• Matt Cook
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Peter McGraith was born in 1964 to a working class family in Lanarkshire, Scotland, three years before Ackerley’s death and the partial decriminalization of homosexual acts in England and Wales. That legal change was not extended to Scotland until 1981, by which time Peter had come out to his family and was about to move to Glasgow where he worked as a freelance designer, journalist and activist. This period saw a new stridency, visibility, and sense of urgency amongst many gay men, which together with broader social and cultural changes, made for very different intersections of queer and family life than Ives and Ackerley had experienced. I’ll return to these broader shifts and contexts in the final part of this book which focuses more squarely on the post-1970s period. Here I look at Peter’s experiences of sustaining dual identities of ‘gay man’ and ‘parent’ after tracking the battle lines which formed in the 1970s and 1980s over their apparent disjunction: ‘It seems’, said Professor James Walters in an interview in Family Coordinator in 1978, that the term “gay father” is a contradiction’.1 This apparent mismatch had of course been touted by late nineteenth century sexologists, but it was not the subject of broader debate until these post-liberationist years when gay fathers began to become more visible2 — initially in relation to formerly married men who had come out and thereafter in relation to surrogacy, adoption and co-parenting arrangements.


Family Life Civil Partnership Working Class Family Surrogacy Arrangement Ballroom Dancing 
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Copyright information

© Matt Cook 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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