Most people are superstitious to a certain extent, and we at Gay News are no exception. With the publication date of this edition falling on the 13th December, and the last issue of GN being the twelfth, we decided not to tempt fate and have left the number off the front cover. The mistletoe that takes its place is a fair exchange we think and we hope that you all take advantage of it.
As we mentioned before, this will be the only edition of GN to appear this month. Our second publication date would have fallen in the middle of the Christmas holidays and as that wouldn’t have been much use to anybody, we are taking a holiday along with the rest of you. Consequently Gay News No 14 will be out on the 10th January, 1973.
We have tried our best to make the Monster Christmas issue as entertaining as possible and hope that it fits in well with the time of year. At first producing a Yuletide Edition of a gay newspaper seemed a fairly difficult task, but after a fair amount of discussion and planning the issue began to take shape. And what you are holding is the result. A special thanks to all the people who sent us suggestions.
We have tried not to be too serious in this GN, but there is one particular problem we have to tell you about. And also explain our present course of action.
As you all must know, gay personal ads are illegal. Male homosexuals are allowed to make love in private if they are over twenty-one, women if over sixteen, but we are not allowed to encourage people to get together. And as far as we can ascertain, this goes for gay women too. This results in the ridiculous state of affairs whereby a very large section of the population is discriminated against because of their sexual preferences. And to advertise for companions or friends is, in the eyes of the law, akin to prostitution.
That, in our opinion, is a disgusting slander against gay people, but at present we are powerless to do anything about it. Gay News tries to at least ignore these archaic laws, by running a personal ads page (illegal page) but it could eventually result in us being prosecuted. This we are prepared to be, if necessary, although we would prefer not to be, as it could seriously interfere with the publication of Gay News.
So the present position is that we take a chance and hope that it will not be too long before we no longer have to subject ourselves to the possible wrath of the courts. But whilst being prepared to take such risks, we think it somewhat pointless to invite prosecution, so we have asked you not to place ads if you are under twenty-one and male.
We have also stipulated that explicit references to sexual acts or preferences should not appear in our ads.
We of course, don’t care a tinker’s curse what you say, but the Director of Public Prosecutions’ office and similar bodies do. And the best way to avoid unwanted attention from the law, is by keeping the ads as simple as possible, and keeping descriptions of your particular sexual preferences for when you make contact with someone who replies to your ads.
Unfortunately over the last few editions it has become increasingly apparent that many of you are going into detail and that gives possible prosecutors just the excuse they are looking for to bring us to the courts.
The area in which the ads are becoming noticeably more explicit is in the leather/S&M section. So we ask you to tone down your ads or we will have no choice but to tame them down for you.
We hate discrimination as much as we dislike censorship, and hope that any advertisers for people with similar tastes in leather and S&M will not think we are solely clamping down on them. Leather et at people have for far too long been put down by other gays, as have transvestites, transexuals, denim and rubber ‘admirers’ and all the other people who have slightly more adventurous tastes than most of us. This in our eyes is terribly wrong. The struggle of gays for social acceptance, understanding and tolerance is hard enough without discriminating against ourselves.
So will the people who find that they can’t quite say what they want to, or have their ads slightly amended by us, please not think we are adopting the same intolerant attitudes as the others who seemingly are against them. To us you are all gay, your preferences are your affair not ours, but as we have to cut out explicit references to sexual acts or organs, so must we apply such restrictions to S&M and CP enthusiasts.
We know this will not be a popular decision with some of you, but for the sake of Gay News, please bear with us until such times as all gays can say whatever they want in their ads. Incidentally, if we find it impossible to rephrase an ad without losing its entire meaning, we will return it to you so that you can make the necessary adjustments.
Your views and opinions are most welcome on this course of action of ours and we look forward to hearing from you, no matter how strong your criticisms.
The joint editors and members of the editorial collective of Gay News would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and contributors a very happy Christmas and an eventful New Year. GN would never have survived beyond our first few editions without your help and support, and we gratefully thank you for continually buying the paper, for being constantly critical of our mistakes and errors of judgement and for giving us the type of encouragement that makes it all worth while.
In particular we would like to send greetings and thanks to the following: Carl and the rest of the crew at our printers; Brian Dax and all the other girls and boys at Time Out; Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis plus the rest of the gang at OZ; Roger Hutchinson and the IT crowd; the managers and staff at all the friendly gay pubs and clubs that enable us to sell copies of the paper in their establishments; Graham Chapman and his gorgeous household (responsible for many a hangover); William Hamling MP; our solicitors (especially the lovely Anthony in the criminal department); the gay organisations around the country who have given us considerable support and encouragement; all the shops, newsstands and small distributors who help get GN to you; Mick’s fish and chip shop; all our friends for putting up with us during the last few months; Peter MacMillan for not hesitating to lease us an office; members of CHE, SMG and Antony Grey of the Albany Trust and NFHO for making sure enough people initially heard about us; a very special thanks and lots of love to Sandi, our amazing typesetter, and all the other beautiful people, unfortunately far too numerous to mention by name, who have given so much of their time and energy in helping to make sure Gay News has regularly happened.
Also we send a large helping of love and thanks to all the people who have given financial support to Gay News, no matter whether it was a pound note hastily thrust into the hand of a GN seller at the Coleherne (Earls Court), a cheque that arrived just at the right moment, or a very welcome donation from a gay organisation.
But the biggest kisses and thanks go to our faithful readers and those brave enough to take out a subscription in the early days. To all of you, have a really great Christmas holiday and an amazingly happy New Year. See you all in January.