This year’s Pride will mark the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). There will be a socially distanced veterans’ march taking place from BBC centre onwards to Trafalgar Square to celebrate anniversary of the first gay liberation front march. And as a founding member of the GLF our very own Philip Rescorla will be attending the march.
On Sunday 21st June, in the run up to the event, members of the choir were treated to a fascinating interview with Pinkies Michael Derrick and Philip Rescorla along with Philip’s partner Martin Edwardes about LGBT activism in the early 70s and how the GLF was established. The Pink Singers was formed a few years later in 1983 for the Lesbian & Gay Pride march in London. This activism and political agenda was at the heart of the establishment of the Pink Singers and remains so today.
Watch the video below and read Philip’s fascinating account of the early history of the GLF.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) which had its first meeting in London on 14th October 1970 at the London School of Economics where I was studying Social Administration. Nineteen of us attended the first meeting. The GLF dragged homosexuality out of the closet, onto the streets and into the public eye.
By the end of January 1971 there were up to five hundred people a week attending the General Meetings and in August 1970 there was a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square organised by the Youth Group. I had become part of the GLF Street Theatre and we devised a special piece for the occasion (see picture, I’m the bearded one in the middle couple).
In July 1972 the first Gay Pride march left Trafalgar Square and marched to Hyde Park for a Gay Pride Party, with over a thousand in attendance, accompanied by two thousand police! By then the GLF had started to fragment but it had created the conditions for the LGBTQ movements we have now, giving birth to our helplines, newspapers and activist groups.
In 1983 the Pink Singers were formed to provide a choir for the Pride March and we have never missed a London Pride March or Festival since. Marching with my Pink Singers family is one of the highlights of my year and I count myself fortunate to have been there at the start of the modern gay movement and fought for the rights we enjoy today in the UK.
Philip Rescorla, Tenor