Books and websites

Book cover of 'Hello Sailor! The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea'. Courtesy of Pearson Education Limited.


Gay seafarers are an obscure group, and don't tend to feature on either maritime or gay websites. However, you might find the following websites interesting.

General gay culture and information

  • Homotopia - Liverpool's annual festival of queer culture, every November
  • Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month UK - events throughout February to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT+ people
  • Proud Heritage - a sneak preview of the Proud Heritage virtual museum
  • Jo Stanley - one of the authors of the book 'Hello Sailor!'
  • Stonewall, the gay rights organisation, has worked with the Royal Navy to promote good working conditions for all existing and potential employees and to ensure equal treatment for those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual
  • Pride and prejudice - LGBT+ research project at National Museums Liverpool

Seafarers unions

The two main unions for seafarers in the UK have anti-discrimination policies that apply to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members.

  • Nautilus International - policy and guidelines on mutual respect, including gay rights
  • RMT - policy on equal opportunities including homosexual rights

The RMT has a National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Advisory Committee and annual conferences for such members.


  • Paul Baker and Jo Stanley, 'Hello Sailor! The Hidden History of Gay Life at Sea', Pearson Education, London, 2003
  • Paul Baker, 'Fantabulosa, A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang', Continuum International Publishing Group - Academi , ISBN: 0826473431
  • Paul Baker, 'Polari, the Lost Language of Gay Men', (Routledge Studies in Linguistics), Routledge, 2002
  • 'Pierre et Gilles, Sailors and the Sea', Taschen, 2005 (an erotic picture book)

Gay histories of port cities

  • George Chauncey, 'Gay New York, the Making of the Gay Male World', 1890-1940, Flamingo, London, 1995
  • Nan Alamilla Boyd, 'Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965', University of California Press, 2003
  • Elizabeth A Armstrong, 'Forging Gay Identities: Organising Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994', University of Chicago Press, 2002
  • Susan Stryker and Jim van Buskirk, 'Gay by the Bay: History of Queer Culture in San Francisco', Chronicle Books, US, 1996
  • Craig Johnson, 'A Sydney Gaze: The Making of Gay Liberation', Schiltron Press, Sydney, 1999
  • Matt Houlbrook, ' Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957', University of Chicago Press, 2005
  • Lisa Power, 'No Bath But Plenty of Bubbles: Stories from the London Gay Liberation Front, 1970-73 (Lesbian & Gay Studies)', Continuum International Publishing Group - Academi, 1995