Michael Brown (Desmond Michael Brown, 1932–2013) – referred to as “D Michael Brown” in Out of the Shadows – was a dentist, and a gay campaigner from the early days of GLF and before.
He was born in Islington and raised by his mother in Golders Green. He ran his own dental practice for many years.
He claimed to have been campaigning for gay rights since 1954, mainly by writing letters under an assumed name to newspapers. He joined the Homosexual Law Reform Society in 1957, and was one of the original members of the Gay Liberation Front. He founded the Jewish Gay Group (an offshoot of GLF) and later the Jewish AIDS Trust.
Michael was a long-standing supporter of CHE. He wrote an article on “Coming out” for CHE’s magazine Lunch in 1971, and in 2011 he received CHE's Derek Oyston Achievement Award at an LGBT Consortium event to launch the LGBT London web portal and the London LGBT Pledge (his delight at receiving this is evident in the photograph). In March 2011 he received the Derek Oyston Achievement Award from CHE. He can be seen talking about the award in a video by Leon Ancliffe. Although never a member of CHE’s Executive Committee, he attended EC meetings regularly.
Michael had a keen interest in the history of the gay rights movement. He had many tales to tell of gay life over the years, and had apparently moved at one time in the same circles as East End gangsters. He regularly gave talks about LGBT history, and in April 2011 he delivered the first, and so far only, Robert Cook Lecture, organised by CHE, giving a wide-ranging account of gay life over the years. He said that he had been writing the story of his life, but this has yet to be published. In 2012, along with Mark Healey, he founded the the London Gay Men’s History Group as an informal group for people interested in gay history.
He was listed by Out in the City Issue 55 (07/11) as number 86 in the Pride Power List 2011 of 100 most influential people. The entry described him as "now mayor of Ealing", which is clearly a mistake, possibly a confusion with another CHE member, John Gallagher, who actually was mayor of Ealing.
In his later years he made something of a name for himself as a stand-up comedian, giving regular perfornaces at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and in his 70s was even said to be contemplating a new career as a sex worker. He wrote a slim volume of poetry.
On the 1st of September 2013 St Anne's Church Soho was packed with Michael's friends, old and new, for a celebration of his life.