I first heard Tom Robinson sing ‘Glad to be gay’ back in the late 70’s no doubt shortly after its release. I’d loved 2-4-6-8 Motorway & its B side ‘I shall be released’ and I loved ‘Glad to be gay’ too. I’m from a very traditional Christian family and a mining town that was not very Carnaby Street if you get my drift. The two did not make for an open armed policy to people who were gay or lesbian. For me I never struggled with the concepts of love and attraction whatever the sex. I have always found it exceptionally odd that a person can choose what they eat but not who they kiss. 

I watched ‘Pride’ tonight, the excellent film about the lesbian and gay activists who supported our brave mining communities against unprecedented hardships. Their support was widely not welcomed as people struggled to accept support from gay and lesbian people. Through bravery on both parts though, prejudices were broken down and rights were formed. It is a remarkable truth that the attraction of another same sex person over the centuries continues to this day to be frowned upon in this country or result in death in another. Execution for love; it’s a sobering thought. 

I wonder how Tom Robinson truly felt singing this song in our still pretty archaic country in mainland UK in the late grey 70’s? The BBC banned the song from the Top 40 chart show. John Peel didn’t, playing it out proudly. Amazing really. 

I never get over the intolerance of people. It is their own insecurities that sets them apart to their fears of goodness knows what. 

To love and joy I say! 

A X 

Lyrics to Glad To Be Gay

The British Police are the best in the world 

I don’t believe one of these stories I’ve heard 

‘Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all 

Lining the customers up by the wall 

Picking out people and knocking them down 

Resisting arrest as they’re kicked on the ground

Searching their houses and calling them queer

I don’t believe that sort of thing happens here

Sing if you’re glad to be gay

Sing if you’re happy that way

Pictures of naked young women are fun

In Titbits and Playboy, page three of The Sun

There’s no nudes in Gay News our one magazine

But they still find excuses to call it obscene

Read how disgusting we are in the press

Telegraphs, people and Sunday Express

Molesters of children, corruptors of youth

It’s there in the paper, it must be the truth

Sing if you’re glad to be gay

Sing if you’re happy that way

Don’t try to kid us that if you’re discreet

You’re perfectly safe as you walk down the street

You don’t have to mince or make bitchy remarks

To get beaten unconscious and left in the dark

I had a friend who was gentle and short

He was lonely one evening and went for a walk

Queerbashers caught him and kicked in his teeth

He was only hospitalised for a week and he still bears the scars 

Sing if you’re glad to be gay

Sing if you’re happy that way

So sit back and watch as they close all our clubs

Arrest us for meeting and raid all our pubs

Make sure your boyfriend’s at least 21

So only your friends and your brothers get done

Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks

Put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes

Gay Lib’s ridiculous, join their laughter

‘The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?’

Sing if you’re glad to be gay

Sing if you’re happy that way