Come Together: Gay Liberation Front at the Bishopsgate Institute

WOWEEE! Amazing archiving work by the one and only Stef Dickers, Rachel Smith and all at the Bishopsgate Institute 🙂 see all on the Bishopsgate Institute website here

Come Together: Gay Liberation Front

About this Archive

The newspaper of the Gay Liberation Front, Come Together, was formed by the GLF’s Media Workshop in 1970. From its earliest beginnings the magazine reflected the key concerns of the LGBTQ+ community of the time. One of its first issues covered the demonstration organised by the GLF in response to the treatment of the Young Liberal politician Louis Eaks, arrested for gross indecency for the ‘crime’ of approaching men on Highbury Fields to ask for a light.

In the words of Come Together, the GLF were ‘seething with anger at this, the latest amongst hundreds of crimes committed against gay people by the police and the establishment’. Throughout its brief history Come Together charted the efforts of the GLF to raise awareness not just of LGBTQ+ issues but of many social justice movements.

Early editions were put together in members’ flats and assembled using collaging techniques, often combined with hand-drawn artwork, cartoons and sketches. Work on Come Together was a collective experience and everyone who attended the Media Workshop had an equal say in what went in. Never shy of controversy, Come Together reported on the GLF’s campaign against the banning of ‘politics’ by one of the oldest lesbian bars in London, The Gateways. Established in 1945, by the early 1970s The Gateways’ promotion of the Butch/Femme dynamic was seen as out of step and as a reinforcement of the patriarchy by others in the LGBTQ+ community. Come Together also welcomed reader contributions as a means of including more marginalised voices. One such article submitted was ‘A Queen Is a Person Really’, a personal account of feeling excluded, as a drag queen, from movements like the GLF which seemed increasingly to dismiss the values of camp and effeminacy in gay men.

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