Politics and culture: homosexuality and the Left in post-war Britain

Lucy Robinson

in Gay Men and the Left in Post-war Britain

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780719074349
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701591 | DOI:
Politics and culture: homosexuality and the Left in post-war Britain

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This chapter provides an overview of reactions to homosexuality across a broad spectrum of the Left from the late 1940s to just before the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. During this time, we can see an increase in public discussion of homosexuality and we can also see that the social, cultural and economic changes in post-war Britain had marked implications for the Left. The working class seemed to be blurring with the middle class, and the age of affluence had unsteadied traditional alliances. The Labour Party and Communist Party both negotiated youth as a political category, but, were not able to countenance a left-wing politics of sexuality. World War II changed the ways in which many men experienced their homosexuality. This chapter also looks at the lives of two contrasting figures within the Labour Party, Tom Driberg and George Brinham. It then examines how the Trotskyite movement influenced the gay liberation movement, and later gay activism. Finally, it discusses entryism among the Left.

Keywords: Britain; homosexuality; youth; Labour Party; Communist Party; politics; World War II; Tom Driberg; George Brinham; entryism

Chapter.  12987 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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