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Welcome

I’ve been promising friends for five years that one day I’d write about Henry Labouchere, an MP who broke with his own family, then with a piece of Parliamentary legislation broke up other families.

So here we are, The Homophobe.

I am writing it as a serial like a Dickens novel, though it isn’t fiction. I hope to publish instalments every two or three weeks and end in June 2022 with Labouchere’s last words, “The flames of Hell? Not yet, I think…”.

To keep some element of suspense I’ll only say here that in August 1885, at the age of fifty-five, himself unmarried though wishing to be, and with a daughter named Dora (‘gift’ in Greek), Henry Labouchere, a Liberal MP for Northamptonshire, persuaded the British and Irish Parliaments gathered at Westminster to approve the following:

‘Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures, or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable at the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding one year, with or without hard labour.’

No female legislators were involved, and couldn’t be until 1918 when a few were allowed the Vote and two won seats. So there were only men to approve or disapprove Henry Labouchere’s proposal, which they approved.

The press didn’t discuss the novelty, remembered today as the Labouchere Amendment.


Pictured are three books with which Andrew has been connected.

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Title Fight: The Battle for Gay News (Brilliance Books, 1983), co-authored with Gillian E Hanscombe, co-authored with Gillian E Hanscombe, who was already the author of Rocking The Cradle: Lesbian Mothers - A challenge In Family Living (with Jackie Forster,  1982).

Our book told of the final days of the fortnightly newspaper Gay News (1972-1983), which was prosecuted by the British State for blasphemy in 1977.

Souvenirs of Sirmione (One Roof Press, 1988), with illustrations by David Shenton, was a tribute to my friend Antony Grey’s great love, during old age, for a little town on Lake Garda.

Rainbow Planet, printed and designed by London Pride in 2019, was a free advice book for younger marchers about how Pride marches originated in 1970 after a homeless trans woman of colour and an enraged lesbian defied New York cops outside the Stonewall Inn in New York in June 1969.

Rainbow Planet, printed and designed by London Pride in 2019, was a free advice book for younger marchers about how Pride marches originated in 1970 after a homeless trans woman of colour and an enraged lesbian defied New York cops outside the Stonewall Inn in New York in June 1969.

Andrew & Stephen

I have a partner, Stephen Clissold (left in the picture). We met through a gay men’s reading group in 2006.

(Photo by Francisco Gomez de Villaboa for Attitude)

Andrew was born in Surrey in 1941 and was a journalist from the 1960s to the 1980s. He is a guide with Queer Tours of London when COVID-19 permits.

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andrew@andrewlumsden.co.uk to contact Andrew.

The design and maintenance of this website is a gift from Alan Martin of London to whom Andrew returns most heartfelt thanks.