Lovely obituary for a man who helped bring much LGBT progress in London in the 1970s

We are losing all the bright lights who helped to solidify in the 1970s what little progress had been in made in the late 1960s on what then known only as gay rights.

That is the natural order of things, of course. We all get old, we all die.

But too many of these people who gave up so much of their lives (and, often, personal and professional safety) are dying in obscurity as they’ve gone on lead quiet lives out of the spotlight.

So it’s nice that Keith Porteous Wood (no slouch in the activist world himself) wrote a nice piece for The Guardian memorializing Terry Sanderson, who also happens to have been Wood’s partner.

My partner, Terry Sanderson, who has died aged 75, was an early gay rights activist. He was devoted to fighting injustice, and much of his working life was spent helping adults with learning disabilities, initially in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and then in Ealing, west London, where we later settled.

The youngest son of a miner, Sandy, and his wife, Margaret (nee Goodgrove), a farmworker, Terry was born into grinding poverty in the mining village of Maltby in South Yorkshire, where he went to Maltby secondary modern school, leaving without any qualifications.

In the 1970s, when the local council refused to allow a gay disco that Terry hoped to organise on local authority premises, he challenged the decision in the local paper. By doing so, he came out to both the village and his family, who were supportive of him and, later, of us both.

He went on to form a local branch of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) and from his bedroom also established, in 1974, Essentially Gay, a mail-order company to help those who were closeted and isolated further afield. It ran until 1984.

You can read the rest here.

Terry Sanderson. (Photo: Guardian.)

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