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British Library of Political and Economic Science

Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE)


Reference code(s): GB 0097 HCA/Campaign for Homosexual Equality

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE)

Date(s): 1940-1996

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 142 boxes

Name of creator(s): Campaign for Homosexual Equality


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has its origins in the North-Western Committee of the Homosexual Law Reform Committee (NWHLRC), which was founded in Manchester by Alan Horsfall to support the campaign for the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The first meeting was held on 4 June 1964, but the formal launch took place with a semi-public meeting on 7 Oct of the same year. NWHLRC was renamed the Committee for Homosexual Equality in 1969, and became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) in 1971. Throughout the 1970s, CHE was the main British homophile organisation, growing from 100 members in 1969 to 2, 800 members and 60 local groups by 1972. Its activities included canvassing for further law reforms, providing educational material for use in schools, and attempting to influence the provision of medical, psychiatric and social services.
The central body of the organisation was the Executive Committee, whose General Secretary maintained contact with local groups, individuals and other organisations. Local groups and members had input into CHE policy through the National Council, which met quarterly at different venues through the country, and was composed of CHE members elected by the whole membership. Annual conferences were also held. The CHE local groups were active throughout England and Wales, retaining a high level of autonomy and often producing regular newsletters giving details of social and campaigning activities. Following reorganisation in 1982, the short-lived Gay Community Organisation took control of these local groups. From 1969-1971, CHE produced a newsletter, which became the CHE Bulletin (1971-1974) and eventually the CHE Broadsheet (1975-1976). A newspaper known as Out was produced from 1976-1977. CHE set up a magazine working party in 1971, which produced the magazine Lunch from 1971-1974. It also created the counselling group Friend, which later became independent.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), 1940-1996, notably Annual Reports, 1973-1983, 1986; Executive Committee minutes, 1971-[1996], and election papers, 1971-1977; Executive Committee papers, 1970-[1996], including reports, abstracts, leaflets, conference papers and circulars; minutes of the Management Committee, 1975-1977; papers of the National Council, 1971-1981; material relating to CHE publications, 1969-1982, including copies of the Bulletin, 1970-1974, the Broadsheet, 1975-1980, and Out magazine, 1976-1977, as well as numerous newsletters and financial files relating to sales; administrative correspondence of the CHE Executive Committee, 1970-[1996], including the Chairman, the General Secretary, the Administration Officer, and the Information Officer; correspondence relating to membership of CHE, 1970-1976; correspondence with local and national gay organisations, 1970-1981; general correspondence, 1970-1987, on subjects including the media, discrimination, police harassment, homosexual law reform; CHE financial papers, 1965-[1996], including committee papers, account books and invoices; substantial numbers of papers concerning the activities of local CHE groups, 1970-[1996], from throughout the UK; material relating to the organisation of CHE conferences, 1972-[1996]; subject files compiled for CHE working parties and campaigns, 1970-[1996], mainly relating to homosexual law reform, discrimination, the women's movement, the media, education, the homosexual age of consent and AIDS; reports compiled by CHE, 1976-1981, relating to gay rights; leaflets and pamphlets, 1970-1982, of CHE and other gay organisations; material collated by CHE regarding other organisations, 1960-[1996], notably the Gay Activists Alliance, the Gay Liberation Front, Outrage!, Outright Scotland, the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation and the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard; general papers, 1940-1987, including posters, newsletters, conference papers, National Council papers, CHE accounts, and material concerning gay student groups; papers of the Discrimination Commission, 1976-1980, including chairman's papers, treasurer's documents, case files, reports, conference papers and press cuttings.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged in the following sections: annual reports, Executive Committee papers, National Council papers, newsletters, correspondence, financial papers, local groups, conference papers, working parties and campaigns, reports, leaflets and pamphlets, papers of other organisations, general papers and the Discrimination Commission.

Conditions governing access:

Open, though some confidential files remain closed. Apply to the Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is retained by the donors.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

A full handlist and on-line catalogue is available for the first accession.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality papers were deposited with the Hall-Carpenter Archive in the 1980s. Most of the Hall-Carpenter Archive was transferred to the British Library of Political and Economic Science in 1988. A further deposit of material was made by the CHE Executive Committee, via Barry Cutler, in 1997. The Discrimination Committee papers were deposited in 1998.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Hall-Carpenter Archives at the British Library of Political and Economic Science also contain material relating to the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in the papers of the Gay Community Organisation, the Albany Trust, Robert Palmer, the GLC Gay Rights Working Party, Antony Grey, the Joint Council for Gay Teenagers, the London Gay Campaign Group, the National Colleges of Education Gay Rights Committee, the Scottish Minorities Group and the Hall-Carpenter ephemera and journals collections.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Nov 2000

Bisexuality | Sexuality
Homosexual law reform | Law reform | Law
Homosexuality | Sexuality
Legal systems | Law
Lesbian, gay and bisexual campaigning groups | Groups
Lesbian, gay and bisexual rights | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual social groups | Groups
Lesbianism | Sexuality

Personal names

Corporate names
Campaign for Homosexual Equality
Gay Activists Alliance
Gay Liberation Front
Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation
Outright Scotland