The Spartacus International Gay Guide


Homiki, Poland | 14073

The Spartacus International Gay Guide is an international gay travel guidebook which was first published as a set of magazines from 1968 and was converted to a book in 1970 by John D Stamford, then a Catholic Priest in Brighton. In the early 1970s, exact date not clear, Mr Stamford moved with his business to Amsterdam.

On 1 December 1986 Stamford, then 48, sold the business and title to 31 year old Bruno Gmünder. Mr Stamford then went globe travelling with his companions – presumably using his venerable guide. There are then unsubstantiated reports that he was wanted for illegal activity in The Netherlands and is thought to have spent some time in prison somewhere in Western Europe before his death which is understood to have been in 1999.

The Bruno Gmünder Group was founded in 1981 in Berlin, Germany. The company became one of the world’s leading companies in gay publishing media. Bruno Gmünder Group was sold on in 2011 to a new management consisting of Tino Henn, Nik Reis and Michael Taubenheim. On 28 May 2014 the company announced on their web site that they had entered a “restructuring insolvency” with their bankers.

Sales of their products were declining; they had invested in new media such as apps – including a Spartacus app – and relaunched magazines – but unfortunately sales had been disappointing. The restructuring insolvency is hoped to allow the Bruno Gmünder Group to save the company, meet regular debt obligations and allow the company to avoid a bankruptcy, and to get “back in the black”.

The company is still trading. The future of the printed Gay Guide is not known.



Dublin: The Fairview Park Murders and the Declan Flynn murder case


Fairview Park Protest March photographed on Amiens Street, Dublin by Derek Speirs, courtesy “Out For Ourselves” (Womens Community Press, 1986) | Irish Queer Archives/Come here to me | 14074

In 1982 during the summer a series of systematic beatings was carried out in Fairview Park, Dublin. Gay men used the park as a meeting place and for cruising. On September 10, the gang attacked 31-year-old Aer Rianta worker Declan Flynn. One of the gang was used as ‘bait’ and when Flynn sat down next to him on the bench, the other four rushed out from behind trees.

Their victim managed to run towards the gate and the main road but did not get out of the park in time. They kicked and beat him with sticks and left Declan Flynn lying on the path choking on his own blood. He died within an hour of admission to Blanchardstown Hospital.

Mr Flynn, living in a country where and when homosexuality was illegal, was not out to his family.

Fairview Park, Dublin | Google Maps | 14075

His attackers were 19 year old Tony Maher, 18 year old Robert Armstrong, who were both members of the Air Corps, 18 year old Patrick Kavanagh, 17 year old Colm Donovan and a 14-year-old boy. “We were all part of the team to get rid of queers in Fairview Park,” Armstrong later said.

In March 1983, in court, Justice Sean Gannon gave them suspended sentences for manslaughter and allowed the five to walk free. “This,” he said, “could never be regarded as murder.”

14076 | 14076

The ruling caused outrage – as did the judge’s comments that the so-called vigilantes were “cleaning up the area” – and became the catalyst for Ireland’s fledgling gay rights movement, leading to the foundation of the main gay organisations in the Republic of Ireland.


1977 – The year San Francisco “turned gay” claims The Guardian

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Gay activists march in the Gay Freedom Day parade in San Francisco, 24 June 1979 | Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS | 14077

The Guardian republish part of their archive feature from 25 June 1977.

In fact San Francisco had been a gay centre for some years before 1977 and had certainly been the home of a significant gay community since 1945.


The birth of gay pride and gay liberation, 45 years ago


The Intelligencer looks at photographs of the start of the gay pride and liberation movements after the raid on the Stonewall Inn, which took place 45 years ago this week.

Diana Davies photographs Manuscripts and Archives Division/The New York Public Library/AstorLenox and Tilden Foundations | 14078

Diana Davies photographs Manuscripts and Archives Division/The New York Public Library/AstorLenox and Tilden Foundations | 14079

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, the crowd that lingered outside the club was still 500 strong, initially festive but increasingly angry as the raid progressed. The turning point came when the crowd saw the police slam a lesbian, who was struggling to resist arrest, against a police car | Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images | 14080

On July 31, a little less than a month after the uprising ended, a new militant movement was formally born with the formation of the Gay Liberation Front | Photo: Diana Davies/Manuscripts and Archives Division/The New York Public Library | 14081


Persuading the American Psychiatric Association that homosexuality was not an illness


Uncredited and Undated Photo: A demo near the Hadson Hotel, West 31st Street, New York, probably in the 1970s | Business Insider | 14082

The American Psychiatric Association regarded homosexuality as a mental illness until 1974. The illness of homosexuality was “treated” on a wide basis. There was little or no suggestion within the psychiatric community that homosexuality might be conceptualized as anything other than a mental illness that needed to be treated.

Then in 1970 gay activists protested against the APA convention in San Francisco. These scenes were repeated in 1971, and as people came out of the “closet” and felt empowered politically and socially, the APA directorate became increasingly uncomfortable with their stance that homosexuality was an illness at all.

In 1973 the APA’s nomenclature task force recommended that homosexuality be declared normal. The trustees were not prepared to go that far, but they did vote to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by a vote of 13 to 0, with 2 abstentions. This decision was confirmed by a vote of the APA membership, and homosexuality was no longer listed as an illness requiring treatment in 1974.


ILGA and ILGA-Europe


The ILGA Conference in 2012 | ILGA | 14083

ILGA is the International Lesbian and Gay Association. It was originally founded at the conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in Coventry, England on 8 August 1978 as the International Gay Association, and changed name to ILGA in 1986. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Among its initial aims were to secure recognition of the persecution of lesbians and gays by Amnesty International (achieved in 1991), and to campaign for the removal of homosexuality from the list of illnesses recognised by the World Health Organisation.

ILGA-Europe was founded in 1996.


Havana’s secret gay parties



Caridad | 14026

Gay people in Havana suffered violent attacks and police repression for many years, writes Regina Cano in The Havana Times.

In the Cuban capital, there have always existed “public” homosexual meeting places, generally for men (we haven’t heard of any such spot where women meet, and it is said the spots for men are rather dangerous for women).

These spots were often the sites of collapsed or burnt-down buildings, abandoned, dimly-lit and dirty spaces, distant from the prying eyes of the unsuspecting at night. Though private, these places where also dangerous, to say nothing of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases people exposed themselves to. They included the ruins of the Moscu restaurant, the Chivo beach, the public bathroom at Quixote park, the Jose Miguel Gomez mausoleum, Fraternidad park in Old Havana, the Fuente Luminosa, the areas surrounding the Capitolio building and the malecón ocean drive.

People would switch meeting spots because of police repression. At the time, there were no places where members of the community could meet in person safely. The number of such spots increased notoriously, especially after the onslaught of the “Special Period crisis” in the 1990s. So-called “10-peso parties” (illegal parties with a 10-peso admission) became common.
Popular parties were thrown by Piriquiton, in Cerro, Lila’s parties, parties in Cojimar and others that continued to be held into the 2000s.


Filming Hungary’s gay history


Making the film | SoSoGay | 14085

SoSoGay highlights an appeal for funding for a gay history film project, “Hot Men Cold Dictatorships”.

How did gay men live during the communist era in the heart of Central Europe? Did the subculture flourish from the ’60s? What was the extent of government harassment? Was homosexuality considered a crime, an illness or neither? How did gay men hook up or have relationships during this time of oppression? Did legal changes have any effect on everyday life? Hot Men Cold Dictatorships attempts to answer these questions. Four young Hungarian gay men decided to make a movie about their ’forefathers’ during the dictatorship period.

Hot Men Cold Dictatorships concentrates on telling the stories of the older gay generation in Hungary, who were the pioneers of the gay movement, entrepreneurs and ordinary people who all happened to be gay in the communist era.

After 1962, homosexuality was no longer considered a crime in Hungary, but gay people were under surveillance and blackmailed into spying on their peers by the authorities. During the Kádár era (named after János Kádár, General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party and de facto leader of Hungary) they lived underground. Not until the late 1980s and early 1990s did the first visible communities begin to form and initiate a movement.

The film brings to life important scenes and key venues of the communist past: for example, the Egyetem Bár, the best-known gay bar in Budapest at that time; the Duna-korzó, a popular cruising area; or the Island of Rab in Croatia, which was the embodiment of freedom for many Hungarians.


Peter de Rome


Peter de Rome | Vimeo | 14086

Peter de Rome was born in France in 1924, grew up in England and became an American citizen in 1997. He is the writer, photographer and director of many short, gay, erotic movies. He is regarded as a pioneer of gay porn movies. During the second world war he served with the Royal Air Force in France, Belgium and Germany. On demobilisation in 1947, he became an actor with Birmingham Rep before becoming a film publicist for organisations such as J. Arthur Rank. He emigrated to the US in 1963 finding work as a salesman in a jewellery store in New York. He left that after a short time to go to the Southern States where he began making films. His first full length film was shot in 1974. He continued to work as a film publicist for various film companies until he retired.


Peter de Rome in London | Uncredited/Guardian | 14087

De Rome made his films when homosexuality was illegal. Films he directed included “Fire Island Kids” and “Underground”. The documentary film “Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn” has been produced by Ethan Reid.


Rupert Croft-Cooke



Rupert Croft-Cooke | Public Domain | 14088

At the height of the “cold war” of the 1950s, after the Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean caes, the police began a crackdown on gay people in Britain.

Rupert Croft-Cooke was born on 20 June 1903 and became a novelist, playwright, biographer, travel writer, and book critic of the Daily Sketch newspaper. Croft-Cooke’s secretary and companion, Joseph Alexander, met two Navy cooks, Harold Altoft and Ronald Charles Dennis, in the Fitzroy Tavern.

He invited them to spend the weekend at Croft-Cooke’s house in Ticehurst, East Sussex where they consumed food and alcohol and had sex with both Croft-Cooke and his assistant. On their way home from the weekend, they got drunk and assaulted two men, one of whom was a policeman. They were arrested and agreed to testify against Croft-Cooke to get immunity from prosecution for the assault charges.

Rupert Croft-Cooke was prosecuted for “gross indecency” and sent to prison for nine months. On release he went to live in North Africa but returned to Britain after the law was changed and died in Bournemouth on 10 June 1979.