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Provincial Queens

The Gay and Lesbian Community in the North-West of England

Mike Homfray

What do we mean by ‘the gay community’? What is the state of ‘gay and lesbian politics’ in contemporary Britain? Have ‘communitarian’ ideas provided a framework for change? And what is the view from outside the capital? Recent years have seen both significant legal and social reform benefiting lesbian and gay people under a government whose communitarian political credo has stressed the importance of ‘community’ and ‘rights and responsibilities’. What effect has this had? What is the influence of identity, space and location, politics, and community itself? On the basis of qualitative research with gay men and lesbians working for change in Liverpool and Manchester, the author examines whether gay and lesbian equality and the idea of ‘the gay community’ can be understood and furthered within a framework of communitarian ideas.

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Acknowledgements 7 Chapter 1 Setting the Scene: Investigating Gay and Lesbian Community 9 Chapter 2 Identity 17 Chapter 3 Place, Space and Locality 71 Chapter 4 Politics, Law and Policy 107 Chapter 5 Community 163 Chapter 6 Towards a Communitarian Theory of Gay Equality 221 Appendix 251 Bibliography 255 Index 269

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