Abstract: A Tale of Two Markets: Accessing the Queer Consumer in Pre-Decriminalization Britain

Justin Bengry


Long before homosexual activity between consenting men was decriminalized in Britain in 1967, the international film magazine Films and Filming subtly established its queer leanings. From its initial issues in 1954, it sought what we would today call the Pink Pound, or Britain's queer market segment. This included commercial advertisements for queer-friendly businesses as well as articles on censorship, profiles and images of sexually ambiguous male actors, and homoerotic photo spreads. The magazine's contact ads further helped foster a network of queer men across Britain and internationally. Despite its respectable credentials, international success, and mainstream accessibility, Films and Filming was, in fact, queer. But this duality was key to both the magazine's mainstream financial success and its appeal to many gay men who would not buy more explicit publications. Interviews with editors and contributors, and reminiscences from readers further reinforce the magazine's role in pre-decriminalization British queer history. Films and Filming was in fact the longest-running pre-decriminalization magazine to gain success and respect in the mainstream while actively courting a queer market segment. Surrounded by the victimization of queer men by the state and press in the early 1950s, publisher Philip Dosse recognized both a thriving subculture and a potential market.