From prejudice to pride: Free Wanstead talk about 30 years of gay Britain

Author Paul Flynn will be giving a talk in wanstead to celebrate LGBT month. Picture Penguin Random

Author Paul Flynn will be giving a talk in wanstead to celebrate LGBT month. Picture Penguin Random House - Credit: Archant

When you think of the 70s what springs to mind?

Flairs, flower power, facial hair?

How about institutional discrimination based on your sexuality?

As part of LGBT month, author, Paul Flynn will be coming to Wanstead to speak about his new book, Good As You.

The publication celebrates the seismic shift that turned gay men in Britain from “enemies to friends of the state”.

It argues that pop culture placed real pressure on the government and media to make changes to how gay people were portrayedand treated.

“When I was growing up I was terrified of being gay, I thought it was the worst thing you could be,” said Paul, 47.

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“Gay men were the butt of everyone’s joke.

“You were discriminated against in law, there was this elephant in the room about HIV and aids - it was a terrifying time for people.”

But when “great heroes” such as Frankie Goes To Hollywood and other well-known pop artists started openly talking about homosexuality on TV and through music, Paul said attitudes started to change in “incremental steps”.

“For the first time in Britain, gay people weren’t those other people that you had no connection with or didn’t know - they were right in your living room,” he added.

During the book, Paul interviews inspiring people who were integral to helping so many gay people find their voices.

He speaks to Holly Johnson about anthems, Kylie Minogue about icons, and Will Young and Davina McCall about the landmark of reality TV.

He also chats to Gary Hailes about being half of the first gay couple on EastEnders, and to David Furnish about being in one of the first publically celebrated gay couples in the UK.

The book also celebrates “unsung heroes” and looks at how activists, campaigners and charity workers helped the community.

“This is the story of Britain’s brothers, cousins and sons and sometimes fathers and husbands, he added.

“It is one of public outrage and personal loss - the (not always legal) highs and the desperate lows - and the final collective victory as gay people were finally recognised as Good As You”.

The free talk takes place at Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road on (Thursday, February 7) between 6.30pm 8pm.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing and The Wanstead Tap are providing bar services.

To book call the library on 020 8708 7400 or visit

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