I have in my time read a not inconsiderable amount of material concerning “our” world and could fairly say that this particular jeremiad on the emergence of the gay scene is only describable as ArranT (sic) nonsense.
For years gay people have been harried and hassled; in the past by blackmailers, and currently by certain elements in the police.
As regards the latter, of course, the practice of entrapment (inducing someone to commit an unlawful act, and then arresting him for it) is far less rampant in the UK than elsewhere (viz. USA). It’s just unfortunate that certain cottages in London seem presently to be the nightly haunt of those fuzz who delight in ‘nicking’ gays.
However, to return to my original theme, the noble Lord seeks to condemn – in just a few scanty paragraphs – the fact that gays are coming out, and not skulking furtively in the shadows of a limited number of “gay bars” He wonders if we are really better off in these times of gay plays, films, etc. Well, why should an individual not be liberated? Just because I prefer to go to bed with a boy rather than a girl, why should that make me — or any of us – unacceptable to society at large?
Arran quotes the reaction of an “elderly gentleman”; is this really valid in regard to the gay scene as a whole today? There always have been, and will be, closet queens: if they choose to be so that is up to them.
The article concludes by stating yet again that old, old (oh, so very old) chestnut about some gays “used positively to enjoy the risks” (ie prior to the 1967 Act).
Apart from a very minor few masochistic types who thrive vicariously on possible danger, such a statement is lamentable only by its crass stupidity. Not only that, it also displays a fundamental lack of knowledge of how most gays think, of how they wish to be integrated into society and not treated as outcasts or different.
Take two boys walking down the street holding hands. OK, I know not everyone wants to do this. But even so, one has always at the back of one’s mind the thought of reactions.
I am in the process of producing a detailed study on the “International Times” case, which I hope to present to “Gay News” when it has been completed and considered by a barrister.
Just one little quote relating to my comments re holding hands (which apply equally to kissing or any displays of affection) arising out of my researches into the I.T. case. In a House of Commons debate on 2nd August, 1972, on the subject of the I.T. prosecution, Mr William Hamling who had raised the matter, quoted (*) from the book by Lord Devlin ‘The Enforcement of Morals’ as follows:-
“If. . . two men were to be similarly charged with flaunting their relationship in public, a jury might be expected … to convict.”
I can only conclude by saying that, according to legal advice which I have very recently received, the above quotation still applies today, here and now, 1967 Act notwithstanding.
Let us try to do something to alter this unhealthy state of affairs.
Love to all – gay IS good,
(*) Hansard (Commons) Vol. 842: No 170, at c. 922