History

Oxford Friend has been going now for over 35 years. Below you will find some key events in our history, plus some important developments for gay and lesbian people in Oxford and elsewhere that have happened since the group first started.

1980

Oxford Friend (Lesbian and Gay Helpline) is set up by a group of local volunteers. The original volunteers were part of the Oxford group of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). 

1983

The Jolly Farmers opens as a gay-run pub in Oxford. 

1986

OXAIDS is set up as a local information, support and campaigning group in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis across the UK.

1986

Oxford Friend volunteers join other LGBTs from the area in 'Project October', an ambitious plan to set up a LGBT community centre in Oxford. Project October resulted in the setting up of the centre at Northgate Hall. 

1988

Oxford Friend is registered as a charity

1989

Paddy Ashdown (then leader of the Liberal Democrat Party) writes in his memoirs about his visit to Oxford Friend. His visit to Oxford was to find out how local lesbian and gay people organise themselves to take action in their community. 

1991

Oxford's Lesbian and Gay Community Centre is opened by Sir Ian McKellen at Northgate Hall. OLGCC was one of the only LGB community centres in the country until its closure in 2005. 

1999

OXAIDS merges with national charity Terrence Higgins Trust to form an Oxford branch of THT. 

1999

HALT (the Homophobic Awareness Liaison Team) is formed in Oxford. HALT brings together the police and local organizations in joint efforts to address homophobia. 

2000

Hundreds of people stage a demonstration at Carfax in Oxford, and hold up Stagecoach buses as part of a protest about Section 28. (The owner of Stagecoach, Brian Souter, was busy organising an (unsuccessful) campaign to try to keep Section 28 as law in Scotland). 

2000

Oxford Friend helps set up a national project, 'National Coming Out Day'. LGB helplines throughout the country stay open for 24 hrs on one specific day -  7th October 2000. 

2002

oxfordfriend.co.uk is launched, a website aiming to supply information to people who might not feel confident calling a helpline. 

2003

The first ever Oxford Pride is held at Oxpens Field. Oxford Friend contributes a rather successful tombola stall which is featured in The Pink Paper. 

2005

confidential@oxfordfriend.co.uk, a new email service, is launched to provide information and support to people who prefer to use email rather than the phone. (click on the email address to reveal it) 

2005

One of the founders of Oxford Friend is named in the 'Top 100 Most Influential Lesbians and Gay Men in the UK'. Pepe Catalan comes in at no. 78 in the Independent on Sunday's listing. Elton John was no. 1. 

2005

Oxford Friend celebrates 25 years of providing a listening ear. 

2006

Oxford Friend volunteers are awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service from HM Queen Elizabeth II. 

2011

Oxford Friend celebrates 30 years of providing a listening ear.

2015

Oxford Friend will be celebrating 35 years supporting the LGBT+ community. 

With kind thanks to Oxford City Council for their generous support

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© Oxford Friend LGBTQ+ 2017 Charity No. 299903