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‘First gay rights activist’ Antony Grey dies aged 82

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  1. “Before he died, Mr Grey requested that no funeral or memorial be held for him.”

    What a wonderful man and a modest man.

    An inspiration.

    Thank you, Anthony. We will try never to forget all you did for us.

  2. “And all of Britain’s 3.6 million lesbians and gay men owe him a huge debt of gratitude”

    Where the heck did they pull that statistic from?

  3. de Villiers 4 May 2010, 5:14pm

    It is worth recalling Antony Grey’s views on freedom of speech and the hard-left:

    The disgraceful scenes at the Oxford Union last night [where David Irving, the holocaust-denier spoke] are a salutary reminder of the decay of free speech in this country. Not only the illiberal ‘hard Left’ (what a misnomer!), Islamist and Zionist protesters – a curious coalition – and their rowdy hangers-on, but the mainstream political parties and the various semi-official organs of Political Correctness such as the ludicrously titled ‘Equality and Human Rights Commission’, pay lip-service to freedom of speech as in duty bound; but in practice they attack and undermine it wherever it clashes with their own opinions and prejudices.

    If we are to continue to be in any sense an open democracy and a pluralistic society, free speech should be sacrosanct and indivisible. But it is far from being so in the mealy-mouthed Britain of today, where unpopular and obnoxious opinions are not merely frowned upon and derailed from public expression – increasingly and ominously by scenes such as last night’s gratuitous violence at Oxford – but are curbed by an ever growing array of new laws against ‘hate speech’ deemed offensive to those criticised.

    This attempt to shelter the allegedly ‘vulnerable’ from honest criticism as well as from poisonous prejudice strikes me as totally undemocratic and wrong.

    The first three paragraphs from here:

  4. One observes that De Villiers, whose ridiculous and contemptuous views have been countered by many on these pages, has chosen upon news of Anthony Grey’s death not to show any sign of mourning whatsoever but rather to use the deceased’s words to wag the finger at those who have refused to accept De Villier’s defence of homophobic behaviour exhibited by members of the Tory Party.

    Elsewhere on these threads De Villiers has suggested that our reaction to learning of the beliefs and practices of the very head of the Tory’s “think-tank” on “Social Justice” has been excessive! We have learnt that not only does Tory Stroud believe that we LGBTs are possessed of demons which can be driven out by prayer but she herself has participated in rituals in which gays and lesbians have undergone the abuse that is exorcism.

    Shame on you De Villiers.

  5. Mumbo Jumbo 4 May 2010, 8:08pm

    We stand on the shoulders of giants such as Antony Grey. My thanks for all he did and my condolences to Eric Thompson and other loved ones he leaves behind.

  6. Martyn Butler 4 May 2010, 8:51pm

    I am saddened to see that the charming First gay rights activist’ Antony Grey dies aged 82.

    I first met Anthony 30 years ago when creating the Terrence Higgins Trust, and it seemed I could do nothing right – Gays hated me accusing me of being an anti freedom gay Mary Whitehouse.

    The conservative government sure slammed the door and closed down the Health Education Authority for giving us a few thousand pounds towards a safe sex campaign.

    Anthony was there with advice and support telling me I was naive expecting support, indeed the reverse would be true until HIV – AIDS had killed someone in every community. I was shocked but his kindness and wisdom pushed me on.

    RIP Anthony = I will never forget your kindness and generosity

  7. Respect to the man. A true freedom fighter.

  8. Doug Pollard 4 May 2010, 9:39pm

    We weren’t always kind to Anthony Grey, who was a bit too genteel for those of us in the early gay liberation movement, but without him, that movement would never have been possible. Sad news indeed.

  9. Jean-Paul 5 May 2010, 6:55am

    My heartfelt sympathy for Anthony Grey’s family, Eric, his loved ones and friends.

    It’s great to hear the comments on this page.

    Anthony joins the ranks of America’s Harry Hay and Canada’s Jack Egan.

  10. I feel ignorant for not knowing about Antony’s life. I hope that organisations like LGBT History Month is able to document his achievements for our generation today and the future.

  11. George Broadhead, PTT 5 May 2010, 8:50am

    I too mourn the death of the veteran gay activist Antony Grey whom I got to know well when I was secretary of the Gay Humanist Group (GHG) now called the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA). Antony joined GHG in October 1979 shortly after it was founded and remained a staunch supporter until the controversy over an article published in the Autumn 2005 issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine to which he was a contributor. This article was perceived by some as racist, but Antony disagreed and sadly resigned his GALHA membership. He was always a staunch defender of freedom of expression and against what he considered political correctness.

  12. Grant Denkinson 5 May 2010, 9:07am

    Goodbye Antony and thank you – it was a pleasure to have known you and your influence on my life was huge.

  13. “If we are to continue to be in any sense an open democracy and a pluralistic society, free speech should be sacrosanct and indivisible”

    Is the incitement to murder “free speech”? Is the defamation of innocent individuals “free speech”? Is the open persecution of a minority, “free speech”?

    You need to re-evaluate what you definition of free speech is, especially given you have made some lame attempts here to threaten people here by “revealing” their comments with a ‘blog’ which you promptly stopped promoting. I wonder why. Seems free speech is for all, unless it offends you personally? Please clarify, I am fascinated.

  14. thank you

  15. bryan j allen 5 May 2010, 1:20pm

    Was saddened to hear of the passing of this unique man,my heart goes out to Antony Grey’s family and friends.
    Thank you for believing and doing what you did all those years ago and that you continued your quest to help fellow gay people,shows the type of person you were-unique.

  16. Mithos, you asked with regard to “all of Britain’s 3.6 million lesbians and gay men” “Where the heck did they pull that statistic from?”

    Presumably you are delighted to learn that there are so many of us? :-)

    Yes, it seems there are a lot of us. I understand that this figure was produced by government statisticians in advance of the Civil Partnership legislation.

    Our total population in the UK is just under 70 million. An estimate of the gay and lesbian population being at 3.6 million doesn’t sound exaggerated in my opinion.

  17. We must all be sad at the passing of a great and good man. He was a gentle rock who gave us much strength in the early days.Thinking very much of Eric. Having lost my partner of 42 years I know how it feels. But thank God for Anthony and the support given him by Eric. There is no better memorial than that.

  18. “Before he died, Mr Grey requested that no funeral or memorial be held for him.” Let his memorial be what he fought for and what we now have to protect; our rights as human beings to love whom we please!

  19. After the law on male homosexuality was reformed the work at Grey’s Albany Trust declined. Rather than shut up shop they moved towards counseling and appointed a staff social worker, then took up the cause of transsexual people, and, in 1969, sponsored the first conference on transsexuality in the UK. Harry Benjamin and Reed Eriksson attended, and the caring professions and the press, and transsexual people outside London, suddenly became aware that there was a moderately sympathetic clinic, with a surgeon, at London’s Charing Cross hospital – a big contrast to the forced testosterone injections (for transsexual women), electro-convulsive therapy, and long-term incarceration in mental wards used elsewhere.

    I was one of those for whom that conference – probably the greatest thing any L&G group has ever done for transsexual people in the UK – made all the difference.

    Unfortunately the Trust’s network of counselors around the country, and the small staff at 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, were totally unprepared for the avalanche of need that descended upon them. The counselors knew only about the issues of gay men and were distinctly lost when faced with a transsexual girl, and the office soon resorted to dumping mail unopened in filing cabinets, which probably led to some needless suicides.

    For those who got to the offices, though, they were wonderful, with smart, perceptive advice; sensitive confidentiality; mentors; and a direct line to the dedicated but overworked clinic psychiatrist.

    I never met Anthony Grey himself, but in some ways I, and probably many others, owe him, and his colleagues, our lives.

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