Amiable Warriors

a History of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and its times
by Peter Scott-Presland

Front cover

Hardback, 640 pages, 54 illustrations in the text.
ISBN 978-1-904585-75-6.

Amiable Warriors is being published in three volumes over the next few years. Volume One, A Space to Breathe was published in February 2015, by Paradise Press.

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Listen to the author being interviewed on Gaydio.

Hear Peter Scott-Presland talking about gay life in Oxford in the 1970s.

Read his keynote address to the Manchester Conference.

Read the reviews of this book by Rictor Norton and Brett Humphreys.

This wonderful book celebrates those early days of CHE and honours those brave pioneers who weren't afraid to speak out in the fight for Equality in what were unenlightened times. I'm proud to have been there.
   — from the Foreword by Paul O'Grady


The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, was at one time the largest LGBT organisation the UK has ever seen. Founded in Manchester in 1964 as the North Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee (NWHLRC) was active in the campaign that resulted in the partial decriminalisation of sex between men in 1967. Thereafter it changed its name, broadened its aims, and became a nationwide organisation providing social groups around the country as well as continuing to fight for full equality for LGBT people. Today it operates on a smaller scale, but has funded the writing of this book.

Some truths and myths about CHE.

The book

Amiable Warriors is a major contribution to a neglected area of British social history, highlighting the major personalities involved, set against the currents of thought and activity of the time. Volume One, A Space to Breathe, traces CHE from its origins in 1964 as a small law reform committee in Manchester to the point where it had become a nationwide grass-roots campaign with local groups in London and elsewhere.

The author

Peter Scott-Presland is a writer, actor, playwright and director and runs the gay theatre company Homo Promos. He writes about CHE having joined it and left even more times than the Labour Party. Having performed as a cabaret artist at many CHE events, and known many of the participants personally, he brings a quirky dramatist's and journalist's eye to animate a subject which is far, far more than a set of campaigns.

The editor

Ross Burgess is an Executive Committee member of CHE and the commissioning editor for the book. He previously edited Diverse Performances by the late David Haldane Lawrence, also with Paradise Press.


We've corrected a number of errors in successive editions of this book