Old Myths & Prejudices

19720914-04In the Daily Express, on Tuesday Sth September, in an article entitled ‘No Colour in this Garden’, the critic, Ian Christie, fell foul of the old trap of calling homosexuals ‘unnatural’.

His exact words, used while reviewing the play, ‘The Garden’ (at Hampstead Theatre Club), were: ‘The householder (John Paul) is a chap on the brink of old age who is having a homosexual affair with his gardener. The revelation of this unnatural liaison causes grave disquiet to everyone else present on stage.”

Oh, come on Ian Christie, why don’t you look and think a little deeper before perpetuating such myths in your writing? You, being a critic, certainly should have the insight to know better.

Once and for all, to the majority of homosexuals, their sexual preferences are most definitely not ‘unnatural’; to be unnatural would be to deny what they are, no matter what a heterosexually dominated society may think.

The ‘grave disquiet’ from the characters in the play is most possibly due to their own limitations in coming to terms with what well over 4 million people find a perfectly reasonable state of being.

If only writers and critics would realise the damage they cause through forever passing on these old myths and prejudices. In a supposedly enlightened culture, isn’t it ridiculous that such non-understanding and ignorance should be perpetuated?

Just think for a moment the effect words like ‘unnatural’ have on young gays of both sexes, who may be in the middle of coming to terms with themselves and their sexual motivations, in a society that is all too often hostile to any form of behaviour that does not strictly conform to the accepted norm.

I of course know that nothing is going to change overnight, not after so many years of intolerance and persecution, but it would help the struggle of homosexuals everywhere if people in the various forms of media would try and be a little more aware.

I have very scantily touched on this subject of the misinterpretation of gays. In a future issue, I and Gay News hope to inform you considerably more on this unpleasant, continuing situation, with suggestions too of what we can do about it. We will carry on criticising and attacking, in the strongest possible ways, writers such as Ian Christie, for the grave errors they commit towards a sizable minority of the population, who have very little means of answering back.

Denis Lemon

Denis Lemon

1945-1994. Denis was one of the founders of Gay News and was perhaps most famous for being sued by Mary Whitehouse when, as editor, he published a poem in 1976 by James Kirkup that she felt was 'blasphemous'. He was fined £500 and sentenced to 9 months in prison suspended for 8 months. The Court of Appeal later quashed the sentence. He died of complications from AIDS in 1994 and was survived by his partner Nick Purshouse.
Denis Lemon

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Author: Denis Lemon

1945-1994. Denis was one of the founders of Gay News and was perhaps most famous for being sued by Mary Whitehouse when, as editor, he published a poem in 1976 by James Kirkup that she felt was ‘blasphemous’. He was fined £500 and sentenced to 9 months in prison suspended for 8 months. The Court of Appeal later quashed the sentence. He died of complications from AIDS in 1994 and was survived by his partner Nick Purshouse.

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