On the third of November a letter was sent to the director, Hedley of the Trent Polytechnic, from its catering manager concerning homosexual activity in the Poly; the head barman complained of people in drag using the bar facilities.
The director explained to the president of the Student’s Union that he wanted the so-called “homosexual elements” out or he would close the bar.
At an Extraordinary General Meeting, a motion was passed to the effect that the union would not accept any discriminatory practices upon people entitled to enter the bar and who are acting within the law.
Although an important issue, since it entails bigoted discrimination against minority groups, many of the members of the union with whom we spoke see this as part of a much larger scheme directed at curbing student autonomy still further, and it was felt by the Labour Club that recent disciplinary action were all part of this attack.
It is seen that Hedley is using this issue to split the Union, on the theory of divide and rule, and that drag is just an excuse, a tactical move, more political especially as it comes at a time when the Instruments and Articles come under review and the Executive’s time is taken up by the bar situation. At the root of Hedley’s continual threats to close the bar is his resolve that he would much rather not have a bar at all if it meant that the standards that he thought appropriate for an institution of further education were not maintained.
He states that he merely wants to maintain the standards which apply in any public house and that he doesn’t want his £13½m development plan endangered by a lot of queers.
He justifies his prejudices against what he affectionately terms “hard-line homosexuals” by referring to what is generally believed to be a fictitious telephone call from the Assistant Chief Constable who allegedly warned repressed Gruppenfuhrer Hedley that hordes of nasty offensive queers were changing their patronage from Mario’s which was following police advice by discouraging overt homosexuality. There is no reason to believe this is true.
Moreover, Hedley’s definition of drag is at best an unconventional one. It seems important to make this clear, by all accounts there has been, with one exception, no real drag except during Karnival.
By drag, Hedley means the use of makeup, and his hatred of homosexuality further manifested itself in the recent Management Committee meeting where he and Lyon (Deputy Director, Student Affairs) insisted that not only the bar was involved. If a person in drag (sic) was found in lectures or any part of the Poly premises, action would be taken. The president replied that in such a case that person would be defended by the Union.
Love and kisses to Gongster, Nottingham University Student’s Paper.