History of Gaysocs at Scottish Educational Institutions

Frank Rice & Ian Strang: both of whom, being of a certain age, were around in the 1970s.

In Sep/Oct 1970 at branch of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was set up at the London School of Economics. However, this was not a university group, the GLF using university premises and it was not a student organisation.

In Jan/Feb 1971 the "1971 Group" was set up at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland. This was a society specifically stated to be for gay students. Four or five meetings took place in the Catholic Chaplancy. However, the group never thrived and was defunct by 1973.

The first meeting of the 1971Group planned for January 1971 had to be cancelled amid controversy which was widely reported. (SMG News, Glasgow Herald, [The Scotsman - not yet found]). The inaugural meeting finally took place in March 1971 in the ARK, the catholic chaplaincy. Two letters relating to this Telegraph, Strathclyde University 28 Jan 1971 in NAS Outright Scotland Archive GD467/2/4/8

In April [1971] they held a social evening in the ARK: "25 people attended - and there was dancing!"

The first meeting of SMG Dundee was held on Mon 24 May, 1971 in the university chaplaincy.

The NUS was heavily into promoting equality of the law on homosexuality. See motion at Scottish NUS Conference Feb 1972

In the autumn of 1974 there was a revival of the group under the name of Strathclyde University Gaysoc. A year later the name was changed to the Strathclyde University Gay Activists Alliance, or a similar name to underline its activist nature.

In c1976  there was a conference at Strathclyde University on some non gay topic and Frank Rice introduced the conference on behalf of the Strathclyde Student's Union.

At Strathclyde University there was a debate c1976 regarding legitimising gay activities. Speakers included Paddy Lyons, who replaced David Evans,
Shiela Mckechnie
and a speaker from a Catholic Society who was in favour of liberalisation.

Frank Rice with Ian Millar and Schaun Gatford set up the Strathclyde Gay Commune in a flat in Great Western Road, Glasgow, near St. Mary's Cathedral

By 1977 most of the Scottish Universities had gaysocs. However there were problems in getting to this state:

Problems encountered in setting up a Gaysoc in Scotland. Draft of an amended version of the NUS ‘How to Set Up a Gaysoc’. (Gay News Issue 48 6 June, 1974)

Aberdeen University attempts. Posters regularly torn down, spiteful phone call to the organisers and abuse. Similar to problems at Stevenson College, Edinburgh, two years ago. ( Gay News Issue 96 June 3-16, 1976)
Publication Gay Granite produced by Gaysoc and others.

Teddy Taylor supported Glasgow University Senate in preventing a Gay Soc. (SMG News October, 1997)

Notes from Paul Brownsey on Glasgow University Gaysoc  (Verbal May 2005)

When the University Court were first approached regarding a student gaysoc they felt unable to support it because it was contrary to the law.

The President of SRC gave BP £30 from SRC funds to set up a gaysoc.

The first meetings were in Autumn 1975 in the chaplancy.

It is said that BP sent a letter to Father Columbo Ryan in response to an alleged comment along the line of “complete civil rights for these creatures - they need treatment.”