Michael Brown

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Michael Brown after receiving the Derek Oyston Achievement Award
This article is about the veteran gay campaigner. For the journalist and former MP, see Michael Brown (politician).

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.[1]

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.

In the early 1970s he wrote to Bishop Trevor Huddleston, which resulted in the Bishop withdrawing his support for Mary Whitehouse’s Nationwide Festival of Light. In 1995 he initiated the GLF 25th anniversary event on the stage at London Pride.[2]

Michael was a long-standing supporter of CHE. He wrote an article on “Coming out” for CHE’s magazine Lunch in 1971. Although never a member of CHE’s Executive Committee, he attended EC meetings regularly.

In March 2011 he received CHE's Derek Oyston Achievement Award[3] The award was presented to him at an LGBT Consortium event to launch the LGBT London web portal and the London LGBT Pledge[4][5] (his delight at receiving this is evident in the photograph). He can be seen talking about the award in a video by Leon Ancliffe[6].

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.

External links


  1. http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1sudv/OutInTheCityJulyIssu/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.yudu.com%2Fpublish%2Ffinish_now%2F321511Interview with Michael Brown, Out in the City magazine, July 2011 (page 68)
  2. CHE Annual Report, 2013–2014
  3. http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/cheaward2010-11.htm CHE "The Derek Oyston Achievement Award 2010-11, in conjunction with the LGBT Consortium"
  4. http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/pressrel-achievement2011.htm CHE Press Release 29 March 2011
  5. http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/michaelbrown.htm CHE: Tributes to Michael Brown
  6. http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/mbrownvideo.shtml CHE "Derek Oyston Achievement Award Interview with Michael Brown" (video)
  7. http://www.c-h-e.org.uk/news.htm
  8. Michael Brown, Remaindered Bed, Sheet and Blanket Press, 1981 (limited edition of 30, printed and bound by the author)