Four decades of LGBT Humanism in the UK will be marked with a London lunch gathering on November 24
MY, how time passes! In 1979 I, my late partner, Brian Parry, plus George Broadhead, current secretary of the LGBT charity, the Pink Triangle Trust, and several other like-minded people, gathered to form the Gay Humanist Group, later to become the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA),
The decision to launch the group was prompted by God-besotted Mary Whitehouse’s private prosecution of Gay News for “blasphemous libel”, after it published James Kirkup’s poem The Love that Dares to Speak its Name.
Whitehouse, above, the self-appointed nanny to the nation, became the target of vociferous protest, not least from the National Secular Society which had been campaigning for years for the repeal of the blasphemy laws. The Christian prodnose snuffed it in 2001 aged 91.
In a piece written to celebrate the 20th anniversary of GALHA, Broadhead wrote:
She began declaring in public that ‘everything good and true’ that ‘every decent person believes in’ was being undermined by ‘the humanist gay lobby’. This was enough to set myself and a few other gays in the Humanist movement thinking.
Although any formal lobby of this sort was at the time just a figment of Whitehouse’s imagination, it seemed like a good idea to set one up.
In March, 2007, Broadhead, right, retired after serving for 25 years as GALHA’s secretary. At the time GALHA’s chairman Jim Herrick said:
George Broadhead has been a tower of strength to GALHA. He has undertaken the role of secretary in a voluntary capacity for a magnificent stint of 25 years.
Not only has he covered the administration but also the promotion of the association and keeping in touch with members and other gay groups.
He also edited GALHA’s magazine for some years. His enthusiasm and friendliness have been invaluable to GALHA. It is fair to say that in difficult times it has been his determination and tenacity which have kept GALHA going.
GALHA committee member Terry Sanderson, right, said:
George’s achievement is quite magnificent. He has steered GALHA through its highs and lows and been a personal favourite with the members who have always enjoyed his bon vivant personality. But as well as that, he has provided a steady voice against the encroachment and growth of religious homophobia. GALHA and the gay community at large has much to thank George for.
GALHA later became LGBT Humanists which has announced that it is celebrating the momentous 1979 formation of the Gay Humanist Group with a special 40th anniversary lunch – with prosecco on arrival, a three-course lunch, and a half bottle of wine each at Browns in Covent Garden, London on Sunday, November 24, from 12:30–16:00.
The celebration will be joined by LGBT icons Mark Gatiss, Ian Hallard, Adèle Anderson, Peter Tatchell, and others.
In announcing the event, Andrew Copson, Chief Executive or Humanists UK and Chair of LGBT Humanists from 2008 to 2010 said:
As well as fighting hard-hitting campaigns to combat religious bigotry and homophobia, the Gay Humanist Group led the way in providing humanist weddings to same-sex couples even in its early years.
Battles we have fought for decades are not yet won, and we cannot take our victories – including ending Section 28, decriminalising gay sex, and same-sex marriage – for granted. In the current climate, we must be vigilant to make sure progress for which we have fought so hard is not undone, or reversed.
To book your place at the lunch, follow this link.