Editorial

Now that John Vassall has been released from prison (after serving an immoderately long portion of his 15-year sentence for spying for the Russians), and as a new book on Sir Roger Casement is about to be published, it’s time to wonder whether these ‘gay traitors’ would be as vulnerable now as they were in 1916 and 1962 respectively.

There can be no doubt that Sir Roger Casement, hanged for his part in the alleged importation of rifles into Ireland for the Irish revolutionaries – was condemned almost as soon as the British Secret Service “discovered” the controversial Black Diaries, which, they said, Casement had written cataloguing his sexual adventures for three years.

Vassall was forced into spying when he was blackmailed by the Russians who set up a man for him to sleep with. With the blackmailer’s usual weapon, film, the Russians turned a clergyman’s son who had risen to a trusted post in the Admiralty into a spy.

It’s easy to say that in 1962 gay love was illegal between men, and that everything’s, changed since 1967 and the Sexual Offences Act.

The sad and sick truth is that nothing has changed. The sexual Offences Act was a typical piece of “permissive legislation” that gives nothing away. Its clauses, exempt males under 21 and merchant seamen and all members of the armed forces and policemen as well as imposing the limitations of sex to groups of two “consenting” adults and “in private”.

The courts see fit to change their minds about what “in private” means with many of the cases of ‘indecency’ that come before them.

Gay sex between two adults may be free, but male homosexuals are still faced by the absurd and discriminatory 21-year-old-and-over rule. Obviously we have not got equality if the male of the species is seen by society as less responsible than his heterosexual counterpart. Whatever the law may tell us, there is still a stigma.

It is while society creates differences and these differences themselves create feelings of job-insecurity, social degradation, that the conditions that hanged Casement and forced John Vassall into spying on his own country survive.

If there is to be more than an empty charade of equality for gays on society’s part, there must be a significant change in the legal standing of homosexuals in Britain.

Acts of Parliament that say that we may do one thing, but not another are not enough. They are not permissive – in the sense of permitting us to do anything – but truly limiting.

By limiting their activity, and by seeing homosexuals as different creatures from heterosexuals, the law is forcing people into situations where blackmail and near-blackmail are still possible and practiced – after all, blackmail includes the fear of losing their jobs that frightens so many gays, possibly the majority, into leading secret lives.

Secret lives aren’t healthy. They’re not whole lives. They’re the sort of situation that gives the blackmailer scope to corner his victim.

It’s quite clear that if Sir Roger Casement were tried today, the court would not take such a grave view of the alleged diaries of his sex life. We remain unconvinced that a court could treat him as they would if the diaries had never been produced. Even today.

We remain unconvinced that no man could be blackmailed into spying because of his gayness.

To create another Vassall, all a spy master would have to do would be to put another male under 21-years old or a member of the armed forces in his way. Perhaps even an imaginitive spy-creator could arrange for his victim to be photographed in bed with two men.

The law is still discriminatory, as we have said. To us it seems that nothing has changed since 1916.

Editorial

There’s an awful lot of fat queens sitting around on their butts spending all their money on themselves, and not on the gay movement – that’s the opinion of one of the top men in Britain’s homophile organisations.

He reckons there’s £7¾ million being earned each year by members of societies that belong to the National Federation of Homophile Organisations.

This estimate and the accusation that rich gays spend their cash on themselves only came at the annual meeting of the NFHO, held last month.

What caused the plain talking, after the first half of idealism, hopes and plans, was the fact that Gay News is — in plain English – broke. Flat broke, or, at least, it was at the time.

Immediate Donation

The NFHO asked Gay News to tell the meeting what it was like running a fortnightly homosexual newspaper. And we told them. After that people’s reservations about talking money crumbled. The NFHO gave Gay News an immediate donation of £50 from its all too small funds.

Antony Grey, the managing trustee of the Albany Trust, said an appeal which, ten years ago, would have raised £3,000 to £4,000, now raised £300 to £400 if they were lucky.

Why is money drying up? Are there less gays? Of course there aren’t.

Poverty Parade

It would seem that ten years ago, before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, even the rich gays were prepared to write a cheque now and then to keep the few organisations then brave enough to exist to claim our civil rights as gays.

Now they have been given half of what we want — we are half-legal, we half-exist— and it seems they can’t be bothered to keep supporting those who are doing the fighting on their behalf.

It’s not just Gay News that finds money hard to get, the Gay Liberation Front parade its poverty in its regular newsletter. CHE needs money. Friend is young and poor

The Albany Trust is lucky enough to have a charitable trust supporting it just now, the NFHO – which could link up the disparate efforts towards gay liberation, given a chance — is starved of funds.

Selfish Gays

As the senior man from the organisation that belongs to the NFHO said, it’s time these gays stopped being complacent and started doing something to benefit the rest of the gay community — if it exists at all, rather than selfishly spending all those £7¾ million on themselves each year.

The editorial collective decided some time ago that we weren’t going to deal with internal matters in the editorial column (that’s what “Here We Are Again” is for).

But the present money shortage in the laughably constructed “gay world” has hit all gay organisations and publications. Therefore we feel that the matter is more important than being merely a domestic shortage.

Independent and Determined

The fact that this copy of Gay News has been printed is proof of what we intend to do. We’ll keep on keeping on. Keeping on at the authorities who have only given us half a life and keeping on at those selfish gays who can’t be bothered to support their organisations.

The fact that we have received donations and loans from various quarters — more details elsewhere – does not mean that we are going to start toeing anyone else’s line.

From now on Gay News is Gay News. And it’s here to stay.

Shoe-Strings can Strangle

We started without enough money to get past issue three. This is Gay News 14. Through cost-paring and seemingly never-ending days of work, this paper runs on a shoe-string. But a shoe-string isn’t good enough.

How many gays have to get by on £15 a week? Because each member of the collective never receives more than that. Gay News is here now. But it still needs money. £500 immediately. With another £1,500 to follow to guarantee our existence for 1973.

It’s not the only gay organisation to need money. We all do. Just to stay in existence — for some of us.

Big Mouths

People are generous enough with their praise, the sound they ought to produce if they think the gay organisations are doing any good is the sound of pens on cheque books.

Front page, issue #13

  • 20 page Christmas issue + free gay game
  • Banned Monty Python sketch
  • Garland: secrets of stardom
  • Calendar
  • Happy Christmas
  • Robin Maugham short story
  • Peter Straker interview

Don’t hold it against them that perhaps in other peoples’ eyes they are not normal members of society. They are normal in their own eyes. – Judge James

Judge Arthur James’ comment whilst summing up evidence of gays in Old Bailey trial. But gay sister Angela Weir is still freed.

Imprint

GAY NEWS

Joint Editors and Members of the Editorial Collective
Richard Adams (Design), Bob Fletcher, Peter Holmes, Denis Lemon, David Seligman and Julie Frost.
and
Ian Dunn (Scotland), Glenys Parry (Manchester), Graham Chapman, David Sherlock

GAY NEWS SPECIAL FRIENDS

Roger Baker, Denis Cohn, Barry Conley, Lawrence Collinson, Brian Dax, Martin Grant, Antony Grey, Peter MacMillan, Manus Sasonkin, Martin Slavin, Bernard Searey, Rebecca John, David Hart, Martin Corbett and Christopher Ambury.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Richard & Norman, Ken & Allan, Angus, John, Stanley, Peter, Anthony, David, Ken, Wolf and all the other Friends & Loved Ones.

CONTENTS

News Page 3 & 4 Crossword & Cartoon Page 13
Thoughts for Christmas Page 5 Books Page 14
Whatever Next? Page 6 Shows for Christmas Page 15
Snow White & Monty Python Page 7 Sounds of the Year Page 16
Grinspoon Gourmet Column Page 8 Films of the Year Page 17
Robin Maugham Page 9 Personal Ads Page 18
The Garland Legend Page 10 & 11 Information Page 19
Peter Straker Interview Page 12 Gay News Calendar Page 20

Gay News is published fortnightly by Gay News Ltd., 19 London Street, London W2 1HL. Tel 01-402 7805.
Distribution: Us, You and a prayer book. Typesetting by Sandi Rutenberg.
Printed by F.I.Litho Ltd., 182 Pentonville Road, London N1.
Gay News is the registered Trade Mark of Gay News Ltd.

Editorial

It’s an undisputable fact that the loneliest people are those who belong to minority groups — blacks in a predominantly white area, old people in a predominantly young community or gays in a predominantly “straight” society.

It’s equally true that the isolation that makes members of minority groups feel lonely – often to the point of suicide, in the extremest of cases – is made even more telling at times of general festivities and group happiness happenings, from which they feel excluded.

Christmas is just such a time. It’s a time when the conventional image of Christmas means that families close their doors and, with few exceptions, friends are forgotten temporarily. It’s a time when all of us in minority groups are going to feel left out. Possibly because we haven’t got a wife and two kids to rush back to, possibly because we haven’t got the skin colour that’s part of the commercial image of Christmas.

White Christmas

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Christmas, and this isn’t yet another piece attacking the increasing commercialism of the festival – or its increasing religious importance – because it was, after all, a pagan festival before Christianity was ever thought about.

The image the festival enjoys as purveyed by the media in both editorial and advertising space has become a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Christmas for the family unit with income big enough to buy the trappings.

It leaves out gays, blacks, the old and the unemployed. The over-cheerful, satiated Christmas projected by all the media is one that, by definition, cuts out minorities. It makes the minorities feel their minority-ness even more sharply than ever. It makes some desperately lonely.

We hope that you won’t feel lonely and we’d ask you to do one thing. Christmas could be a time for gays to show what a minority can do. What gays should do this Christmas is to try and spread a little happiness to our brothers and sisters not just in the gay world, but in all minority groups.

Don’t be self-conscious. Spread a little love.

The Ersatz Image

At the risk of sounding like a sermon, it’s worth looking at what the family fireside Christmas in the semi-detached that’s still heavily mortgaged is really about. This media image of Christmas is a mistaken ersatz impression of love.

Love is what the office parties are aping. There are four cardinal virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity and Love. And the greatest of these is Love.

It’s love that all the minorities will be feeling the lack of at Christmas. So in practical terms you can spread a little love by taking that old lady who lives in your block to the cinema, or perhaps the pub. You can invite people in for a meal or even to watch television.

New Weapon For Gays

Gays are used to being a minority. This Christmas is an excellent opportunity for us to spread a little love, a little happiness to reach out and make someone else’s Christmas special.

We are the best-equipped, through our experience as a minority group, to take practical action without self-interest and really communicate with others. Not just gays, but anyone who isn’t finding Christmas too happy a time.

This form of individual action without self-interest could prove to be a new and extremely powerful weapon for gays to fight prejudice.

Imprint

GAY NEWS

Joint Editors and Members of the Editorial Collective
Richard Adams (Design), Martin Corbett, Ian Dunn (Scotland), Charlotte Corday, Bob Fletcher, Julian D. Grinspoon, Peter Holmes, David Hart, Denis Lemon, Alastair MacDougall, Glenys Parry (Manchester), Suki J. Pitcher, Clive Kennard, David Seligman, Julie Frost, and Graham Chapman, David Sherlock.

GAY NEWS SPECIAL FRIENDS

Roger Baker, Denis Cohn, Barry Conley, Lawrence Collinson, Brian Dax, Martin Grant, Antony Grey, Peter MacMillan, Manus Sasonkin, Martin Slavin and Christopher Ambury.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Richard & Norman, Ken & Allan, Angus, John, Stanley, Peter, Anthony, David, Ken, Wolf and all the other Friends & Loved Ones.

CONTENTS

Serious Editorial Page 2 Feedback Page 10
News Page 35 Stage & Nostalgia Page 11
Gay News Speaks Page 6 Books Page 12
Common Failings? Page 7 Films Page 13
Tricky Dicky Page 8 Records Page 14
Land of the Rising Sauna Page 9 Personal Ads Page 15

Gay News is published fortnightly by Gay News Ltd., 19 London Street, London W2 1HL. Tel 01-402 7805.
Distribution: Us, You and a prayer book. Typesetting by Sandi Rutenberg
Printed by F.I.Litho Limited, 182 Pentonville Road, London N1.
Gay News is the registered Trade Mark of Gay News Ltd.

Editorial

We live in a democracy. It means we’re free to do and say what we like – and that’s official. But the way society is run might tempt cynics to say that British democracy means we have the right to do and say what the state and certain self-appointed arbiters of behaviour ordain.

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act – which made gay love “legal” – specifically excludes members of the armed forces from equality with other gays, already a minority unequal with “straight” society.

At least the law spells out the ground rules even if they are, undoubtedly, wrong. For instance laws that limit gay sex to those not in the armed forces, over 21 and in two’s, in private are clearly indefensible because they make us unequal with the rest of society.

The main failing of the law, as it stands at present, is that it does not give gays the legal equality, however grudging, that black people must receive.

But far more oppressive than open harassment and legal inequality for blacks and gays alike is the sinister form of silent censorship that Gay News and all the gay organisations experience.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality came up against the Angry Silence twice earlier this year when it was trying to fix the place for its first annual conference. Both Weymouth and Morecambe fought shy of having fairies al the end of the pier.

Recently CHE won a victory by managing to lay a wreath to the Unknown Gay Soldier at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday. When almost any old ex-Servicemen’s Club and association representing those who allow themselves to be ruled by traitors — that is, Rhodesia – are allowed to lay wreaths, the inequality of not allowing the Gay Liberation Front to lay just such a wreath last year shrieks of a society where the homosexual is not equal even with traitors in the view of the elite law-forming body, Parliament.

Gay News has troubles with the Angry Silence in many directions and they have taken a new turn of late.

We’re used to news wholesalers and retailers such as Smiths, Menzies and Selfridges, joining in the elitist freezing out of gays. And you’re used to reading about our distribution problems by now.

The latest bizarre turn in this “free-speech” state is the Evening Standard’s refusal of an advertisement for a sex-education movie quoting Gay News.

The man at the Standard told Cobra Films’ representative that the paper wouldn’t mind running the ad if only they would quote a “respectable film critic, tor instance Alexander Walker”.

Once again the Standard has shown that whilst it will use the word ‘gay’ in headlines to sell the paper, it will not countenance the fact that gays live, are organised and have their own newspaper.

The ad-man at the Standard said that the GN crit of Cobra-1 was “near-pornography”

He is entitled to his views, but the Standard should print views it does not agree with, as the press should leave its columns open to all sectors of society as Charles Wintour, the Standard’s editor says in his recent book on the press.

Indeed, many of us feel that the views put forward as the paper’s official policy – in its leaders — and other right-wing pontifications carried in its pages are pornographic.

Mr Wintour is responsible for all the opinions expressed in the Evening Standard, including the writings of the “respectable” Alexander Walker, who was brought to the Standard by Godfrey Winn who discovered him in Brighton.

Many of the views put forward by the Standard work towards an elitist society and towards eroding free speech so that a schoolteacher may not be gay – and honest – and keep his job (GN11).

They are promoting a society where a lie is preferable to the truth. And that really is pornographic. In strictly legal terms it’s liable to deprave and corrupt the ‘Bristows’ of this world. If that’s democracy at work, no wonder so many of the more radical gays see the fight for gay equality as part of a much bigger and economic change in society.

But we at GN are used to being excluded from the press. Time Out – to whom we are grateful for many things — would not publish our ad which mentioned the personal ads in the back of GN on the advice of their legal eagle.

The silent censorship of the Cobra Films ad by the Evening Standard shows that society is not willing to accept a gay newspaper as a genuine newspaper – and it follows that if Gay News isn’t accepted as a paper by our fellow journalists, no gay can expect to be treated as anything but a curio by Charles Wintour and others like him who affect the way the power-holding elite think – no individual gay or gay organisation.

Imprint

GAY NEWS

Joint Editors and Members of the Editorial Collective
Richard Adams (Design), Martin Corbett, Ian Dunn (Scotland), Charlotte Corday, Bob Fletcher, Julian D. Grinspoon, Peter Holmes, David Hart, Denis Lemon, Alastair MacDougall, Glenys Parry (Manchester), Suki J. Pitcher, Clive Kennard, David Seligman, Julie Frost, and Graham Chapman, David Sherlock.

GAY NEWS SPECIAL FRIENDS

Roger Baker, Denis Cohn, Barry Conley, Lawrence Collinson, Brian Dax, Martin Grant, Antony Grey, Peter MacMillan, Manus Sasonkin, Martin Slavin and Christopher Ambury.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Richard & Norman, Ken & Allan, Angus, John, Stanley, Peter, Anthony, David, Ken, Wolf and all the other Friends & Loved Ones.

CONTENTS

Look Page 2 Stage Page 11
News Page 36 Books Page 12
Jones The Het Page 7 Films Page 13
Mrs Shufflewick Page 8 Records Page 14
Julian’s Column Page 10 Naughty Page Page 15

Gay News is published fortnightly by Gay News Ltd., 19 London Street, London W2 1HL. Tel 01-402 7805.
Distribution: Us, You and a prayer book. Typesetting by Sandi Rutenberg
Printed by F.I.Litho Limited, 182 Pentonville Road, London N1.
Gay News is the registered Trade Mark of Gay News Ltd.