Gay Oppression in South London

03-197207XX-03The G.L.F. commune in Brixton has been forced to leave for quieter shores, after having been under seige by the local kids from Tulse Hill Comprehensive. The communards made no attempt to hide who or what they are, and as a result suffered considerable persecution. Some were attacked individually (one guy had a milk bottle smashed over his head), but the house was attacked almost nightly; bricks and bottles were thrown through windows, and on one occasion a fight began when a group of boys broke down the front door and tried to get in. Chief Inspector Peter Brooks, community liason officer at Brixton Police Station, said “We are aware of the situation at the school and are keeping an eye on it”.

Since the trouble had come from the school-children, it seemed logical to go and talk to them. However, the communards were not well received when they attempted to leaflet during the lunch break, and the headmaster called the police to remove them. “I have had no formal complaints about any attacks by boys. Our objective (in calling the police) was to get these people away from the boys and off the school premises. If they want to discuss the situation formally I shall be happy to consider doing so but I will not be put under any duress by demonstrations of this sort.” said the headmaster. Does nothing happen at that school until it is ‘formally’ noted?

With little help from either the local community of the police, the situation did not improve, and the commune was eventually asked to move out by the agents from whom they were renting the house because of the continued damage and disturbance. One boy was suspended from the school for assisting them to leaflet there. And so the commune is now in temporary quarters in Notting Hill. There seems to have been little else left to do, but it seems appalling that a group of gay people should have to face such hostility alone.

If they had been a black family then there a at least have been some protection from the law to assist them in combatting the violent prejudices of the local inhabitants. As it is, gay people must either hide away in ‘safe’ areas or masquerade as straight if they wish to be left in peace. The attempt to set up an openly fay commune in an area like Brixton and the reactions to it prove we still have a long way to go before we are accepted.

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