Gay News Photographic Archive

Scope and Content

Photographs of cinemas, theatres, personalities and events, and miscellaneous images published in Gay News (1972-1988)

Administrative / Biographical History

Gay News was a fortnightly newspaper in the United Kingdom founded in June 1972 in a collaboration between former members of the Gay Liberation Front and members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). At the newspaper's height, circulation was approximately 18,000 copies. The original editorial collective included Denis Lemon (editor), Martin Corbett - who later was an active member of ACT UP, David Seligman, a founder member of the London Gay Switchboard collective, Ian Dunn of the Scottish Minorities Group, Glenys Parry (national chair of CHE), Suki J. Pitcher, and Doug Pollard, who later went on to launch the weekly gay newspaper, Gay Week (affectionately known as Gweek). Amongst Gay News' early "Special Friends" were Graham Chapman of Monty Python's Flying Circus, his partner David Sherlock, and Antony Grey, secretary of the UK Homosexual Law Reform Society from 1962 to 1970. Gay News was the response to a nationwide demand by lesbians and gay men for news of the burgeoning liberation movement. The paper played a pivotal role in the struggle for gay rights in the 1970s in the UK. It was described by Alison Hennegan (who joined the newspaper as Assistant Features Editor and Literary Editor in June 1977) as the movement's "debating chamber". Although essentially a newspaper, reporting alike on discrimination and political and social advances, it also campaigned for further law reform, including parity with the heterosexual age of consent of sixteen, against the hostility of the church which treated homosexuality as a sin, and the medical profession which treated homosexuality as a pathology. It campaigned for equal rights in employment (notably in the controversial area of the teaching profession) and the trades union movement at a time when left politics in the United Kingdom was still historically influenced by its Nonconformist roots in its hostility to homosexuality. The paper and it's editors were often in the courts, being charged with obstruction (1972), obscenity (1974) and blasphemy (1976). Despite this, a successful campaign was launched by various gay groups to force WH Smith, who largely controlled newspaper distribution in the UK, to distribute and sell the paper. Gay News Ltd ceased trading on 15 April 1983.


The Gay News Photographic Archive is divided into the following four sections:

  • GNPA/1 Cinema
  • GNPA/2 Theatre
  • GNPA/3 Personalities and Events
  • GNPA/4 Miscellaneous

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited at Bishopsgate Institute with the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive (LAGNA) which was transferred from Middlesex University in 2011. GNPA may have been previously held by London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Library.

Other Finding Aids

Adlib catalogue

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Grace Biggins

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying and digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.