Penny on Parade by Penny Taylor and Gill McKnight
In 1971, teenager Penny Taylor ran away from home and straight into the British Army at Guildford, the training camp for women who wanted to be soldiers.
Homosexuality had only just been decriminalized in England in 1967, and the first British gay pride rally was held in London in 1972, a year after Taylor joined the military. The UK’s feminist movement still battled for reproductive rights, equal pay, and employment protections. This was the climate in which Taylor decided she was not like the other women she knew.
Confused by her feelings for her female best friend, unhappy with her family life, and frustrated by the restrictive expectations of women, she sought a different path. For Penny Taylor, army life wasn’t easy, but she found not only herself, she also found family, friends, and a future.
This is her story. Based on real events in her life, it is a coming-of-age and a coming-out story, set against the backdrop of the British military and the turbulent social climate of the 1970s.