Mary McIntosh was a lifetime activist, a scholar, a socialist, a campaigner for gay rights and an uncompromising feminist. Mary was a founding member of the Feminist Review Collective and she remained a strong and important presence on the collective for 28 years. She was also a contributing supporter of the Feminist Review Trust.
To honour Mary McIntosh’s life and work, the Feminist Review Trust is establishing an annual award for work/projects that challenge discrimination against sexual minorities and LGBTQI people.
MARY McINTOSH: 1936 – 2013
Mary McIntosh was a committed feminist and socialist. She was trained as a sociologist at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she read PPE, and at the University of California, Berkeley. She became interested in the way in which the social world moulds the individual and this led to her pioneering development of the idea of the ‘homosexual role’, which moved understandings of lesbians and gay men away from the medical model of sickness. In the1960s she was a founder member of the National Deviancy Symposium, a group of academics committed to the study and understanding from a progressive perspective of the reasons individuals get caught up in the legal system and in breaking the law.
In 1970 she became active in the Gay Liberation Front and within it the Counter Psychiatry Group, which campaigned for lesbians and gay men not to be stigmatised and sick, deviant and psychologically flawed. She was also an active member of Women’s Liberation and made important theoretical contributions to the understanding of the oppression of women, notably with The Anti Social Family, co-authored with Michèle Barrett. She was also active in a number of feminist campaigns, in particular for better welfare provision for women. After her retirement from academia she worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Mary was a kind, gentle person and was also extremely principled. She was totally committed to forwarding the ideal of equality for all, regardless of race, class or gender. Her life is an inspiration to all those who share her ideals.
Obituaries for Mary can be found at:
Feminist Review 104, 146-148 (July 2013)