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Gay Liberation Front pioneer Alan Wakeman dies

Gareth Williams August 12, 2015
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Gay rights activist Alan Wakeman, one of the pioneers of the Gay Liberation Front, has passed away.

Born in 1936, Alan Wakeman has been a major political activist for most of his life – campaigning for LGBT rights, trail-blazing teaching English as a foreign language and advocating veganism.

Peter Tatchell paid tribute to the activist and friend.

He said: “Alan was a warm-hearted, creative, generous man who will be much missed by all those who knew him.

“A long-standing Soho resident and community activist, he was a champion of local people, causes and amenities.”

He continued: “Alan was one of Soho’s much loved bohemian characters, with his hippie long hair and unreconstructed 1960 political and counter-culture idealism.”

Wakeman was one of the key members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the 1970s – helping to kick off the gay rights revolution. The first meeting of the GLF in the UK was held in a basement in Soho where Alan and Peter met and became friends.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the GLF, coinciding with London Pride, Wakeman republished an online copy of one of the first GLF manifestos from 1971s. Although out-of-print, many of the ideas were still relevant – bringing ideas to a new, younger generation.

Mr Tatchell added: “Alan was also an advocate of veganism and a trail-blazer in the teaching of English as a foreign language; authoring the best-seller, English Fast.

“In a long and varied career, he served in RAF Signals in Sri Lanka, became an architect, authored novels, poetry and plays.”

Continuing, “[Alan] was a founder member of Gay Sweatshop in 1974 and formed a band, Everyone Involved, which had a debut album of gay-themed songs, Either/Or.”

Related topics: Alan Wakeman, gay liberation front, GLF, Peter Tatchell

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