Gay News was a serious tabloid newspaper launched in the UK in 1972, only five years after the decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. It was, I think, unique in the UK in that period in that it was a commercially-produced publication, not aligned to any gay or political faction.
Gay News covered news from across the UK. It reflected the growth of the gay movement, but also showed how, despite decriminalisation, gay people continued to suffer harassment and discrimination, particularly in employment - with the exposure of homosexuality resulting in dismissal many cases.
Gay News was also noted for its rather highbrow coverage of books and the arts. The publication of a poem in this section resulted in a suspended jail sentence for the paper's editor.
The fortnightly publication ran from 1972-1983. Digitisation would reflect the lived-experience of many lesbians and gay alive today. It would capture an important period of gay history which predates the arrival of the internet, and which is in danger of disappearing under the weight of, sometimes ill-informed, information online.
As the fortnightly Gay News ran for eleven years, digitisation of the whole run would amount to a manageable project of under 300 issues.
William Larsen commented
I was/am a supportive older sib of gay siblings 70's and 80's. Gay News was very important to me/us to see where mutual aid was available during HIV/AIDS, bashing, Chapter 28 etc. Gay history is everyone's history. We're not Black but I know Black/BAME history is British history. Just as I want to read/study/know a fuller, rounder history by reading Black authors or translations from other languages, I want to digitize Gay News to give more people access to the granular level of discrimination, practical problems and hate we faced as a family then. I also want to make sure original source articles are available to PROVE OUR NARRATIVE. Protected classes are subject to revisionist history by outsiders or even those of us w/limited understanding of our own history. It is crucial to preserve this history.
imelda redmond commented
we need to preserve the history of lesbians and gay men for future generations. please archive Gay News, our history needs to be understood or future generations will not understand the change in our society over time. too often gay history is rewritten with a new lens, we need a record of what was printed at the time
MARK GOSSAGE commented
Incredibly important to catalogue gay and lesbian movements though these important decades.
Graham McKerrow commented
Historians, social scientists, other academics, journalists, film makers, playwrights and others are taking an increasing interest in this part of our history so digitisation of Gay News and indeed, Capital Gay which provided a comparable service in the 1980s, would be very useful. (Full disclosure: I worked for both publications so know about the growing interest in both)
It's very important, especially at the moment. Our History cannot be lost.
Rick Westhorpe commented
We've seen recently how gay histories can be rewritten for specific political agendas, so the easier access we have to reports written at the time the better.
I gre up in the homophobia of the 60s and 70s, and Gay News was part of my history. I worked for it very briefly at the end of the 70s.