You are not logged in. Signup to contribute or login! Not recieved your activation email? Click here to send it again.

Oxford CHE


“I think it doesn’t matter where activism takes place. When we were trying to improve our lot, when we were battling, not to be accepted, God forbid was it ever begged to be accepted, but when we were making our statements that this is the line we want, it didn’t matter where it was whether it was Oxford or London or Birmingham because we all helped each other. I was a founder member with maybe ten or twelve others. I think there must have been ten on the committee when we first started the Oxford Campaign for Homosexual Equality - OCHE - and we were in the forefront. Other societies and groups were being formed, probably in Birmingham as well. We were quite small to begin with and the university very rarely took part in any of the town (activities) it was town and gown anyway. I was connected with the university so I saw both sides because I was also a member of the group that met at Christchurch and we would campaign and, of course, when the students did their gay walkabout of Oxford then we would join at the end as the poor relations. That was one of the few instances where town and gown actually met because they were two separate entities and always were and probably always will be. We had one bar in Oxford and then we had another and then we had three gay bars at one stage, now it’s down to two again because there are so few people in Oxford because the university students, after the first few months of being at Oxford, tend to stick to their own bars, they’re not gay bars, or they go to London which is only an hour away”.

“Douglas, my boyfriend who caused my divorce from John, if you like, was an American tutor of English.  He’d come over to Oxford and stay for three months about June, July, August and then I’d go out there for two months when I could get away and in the end, of course, it caused a split between John and I but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I had a wonderful time (in Oxford), I wouldn’t have changed anything really, not even my divorce because it was such a splendid time to be part of it all.  Oxford is a lovely city but it doesn’t compare with Birmingham now, not now because this is an incredibly vibrant city.”

Contributed by: Robin McGarry, 66

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor