Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Magazine for Modern Young Men

As the BBC continues its month-long celebration Gay Britannia, with plays, films, documentaries and discussions all to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in Britain, so the ever-marvellous John Coulthart's Feuilleton takes a look at a long-forgotten remnant of those days, the esoteric Jeremy magazine...
...a short-lived publication launched in the UK in 1969. The magazine is notable not for the quality of its contents - which seem slight considering the high cover price of six shillings - but for being the first British magazine aimed at an audience of gay men that wasn’t porn, a dating mag or a political tract. I had planned to write something about Jeremy at least two years ago... but detailed information about the magazine’s history is hard to find.

The anniversary of the change in the law has prompted a number of exhibitions and events devoted to Britain’s gay history but little of that history ever seems to travel beyond academic circles unless a notable life story - Quentin Crisp or Alan Turing, say - is involved. As with so many aspects of British culture, the conversation is dominated by America: the main campaigning organisation in the UK, Stonewall, is named after an American riot; the LGBT initialism is an American invention, as is the rainbow flag (the latter, as I’ve said before, being fine as a flag but - with its multiple colours - hopeless as a symbol). More Britons will know the name Harvey Milk than they do Edward Carpenter (1844–1929) or Allan Horsfall (1927–2012) even though Carpenter and Horsfall devoted years of their lives campaigning for gay men to be treated equally under the law in the Britain. Horsfall’s Campaign for Homosexual Equality pioneered the push for gay rights in Britain, the first official meeting taking place in Manchester in 1964. The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 seemed in later years like a poor compromise but when the alternative being offered was celibacy or the risk of a prison sentence it was a start...
..and, it would seem, an important part in this momentous history was played by Jeremy!

Read more of this fascinating article


  1. Oh, dear. It appears I am going to have to do some reading as I have no idea about Edward carpenter or Allan Horsfall (or Harvey Milk, for that matter - except that Sean Penn(??) portrayed him in a recentish film).

    Jeremy's "Aids to Luxury" bath photo could have been my bathroom had I been born 20 years earlier!
    Oh, and it's nice to see the X-Men's Storm on the front cover, too!

    1. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You'll be saying you never heard of The Order of Chaeronea next... Or Ronald Firbank. Or Andre Gide. Or Bette Bourne. Or Douglas Byng...

      Have some Milk.

      For your information, Edward Carpenter was a pioneering Victorian gay rights campaigner; he is memorialised (in name only, unfortunately) by the Hall-Carpenter Archive at the LSE, Britain's most comprehensive LGBT historical collection.

      Alan Horsfall was the tireless 20th century gay campaigner who founded the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE).

      As civil rights campaigner Marcus Garvey said, and I quoted in an article I wrote for the now-defunct Beige magazine: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”


    2. Wonderful Garvey quote. To add to the history lesson, may I recommend The Gay Book Of Days? It's long out of print but if you can scrounge up a copy, it's wonderful, quick, and enlightening reading.

    3. And in return, I direct you towards that most inspirational of all lexicons - Camp- The Lie That Tells The Truth by Philip COre (foreword by George Melly). My "bible" of all things worth knowing... Jx


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