I am prompted by various articles that I have read recently to write the following about myself and the family from which I come. To set the scene, I am the eldest of five children — 3 boys (Ian, 24, David 27 and myself 31) and two girls (Maggy, 25 and Joan, 29). Our mother is ‘well connected’ (for what that’s worth), a JP, and sometime Conservative Councillor for a Sussex Borough. Our father, who was in the Diplomatic Corps, is dead and our step-father is a barrister and deeply religious (both great hang-ups I find). Three of us turned out to be gay — Ian, Maggy and myself. We had everything we could possibly wish for in life — large house, large garden, cars, servants, and a first class education. According to my mother’s press cuttings we were ‘gifted’ and ‘beautiful’ and won many local and national baby competitions — even doing a spot of child modelling for a well-known ladies’ journal. We all grew up to have blonde curly hair and in the case of my brothers and I, to be extremely hairy on our bodies which all the girls who came to our parents’ swimming parties raved over, as did our sisters and the boys at school.
Our sex life started with the usual comparisons when we were very young and home on holiday from school. Three or four of us were invariably left in England while mother accompanied father on his two or three year tours abroad – David and I at a well-known boys’ public school and my two sisters at a convent (which, I gather, was enough to turn anyone gay). We played the usual bedroom games at school, as did our sisters, and have all had sex with each other in one form or other – experimentally of course!
Ian was born in Brazil on one of my parents trips, and has been at school in Sweden for three years, which broadened his outlook on life considerably at the ripe old age of 9 through to 12, and then he went to a very elite academy in France while mother and father did a four year tour in Paris. At his request he stayed on until he was 18 and lives in Paris now with the son of an American politician who he has known for nearly two years. They are blissfully (there is no other word for it) happy and very much in love. They both have responsible jobs and are completely accepted in Paris ‘society’ – such as it is today.
Maggy, who always gave me the impression that she was weaned on a dildo, had a couple of affairs in the SW3 area before she went to live with the daughter of a Peer and a German female journalist in Heidelberg. All three of them are accepted in their towns as normal people. YET — and this is the real crunch for so many of us in England — NONE of us are now accepted in the stuffed shirt drawing rooms of our friends and relatives in Surrey and Sussex.
My brother David is making his way politically and financially in the City and though not married, has a ten-year-old son, resulting from an over indulgent evening he had at an end of term ball with a girl from our town. This is all forgotten by my mother and the girl concerned had an enormous wedding at St Margaret’s, with a reception for 500 people at a well-known hotel, and a seven-week honeymoon in America and the West Indies. My step-father is paying for the boy’s education – at a public school of course (to quote him “you learn a better way of life there”) and I doubt if the girl bothered to tell her MP (1970 vintage) husband.
My sister Joan is a Senior Stewardess with a foreign international airline and openly boasts that she sleeps with ‘homesick’ pilots on a sort of rota basis. Yet mother says nothing.
Why is it that David and Joan are regarded as so spotless in my mother’s eyes and yet her other children virtually do not exist any more to her and certainly to the rest of the family?
I have found in five years in University and nearly eight years in the medical profession that the majority of gay people – and I meet thousands every year – come from good middle or upper-class backgrounds. They are charming, well-spoken, intelligent young people who, to quote my father, “should have known better”. Or should they? Have they not chosen of their own free will the life they wish to live? Why harass them with archaic legislation and send them to psychiatrists and psychologists for ‘treatment’?
An effort should be made by papers such as yours to show that being gay is not a disease and that those of us who are gay are happy and have no desire to convert those who have chosen another course.
Tragically, the British way of life is such that if I were to use my real name (or those of my brothers and sisters) I would do a considerable amount of damage to the lives of many people, therefore I must be content to sign myself as I do, in the knowledge that those who do recognise the family concerned will understand, and those who do not will at least feel that the foregoing represents in some way or another their own personal family problem.