The Gay and Lesbian Community in the North-West of England
Chapter 1 Setting the Scene: Investigating Gay and Lesbian Community
This research examines the gay and lesbian community. From the very start, it faces a central question of whether this ‘community’ exists: much of this book will therefore explore the nature of this community, and what it may mean as an idea and as a reality for those people who associate with it. The theoretical aim and interest of what follows centres around the existence of ‘communitarian’ social and political thinking, and my study examines how a community of interest which has had a predominantly ‘outsider’ – and often ‘deviant’ – status, as far as the law and wider society is concerned, may or may not be able to utilise or be part of that approach. The core of my argument stems from the contributions and insights of the gay and lesbian people I spoke to in the course of my work; it is an ethnographic study whereby I hope to gain an audience for those gay and lesbian people who are working for social change. It is more of an exploration than an attempt to prove or refute a particular statement, and seeks to provide greater insight into what it is like to be a gay man or lesbian working for change in provincial Britain, and into how those people think about and relate to the idea and the reality of a gay and lesbian community. I intend to open the discussion by positing a paradox which will be manifest to anyone who has examined the data on this topic spanning...
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