The first 150 editions of groundbreaking British gay newspaper Gay News will be auctioned next month at London auctioneers Bonhams.

Co-founded by ex-members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, Gay News had an openly activist agenda. The paper pioneered gay rights issues and served as a forum for debate and an advocate for change over the course of its 11-year run from 1972 until 1983.

The set that is up for auction belonged to the paper’s former editor Denis Lemon. Lemon co-founded the paper and served as editor until his resignation in 1982 following a highly publicised legal battle with morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse, which he lost.

Whitehouse’s blasphemy action, initiated after Lemon published a poem attributing homoerotic thoughts to Jesus, was not the only controversy Gay News was involved in.

The paper successfully defended itself against obscenity charges brought against it for publishing a photograph of two men kissing on the front cover in 1974.

The auction is expected to attract significant interest from collectors. For more information, visit www.bonhams.com/books.

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