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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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Appendix : Details of respondents

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Each respondent was allocated a code number; they are listed below with notes of their sex and current involvement in work for lesbian and gay equality. L1 Male Formerly involved in Liverpool CHE. L2 Female Local council officer, active in women’s, gay and deaf person’s groups. L3 Male Paid HIV prevention worker, member of gay Catholic and student organisations. L4 Female General practitioner. L5 Male Longtime activist, particularly within Trade Unions. Founder of Liverpool Outrage! L6 Female Staff member at radical bookshop run by a women’s cooperative. L7 Female Ordained priest in the Church of England, involved with local and national gay Christian organisations. L8 Male Liverpool city councillor. L9 Male Gay writer, longtime involvement with gay movement. L10 Female Organiser of lesbian social group activities. L11 Male Co-ordinator of gay telephone helpline. L12 Female Co-chair of gay campaigning and policy liaison group. L13 Female HIV prevention worker and independent trainer. L14 Male Coordinator of gay youth group; youth worker. 252 L15 Male Liberal city councillor, involved in national gay and lesbian networks. Prominent local ‘out’ figure. L16 Female Mental health worker. L17 Male Convenor of social services gay and lesbian group, Liverpool City Council. L18 Female Equalities officer involved with gay, women’s, and disability arts groups. Partner of L2. L19 Male HIV prevention coordinator. L20 Male Labour councillor in outlying borough. Founder of gay helpline. L21 Male Owner of gay pub. L22 Male Mental health worker and founder of gay support group. M1 Male Teacher and organiser of gay...

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