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‘Corruption of public morals’! – OUTing the Past

31 January 2017 by Kay

newspaper front page

International Times with ‘Busted’ headline. Courtesy Liverpool John Moores University

In the run up to our free conference OUTing the Past: The 3rd National Festival of LGBT History on 25 February, we will be publishing some special guest blogs by our exciting speakers to give you a flavour of the day and to find out more.

Our first is Valerie Stevenson, Head of Academic Services, Liverpool John Moores University who will be revealing the prosecution case of the International Times newspaper and the ‘corruption of public morals’. Valerie tells us more –

“In my paper I will be talking about the prosecution of the International Times underground newspaper which began in 1969 and continued through the early 1970s.

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 had decriminalised homosexual acts in private between men over 21, but in 1969 the police raided the International Times offices and the publishers were charged with conspiracy to corrupt public morals, for printing gay male contact advertisements.

The court documents and press coverage of the case reveal, particularly in the language used, the extent of prejudice and anxiety about homosexuality and the ‘permissive society’.

Lonely hearts advert placed by a gay student

Advert from the International Times. Courtesy Liverpool John Moores University

In the Special Collections and Archives at Liverpool John Moores University we hold a complete print run of International Times along with the administrative files which belonged to Barry Miles, one of the paper’s editors.

For my presentation I have gone back through the original source materials and will show copies of the advertisements, extracts from the court reports, and quotations from contemporary newspapers to trace the history of this conflict between the Establishment and those striving to bring about social change.”

portrait photo

Valerie Stevenson

Don’t miss Valerie’s presentation, ‘Antiquated Legalities: the Internal Times prosecution, 1969’ at 11:15am, Education Room 2.

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