The Bermondsey by-election and leftist attitudes to homosexuality

Robinson, Lucy (2007) The Bermondsey by-election and leftist attitudes to homosexuality. In: McCormack, Matthew (ed.) Public men: Masculinity and politics in modern Britain. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230007635

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Abstract

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the politics of homosexuality acknowledged as never before. Of course the gay liberation movement impacted the lives and experiences of gay men at the time and since, but it also was a key player in transforming the definition of politics much more widely. Alongside the womens liberation movement, by declaring the personal as political the gay liberation movement helped to reconceptualize the relationship between the public and private. However gay activists were to learn politicising the personal frequently meant personalising the political. The Bermondsey by-election of February 1983 and the treatment of the unsuccessful Labour candidate Peter Tatchell demonstrates the shifts and continuities in gay left politics from the Gay Liberation Front of the early 1970s to the outbreak of AIDS activism in the early 1980s. In it, despite Tatchell's focus on local and national public politics his political opponents merged his personal life with his Politics. Tatchell's lifestyle became a euphemism for a major politics rifts, between the right and the left, but more significantly within the left itself. Tatchell's experiences ultimately suggest how problematic redefining politics could be. Particularly it shows how rigid the understanding of `real men's' politics was across the political spectrum.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England
Depositing User: Lucy Robinson
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:28
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2012 15:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20748
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