In the early sixties, I was arrested by two plain clothed agent provocateurs in Manchester.

I was in a public toilet alone when they walked in and stood either side of me about two stalls away. I immediately felt uneasy and stepped back to leave but they took hold of me by my coat cuffs and marched me off to the police station.

As we walked in we passed a large cell in which there was a number of men and one of my escorts, said: “we won’t put you in there they’re criminals”.

I was fined about sixty pounds and charged with importuning but then went through weeks of torment not knowing if I would lose the new teaching job I had recently started.

I was advised to see my local doctor in order to get counselling but found him unsympathetic and he told me that he would not want a child of his taught by someone like me. Since then I have become cynical about the medical profession and their attitude, and understanding of homosexuality.

In the seventies, I was involved with Sussex Gay Lib and during our weekly discussions we decided to ask the local venereal disease clinic to send someone to speak to us as we had heard rumours about a disease          which was decimating the gay community in the USA.

They did not reply to our letter and then in the eighties Brighton was hit by HIV and AIDs. I lost twenty friends.

Thank you,

Doug Coupe, Brighton

Photo courtesy of Brighton Ourstory

Photo courtesy of Brighton Ourstory: Members of Sussex Gay Liberation front at Remembrance Service in 1973

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