Still battles to be won, 50 years on from Highbury Fields gay rights demo

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12/11/2020

THE first gay rights protest in the UK has been celebrated 50 years on at an event in Highbury Fields. The park in Islington was a popular cruising spot in 1970 when Louis Eaks, a Young Liberals member, was arrested by undercover policemen for “importuning for an immoral purpose”. In protest at his treatment by police, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) held the first LGBT demonstration, which was attended by 150 people. A plaque was erected in 2000 close to where Mr Eaks was arrested. At the time, homo­sexuality was partially decriminalised under the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 but campaigners say even after this law, men were convicted for just smiling and winking at other men in the street.

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