How Society Treated Male Homosexuality.


Traditionally in this country what the church said was a sin the state said was a crime and it was not to be until 1967 that partial decriminalisation took place. Until the age of 24 I was regarded as a criminal for the dastardly crime of falling in love with somebody of the same sex. But I was also regarded as suffering from a mental illness and it was not to be until 1992 that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder and another decade before male homosexuals were to come anywhere near legal equality; and another couple before same sex marriage was legalised. Societal attitudes towards homosexuality can still be discriminatory and young people can suffer great mental stress in seeking to come to terms with it.
Historically its being a crime meant that you could be locked up for it. And many were.Many fell victim to blackmailers -the law having been accurately described as a blackmailers charter. Faced with this many committed suicide . Others married in a desperate bid to hide their homosexuality and often in the mistaken belief that their true nature could be changed. Of course it could not and wives also became victims and families still suffer from the consequences
The fact that homosexuality was regarded as a mental disorder meant that the medical professionals too thought that homosexuality could be ‘cured’ and homosexuals converted. Of course they could not and great psychological harm – and worse – was done. Sometimes people were referred for treatment by the courts instead of being sent to Jail. That must have seemed like a humanitarian alternative at the time – and their was widespread belief in the effectiveness of treatment being by the administration of drugs to lower or destroy libido, the use of electric aversion therapy, whereby victims were shown pictures of naked men and administered a shock and perhaps emitics, and then pictures of naked women when no such treatment was offered. But the treatment – apart from not working – perhaps from destroying the patients interest in sex altogether, could have worse consequences. In 1952 Alan Turing killed himself after having agreed to be chemically castrated as an alternative to prison. In 1962, Army Captain Billy Clegg Hill died during medically supervised aversion therapy, seen as an alternative to a prison sentence carried out by medics who believed that homosexuality was disease and could therefore be cured. In effect, Billy had been murdered by the state and officialdom hid the crime for several decades.
But not everyone who went for ‘treatment’ went as an alternative to prison. Many referred themselves because they could not face up to societal hostility. Others were referred by their families in a doomed attempt to ‘cure’ them. When, inevitably, this failed many blamed themselves for ‘failing’ to respond and committed suicide or lived with the detrimental effects for the rest of their lives. Even though treatment had tended to become based on talk rather than the administration of electric shocks, chemical treatment actually peaked in the years after partial decriminalisation. Societies attitude had partly shifted from condemnatory to pity for these poor people who could never find happiness. And of course there still were, and still are those religious bigots who thought that they could “Pray the gay away. They were ryankendallof course similarly doomed to failure; and caused as much harm . Self-hatred is NOT therapy!

Acknowledgement by the Royal College of Psychiatrists that past ‘treatments’ caused harm.

A welcome apology
A welcome apology

But times change, and although we cannot change the course of history, we can acknowledge historical mistakes, learn from them and apologise to the victims. We should do what little we can to ameliorate their effect and above all make certain that they are not repeated. To their credit, last October the Royal College of Psychiatrists apologised for their past mistakes. The President of the College, Professor Wendy Burn, said “There are no words that can repair the damage done to anyone who has ever been deemed ‘mentally unwell’ simply for loving somebody of the same sex. For those who were then ‘treated’ using non-evidence based procedures by mental health professionals up until as late as the late 1970’s, the trauma of such experiences can never be erased. We cannot rewrite history but we can make it clear that today, principles of equality and diversity will be passionately upheld; homosexuality is not a disorder and should not be treated. ”
All of which can only be of limited comfort to those who survived this state-sponsored torture arising out of bigotry and prejudice. Many of the procedures were carried out by NHS staff and it was the courts who sentenced them. The British Government was complicit and should apologise to the victims and their families. They can admit past mistakes,
which must not be repeated. All forms of so-called Conversion Therapy should be banned. It has never worked, but has destroyed lives. Ban it now!

Colin Livett 2/2/2018Ban conversion therapy

The Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network’s Petition from Hull Pride in 2017, the first ever UK Pride, is shortly going to be presented to Parliament by Emma Hardy – Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle – and member of the Education Select Committee.

download (5)


The petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that there are benefits of inclusive teaching of Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) to ensure that no child is left in ignorance; further that the Government should pledge that the updated SRE guidelines for mandatory SRE in all schools will be LGBT inclusive, which it is yet to do; and further that recent agreements made by the Government with a party which is not sympathetic to LGBT inclusive SRE following the general election on June 8th 2017, causes concern that education that is appropriate and LGBT inclusive, could be put at risk.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that LGBT inclusive SRE is to be granted mandatory status in all schools in order that future generations leave school informed on such matters of equality and personal safety having been educated correctly about sexual relations.

And the petitioners remain, etc.” 


We have delayed the presentation of the petition until the present time, which could not be more important or appropriate. Last year the government finally succumbed to campaigning groups such as this one, introducing legislation to make age appropriate Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) mandatory in ALL schools-primary and secondary. This was an important victory. The Education Secretary, Justine Greening called for guidelines on the teaching of SRE to be updated for the first time since 2000-and pledged the government to carry out a public consultation.
That consultation is under way until 12th February 2018. Of course, the world has changed greatly since 2000. There are, as Justine Greening’s guidelines point out, many dangers, such as those presented by the internet and social media which young people must receive guidance on.

There is one thing however, which reports by organisations such as The Terrence Higgins Trust and OFSTED have shown, is the lamentable provision of SRE for LGBT youngsters, where it is even provided at all. The reports have also shown the truly terrible lack of proper provision in terms of issues such as bullying and mental health.
Parliament last year provided the Education Secretary of the day with the power to make particular aspects of PSHE such as SRE mandatory. This should be extended, as our petition calls for, particular aspects of SRE such as LGBT and online safety being made mandatory in all schools. Simply to include it in guidelines for the National Curriculum is insufficient, because Academies and Free Schools do not have to follow the National Curriculum.
Of course, even then there will be urgent questions to be answered about the content and quality of such provision. Previous reports by OFSTED Inspectors have been scathing and criticisms from youngsters have been strong. SRE has – if provided at all – been totally inadequate. They deserve better. If this petition is acted upon it could help them ensure that they get it. The human cost of not doing so is simply too high.

CWL 7/1/18images (18)

In the early hours of July 27th 1967 the Sexual Offences Act finally made its way through parliament and received the royal assent later the same (3)

The Act was a Private Members Bill introduced into the Commons by Labour backbencher and navigated through the Lords by Conservative Peer Lord Arran.

Leo Abse MP
Leo Abse MP

The Act had had a very difficult passage through parliament. It was a private members bill but had been afforded time but not open support by Wilsons Labour Government. The Home Secretary Roy Jenkins was in support as were the majority but by no means all Labour MPs. The arguments put forward in favour of it would strike many of us as homophobic, Nobody expressed the opinion that homosexuality was a normal variant of love.Rathe homosexual men were to be pitied because they would never find the fulfillment enjoyed by ‘ordinary’ people. The line of the leadership of the Church of England was particularly persuasive to the doubters saying that what the church regarded as a sin should not be regarded by the state as a crime. We===poor things were to be pitied rather than punished.

Limitations Of The Act

The 1967 Act did NOT decriminalise homosexuality—it legalised it in certain very limited circumstances. Basically it only legalised sex between gay men in private and provided both partners were over the age of 21. Incredibly it was made illegal to tr to meet such a parter. The Law ‘Importuning for An immoral purpose [gay sex] was widely applied . Something held to be legal was also held to be immoral. The Act only applied only to England and Wales.It did not apply to the armed forces or the merchant navy.What was perfectly legal for mixed sex or lesbian couples was illegal in many cases for us

Effects of the Act

In the short term at least the Act made things worse.More gay men were arrested because there were more offences that they could commit. The law was aggressively policed and police entrapment became common. Those arrested could still be sent for aversion therapy which would more accurately be seen as torture as an alternative to prison. Gay men were more vulnerable than ever to blackmailers and queers bashers because they themselves were often breaking a still discriminatory and unjust law. The growing dissatisfaction with 1978 anthem ‘Glad To Be Gay’ by the Tom Robinson Band which entered the charts despite—or possibly because –the BBC refused to play it, It is worth reading in full because this was the situation a decade after the 1967 Act.images (15)

Glad To Be Gay

“”The British Police are the best in the world
I dont believe one of these stories Ive heard
Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all
Lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people and knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they’re kicked on the ground
Searching their houses and calling them queer
I don’t believe that sort of thing happens here

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if youre happy that way

Pictures of naked young women are fun
In Titbits and Playboy,page three of the sun
Theres no nudes in Gay News our one magazine
But they still find excuses to call it obscene
Read how disgusting we are in the press
Telegraph,People and Sunday Express
Molesters of children ,corrupters of youth
Its there in the paper ,it must be the truth


Dont try to kid us that if we are discreet
You’re perfectly safe as you walk down the street
You do nt have to mince or make bitchy remarks
To get beaten und nconscious and left in the dark
I had a friend who was gentle and short
He was lonely one evening and went for a walk
Queer bashers caught him and kicked in his teeth
He was only hospitalised for a week

So sit back and watch as they close all our clubs
Arrest us for meeting and raid all our pubsa
Make sure your boyfriend s at least 21
So only your friends and brothers get done
Lie to your workmates,lie to your folks
Put down the Queens and tell anti-queer jokes
Gay Libs ridiculous ,join their laughter
The buggers are legal now,what more are they after?

The answer to that question of course full legal equality—-which we did come even near to achieving until the Equal Marriage Act in 2013. As for broader equality I believe we are still a long way off

SHould despite We Be Celebrating?

My simple answer to that is that is that despite all its limitations we should—because it was a start, Its very deficiencies prompted ma-ny of our people into acton.I remember the years immediately post 1967 as the worst in my life.The new law which essentially banned gay men from meeting another to do something that was perfectly legal. Without 1967 the rest would not have followed, So let us celebrate.But let us remember the high price paid by many . We should remember thase whose lives were ruined by unjust laws as well as celebrating those whose lives were-eventually-to be transformed.I remember those such as the young man who in the 1990s on a warm sunny night went for a walk in our local park in the hope of finding companionship.By doing so he could have been arrested for ‘importuning for an immoral purpose, But the Queer Bashers with their baseball bats got at him first and he was left brain dead never to recover As far as I am aware no one was ever been charged.

There were many other victims. Let us remember them.And the campaigners who fought against impossible seeming odds. And let us celebrate 1967 which was the start of our liberation But we have not yet fully achieved that

Colin Livett 21/7/17


NAPA Anlaby Road
1ST July 7Pm ,2nd July 2 PM
Tickets £8 Ring 310690

Kardomah 94 Alfred Gelder Street
19th. 20th. 21st. uly 7.30 PM
Tickets £8
347941-and Hull Box Office
www. kardomah94 .com

In the 2017 City of Culture and LGBT 50;ebrations it is appropriate to remember a forgotten hero of Hull—Dan Billany. An activist ,teacher,novelist and soldier in WW2,Billany and fellow prisoner David Dowie went missing after being released from a POw camp in italy. Their fate remains unknown to this day.
Hero-a play by Hull author Barrie Wheatley is based on the Billany biography by Valerie Reeves and Valerie Showan.The play combies fact and dramatic fiction to bring Billanys story to life. It draws on extracts from Billanys novels The Cage and The Trap. It tells the story–among other things of Dans love for his fellow soldier David—-at a time when such was completely taboo and shows us Dans courage in challenging the conventions of his day when gay men were treated as criminals. It was not to be until the year 2000 that the ban on gays serving in the armed forces was lifted
Of course many like Dan not only served but died. This is one mans story of how cruel reality used to be
Not only that but this dramatisation has been highly acclaimed. A visit to this highlight of Hull Pride this year is highly recommended

Within his short life Dan never lived to see a world more understanding of his true nature. Had he done so I believe that he would, in his writings, been as great a champion of Gay Rights as he had been of other oppressed groups. Because of the harsh times that he lived in, however, he ended up fighting for everybody but himself.
Within his short life Dan never lived to see a world more understanding of his true nature. Had he done so I believe that he would, in his writings, been as great a champion of Gay Rights as he had been of other oppressed groups. Because of the harsh times that he lived in, however, he ended up fighting for everybody but himself.

Labour Manifesto. Section on LGBT Rights
Labour Manifesto. Section on LGBT Rights

We reprint from the manifesto the section on LGBT Rights


Labour has a proud record of championing the fight for LGBT equality. We abolished Section 28,equalised the age of consent,created civil partnerships,and it was only through Labour votes that equal marriage became law. However ,there is still a long way to go on issues such as education,equal access to public services,levels of LGBT hate crime,and mental and physical well-being.
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as ‘transsexual’.
Labour will bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with crimes based on race and faith,by making them aggravated offences.
To tackle bullying of LGBT young people Labour will ensure all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them . And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.
Likewise we will ensure all frontline health and social care professionals receive ongoing training to understand and meet the needs of LGBT patients and service users. Labour will ensure that NHS England completes the trial programme to provide PrEP as quickly as possible,and fully roll out the treatment to high-risk groups to help reduce HIV infection.

Make Our Voice Heard
Make Our Voice Heard
Hull's Lost Hero to be celebrated at last
Hull’s Lost Hero to be celebrated at last

At this years City of Culture Celebrations in Hull Dan Billany [1913-43] is at last to be given some of the recognition that he deserves as an acclaimed writer,working class hero who made his way to university having left school at 14 by means of evening classes, an innovative teacher and a war hero whose body was never found after fleeing from his prisoner of war camp in 1943. In addition to this Dan was an LGBT hero who, living in hostile times struggled to come to terms with his sexuality. It was a story shared –but unwritten about and hidden from view—and largely unacknowledged by many thousands of gay men who fought for the freedom of their country but had precious little freedom of their own. The difference with Dan was that he was a marvellous—if largely forgotten writer and in semi-autobiographical novels such as The Trap, and The Cage as well as in his diaries,poetry and private writings –we learn much of his efforts to come to terms with his sexuality,and face up to the [hostile] world as he knew it and which would have continued for decades even had he returned safely from Fontanallato.For Dan and his kind the war would not have ended in 1945.

“In This World As We Know It”

Dan's widely acclaimed war novel. 'The Trap
Dan’s widely acclaimed war novel. ‘The Trap

Dan’s writings in the 1930’s show both the hostile world in which LGBT people lived but also the struggles that he had in recognising and accepting his sexuality. In one of his highly popular detective novels comes- this passage.
“It was a kind of love which,in the world as we know it.could not be made public. Rather commit suicide. Many have”

And so they did

The anti-gay laws were often correctly labelled a blackmailers charter [An argument to be used with potent effect at partial legalisation in 1967. Here is Dan again
“Unhappy devil [the gay victim] Mrs Valentine [the blackmailer] had found a way to make the very honey of his life into poison to buy her brandy and run her Daimler”

And indeed most gay men lived their lives in fear

But Dan also struggled to accept his sexuality. He hints that it is a symptom of ‘arrested growth’—of a phase that he will grow out of .
In his thinly disguised autobiographical novel ‘The Trap’ we have this passage from the avowedly heterosexual hero about his first loves at school. This comes after his account of the first girl he thought he fell in love with

“I next fell in love when I was thirteen ,with the boy who shared my desk at school.His name was Joey—-Again this was an absorbing emotion.One of the great epochs of my life. He had very fair hair.clear blue eyes,a broad forehead, and was very good and kind .I remember plenty about my love for Joey,but it would not seem much in the writing and anyway I have an inner reluctance to drag out details which probably wouldnt be understood and wouldnt seem significant -even for me if I put them in black and white. As as example ,once during the hot weather,when Joey and I were walking home from school,he put his arm around my shoulders. It was a common enough gesture with him,in fact most schoolboys do it,without thinking; but I have remembered to this day the leaping of the heart,and all that incident is printed on my mind so that it will be clear when I am an old man.Well I said that you would not understand.”

But we do Dan. Dan himself for long thought it was something that he would ‘grow out ‘ —–a misconception exploited by religious extremists and advocates of conversion therapy. Even when he was to meet David Dowie–the love of his life-in an Italian prisoner of war camp-he at first refuses to recognise it for what it was . He even suggests to his sister back home in England-that David would be an ideal husband for her—–despite the fact that both she and he are already engaged to somebody else ! When he does realise the true nature of his feelings for David and declares them David is shocked and for a while even broke off their friendship. Dan was devastated and pleaded with David—-notably through a beautiful poem that at least their friendship be resumed. And so it was and they fled the camp together ,were sheltered by the brave Melitti family,Dan leaving his drafts for The Trap and The Cage [or For You The War is over] which were duly posted back to England and Published after the war to great acclaim.They were never seen again

On realisation of the true nature of his true nature Dan wrote this marvellous poem—as relevant today as an answer to those who claim that homosexuality is a matter of choice

“When nature carved my limbs was I consulted?
Do I control the movement of my blood?
Could I reject the nose so oft consulted?
{An article I would barter if I could?}
JUst So! I cannot be cancelled by decree
And love not you because you love not me?

Such ,of course, was to be the theme of The Cage [or For You The War is over which he co-wrote with his beloved David


bkpam2128504_danssketchfytwio (1)

And what if Dan had survived and returned to England? Would hs war be over? Would he have obtained his freedom as a gay man?


Even in his diaries whilst in the POW camp Dan confesses that ‘he does not want to become a spinster’ and that he supposes that he will have to get married. Dan did not want to upset his family or start the wagging tongues going. Like many gay men of his time he might have married to seek to hide and deny his sexuality. That was what ‘gay marriage’ meant.Or had he stayed true to his true nature he could —–despite having fought to defend his country’s ‘freedom’ he could have been dismissed the armed services because of his sexuality right up until 2ooo, Had he become a civilian-returned to teaching for example-he would have been treated as a criminal in all circumstances until 1967 and in many until 2003. And he would not have been exonerated
The best we can hope for now is that Dan and David passed peacefully in each others arms on that freezing mountainside.

But at least we are beginning to recognise the cruelties and hypocrisies imposed on generations of gay men such as Dan.who defended our freedoms but would have had little of their own. Dan once wrote that he would die of shame if he ceased to be angered by the injustices of this world and seek to do something about them . We made a start with the wreath laying at the Cenotaph at Hull Pride 2015. But we have a long way to go yet
Let us make a start by celebrating Dans life and works at this years City of Culture events.

Colin Livett 13/2/17IMG_20150718_213509

Memorial at Buchenwald Concentration Camp
Memorial at Buchenwald Concentration Camp

The Roots of Genocide

The Nazis ,when they came to power in 1933 ,were able to make use of existing laws to persecute and try to exterminate gay men. On the unification of Germany in 1871 the Penal Code was applied to the entire second reich under Kaiser Wilhelm.Paragraph 175 made sexual acts between males punishable in a court of law. In 1877 the German Supreme Court of Justice narrowly defined ‘unnatural indecency’ as an “intercourse like act’.This made convictions hard to obtain and in the dying days of the Weimar Republic in the late 1920s and very early 1920s there was,in effect, a considerable degree of tolerance—-far greater than existed in this country under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, Indeed, as Christopher Isherwood wrote in “Goodbye to Berlin’ [on which the film ‘Cabaret ‘ was based, “Berlin meant BOYS!’
and the cities bars and clubs became a magnet for gay men across Europe. One such was Scottish born Berlin hustler ,John Henry Mackay wrote this poem about gay love in 1924 in his book Die Eigene


“Since you think it is a dirty thing
Have dragged it through fear and infamy
And kept it under lock and key
This love will i freely sing.

To loves persecuted my song I bring
And to the outcasts of our time
Since happy or not this love is MINE
And this love dare I loudly sing

But things were to get a whole lot worse when the Nazis came to power. And they were able to utilise a strengthened Paragraph 175 to try to wipe gay people from the face of the earth, And -amazingly- a variant of Para 175 was to survive the war and gay men were still to be persecuted under it,


To the Nazis gay men [and to a lesser extent lesbian women] were–like Jews ,Gypsies and others a subhuman species who served only to be exploited,experimented on ,locked up and exterminated. The function of a patriotic Aryan man was to father more Aryan children for the battles ahead. The duty of a good Aryan wife was to give birth to as many of them as possible. To be Jewish AND Gay -to qualify for wearing the yellow and pink triangles was to be the scum of the earth.
They lost no time in launching the attack.Gay venues were closed.So were gay organisations. Scholarly books—-such as those published
by the world renowned Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft run by Magnus Hirschfeld were burned -along with other ‘anti-Aryan’ books -were burned.It is not clear whether Hirschfeld’s greatest crime in the Nazis eyes was being Jewish or being Gay
The Gestapo compiled lists of suspected gay men. Some—-as in Britain at the same time- married in a desperate attempt to prove that they were ‘normal’The arrests ,torture, and imprisonment began, They included —inevitably—some top Nazis such as Ernst Roehm executed in 1934 for allegedly plotting to overthrow Hitler.
It is almost impossible to know how many victims there were. It is believed that at least 50000 were locked up in brutal conditions. Most went to civilian jails. It is estimated that 10-15000 were sent to the camps where most wore the infamous pink triangles—so that other inmates had someone to target. Most died—-but only after a regime of brutality, being worked to exhaustion, and subject to cruelmedical experimentation such as castration. The latter of course a ‘cure’ also to be offered in this country although to be fair usually as an alternative to prison instead of a standard part of the prison or camp regime

Gerhard Beck [1923-2012] Last known  inmate of the camps who  was Jewish AND Gay
Gerhard Beck [1923-2012] Last known inmate of the camps who was Jewish AND Gay


In some ways though ,perhaps the most shameful aspect came AFTER the war —-in the sense that then we COULD have done something about it. A modified Para 175 remained on the statute book. Allied soldiers who liberated gays from the camps simply transferred them to civilian jails to serve out the remainder of their sentences. Victims often remained silent about their experiences because as in this country they were still regarded as criminals. Indeed gay British soldiers who helped liberate the camps could themselves be locked up or dishonourably discharged if they were open about their sexuality right up until 2000 after a limited degree of tolerance during the war—-as demonstrated in the testimony of Dudley Cave-archived by Peter Tatchell that during the war questions were not asked—and indeed hat openly gay soldiers served their purpose—but after the war there was a crackdown and go servicemen -together with those they had sought to liberate-lived in fear again,
Gay men were not recognised as victims at Nuremberg. None of those who carried out the vilest medical experiments were charged. Because many gay victims dare not speak out the existence of a gay holocaust was largely denied. It was not to be until 1969 before most of para 175 was removed, or 2002 before the German Government recognised them as victims of the Nazis and issued an official apology. In 2005 the European Parliament recognised homosexuals as one of the groups along with the Jews and others who were victims of the holocaust. Sadly by now there were very few survivors who could speak to the world of their experience- and that in just a few of the worlds cities official monuments to the LGBT victims of the holocaust began to appear since about 2000. Here are those in Berlin and Tel Aviv, We await one in this country.

Memorial To Gay Holocaust Victims  in Berlin
Memorial To Gay Holocaust Victims in Berlin

Memorial To Gay Victims. Tel Aviv Israel
Memorial To Gay Victims. Tel Aviv Israel

Is it not time we had one in his country and exonerate those who suffered under our own anti-gay laws?


CWL 25/1/2017

Our Petition  Was Presented to Parliament on 14th December  by Labour MP for Hull  North, Diana JOhnson
Our Petition Was Presented to Parliament on 14th December by Labour MP for Hull North, Diana JOhnson

We would like to thank Diana for presenting the petition. We would also like to thank all those who signed the petition since it was launched at Hull Pride in 2015 and those who worked to promote it.

The petition read [this petition] declares that there are many people who were convicted of gross indecency and related ‘homosexual offences’ prior to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 ,further that these offences were decriminalised by that Act and would not now be an offence and,further, that any person,alive or deceased should be exonerated.”

It should be noted that this goes much further than the Current Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This made provision for living ‘offenders’ to apply for a pardon. The deceased had no such right for applications to be made on their behalf. The governments self-proclaimed Turing Law would alter this so that the deceased would receive an automatic pardon but the living would still have to apply.This provision lead SNP John Nicholson to introduce aPrivate Members Bill that woul extend automatic pardons to the living.

We support the idea that pardons should be automatic for victims living and dead BUT we believe they should be EXONERATIONS —as they would not have the stigma of original guilt that goes with a pardon

In all cases exonerations or pardons would be limited to convictions for offences that are no longer criminal offences

The Nicholson Bill

This Private Members Bill was introduced on 20th October when it caused great anger among MPs when it was sabotaged by Justice [ha ha] Minister Sam Gyimah who talked the bill out and claimed that the bill could lead to people being pardoned for Acts that were still offences-such as sex with minors because the bill was not watertight. {A claim hotly disputed by expert legal opinion
There were shouts of shame as Gyimahs tactics ensured that no vote was taken. The next debate was scheduled for 16th December but was not reached . It is now been re-scheduled for 20th January . Nothing further has been heard of the governments trumpeted “Turing Act” Their tactics have been shamefully negative.

Gay Labour MP Chris Bryant was nearly moved to tears during the debate and said this on the governments declared intention of denying the living an automatic pardon

Chris Bryant M.P.
Chris Bryant M.P.

In an impassioned speech Mr Bryant said there was a ‘real problem’in forcing those still alive to go through a new process to clear their names.He questioned why those involved—who may be in their eighties-would want to dredge up what had been a ‘brand’ on their lives and which may have caused ‘terrible problems’in their family social and work lives

“Why on earth would you want to write to the Home Secretary and say ‘Please-can I be pardoned’
Why on earth would you want to go through a process all over again? Why on earth would you want someone to analyse whether you were guilty at all way back then?”

Precisely so—–and indeed very very few have applied

The Irish Show The Way ‘Apology and Exoneration’ Bill introduced


Meanwhile,on the very day that the UK parliament failed to find time to debate John Nicholsons far more modest bill, the Irish Labour Party was introducing a ‘Covictions for Certain Sexual Offences [Apology and Exoneration ] Bill into the Dail [Irish Parliament]

Introducing it Ged Nash TD said the following

“[The Bill] provides for an APOLOGY from the state and EXONERATION for those engaging in sexual offences that have since been abolished. but it goes further than this,to officially acknowledge that the ‘offences’ were ‘improperly discriminatory ,contrary to human dignity and infringed personal dignity. Nothing we can do or say will ever truly make up for the hurt and marginalisation —-imposed on gay citizens for decades and caused so many people to live with a crushing and enduring fear of being ‘found out’ But in apologising for what we did in the past and acknowledging that we were wrong,we might ease some of that pain.”

And indeed the Senator is right. We cannot re-write history but we CAN seek to make what limited redress we can. The Irish Bill has all party support and is likely to become law.
Homosexuality was only legalised in the Irish Republic in 1993. The UK [well parts of it] celebrate the 50th anniversary of partial decrimnalisation this year
On this matter we are light years behind the Irish We too need an Irish style Apology and Exoneration Act

A Pardon—-especially the limited one on offer —is not enough. But for this Government ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’

CWL 2/1/17


World Aids Day was first held in 1988 and has always been the opportunity to stand together in solidarity and for people everywhere to come together in memory of those who have died,to show their support for those living with HIV and to campaign for proper health care both those living with HIV and those at risk. We celebrate the progress that has been made but we campaign against the ignorance and prejudice that has all too often placed people in peril.
Thus we give notice of two vigils in Hull and also give notice of our continuing campaigns for mandatory lgbt friendly sex and relationships education in all U.K. schools and call for full funding for PrEP to be provided by the NHS.



Hull Cornerhouse has been active in supporting people threatened by or living with HIV/AIDS since the very earliest days of the epidemic.The Hardy Fund for those in Hull facing hardship continues and donations are welcome


The other event is being organised by Mesmac. It will consist of the creation of a Human Red Ribbon of Light . This will take place at 6.30 at the new amphitheatre opposite The Deep . The plan is for participants to be given red lights to hold up and create the ribbon in order to celebrate progress made but also to demonstrate our opposition to HIV related stigma which still places many needlessly in peril
Free tickets for this event can be obtained from eventbrite at

Campaign for full NHS funding for PrEP.


We welcome the decision of the High Court recently that the NHS in England DOES have the power to pay for drugs that will protect thousands of people from HIV infection and that therefor this provision was not the responsibility of cash strapped local council public health departments. However there is a huge catch because the NHS will still be able to claim that it does not have the cash to fully fund this treatment everywhere. Other needful groups might be given higher priority. Gay men should not be in competition with-for example children with cystic fibrosis. The moral disapproval of the Daily Mail should not be the basis on which tresatment should be provided. Groups should not be in competition with each other. Provision should not be a post code lottery—it should be provided on the basis of need—and be properly funded
We launched our petition on this at 2016 Pride—-and—sadly –the campaign has to go on.

The text reads

Commissioning of Pre-Exposure Prphylaxis on the NHS

The Petition of citizens of the UK

Declares that there are benefits that can be brought ,both in cost,and to the health of the public,should the NHS commission treatment of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis drugs which are recognised to significantly reduce a persons risk of HIV infection,to those who are considered at high risk of being exposed to the HIV virus.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that NHS England provide and fully fund Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis treatment to high risk persons ,at the earliest opportunity, in order to save lives and costs.

CWL 26/11/2016

A City Wide Read- In will discuss this book in January
A City Wide Read- In will discuss this book in January
The Play 'Heroo ' will be performed in  July  at NAPA and Kardomah  94. Details to follow
The Play ‘Heroo ‘ will be performed in July at NAPA and Kardomah 94. Details to follow
ass=”thumbnail” href=””>Hull's Lost Hero to be celebrated at last Hull’s Lost Hero to be celebrated at last[/caption]

The story of ‘Our Dan’-writer,teacher, fighter against injustice, struggler with his sexuality in hostile times and war hero has been told here before. His contribution was recognised at Hull Pride 2015 when a wreath was laid at Hull cenotaph to remember the part he and other LGBT servicemen played in defending our freedoms. Now comes the excellent news that he is at long long last to be given the recognition he deserves as part of Culture Year. Provisional plans are outlined below. Details will be added as they become available.


The launch event -open to all-will take place at Hull History Centre on 28th February. There will be a lecture by Australian Professor Paul Skrebels who is bringing out a new edition of Dans highly acclaimed but long unavailable semi-autobiographical novel,The Cage set in the Italian POW camp

The theme of the exhibition—-which will run for the whole of March— will be “Hull’s Dan Billany;Teacher, Writer, War Hero
2. It is hoped that primary schools in Hull will be involved with the book that Dan wrote for his pupils at Chiltern Street School off Hessle Road.’The Magic Door’. This marvellous book was intended to teach history by working on youngsters imaginations-and direct involvement in historical events.,They will be brought to the History Centre which actually has a Dan Billany ‘Magic Door’ from a previous venture. Dan was an inspired teacher ,unconventional and loved by his students—if not always by his headmaster who found Dan’s child-centred teaching too uncomventional.

3.The Trap

There will be a city wide read-in of this acclaimed Billany novel starting in the New Year—details to be announced

4 ‘An evening with Dan Billany” This will be [according to author Barrie Wheatley!-who should know!] “a review style performance celebrating Dan’s life and work’This will include music and multi media. It will be performed at Kardomah 94 on 9th.and 10th March –with a possible extra venue and date being offered.

5. Hero This highly acclaimed play on Dans life by Barrie Wheatley will be performed at NAPA [Northern Academy of Performing Arts] on 1st and 2nd July and then at Kardomah 94 on 19th 20th and 21st July at Kardomah 94 before going on a short regional tour
It is hoped that Hero will be tied in with Hull Pride in some way. [Don’t worry Barrie—we will see to it that it is!] I have been waiting to see the play about ‘Our Dan’ for so long and will not miss this one.

Derails are a little sketchy—-there will be more. At last Dan is being given the recognition he deserves.Let us celebrate him

Publicity still from the previous production.
Publicity still from the previous production.

Colin Livett November 2016