by Sue Elliott and Steve Humphries
Fifty years ago in the UK, sex between men was a crime. The 1967 Sexual Offences Act changed that in part, but it was only the beginning of the long fight for equality in the eyes of the law, in society and in millions of private lives.
This vital new oral history - to accompany a Channel 4 documentary of the same title - tells that story through the lives of gay men who lived through those years. Built around the intimate testimonies of some exceptional but largely unknown characters, it tells previously untold stories of denial, deceit and subterfuge, public pain and secret pleasure through the ten tumultuous decades before and since that watershed Act.
The human variety of gay experience is all here: lives lived in joyous defiance of the law and a repressive society; others always in fear of a prurient tabloid press. Those committed to love and others to licence: lifelong affairs alongside casual sex.
Young gay men may now take for granted the equal treatment denied those who went before. This anniversary year is a good time to record the past, celebrate achievements and remember that hard-won freedoms can so easily be eroded in uncertain times.
"Half a century on, it's hard to imagine the Britain that a glorious handful of campaigners helped change forever. Here are the voices of gay men who lived through the years when equality was unimaginable, in a book that splashes colour on a period so often seen in black and white." -Matthew Parris
About the Contributors:
Sue Elliott is the author of Love Child (2012), The Children Who Fought Hitler (2009), Britain's Greatest Generation (2015), I Heard My Country Calling (2015), and Surviving Aberfan: The People's Story (2016). She has worked in collaboration with Steve Humphries for more than a decade and four of her books have accompanied Testimony documentaries for BBC and ITV.
Steve Humphries is a former history and sociology lecturer at the University of Essex. After moving into television as a producer with LWT he set up Testimony Films to specialise in oral history programme-making. In 2016 he was awarded the Royal Television Society's Sir Ambrose Fleming Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to television.