Normally, I’m not easily shocked, but over the weekend I read about a group of gay men who were thrown out of a Brighton cab by the driver, purely because of their sexuality. After years of campaigning that we should all be treated with equal respect I’m sure there won’t be many people from the LGBTQ scene who wouldn’t be applauded to hear that someone has refused to serve someone because of their sexuality. I remember being extremely upset when I saw exactly the same scene played in Quentin Crisp’s, The Naked Civil Servant.
For Quentin, that was way in the 1950’s, a time when it was completely illegal to be homosexual, where the police could arrest you for being a ‘sexual pervert’. The gay bars were hidden down back alleys and the only way you could gain entry was by knowing the secret password.
By the time I flew the nest, aged eighteen, to the heady heights of Norwich, not a lot had changed. Although it was 1983, the one gay pub was tucked away above a straight pub. Meanwhile, the gay hot spot, the Caribbean Club was also discretely hidden away above a chip shop. Although the Caribbean only opened three nights a week, with a piano bar on a Sunday night, I thought it was heaven. Unlike the larger London segregated scene, everyone from all sexual persuasions could only meet in one place. On occasions someone would bring their straight friend or relative to the club too. The world didn’t fall apart; I for one was pleased to take my sister along and for her to meet all my mates and to see that her baby brother’s lifestyle was as fantastic as hers. Read more