The Gay Swimming Furore

Of all the Nottingham LGBT related stories which made it into the newspapers, the one which got the most coverage, locally and nationally, was the decision of Nottingham City Council in 1986 to allow gay only swimming sessions.

The Council had set up lesbian and gay sub-committees where issues of concern could be discussed. It was maintained that gay men had been harassed and victimised when they had used sporting facilities in the past, so an alternative was to try gay-only sessions. Swimming was the first suggestion which was tested out.

The adverse publicity was useful in branding the Labour Council as “loony left” and was a factor in the election of the Tories shortly after. The Tories then abolished the lesbian and gay sub-committees, shortly followed by the entire equal opportunities unit.

gayswimming

From Nottingham Evening Post

If rights for gays, lesbians, non-whites etc continue to be pushed down the throats of the general public, I can see there being a bigger discrimination problem that there ever was in the past. V. Connell Letters Nov. 7th 1986 Councillor Frances Dennett said the Council had given special sessions to other groups, such as Asian women. “Can it be that the opposition believe that they are not worthy of the same consideration as other members of society?” Article Jan. 6th 1987
Persecution and victimisation of gays should never be tolerated in this day and age, but there was never a scrap of evidence that it was happening anyway. Editorial. Nov. 28th 1986 Contrary to your repeated assertion, there is a mass of well-documented evidence on the victimisation and persecution of lesbians and gay men in every area of life. I enclose a basic reading list of ten books as some indication of this. Colin Clews Letters Dec. 18th 1986
I would like to take up a point made by the Council, namely “gays are everywhere”. Sadly this is true. It’s one thing knowing one or two have used the water, but I draw the line at a whole army of them. David Shelton, Governor, Jesse Boot Junior School. Dec. 9th - Letters column I find the fashionable notion that AIDS is now a heterosexual disease quite sinister and counter productive. AIDS is spreading through homosexual groups like wildfire, yet no-one has the courage to denounce homosexuality for what it really is. Namely, moral degradation of the most wicked and corrupt kind, punishable by AIDS. R. Johnson Dec. 16th - Letters column

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