1927 - 2012

Allan Horsfall was born in Lancashire, England, and was raised by his grandparents in a pub on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. He spent three years in the Royal Air Force in 1947 where he met Harold Pollard, a teacher who became his life- partner. Following his years in the service, Horsfall worked for the National Coal Board. In 1956 he joined the Labour Party and, within two years, was elected local councillor in the town of Nelson as part of a Labour Party landslide victory. During his three years in office, Horsfall introduced the local Labour Party to the ideas of homosexual law reform. He began campaigning for the Homosexual Law Reform Society to implement the findings of the Wolfenden Report, which recommended the decriminalization of consenting private homosexual acts in 1957. The Wolfenden Report, and the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 it produced, became organizational catalysts for Britain’s emerging homosexual rights movement; prompting Horsfall to co-found the North-West Homosexual Law Reform Committee in 1964, one of the first grassroots gay rights organizations. By 1969 it had mutated into the Committee for Homosexual Equality, before becoming the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) in 1971. Horsfall served first as its secretary, then chair, and then president. At its height, CHE consisted of over 130 local groups throughout England and Wales. With a membership exceeding 5,000 lesbians and gay men, it was the most successful attempt to date to create a large-scale, member-driven LGBT organization in Britain. During the 1970s, Horsfall also attempted to set up Esquire Clubs, which had been built on the model of working men’s clubs that offered a mixture of social, cultural and self-help facilities for lesbians and gay men. In 1996 Horsfall lost Harold Pollard, who by then had been his partner for 48 years. Afterwards, he retired from the political front lines, though he remained involved in the cause of LGBT civil rights by becoming a prodigious writer of ‘Letters to the Editor’. On August 27, 2012, Allan Horsfall, the man often referred to as the grandfather of the modern gay rights movement in Britain, died at age 84 in Bolton, Lancashire.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity Caucasian/White

Nations Affiliated United Kingdom

Era/Epoch Homophile Movement (1945-1969) Information Age (1970-present) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution



Social Justice

Commemorations & Honors

The Pink Paper Award Recipient (2000)

Honored With Other LGBTQ Campaigners at Manchester Town Hall Ceremony (2004)

Posthumous 85th Birthday Celebration Sponsored by the Committee for Homosexual Equality at Manchester Town Hall (2012)


Original Biography Author
Owen Keehnen
Biography Edited By
Victor Salvo
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell