Odd Men Out

John-Pierre Joyce


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Manchester University Press
20 September 2022
ISBN: 9781526162441
368 pages

From the publisher

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.