1970 Gay Liberation Front founded
The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was a name given to a number of gay liberation groups, the first of which was formed in New York City in 1969, immediately after the Stonewall riots, in which police clashed with gay and trans demonstrators.
In the United Kingdom, the GLF had its first meeting in the basement of the London School of Economics (LSE) on 13 October 1970, and by 1971, the group was already holding weekly meetings of up to 300 people.
The GLF published its own manifesto shortly after, and a series of high-profile political interventions soon followed.
One notable example was the disruption of the launch of the church-based morality campaign, “Festival of Light”, in which groups of GLF members in drag invaded and spontaneously kissed each other.
The GLF Manifesto read: “We do not intend to ask for anything. We intend to stand firm and assert our basic rights. If this involves violence, it will not be we who initiate this, but those who attempt to stand in our way to freedom.”
By 1974, disagreements among the group had led to the movement’s splintering. Organisations that came out of this divide included the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, Gay News, and Icebreakers.
The Leicester group founded by Jeff Martin also set up the local “Gayline”, which is still active today and has received funding from the National Lottery.
Several members of the GLF, including Peter Tatchell, continued campaigning beyond the 1970s under the banner of OutRage! which still exists today, using similar tactics such as performance protests to attract media interest and political controversy.