Wednesday, October 05, 2022

East London Gay Centre attacked (1976)

The East London Gay Centre was at 19 Redmans Road, Stepney in the 1970s. As this report from 1976 describes it faced sometimes violent hostility, some of it seemingly organised and quite possibly by the far right that had a significant presence in that area at the time. In this instance 'an apparently organised group of men ran up the road shouting fascist slogans and throwing pub glasses and beer bottles' while a small party was going on at the centre. 

The centre was a place where people lived as well as socialised, and this article seemingly written by a resident suggests that this was central to being able to live an authentic life - 'Even with gay bars and clubs you can limit your gayness to one night a month or a week, and limit being gay to having sex. But you're not just gay every night at the club or when sleeping with another woman, you are gay the whole time... This is then the first point of living gay centres - by living with other gay people you can be gay the whole time'

Source: Anarchist Worker (paper of the Anarchist Workers Association), September 1976, copy held at Bishopsgate Institute archive. 


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