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Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship


Gill and Betty are both .
B: “Quakers, as a religious body, are accepting of lesbian and gay couples, and the is what is known as a listed group so that there are various small interest groups that nonetheless have official recognition, (e.g. Quaker Green Concerns, Quaker Socialist Society, the Friends Fellowship of Healing and the ). So it’s seen as being a significant and accepted group within the mainstream. That goes back to the ‘70’s, I think ’74. We had the 25th (anniversary) a few years ago.”
G: “It was then called the , and was partly founded by a Birmingham Quaker, , who went to Hall Green meeting which we both go to now, although I didn’t then, I went to one of the others.”
B: “Michael has since risen to become somewhat significant within the Society of Friends. Which is interesting in terms of Quakers, that having been the visible person who pushed lesbian and gay issues forward, certainly did not stop him from taking a position of management, power.”
G: “It later changed its name to the Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship. It’s a national organisation, it has about 200 members, with two meetings a year usually. One will be a day meeting, the other will be a weekend gathering, and about a quarter of the membership comes to either one or both of them. It publishes a magazine four times a year. I used to be its editor, but not now; Betty is on the committee. There’s a Midlands branch, Midlands QLGF which has its own subscription and not everyone who is in it is actually a member of the national organisation. We don’t usually go to its meetings, haven’t done so for some years. But there is a big overlap with it and Moveable Feast which is an older lesbians group. Where about two thirds of the people are also in Midlands QLGF.”
B: Midlands is quite wide and one of the reasons we don’t go is because things are sometimes happening in Kidderminster or somewhere quite a long way away and it’s too far for us at the minute. So our involvement really is much more national and has been for a number of years
G: The membership for QLGF is at the moment I think 43 %, 57% women men so it’s not quite equal but almost there is also a Quaker lesbian group which is separate from the QLGF which organises sleeping on meeting house floor type weekends. I’m too old to sleep on floors so we don’t go.”
G: “That acceptance is not absolutely universal (amongst Quakers). Betty had a problem with somebody who came out with some homophobic remarks and certainly the Quaker Lesbian and Gay Fellowship nationally has had some problems with particular people but by and large those people don’t get any support.”
B: “It’s important to say is that this is British Friends but not everybody in the world wide community of Quakers takes the same position and I am not sure where the Nigerian Quakers are for instance on this, or certain American Meetings although others are fine.”

Contributed by: Gill Coffin, 63, Betty Hagglund, 50

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