Gay Rights Pioneer remembered

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The event will take place in the Banqueting Suite 11am – 5pm. Refreshments including a buffet lunch will be provided. Speakers will include Radio and TV broadcaster Ray Gosling, a lifelong friend, and Peter Tatchell, who worked on campaigns with Allan in later years.

In 1964 Allan Horsfall founded the North West Committee for Homosexual Law Reform, giving out his home address in a small mining village as the base for the organisation. To be so open at that time was extraordinarily brave. Later the North West Committee was transformed into the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, which was the largest LGBT organisation there has ever been in this country: at its height in the mid-1970s it boasted over 5,000 members and 120 local groups all over the country. CHE also gave rise directly or indirectly to a number of other organisations – FRIEND (the national counselling service), Gay Sweatshop (the first gay theatre group), ILGA (the international LGBT organisation), and Gay News (the first national paper for lesbians and gays). CHE can be given the credit for creating the climate in which legislation for full LGBT rights became possible.

Allan’s gay campaigning began even earlier than 1964, when as a young Labour councillor in Nelson in 1959 he tried to get his party to adopt the Wolfenden Report (recommending the decriminalisation of sex between men over 21) as official party policy. This was blocked by every trick in the party book – at the time many politicians refused even to mention homosexuality if there were women present. In addition to being a Labour activist, Allan was prominent in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and in his later life became active in pensioners’ associations campaigning for better bus services.

All aspects of his life will be celebrated by friends and colleagues in Manchester on 20th October. The event is open to the public, but anyone wishing to come is asked to let the organisers know on 07404 617185 or email homopromos@yahoo.co.uk.