Editorial

An angry reader wrote to Time Out (London’s weekly entertainment guide) complaining that while viewing ‘Dulcima’ and ‘Family Life’ at the Biograph cinema in Wilton Road, Victoria, no less than eight different men sat next to him, and there was a constant stream of visitors to the toilet. All this coming and going caused such a disturbance that he had to ask for the soundtrack volume to be turned up. He knows, he says, of the cinema’s reputation, but those who don’t “are in for a bit of a shock”. He’s willing to help establish a gay cinema, on the lines of those in New York, as the “goings on” in the Biography will not help the straight world accept gays.

The Biograph, London’s oldest cinema, is well known among gays as a trolling place and sexual outlet; a great deal of mutual masturbation allegedly goes on in the cinema.

But it is not a gay cinema as such, since its usually good programmes are advertised continuously in the London evening papers, “Time Out” etc, and because most heterosexuals are embarrassed by public sexual display and presumably want to watch a film, without having to get up every few seconds to let someone else pass, a visit to the Biograph is obviously going to heighten any anger or misgivings they might have about homosexuals.

However, many gays who go to the Biograph, cannot for one reason or another, take their pick-ups home, and even if they can, where else is there to procure a sexual partner? Basically, in police entrapped lavatories or Earls Court pubs, and while peoples’ behaviour in pubs and clubs is more “acceptable”, they are not necessarily happy places.

The Biograph has a lower admission price (25p) than any cinema in London, and is always crowded, because of its “reputation”, without which it would probably have closed years ago. It exists because society refuses to accept homosexuals on the same terms as heterosexuals, who broadly speaking, can take boy/girl friends home and can kiss and cuddle in any public place. Homosexuals are forced into dark ghettos like the Biograph, which reinforces the idea in our minds that we are second class citizens and must hide our sexuality away, in between the occasional hurried experiences in the dark.

The creation of a completely gay cinema would not really change attitudes for the better on either side, but as in the gay saunas in Amsterdam, it would mean that we could troll undisturbed and without harrass-ment; but we would just be creating another ghetto. Straights will not have the chance to accept or reject us, because they will be more oblivious of our existence.

Whatever we do to improve our situation, whether it involves the creation of a gay cinema, or organisations such as CHE or GLF, it seems to perpetuate our separation and lack of contact with society at large, which would seem to demand, as a condition of acceptance, that we live their life style. In other words retire monogamously to the suburbs, and hide our sexuality behind the net curtains.

Editorial

At first sight this news story isn’t particularly relevant. But we think that it’s important. A labourer from Rugby has been found guilty of a serious offence against a girl. At Birmingham Crown Court he was put on probation for three years.

But that wasn’t the end of the matter. His employers didn’t approve of his conduct and promptly sacked him.

The man, who was not willing to go without a fight, complained to the Industrial Tribunal in Birmingham. The tribunal said that his firm must re-employ the man. They refused.

At a meeting of the same tribunal held in November, the company’s spokesman justified its action in these terms: “The company expects high standards from its employees. It will not today, tomorrow, or next year, employ a man who has been convicted of this offence, rape, or any offence involving moral turpitude.”

The tribunal rejected his defence. The man was awarded £2,053 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

The relevance of this industrial tribunal case to the majority of gays is that it supports them in any claim they might make against wrongful dismissal.

It means that gays should no longer fear being sacked for their sexuality. And for that matter, people should no longer try to stop people learning just who they are. There are far more gays who feel they have to repress their sexuality for fear of losing their jobs than there are gays who actually get sacked.

Time For Action

The time has come — and gone perhaps – when gay people start demanding their human rights. The charge of “moral turpitude” is one that many companies could use to get rid of gays they no longer wish to employ.

Our private lives are private lives and it really is time that gays demanded the right to lead private lives. It’s time we demanded the right to be treated with true equality – that is, for gays to no longer have to fear for their jobs.

In this field women have just been refused the right to be treated as men’s equals by a male MP “talking out” the Women’s Rights Bill in Parliament.

The gay male suffers the inequality that women suffer and more. There is still a very heavy weight of public opnion ready to condemn the male homosexual.

Parallel Struggles

The women’s struggle for human rights is parallel to the gay struggle.

Recently women supporting the Bill which demands very basic human rights have staged a demonstration both outside and inside Parliament.

It is this sort of action that gets things done. Ultimately Mr Maddon, the MP for Hove will have to sit down and shut up while women get what’s been due to them for centuries.

It’s been a long time since we saw any action of this sort by gays for gay civil rights, so it’s hardly surprising that many in Parliament and elsewhere think that we gays are satisfied with being society’s second-class citizens.

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act offers male gays legality-within-limits. It’s not enough. It offers no protection. It is a feeble law.

Ask Your MP

One way each gay could make his/her feelings known to his/her MP is to write to the MP and ask:

(1) Are you anti-gay? If so, why?

(2) Would you support any new legislation that would give full human rights to gays in all parts of Britain. If so, why haven’t you done anything about it?

(3) Have you ever realised that one in ten of your constituents is gay? This is why you should take up the struggle for gay rights for us. As an MP you are supposed to represent the wishes of your constituents.

Remember whatever you say should be treated in confidence by your MP. Remember also that unless we take some direct action now, the time will just go on passing, and we’ll still be second-class citizens.

Heartening Signs

It is heartening to see that an industrial tribunal will not listen to excuses for sacking on the grounds of “moral turpitude”. Perhaps we are approaching the emergence of a slightly saner attitude to sexualities. But it does not mean that we have reached anything to be proud of, or even to rest at.

There are many people who, seeing that Parliament has become too divorced from the people it’s supposed to represent, have little faith in the established channels of change.

It’s true that Parliament, which, by definition, is a place for discussion by all the people, has become the legislating arm of the executive – the Government – rubber-stamping plans to freeze pay or prices, etc.

But there’s no reason to suppose that it’s got to stay like that.

Roads To Freedom

Undoubtedly, Parliament is increasingly irrelevant to the individual members of society. But to change that will take several decades – without any increase in gays’ rights.

Therefore the roads to freedom that are open to us now are:

(1) Through Parliament by making the gay voice heard – through contacting your MP;

(2) By other means outside Parliament, whatever it is – demonstration or whatever form you choose your protest to take.

The most important thing now is that we should do something: there hasn’t been a big gay rights demonstration for almost two years!

If you want freedom, decide what path your protest is going to take and then do it!

Editorial

The protracted soul-searchings by Appeal Court judges over the Andy Warhol television documentary, followed by a series of raid on ‘pornographers’ by the police have put the question of what is obscene and what isn’t back into the centre of public attention – where it ought to stay for a good while longer so that it may be resolved.

The trouble is that the time it takes the law to make up its mind as to what is offensive – and is therefore the basis for a criminal charge – makes the court the wrong place for it to be decided whether something should be available to the public or not.

Publish and be Damned

The situation in this country now is that you can publish whatever you like – and the court will make its mind up later whether or not you are to be damned. And that situation is, quite obviously, not good enough.

Society must decide, once and for all, what it is going to allow. The choice, quite starkly, is between all or nothing.

If the answer is nothing, then we have opted for a society that doesn’t want to develop.

It’s a truism to say that standards have changed over the last so many years. The only reason they have changed is because society has developed organically. The moral censors and porn-breakers are usually fighting a rear-guard action.

To change organically society must accept new ideas constantly.

Stagnant Society

That’s why a society that refuses to allow certain things to be published, because they offend the standards of those judges and censors of our moral taste and behaviour, is a stagnant society. Judges and censors are usually ageing, middle-class and totally out of tune with the times they live in, not seeing outside their own cloistered world.

In fact, society has set up these censors precisely to halt change, without realising that it is the worst possible move as far as its own interests are concerned. By doing this, society has surely shut the door on an organic change.

A closed-doors society cannot keep itself away from the influences of the rest of the world.

Eventually, either those who censor will find the ground eroded from under their feet or the members of the society they control will refuse to be ruled by out-moded laws any longer.

Gang Warfare

These considerations are quite apart from the allegations made by the porn-swoop police that the ‘pornographers’ were involved in underworld gangster warfare. The gang allegations are more than a mere side-light on the whole subject of pornography. It is a product of the very system that censorship is intended to protect.

There will always be a need for what is described as ‘pornography’ and while society goes on denying people what they want to see, the porn-biz is going to be very big business, a high-profit business, where a contact magazine that sells wholesale for 10p retails to the public at £1. And it’s that sort of high-profit business that attracts the less honest to cash in on the great titillation bonanza.

By its absurd practice of attempting to clamp down on sexual publishing – and then only after the event – society builds up not evolutionary, but revolutionary pressures and opens the way for racketeers, who will, naturally enough, be prepared to join battle to carve themselves a monopoly out of this multi-million pound trade.

There’s one answer that relieves the law of the burden of wasted hours spent in finding out whether or not a girl’s breasts are offensive to a judge; a solution that avoids the massive costs of such court cases and destroys the semi-gangster sub-culture the underground porn-market creates. The answer to all these problems is quite simple: scrap censorship as we know it now.

New ‘Porn Laws’

Let people see anything they want to. They’ll get to see it anyway, by hook or from crook. Perhaps it would be necessary to extend the existing system of movie-censorship in a modified form to cover all areas of publishing.

The sanest way to censor would be for something that is to be published to be passed as fit for people under or over a certain age. Above that age anything should go. It would need a censorship board to deal with those areas of publishing not already affected by censors, but once a publisher had his work passed as fit for adults, he would be sure there would be no possibility of prosecution.

This, surely, is the only way to get out of a situation where we are beset by cranks on one hand and people (we are told are gangsters) on the other.

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.