Odd men out

Male homosexuality in Britain from Wolfenden to Gay Liberation: Revised and updated edition

By John-Pierre Joyce

Odd men out
Paperback +
  • Price: £13.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162441
  • Publish Date: Sep 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Buy Now

    eBook -
  • Price: £13.99
  • ISBN: 9781526162434
  • Publish Date: Sep 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6243-4
    • Published Date: September 2022


    From government ministers and spies to activists, drag queens and celebrities, Odd men out charts the tumultuous history of gay men in 1950s and 60s Britain. It takes us from the earliest tentative steps towards decriminalisation to the liberation movement of the early 1970s. Along the way, it catalogues shocking repression, including laws against homosexual activity and the use of brutal medical 'treatments'. Odd men out draws on medical data and opinion polls, broadcast recordings, theatrical productions, and extensive interviews with key players, as well as an in-depth analysis of the Wolfenden Report and the circumstances surrounding its creation. It brings to life pivotal moments in gay mens' cultural representation, ranging across the West End and emerging writers like Joe Orton, the British film industry, the BBC, national newspapers, fashion catalogues and music magazines.

    Celebrating the joy of gay lives as well as the hardships, Odd men out preserves the voices of a disappearing generation who revolutionised what it meant to be a gay man in twentieth-century Britain.


    'John-Pierre Joyce admirably describes the oppression from which we were so narrowly rescued and the courageous and unflagging determination that made the present dispensation possible. Let us take good note of the past and learn its lessons, lest we be condemned to repeat it.'
    Simon Callow CBE

    'The brutal truth about an era of persecution, setbacks and triumphs, as told through the personal stories of tormentors, campaigners, victims and survivors. Compelling and moving. An often heartbreaking but very necessary illumination of a dark period of modern British history.'
    Peter Tatchell

    'Rigorously researched and detailed ... accessible and engaging ... a fantastically detailed account of this period and a treasure trove of information ... impressive.'
    Professor Brian Lewis, McGill University

    'Beautifully written ... kept me riveted ... fascinating illustrative detail ... a model of clarity.'
    Professor Matthew Cook, Birkbeck University of London


    Introduction by Simon Callow
    Foreword by Lord Taverne

    1 Huntleys
    2 The doctrine of Saint Wolfenden
    3 The germ inside
    4 A huge homosexual kingdom
    5 Do I look like a bloody pansy?
    6 A wind of change
    7 It's legal now

    Afterword by Nicholas Wright
    Selected bibliography


    John-Pierre Joyce is a writer, journalist and teacher. He has written for national, local and specialist newspapers and magazines, and he has advised on film and television projects.

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