Activism and Community Building

In response to oppression and social marginalisation, LGBTQ people gradually came together to campaign against unjust laws that criminalised same-sex desire.

Since the 19th century they have advocated for greater tolerance and social change. In some cases this included coalitions of men and women. Queer men and women have also worked separately, if in complementary capacities, to achieve change.

  • Sepia photo of Edward Carpenter, George Merril and Charles Sixsmith seated on a bench with G. Hukin and a dog sitting on the ground. Behind the bench is a high hedge.

    Talking Back

    LGBTQ people have long resisted authorities who told them that their desires were wrong.

  • Marchers carrying Kenric banner with wording: 
Uniting Lesbians Nationwide
"proud of our history"
come and join us

    Wolfenden and After

    From 1954 to 1957, the Wolfenden Committee considered the laws on homosexuality and prostitution.

  • Lesbian Strength & Black Lesbians march at Lesbian and Gay Pride, London, 1987

    Communities of Resistance

    From the Gay Liberation Front to HIV/AIDS activism and anti-Section 28 demonstrations, LGBTQ communities campaigned for social and legal change.

  • Gay's The Word Bookshop, London, 2015

    Commercial Locations

    Many cities had, or continue to have, LGBTQ cafes or other queer-friendly commercial spaces.

  • Image shows just the illustration at the top of the leaflet pictuing a mini-bus full of people leaving the city and driving in the direction of sunshine and a seagull.

    Camden Lesbian Centre

    For nearly ten years Camden was home to the country’s only dedicated lesbian centre.