This film is part of Free

We Who Have Friends

A fascinating and important film on attitudes towards homosexuality, and what it was like to be gay, shortly after it was partially legalised.

Documentary 1969 49 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A pioneering documentary in 1969, looking at the situation of gay men in the UK two years after the 1967 Reform Act, and revealing how attitudes have changed. It includes unique interviews with the Bill's initiator, Leo Abse; Peter Manolt, the Editor of the bi-sexual/gay magazine 'Jeremy'; social workers who regard 'gayness' as something to be 'cured'; the only gay man found willing to appear on camera at that time, and members of the public on the streets of London and Leeds.

Richard Woolley started out in music and theatre before making fictional and experimental films from the late 1960s, this being his second one. Richard has gone on to have a highly successful career, writing scripts for cinema and TV, running film schools and publishing several novels. Richard Reisz went on to work for the BBC, amongst other things as Producer of Tomorrow’s World. As well as legalising homosexuality between men over 21 in private, the 1967 Act also allowed for openly gay media for the first time. Yet despite a wide advertising campaign for candidates, only one gay man came forward to be filmed. Not surprising when even Leo Abse opined that, “public flaunting would be utterly distasteful”.