Author: kenplummer

For over 40 years I worried about things sociological; now I have time to stand and stare.

Changing Homosexualities

Way , way back in the early 1960’s I was a little gay boy coming out in a world where homosexuality in the UK was crime, disease and sadness. I did not stand a chance!

But slowly over the past fifty years the world – in the U.K. at least-  has indeed changed out of recognition in this area. I have lived as a happy out homosexual more or less since 1966.  Several people helped me in my coming out- and Anthony Grey is one of them.

In Memoriam: Anthony Grey  (1922-2004)

Antony Grey was the pseudonym of Anthony Edgar Gartside Wright. In 1958, Grey starting voluntary work for the Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS). He became the Society’s Honorary Treasurer in 1960 and its Secretary by the end of 1962. I first met him in 1966 as I was coming out and visited the Albany Trust and the HLRS in Shaftesbury Avenue. I was nervous; everybody was nervous. A wonderful woman called Doreen Cordell gave support.

I met Anthony Grey – a nervous and shy man; and for several years he was a major infulence of my life. He showed me the world could be changed. We did not have to accept the law or the negative repsonses to homosexuality. I did my PhD on this.

Anthony Grey was one of Britain’s first gay rights activists. He was instrumental in forcing the government to push through the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which paved the way for modern law reform. He began campaigning for gay equality in 1958 and later became secretary of the Albany Trust, a charity set up to help gay men who had developed psychological problems after being persecuted. Later in life, he was involved in counselling and training work and joined the executive committee of the British Association for Counselling.

Fore 3 or 4 years I worked with the HLRS – but then along GLF and I found its more radical approach more persuasive. Sadly, I lost contact with him. And only recently have I learned of his death. Fellow gay rights campaigner Andrew Lumsden, who had known Anthony Grey since the age of nine, commented at his death: “I was one of his oldest friends and he was an extraordinarily brave man. His work paved the way for the Gay Liberation Front, OutRage!, Stonewall and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.”

Anthony Grey lived with his partner Eric Thompson for over 50 years, even at a time when it was considered dangerous for gay couples to share a house. He died after several years of being ill with leukaemia at King Edward VII Hospital in London on Friday April 30th 2004.

Selected Writings

Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation
Speaking of Sex
Speaking Out: Sex, Law, Politics and Society.

Selected Links

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/library/archive/projects/1967_and_all_that/grey.aspx

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/05/04/first-gay-rights-activist-antony-grey-dies-aged-82/

Generations

How long is a man’s life finally?

Cyril E Power: Whence and Whither

A thousand days or only one?

One week or a few centuries?

How long does a man’s death last?

And what do we mean when we say, “gone forever”?

-Brian Patten, So Many Different Lengths of Time (2007:154)

If you need cheering up, you can see Brian Patten speak this poem wandering around a graveyard!  Link to Brian Patten here


My most recent work has been concerned with worrying about time and generations. You can find some of this writing  in the Generational section of Selected Articles

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present,
All time is unredeemable.

T.S.Eliot Burnt Norton

CyrilPower (1872-1951) : Whence and Whither

Sexualities: New Issue of the Journal

Sexualities : New Issue June 2012 just published Ken is the founder editor of the journal Sexualities and has been editing it since 1998. The latest issue of the journal is a DOUBLE ISSUE. Volume 15: No3/4 p251-514 The first section examines Citizenship and queer critique and is edited by Robert Payne and Cristyn Davies.…

Humanity begins the moment we stop being instinctively selfish and start seeing other points of view”

Akira Kurosawa ( and cited in Mark Cousin’s The Story of Film – a wonderful history of film).

Akira Kurosawa is the wonderful film maker of Roshomon and Seven Samurai, and many others.
Mark Cousins has written a beautiful and accessible history of film in The Story of Film (also a 15 part film .tv programme). 

Cosmopolitan Symbolic Interactionism

  On Symbolic Interactionism I have since the late 1960’s been interested in the theory of symbolic interactionism. It is a very partial and limited theory but for many purposes it is actually one of the best we have. The Poetic for Paul   a few posts back has already introduced some key ideas.  …

Poetics: generations

Poetics Quoting Humanisms I am very interested in the problem of generations. A dear old friend recently sent me this fragment of a poem by Andreas Gryphius, a survivor of the 30 years war in what became known as Prussia. (11  October 1616 – 16 July 1664). Each healing breath in lost thin air must…

Intimate Citizenship

INTIMATE CITIZENSHIP  Today I have started a page which will hopefully  slowly piece together some of my writings and thoughts on this idea ( Go to: Selected Writings/ Intimate Citizenship).   I first recall thinking of the idea walking along a beach in Santa Barbara in the early 1990’s as I was completing Modern Homosexualities…

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