These vintage gay adverts were our little secret

BEING gay was not always as difficult as it is now. It used to be impossible. It was only in 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders. In 1993, the USA continued to ban homosexual behaviour in the armed forced but instigated a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allowed gays openly to serve their country. In 1994, the age of consent for gay sex was 21 in the UK. It is now 16, in line with the law on hetero sex. Before that, gays either ran the gauntlet of State control or lived a lie. In 1998, the Sun ran a story about the country being run by a “gay mafia“. Be gay, said the tabloid, be a “poof”, but do not be successful and too visible. But advertisers knew there was a market out there. It just had to be tapped into:

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