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The LGBT community in London is one of the largest within Europe, LGBT culture of London, England, is centred on Old Compton Street in Soho. There are also LGBT pubs and restaurants in Earl's Court.[1]


In the 18th century, some businesspersons and aristocrats had, for the time, relatively open LGBT lifestyles. Rictor Norton, author of Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England, 1700–1830 stated that in the 1720s London had more gay pubs and clubs than it did in 1950. LGBT studies pre-1920s were entirely of males caught in scandals.[2]

Homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK in 1967, but London was an LGBT tourism destination even before then.[1] LGBT culture became more visible during the 1970s as a result of civil rights movements. Mark W. Turner, the author of "Gay London," stated that when Derek Jarman moved to Charing Cross in 1979, it began the process of Soho becoming the centre of the London LGBT community and that by the early 1990s this was "firmly established".[3]

The Gateways Club was the longest running lesbian nightclub in the world, opening in 1936 and closing in 1985.[4]

The Admiral Duncan pub in Soho was bombed on 30 April 1999.[5] Newspaper articles stated the belief that the bombing was intended to attack the LGBT community; no persons who died in the incident were members of the LGBT community.[6]

Switchboard, formerly the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, is based in the capital, although it serves the whole country.

London's 2015 LGBT Pride Parade through the streets of London attracted over one million people.[7]


The Greater London Authority government promotes LGBT tourism.[1]

The Above the Stag Theatre in Vauxhall is the UK's only LGBT-centric theatre.[8]

Summer Rites is an LGBT-centric outdoor party. The London Pride Parade and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival are also held in the city.[1]

Heaven is the largest gay disco club in Europe. It opened in 1979.[3]

The UK's only gay and lesbian bookshop, Gay's the Word, is in Bloomsbury.

Notable residentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Olson, Donald. London for Dummies (Volume 136 of Dummies Travel). John Wiley & Sons, 2 February 2010. 6th Edition. ISBN 0470619651, 9780470619650. p. 67.
  2. ^ Thomas, p. 363.
  3. ^ a b Turner, p. 50.
  4. ^ Gardiner, Jill. From the closet to the screen: women at the Gateways Club 1945–85. ISBN 0-86358-427-6.
  5. ^ Eade, John. Placing London: From Imperial Capital to Global City (Berghahn Series). Berghahn Books, 2000. p. 78. ISBN 1571818030, 9781571818034.
  6. ^ Eade, John. Placing London: From Imperial Capital to Global City (Berghahn Series). Berghahn Books, 2000. p. 79. ISBN 1571818030, 9781571818034.
  7. ^ Pride in London: Pride in London welcomed a record number of over one million guests, PinkNews
  8. ^ McCormick, Joseph Patrick. "Re-imagined gay Cinderella story opens at London LGBT theatre Archived 26 September 2014 at WebCite" (Archive). Pink News. 25 September 2014.


  • Thomas, Ardel. "London." Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies. Routledge, 18 October 2013. ISBN 1135942412, 9781135942410, or 113594234X, 9781135942342. p. 363-364. – A listing of academic works discussing the London LGBT community
  • Turner, Mark W. "Gay London." In: Kerr, Joe and Andrew Gibson (editors). London From Punk to Blair: Revised Second Edition. Reaktion Books, 1 June 2013. ISBN 1780230753, 9781780230757. Start p. 50.

Further readingEdit

  • Cooper, Davina. Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State. Rivers Oram (London) and Paul (Concord, Massachusetts), 1994. – Most of the book discusses the LGBT community of London
  • Graham, Hugh, John Shandy Watson, and Paul Burston (editors). Time Out Gay and Lesbian London. Time Out Guides, 2010. ISBN 1905042566, 9781905042562.
  • Green, Sarah F. Urban Amazons: Lesbian Feminism and beyond in the Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Battles of London. St. Martins (New York), and Macmillan (Basingstroke, Hants), 1997.
  • Lucas, Ian. Impertinent Decorum: Gay Theatrical Manoeuvers. Cassel (London and New York), 1994. – Discusses the LGBT culture in London theatre
  • Norton, Rictor. Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England, 1700–1830. Gay Men's Press (London) and Inbook (East Haven, Connecticut), 1992: Discusses "Molly houses" in and near London.
  • Weeks, Jeffrey. Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. Quartet (London and New York): 1977. Revised edition: Quartet (London), 1990. – This book is not focused on London in particular; Arden Thomas stated that even so, the book makes it clear that LGBT-related laws were created in London
  • Wilson, Olivette Cole and Clarence Allen, "The Black Perspective." In: Healey, Emma and Angela Mason (editors). Stonewall 25: The Making of the Lesbian and Gay Community of Britain. Virago (London), 1994 – Discusses the London black LGBT community

External linksEdit