The Guardian had one of its “In Praise Of…” leaders the other day. This time, it was “In Praise Of Stonewall” – the UK-based group that campaigns for equal rights for gays and lesbians. And it’s true, as far as it goes – Stonewall has indeed accomplished a lot in its 20-year history. Problem is, that’s a blink of the eye for some of us. Today’s paper carries a letter from a Dr. Peter Purton who rightly points out that others were involved in the field of campaigning for far longer.
I remember being actively involved with CHE – the Campaign for Homosexual Equality – back in the early 1970s. I helped organise the CHE conference for 1974 (I think it was), held in Malvern. And some of us have longer memories still. Allan Horsfall is arguably the oldest living campaigner – he’s still going strong, as far as I know.
It seems to me that the words of Harvey Fierstein, at the opening of the 1988 Gay Games held in Amsterdam, are rather aposite here:
“We were carried here on the backs of the millions of gays and lesbians that went before us… some of whom paid for the struggle against prejudice with their very lifeblood.”