“ .. the most important and vital matter of the ‘Wolfenden’ Report”

7th February 2017 in Archives Centre, Our Collections

Letter from "a homosexual", 1964 Letter from "a homosexual", 1964

 

Anonymous letter, signed ‘A Homosexual’, in a collection of General Election souvenirs belonging to the Conservative MP Ian Lloyd. Lloyd Papers, ILLD 2/9. See below for a full transcript.

Letter on "the most important and vital matter of the promise of giving the ‘Wolfenden’ Report on Homosexuals full implication and passing it into Law at the earliest possible moment", from the papers of Conservative MP Ian Lloyd. The anonymous constituent’s letter was preserved in a file of leaflets and other memorabilia from the 1964 General Election, in which Lloyd won the safe Conservative seat of Portsmouth Langstone.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act. Drawing upon the findings of the Wolfenden Report, the Act of 1967 attempted to liberalise the law relating to male homosexuality in England and Wales. It has been said to have heralded a sea change in public attitudes, but also received criticism both for the limited nature of its reforms, and for allowing for continuing legal discrimination based on sexuality.

Correspondence and other materials relating to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain and Northern Ireland can be found in the papers of Julian Amery, Lord Hailsham, and Enoch Powell.

Transcription

"Dear Sir:-

Up to the present, during this Election, I have heard NO Canditate [sic] mention the most important and vital matter of the promise of giving the ‘Wolfenden’ Report on Homosexuals full explication and passing it into Law at the earliest possible moment. I cannot for obvious reasons give my name or my address, which I much regret, but owing to the existing Law this is impossible. I represent approximately 630 Homosexuals in our own district clubs, there are nearly a million in England & Wales alone. To live under the constant threat of exposure and of Black mail is wicked and cruel, because Homosexuals are born so, and nothing can be done to alter this. There is a host of evidence to prove this today.

Any of the three political parties who openly at public meetings & throughout the press & Television promise that this matter shall be dealt with as an urgent matter and the Law passed to implement the ‘Wolfenden’ Report will gain at least 1,000,000 votes up and down the country. Trusting you will have the courage to carry this out and gain the Election for the Conservatives.

Wishing you success,

A Homosexual.

I suggest you send my letter to the party chief at Conservative Head Quarters – there is little time to act.”

— Heidi Egginton, Archives Assistant


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