Gay Liberation Front groups

At present there are GLF groups in operation in the following areas:

Aberystwyth Essex University Reading
Bath Folkstone Sheffield
Bristol Greenoch Swansea
Brent Guernsey Sussex
Bedfordshire Higham Ferrers  
Birmingham Hull LONDON
Belfast Keele University South London
Bradford Lancaster West London
Cambridge Leicester East London
Cheltenham Leeds Notting Hill
Canterbury Manchester Hackney
Cardiff Newcastle Youth Group
Colchester Norwich Religious Group
Derby Oxford Women’s Group
Durham Portsmouth  
Edinburgh Potteries

19720901-06The addresses of these groups may be obtained from the G.L.F. Office at 5 Caledonian Road, London N1. Tube Kings Cross. Tel: 01-837 7174. Also contact here for other G.L.F. information.

Gay Women’s Liberation Grouo. Contact Gillian 837 4502. Meets Wednesdays 7.30pm.

G.L.F. Youth and Education Croup meets on Mondays. Phone 837 7174 for details.

Religious Gay Lib Group, meets various Sundays at 2.30 pm. Phone 278 1701 for details.

Sussex GLF meets Tuesdays at 8.15pm upstairs/back bar Stanford Arms, Preston Circus, Brighton. Contact: Doug Coupe, 40 Ashford Road, Brighton, or phone Roy at 686939

Reading Gay Alliance. Room 7, 30 London Road, Reading.

Bath Gay Awareness Group. Contact Richard or Teresa at Bath 29437.

Bristol Gay Awareness Group, c/o Tony, 20D, West Mall, Clifton, Bristol. Tel: 0272-32669

Leicester Gay Awareness Group, Contact John Page, 126 Nansen Road, Leicester LE5 5NJ. Phone. Leicester 738832.

Oxford GLF is again operational. Contact: Eric Presland, 310 London Road, Headington, Oxford, or Mick Wallis, Hertford College, Oxford.

Leeds GLF Liberation Office, 153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2. Tel: 0632-39071 ex 57. Meetings every Friday at 7.30pm at the Liberation Office.

Consenting poodle

05-197208xx-5Fan of Larry Grayson? So was I. Then he gave an interview to “Tit-Bits” (no, he’s not one of their pin-ups).

He’s so nice to his fans … “A lot of the queer people like me … I should hate people to think there’s anything like that about me ….. I thought I’d only appeal to a certain section of the public, but it’s not like that at all.” He’s discovered he can make money out of straights, too.

He says he lives with a woman of 62 and a twelve-year-old poodle. I wonder which one of them gives him “these terrible pains down my leg.”? He gives me a pain somewhere else (and it certainly wouldn’t be my arse).

He says he only does what he does for laughs. Anyone want a “Loveable Larry”, going cheap? Perhaps I’ll have a word with Julien….

‘Disgusting’

05-197208xx-5Sterlings bookshop, St Martins Lane, London has refused to stock Gay News because our covers are “disgusting” and cannot be displayed in a shop like this, which has been established since 1920”. 1. The manager has never displayed the paper – “I’ll sell it,” he said when he saw issue one, “but I’ll keep it for my regulars, I can’t put it on show”.

2. Sterlings is one of the best-known purveyors of gay-wank, near-porn fiction in London – seen the covers on a lot of current paper and hardback novels now cashing in on the ‘queer-is-fashionable’ media boom? Of course Sterlings has every one of these on open display.

Please – every time you have a lunch-time drink in the Salisbury, every time you cruise down St. Martins Lane, go in and ask for “The latest Gay News, please.”

SNIPPET

05-197208xx-5‘Journey’s End’, currently at the Cambridge Theatre, London, is the definitive World One trenches play, and well worth seeing

It’s an unashamed ‘Well – made play’, with plenty of manly comradeship and stiff upper lips, set in the officers mess dugout in the front lines.

The final credit reads: ‘Tatoos by Mary Quant cosmetics.” Bona drag, darlings, and I love the dinky gas-masks!

Yours on top of hers

Quite recently, I went to my local GP (a male doctor) and told him I had begun to get severe pains in the groin and abdomen. His reply was “Oh, nothing to worry about. Plenty of women get it.”

05-197208xx-5I then told him that I was sleeping with a girl who had had severe salpingitis quite recently – could I have caught it from her? “No, no – you’re not lesbians or anything like that, are you?” I told him that, yes, we were. His attitude then became somewhat hostile – “Off to the VD clinic with you, then.” – and he gave me some painkillers. He made no internal examination, and did not examine me in any other way.

The next week I was on holiday, and had to get antibiotics from the local GP, as I had begun to have attacks of sharp pains. I went back to my GP and told him this, and was given more painkillers and told to rest.

Later that week my girlfriend had to take me to the casualty dept, of the local hospital.

I was given some pills and told to get more from the doctor, which I did.

05-197208xx-6On going to the VD clinic, I was asked whom I had slept with recently. I gave the names of about five women. They were not interested in these, and wanted to know when I had last slept with a man, so I told them, and said it was about six months ago. I kept going for check-ups, and was told I did not have VD, but an inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

The doctors’ attitudes ranged from amusement, to sarcasm, and lastly open hostility. One of the doctors wanted to know if I was butch or femme I explained that I wasn’t into role-playing, etc., at which he was most amused and surprised, and wanted to question me further. I answered his questions, as I felt he needed educating, but he was merely titillated.

I asked him if it were possible for women to transmit sexual infections to each other. He did not appear to know, and ended up by answering me in this fashion: “Well, I would imagine it would be rather difficult to get, er, ‘yours’ on top of ’hers’, wouldn’t it?’” “No, it’s not that difficult, actually.” I then asked him if we would be at risk by plating each other (cunnilingus). He was very embarrassed by this, and again could give no definite answer.

I was given more pills, and will now have to go for further examinations.

In the first place, I think this could have been avoided with more help and interest from my doctor; in the second place, there should be more readily available information about transmission of VD etc. between women, as gay women do go to these clinics, and need help as much as anybody else.

Samaratians Enquiry Part 2

03-197207XX-08
Part 1 of this series is in issue #2

Many people who are lonely, frightened and isolated go to the Samaritans for guidance and comfort – and although they advertise themselves as a last ditch help service for suicides, they are accustomed to handling personal and social problems at all levels of intensity. Their policy of deliberately keeping their distance and not giving active advice makes them an attractive prospect for people like gays, who don’t want or need someone to moralise at them. Anyway, this is what they say about themselves – it is written as advice to Befrienders on how to deal with homosexual clients. Technically it is confidential; however, a copy did come this way.

BEFRIENDING HOMOSEXUAL CLIENTS

Golden Rules

  1. Forget the label and treat as you would any client who comes our way.
  2. Remember that there are male and female homosexuals.

What brings them our way?

a. Loneliness: It is up to the branch to try to discover the cause of the isolation. Is it an innate inability to make any kind of relationship, or does it arise from a lack of homosexual contacts? Befriending sets out to help the client to become more of a social being (counselling or some kind of social therapy may make befriending more necessary).

Beware of being misled by homosexual tendencies manifested by the grossly inadequate or extremely mentally disturbed, for whom homosexuality may not be the main problem.

About 5% of the population appear to be homosexuals, so that, particularly in smaller towns, there is great practical difficulty in finding friends. It is easier to find someone with whom you can have a brief sexual encounter than to meet someone who is emotionally and inter-sexually compatible. There is a great need for responsibly supervised groups for lonely homosexuals over 21 – if you have any suggestions or queries, please contact me at the London branch.

b. Insecurity: There is the longer term insecurity that many homosexuals feel. The analogy of marriage which they seek in a relationship, in practice is seldom achieved. They are, therefore, faced with recurrent cycles of relationships followed by break-ups and the resultant decline as a human being. Befriending by a non-sexual Samaritan Volunteer can help such a person to avoid being drawn into another emotional crisis, and enable the homosexual to feel an accepted part of the community at large.

c. Bereavement: The death of one partner or the break-up of a relationship of long or short standing is in no way different from the ending of any strong relationship. There’s going to be shock, prolonged grief, guilt and depression as time distances the event. Society’s attitude can become positively cruel here. How would a heterosexual person feel if their loved one’s relatives forbade them to be present at the funeral. This has happened not infrequently to bereaved homosexuals. A Samaritan befriender can be a tremendous support to a bereaved homosexual client.

d. Fears of Police Harrassment: The age of consent for male homosexuals is still 21 and not 18. (For female homosexuals there is no such prohibition.) It would be useful for all Branches to know of sympathetic solicitors to advise and represent, if necessary, clients on homosexual charges.

What is homosexuality?

  1. Common misconceptions: It is not a sickness. nor a disease that can be cured, nor a wilful perversion. Common psychiatric practice is to help the individual to adjust to his or her condition, and to attend to any depression or other symptoms resulting from attempted repression.
  2. Homosexual behaviour: Sexual behaviour is not always entirely directed in a neat way. Often homosexuals are marginally capable of heterosexual activity, and this can lead to unwise marriage. This can lead to great guilt and fears for their sexuality. There is a small population which is not sexually committed either way.
  3. Transvestites (T.V.s) are usually heterosexual and believe that, by a strange stroke of nature, they are women born into men’s bodies, or vice versa. Every client of this kind should be under the care of a doctor who is a specialist in the field of gender reassignment therapy. There are only half a dozen specialists in Great Britain. Do not take on for longterm befriending a trans-sexual client without the specialist’s knowledge and agreement. Trans-sexualism can be a symptom of schizophrenia or psychopathy.

I should be glad to hear from Volunteers or Directors who would like to take this brief article further. If there are any Volunteers or Directors who have considerable experience of helping homosexual clients, please write to me at the London branch.

Newsletter No.87, December 1971.
(Confidential to Samaritans)
By Michael Butler (London Samaritans)


So that is the idea. But actual practise can be different – the Samaritans are after all a volunteer organisation, so standards can vary from branch to branch. Here we print, in their own words, the accounts of what happened to-three people who turned to the Samaritans for help.


Case 1

I am a 20 year old gay girl. I rang Samaritans last April, because I was very depressed about having no-one to talk to about it. I live with my parents and work in a bookshop. I rang, and told the woman who answered that I was depressed because I was a lesbian and very lonely. She invited me to talk about it. I told her that I knew no-one else who was gay, and I needed to tell someone. I explained that I had had a male friend who I no longer see, and that I felt very attracted to a girl who I work with.

She told me that it was not necessary to have sex to lead a fulfilling life. She said that she was three times my age and did not regret not every having a physical relationship. I said the, “Do you mean with a woman?” She replied, “No. with anyone.” She told me she had a number of wonderful friendships. She asked me if I thought I could go on to get married. I repeated that I was homosexual. She asked me if I was sure, I could have convinced myself I was, thus making a terrible mistake, ruining my chances of a heterosexual relationship. I tried to explain how positively I felt about women, and I was sure there was nothing wrong with how I felt.

She advised me to read about “Sappho and her girls”, and to glamourize it in my mind. This would reduce my need to have a physical homosexual relationship.

“I feel,” she said, “that it would spoil your love to put it to the physical test.”

I asked her if there was any homosexual organisation she could refer me to. She denied this. I asked her again, since I felt sure there must be someone. She replied, “Only for male homosexuals – you wouldn’t like them. Male and female homosexuals don’t get on with each other.”

Eventually she gave me the name of a gay club in the town. She told me to go along there and talk to them. She said, “I’m sure they’ll be very serious people. It’s very intellectual, it began with Sappho, lesbians are serious people you know.”

Shortly after this my parents arrived and I had to ring off. I didn’t ring back. Soon after I found out about the local Young CHE group and the GLF group. It’s lucky I did. I don’t know, quite honestly, what I would have done otherwise.

GAY NEWS COMMENTS:

A Gay News reporter mentioned confidentially this case to Chad Varah, director of Samaritans. He told her that the Samaritan who gave that advice would be on the carpet for it. He agreed that it was misguided and commented, “Most people do need sex in order to be happy.”

Case Two.

I am a 19 year old male student. I rang Samaritans because I needed to know where to find other homosexuals. I was becoming very isolated on my course. He immediately told me about the student homosexual society. He then warned me to make quite sure that I was homosexual before I went to them. He said that the only people who could tell me that were the medical profession. He advised me to go to my G.P. for a check-up. I said I didn’t think this was a good idea, as I was sure I was a homosexual. He also recommended me to speak to a student counsellor whom he knew. I thanked him very much and rang off.

I went to the University Union and found out about the homosexual society he mentioned.


For now at least, we’ll leave you to your own conclusions as to how far the branches live up to their instructions from head office. Next issue, however, we’ll be printing some thought on the whole idea of a counselling service, with special reference to the Samaritans, and how effectively they do, or do not operate. BUT…. we’d like to know how you found them, and if they helped or hindered you, and in a future issue well print a selection of you experiences.

Gay Unity

02-197206XX 7The Harrow local group of G.L.F. decided on Monday night (26th June) that it no longer wished to have any further ties with G.L.F., and will now go it alone under the name “GAY UNITY”. The group has been stagnating for some time because of the large numbers of members who did not wish to be associated with G.L.F. any longer – but now the decision has finally been made.

And whilst we are in Harrow…… the group often meets for a quiet drink in one of the local pubs, usually on Thursday evenings. After the meeting on Monday, when several members of the group retired to this particular pub, they were approached by the landlord, and informed that a member of the local C.I.D., posing as a genuine enquirer, had telephoned the numbers given in the advertisement in the local press, and had been told that the group could be found in this particular pub on Thursday nights. The landlord strongly requested that the group stopped recommending his pub “Cos it’s causing me aggravation, so you tell ’em to lay off.”

One wonders what was threatened.

Lord Beaumont Cooks

02-197206XX 7The Liberal Cook-Book, is the litery dish edited and partly written by Lord (Tim) Beaumont of Whitley. The Liberal peer and the founder of the Beaumont Society for transvestites, is an accomplished cook. Or should be by now after cooking for eight months for his family; his wife has been studying for a diploma in the decorative arts.

Other contributors to the cook-book are Lord Byers and Jeremy Thorpe (who has offered a recipe called ‘Camembert Ice’. Among liberal party supporters offering culinary delights are Derek Nimmo, Flora Robson and Clement Freud.

Lets hope that the recipes are as hot and tasty as the hot air and intrigueing squabbles usually offered by politicians and their flocks.

No Freedom to Love

“There is a sense in which all law is nothing more nor less than a gigantic confidence trick. Law is not enforceable at all if a sufficient number of people disregard it, and this is true of all laws.” Quinton Hogg

01-197205XX 8Laws which interfere with the individual’s sexuality and sexual expression will only continue to exist so long as we allow it- the will not be changed FOR us. Gay News intends to campaign for changes, since these matters are not, nor should they be, a realm in which legal controls belong. We welcome the stand taken by the Quakers in calling for the age of consent to be lowered to 14, but take the view that the law has no place in anyone’s sex life, and therefore the best sex laws are no sex laws at all: that would make us all equal, and leave no room for the suppression of any minority.

If you are a gay man, you cannot legally have sex before your 21st birthday, but if you’re a gay woman, or a heterosexual you can do so as soon as you are 16. The law is intended to prevent adolescent boys from being seduced by older men. They are apparently trusted not to succumb to a woman of any age against their own will, or if they do, it’s only a private misdemenour, not a criminal offence. It presumes that he couldn’t say no. But they can be prosecuted for seducing one another. Confused yet?

…Obscenity laws exist to repress normal sexual desires which are somehow, in law, equated with depravity. N.C.C.L. Guide to Civil Liberty

The law reflects the traditional male attitude to gay men – on the surface, we are despised, within, we are feared. Because within themselves they see us – their own heavily controlled love and desire for their own sex – and they fear.

The 1967 Act does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland – the law remains as it was in both these areas.

Sexual Offences Act 1956: section 32: “It is an offence for a man persistently to solicit or importune in a public place for immoral purposes.”

When the act was passed, this section

And remember… “Law is not enforceable at all if a sufficient number of people disregard it, and this is true of all laws.”

MEANT a man pimping for a woman. The law is almost never used in that sense, but to stop you picking up a guy you fancy whenever and wherever you may see him. It is never used to stop a man picking up a woman, even if he is offering her money for her services. She is in the wrong then.

Maximum penalties for some acts committed by older men with minors were increased by the 1967 Act.

Policemen can close down our pubs and clubs, and raid our parties more or less at will, if we are not behaving like heterosexuals. Because they have a duty to “preserve the peace”. Or if the backhander from the owner isn’t enough.

Publication of advertisements for the encouraging of homosexual practises is at present an offence, depending on the outcome of the It appeal currently being heard by the House of Lords.

It doesn’t matter if you are all over 21 and consenting, if there are more than two of you, it’s illegal.

In short, you can’t pick up anyone except in a pub or club or party, but the police can still raid these at will. You can’t take a man under 21 to bed, and if you’re under 21, you just can’t, that’s all. You can’t place lonely-heart ads.

BUT… Gay News WILL carry small ads for as long as you wish to use them. It must surely be an individuals human right to choose the way he or she wishes to make contact.

BUT… Gay News feels that far too little is being done to campaign for the age of consent to be lowered to the logical level, 16, giving us parity with everybody else. It should only be a matter of time before the whole question of legally enforceable age of consent for anyone comes under review.

Since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 very little positive action has been taken to remove this obsolete law from the statute books. We hear that S.M.G. is still squabbling about what particular age limit to campaign for; it’s a nice discussion point in C.H.E. and as Warren Haig says in OZ 42, “If Gay Lib had a concern for all homosexuals it would actively campaign for this… but it doesn’t.”

If you are being persecuted in any way for being yourself, we are here to try to do something about it. Tell us and let’s try together.

Gay News WILL campaign for this reduction. But, more important still, we’d like to make our columns available to anyone involved in campaigning against this particular black mark on the statute book.