations of homophobia in the Council, the I Love Soho campaign and intense pressure from the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the Council rescinded its directive and Pride Flags were once again permitted to be flown in the heart of the gay district.

With a about 270,000 residents, the city of Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and home to that country's most visible gay scene. Following the tumultuous and often violent period known as "the Troubles", which came to an end in 1998, Belfast has experienced a dramatic renaissance including a building boom, growth in the arts, a proliferation of noteworthy restaurants and bars, and a more open and expressive LGBT community. The city holds its Belfast Festival, which draws more than 25,000 participants and spectators, over a week in late July and early August.

According to research by the UK Office of National Statistics: "just one in every hundred Scots consider themselves to be gay, lesbian or bisexual”. Scotland is more homophobic than the rest of the UK and very closeted.


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