Your Letters

Worthy of our Cause

London NW5

Dear Gay News,

At last a publication worthy of our cause! Today I purchased my first copy from a news-vendor outside Tottenham Court Road underground station.

I’m both surprised and delighted. Surprised at your very high standard and delighted with the format. Since you’re gonna need all the support you can get I’m not gonna proffer any criticism. That’ll come later – when you’re solvent!

Keep up the good work. I should like to contribute an occasional feature. Without payment of course. I’m a freelance journalist and my work has been published in a variety of magazines.

Please accept my very sincere wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Jack Jacobs

Valuable To The Young

Norwich

Dear Gay News,

I am enclosing a donation to help buttress your collapsing financial structure – and prevent the contents of that egg running out of control.

I for one am most grateful for the birth and continued existence of GN. Most gay publications — the Lunch Togethers, Jeffrey Comes and CHE Ballotins of this world – leave me feeling bloody furious, for one reason or another – usually many. Not so GN. It is handsome to look at, attractive to handle, interesting in content — just like its editorial collective, no doubt. I should be very sad and disillusioned with the gay community (assuming it exists) if GN were allowed to flounder.

My chief concern is that you should remain available especially for the young reader. I often think how valuable a publication of yours would have been to me, twenty-five years ago, when I was a confused and lonely teenager. There was nothing to help/reassure then – there isn’t that much of real value now — for their sake you must go on.

Ray

Penetrating Dark Corners

JCR, University of Southampton

Dear Gay News,

I don’t imagine that you get many letters from ‘straight’ people in appreciation of your entirely gay paper. Nevertheless I think that you are doing a great job in providing this interesting, usually well written, and good humoured magazine for your regular readers. I picked up number 10 by chance in a common room here and once over the shock of seeing what it was, started to read it. Learnt a lot — which perhaps is what a lot of other ‘normal’ people should do — I certainly feel I understand a little more about the gay way of life than I did.

I hope your News will penetrate even darker corners of the heterosexual bigotry — keep up the good work.

From a surprised reader,

S. C. Loder

P.S. Hope I got the terminology right — your jargon is worse than James Burke’s!

Sensationalism or Controversy?

In your comment on the Body Politic affair you rather pompously say: ‘Investigation must be unbiased, rational, and thorough’. In a Utopian society, maybe it would be — but in ours, alas, anything that smacks of sensationalism is seized on and used as the press consider will most impress their readership. Surely the solution is simply not to publish articles like ‘Of Men And █████ Boys’ and indeed not to publish pictures of pretty █████ nude boys like you did in GN14, (any straight person seeing the front cover could only have one opinion about the tastes and desires of gay people).

My other objection was the lack of any reply to the article itself. Whilst I do not deny that an affair with an older male would probably do a boy no harm, and might even do him some good, there are two things worth remembering. Firstly if the affair is discovered and there is an almighty hoo-ha and investigation (which often happens) the experience might well leave a mark on the boy’s mind which would never be erased. Secondly, relations between men and boys can only lead, as far as the man is concerned, to frustration, anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and the danger of punishment. The only sensible advice one could give to a man who loves 14 year old boys etc is to cultivate a liking for older teenagers and men in their twenties. I believe in most cases it can be done.

As to that balls about it enriching both parties and producing tomorrow’s revolutionaries – well!

A boy of 13 who is seduced is just as likely to become a member of the Monday Club, I’d have thought. Must we always make such wild assertions without any evidence?

Yours, looking forward to an Editorial comment on the Body Politic’ affair and perhaps a slightly more balanced article on the subject of boys and men.

TS

ED: The ‘Body Politic Affair’ was controversial, admittedly, to the point of offending certain people, but part of Gay News’ function is to throw open new ideas for discussion and thought.

Tremendously Illegal

Dear Gay News.

Recently you have been talking a lot about pederasty. Well, I’m not sure if I come under that classification, but here are my problems.

I am 17 and I’m normally attracted to boys of roughly 8-18, so therefore any type of sex for me is tremendously illegal. It is very hard for boys and chics like me to make contact. We are always scared of the consequences and are often put in a predicament when older people, understandably, make passes at us. This creates feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Let me state a personal incident: Some people I knew were squatting in a pre-fab due to be pulled down for a by-pass. One day myself and Sue (a Danish guy chick) were there with a █-████-███ boy who visited the pre-fab often.

The boy told us that he wanted to go to bed with me. After a little questioning we discovered that he knew what he was saying. Sue advised me that I should. But the other squatters came in so all was quiet. While people were there the boy sat in the chairs with me, with his arms around me. He did this for several days and kissed me upon entering and leaving and wanted to hold hands with me in the street (this I banned). I did not have any sex with him because the others promised some nasty happenings if I “Come the queer with any of the kids” this not only upset me but scared me terribly. They all knew I was gay yet this ‘proof’ was too much for them. Later they had the gall to say it was for my own good. They didn’t want to see me in jail.

There must be lots of boys like me who have had and are having similar problems.

This letter may not be much but I hope you’ll think about it.

Anonymous

Tricky Situation

Herts

Dear Gay News,

As a student librarian, I was interested to read your report (GN11) that Newcastle City Library had agreed to subscribe to Gay News, and similarly that Bath Municipal Libraries have refused it (GN 14).

Public Libraries have an essential role to play as agents of communication, and should act, in such a situation, as a counter to the restrictive monopolies of large organisations such as W H Smith.

On these grounds alone there is a strong argument for libraries to stock Gay News (and Sappho) since these are non-party-political, non-religious, and likely to be of help to many people.

The public librarian, however, is in a tricky situation, since he is responsible to a committee of elected councillors, who may shy away from risking complaints from the public which may endanger their political position. (This, I imagine, accounts for the ‘vetting by a senior librarian’ in Newcastle, which no doubt includes censoring the full-frontals which quite frequently appear, often unnecessarily I might add).

The image and aims of libraries are changing, slowly but surely; but we are still a long way behind the USA whose American Library Association now has a ‘Gay Liberation Group’. There is no professional contact between gay librarians in Britain at all.

I would like to hear the views of other gay librarians on these matters.

Stuart Woollard

The Support it Deserves?

Liverpool

Dear Collective,

In GN 14 the matter of money was raised no less than three times — in your Editorial, Peter Jackson’s letter, and Make or Break by Antony Grey.

Your commitment to the homosexual cause is greatly to be admired. Which of us would chuck up better paid jobs to work (very hard I’m sure) for £15 a week and with very little hope of a rise in the foreseeable future?

The financial contribution of the gay world is just not good enough. “Gay News is not out to make a profit, but cannot continue at all without adequate support.” Nice letters aren’t enough, tangible help is needed. I call upon all those that appreciate what Gay News is doing, here and now, to give it the support it deserves.

READERS: Show your appreciation by a little modest self sacrifice. Give 50% of what you spend in a week on smokes and drinks (or equivalent indulgences) to “Gay News”. Send it NOW.

To the collective I say: Put up the price forthwith to 25p — the same as Lunch charges. Quorum is twice that, so it would not be out of the way. Those who made an act of faith by making a years subscription might be asked to pay half the difference on their remaining numbers. I don’t think this would break anyone, and it should not only relieve you of the worry of not knowing where the money for the next edition is coming from, but also ensures that there IS a next edition!

I am sure that readers do not realise the urgency of your (or, one might say, OUR problems) and I write this in the hope, as an ordinary reader only,

I can emphasise the gravity of the situation.

I hope this will result in a flood of contributions!

I enclose my own, based on the above recommendation. Best wishes and good luck.

Joe Scouseland

Not Just Survive

Friend
Broadley Terrace
London W1
01-402 6345

Dear Gay News,

Talking with a group of straight social workers the other day (several of whom were middle-aged) I spoke about the problem of isolation for gay people. The older ones particularly asked how gay people can make contact let alone establish social or love relationships. We then spoke about GN, Lunch and the gay magazines. Their response was “but how do gay people know about them unless they’re already on the scene?” Their reaction was not just curiosity but meant to express sincere concern. I explained the reluctance of booksellers and newsagents to stock gay publications — unless they are purveyors of lucrative hard porn.

It is the isolated and lonely who need contact most and yet it is they whom we are least successful in reaching. That is why GN must not just survive but be much more widely available. Thus I am personally glad that you have decided to ‘tone down’ the contact ads. Though all minorities, however bizarre their tastes may seem to some of us, do need some means of meeting one another, in the present fraught legal situation there seems little alternative but to choose between catering for all needs and just some.

I have, privately to you, expressed my misgivings and concern that GN may be prosecuted for its ads, and thereby deprive gay people everywhere of a vital lifeline. I feel that I should now, publicly, add support to your decision (which will be unpopular in some quarters) and commend its wisdom and farsightedness. Here’s to a circulation of 100,000 in 1973!

Love to you all,

Michael Launder (National Organiser, Friend)

PS: Is your ‘1HL’ postal coding a subtly significant reference by the GPO?

More letters on page 10.

Letters Continued

Freedom From Abuse

London W11

Dear Ed,

First about myself: I am a London sociologist and university lecturer. I am also a homosexual with an affair which last October celebrated its tenth anniversary (we met as provincial working-class students: he is now 27 and I am 34). I’m thus no longer young. However I bridge in my person more than the gap between two generations, that also between the working and middle classes, and more significantly in this context, between the latter and the homosexual community. I throw in the biography, not I hope to boost further my already highly developed ego, but in order to venture the suggestion that my prejudices and attitudes are likely to reflect not only those of the ‘Gay World’ but of a wider spectrum of the community.

First of all the bouquet. I greatly approve of the whole, rather breath-taking panorama of organisations of homosexuals which have mushroomed, almost overnight, particularly outside the metropolis where the need is greater. I welcome also the appearance of Gay News because it represents the first attempts of homosexuals to communicate openly with each other as human beings and not merely as sex objects. Mr Stafford is, in my view, wrong to wish to suppress this or other forms of homosexual oppression on the grounds of their present (undoubted) crudity, and patches of abrasive immaturity. The nappy-wetting and turbulent infant grows up, in the fullness of time, into the maturity and strength of manhood. So it can be with Gay News and the rest. The signs are there already (see for example the excellent final section in your Christmas number editorial, and the wise decision to feature items of general interest).

There is however, one matter which causes me a measure of disquiet and true sorrow. This is the treatment of Mr Stafford in your columns. However wrong-headed and obnoxious his views may be to me and the young activists who dominate the metropolitan homosexual organisations, it must be recognised that he has an important point of view (representative of a very large body of homosexuals, apart from the rest of the community). We must all bear in mind that there is a much worse crime then being wrong, and that is to be convinced that one has a monopoly of what is right.

Mr Stafford’s presence on the executive committee of CHE far from being deplored, should be strongly welcomed, and his important viewpoint treated with the respect it deserves of mature people symbolised in a reasoned dialogue, free from personal abuse.

Finally if I were asked for just one suggestion as to hew your readership, innate strength and standing with the community at large might be enhanced dramatically and at a single stroke, it would be this: take a leaf out of the London right-wing press in their treatment of Richard Neville and offer Mr Stafford a regular column and a free hand in your newspaper.

After all, true tolerance, like charity, starts at home! I wish you a prosperous New Year in which your paper continues to grow in those virtues so ardently sought by us all (and even Martin Stafford, don’t forget).

Mike, D Phil (Dr Mike, Shrewesbury)

ED: Mr Martin Stafford is, of course, entitled to his opinions and particular viewpoint, but was it necessary for him to attempt to close down Gay News because he personally did not approve of one item in the paper? With regard to your suggestion that Mr Stafford be invited to write us a regular column, he is most welcome to, as are all people who wish to communicate their ideas and comments to our readership.

Radical Free Library

London SW9

Dear Gay News,

For some time now you have been running a request from me on information page) regarding the building up of a collection of radical gay pepers and magazines, as part of an alternative library.

We are all quite aware of how difficult it is to get books about homosexuality from a public library, very often they simply do not have them available/will not buy them/do not wish to buy them. The situation is probably more uptight over radical gay publications. As part of a wider move to collect, to make freely available, radical/underground publications an alternative library has been formed.

Quite probably under the aegis of Librarians for Social Change quite a lot of material will be microfilmed to be more freely available.

The point is we have no resources at all except what people donate. So can I appeal to everybody reading Gay News to please let me have any old back issues of gay publications, political rather than ‘pin-up’, instead of throwing them away. We would really be grateful if back issues of publications ‘Come Together’, especially issues 1 to 7 could be sent to us.

Geoffrey Leight

Letters Continued

Bristling Inaccuracies

9 Moray Place, Edinburgh 3
Dear Gay News,

I never thought I’d find myself springing to the defence of Sir Michael Swann, but your news item in GN14 bristled with so many inaccuracies that the record must be set straight.

  1. The reference to his brush with Scottish International omitted the essential point, which is that he’d got hold of the wrong end of the stick. He thought that the story about a warden at another Scottish university was a bizarrely distorted version of something that had happened at Edinburgh.
  2. The teach-in on Homosexuality on March 8th is not being organised by the Scottish Minorities Group, but by a specially formed committee of staff and students (more non-gays than gays) from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt University — containing, by the way, not one professor, but two.
  3. Sir Michael did not write letters complaining about the abusive letters he’d received, though he did ask the Deputy Secretary to the University to tell me that the Teach-In could not be described without Senatus approval as an official University event, as the Glasgow Herald (for reasons best known to itself) had labelled it.
  4. To say that ‘he has taken steps to make sure that no university funds are spent on the teach-in by telling university committees that they may not regard the teach-in as official’ is almost libellous. Our Committee has no evidence that this has happened.
  5. In short. Sir Michael is not ‘on record’ as being anti-gay. It would be quite untypical of him to take any such positive stand. I have recently heard that in reply to at least one of the ‘abusive letters’ he started off by reassuring the writer that the Teach-In was not an official event and ended by saying that the University believed in encouraging free discussion. This hedging of his bets strikes me as far more characteristic of the political animal that he is.

I am not happy about the attitude of the University committees we have approached for help; their reasons for rejecting our applications strike me as specious and unconvincing. But individual prejudice, conscious or subconscious, could well be a sufficient explanation. Making wild and unprovable accusations of behind-the-scenes rigging is just playing into the enemy’s hands. In the long battle for gay rights we have to learn to be cunning as well as courageous.

Michael Coulson

Back In Business

Gay Arrow,
Reading Gay Alliance,
Room 7, 30 London Road,
Reading.
Dear Gay News,

We would like to clarify a point in your article “Angry Silence Hits RGA” (Gay News 14). It ended with the suggestion that complaints from a member of the public may gave made the landlord “forget” to renew his music and dance licence at the Tavern.

This is not true. The complaint to the brewers regarding the press advertisement came after the lapse of the licence. The landlord has done his best to ensure that our meetings go ahead without problems, and was very apologetic at the loss of the licence. He continued to let RGA use the club-room free of charge for the period without extensions or dancing, when attendances were very low and his revenue negligible.

The help he has given RGA since social functions started last June has been the most that could be expected from any licensee in business for gain, and in no other way associated with the aims of our organisation. This contrasts with the attitude of his monopolist employer.

We are pleased to report that he has now regained his licences, and our socials and discos are back in business.

Dave Thompson, Goff Sargent,
Editors of Gay Arrow

Not So Lucky

Albany Trust,
32 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1V 8EP.
Dear GN,

Your editorial spiel on money and the gay movement was dead on — except for your belief that “the Albany Trust is lucky enough to have a charitable trust supporting it just now.” I wish this was true, but it’s not. Last year we did receive just under £3,000 from the Gulbenkian Foundation.

But that was a once-only, emergency grant aimed at helping us keep our heads above water to the end of 1972 so that we could continue with the vital job of co-ordinating counselling and befriending activities for the homophile movement. The money has all been spent now, and the grant was necessitated because our 1972 income had dropped to half of what it used to be.

Now, at the beginning of 1973, the Albany Trust is once again faced with the prospect of being out of business within a few months unless adequate support is forthcoming. Our autumn appeal – designed to put us “in the black” for this year as a first step – was a failure. Yet we are not only “carrying” all NFHO’s administrative expenses but have also been contributing to those of CHE and other homophile groups. This can’t go on unless the gay world shows positive signs of wanting it to.

To expect more work to be done by gay organisations when they haven’t enough cash in hand to keep going at present levels is futile. There’s no question of “chicken or egg?” here. Given the cash, we will do the job. But time is short – for the Albany Trust and for NFHO, as well as for Gay News.

Antony Grey, Managing Trustee

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Why Risk It?

Middlesex

Dear Sir,

I have only seen numbers 9, 11 and 12 of GN.

I advertised in numbers 11 and 12 for someone to share my home and life. There was a bigger response than I expected and I am dealing with this now in what I hope is a civilised way.

Meanwhile, one or two thoughts occur to me. I think the heading of your illegal page is excellent. Some of the ads, however, are a bit doubtful. If you want to remain in circulation, why put it at risk in this way? There is always a temptation, feeling oneself to be in a minority, resentful, a bit aggressive about it, to be daring. Resist it. You do not have the lampooning function of Private Eye, that can tell any client of the blessed Arnold Goodman to get fucked. JS recently found BS by way of your columns (it may have been the other way round!) One of them wanted a big black cock but he could well have found it by other means without exposing you to police prosecution. Stratton-Wells is justified in his complaints. I am half-guilty myself, knowing that particular appeal, though I am not passive. Still, there is a fantasised urge there. I think Antony Storr points out that many active homosexuals want a partner with a big prick, which is, may I say in passing, English vernacular as opposed to the American cock, applicable to both male and female genitalia. The fantasised urges I spoke of can’t be allowed to direct our lives. I hope that JS and BS are happy together.

But I do think that being ‘turned on’ is suspiciously mechanical.

Faults of layout and format are not worth criticising in view of the difficult conditions you have to cope with. I wish you could find a gay millionaire to smooth things out.

Another thing: whatever Messrs JS and BS may say, your business is not to do with cocks and spunk and arseholes. These are very private matters. Gay includes women. Women do not have the apparatus mentioned. Not only do you need to devote more space to women, you also need to promote more effective communication between gay women and men. I am sure you are thinking about this.

Finally, I think you could and should increase the price of GN to at least 40p. You are in a seller’s market, with the unique advantage that you are on the side of the buyer.

Peter Jackson

Second Thoughts

Brighton

Dear Editorial Collective,

At your invitation I feel I must write and ask who is the self-styled Mary Whitehouse, or Little Hitler? Who has barred such innocent words as leather and denim from the personal ads ?

While I must agree some of the ads have been near the knuckle. I’m sure the situation doesn’t justify this discriminatory action.

Why, even in GN 12, Julian got all switched on when “he” visited the Wheatsheaf’s Green Room. I can’t wait to get there.

If you don’t want to continue the personal adverts for fear of prosecution, then come clean and say so, and don’t inflict this dictatorial attitude. After all. I’m sure everyone knows the idea of the ads.

I was hoping to put a personal advert in after Christmas, but for fear of this censorship, I am having second thoughts. So will many others.

Have another think about this matter, and come up with a logical answer.

Roy Bonham

PS. Have subscribed to no 23. Make it!

ED: Sorry we didn’t explain our new policy towards personal ads clearly enough in GN13. We most certainly are not “barring” words such as leather and denim. But for now we must alter or refuse adverts which explicitly refer to sexual acts, preferences or organs, ie whipping, CP, well-endowed, etc.

Love Lives Forever

London, SW8

Dear Gay News,

Your correspondent Doug Pollard approached the problem of ageing (GN 12 page 7) with as much wit as possible. Correct. Better laugh than cry, always. But I must tell you that the lads at the disco don’t tell me (as Doug does) to go and find an armchair at the Athenaem; and talking to my old school chums (all those bloody bishops). On the contrary, the lads at the disco invite me to come again, because I love them and they (bless their hearts) love me.

There’s only one solution to the problem. We must create a special Marxism for grandpas. What about joining the T.G.W.U. (Terpsichorian Grandpas of the World Unite) and then I can buy a ticket to the Yuletide National Lorrydrivers Lottery (You’ve nothing to loose but your life).

To be serious, Doug, I think that your phrase “gone for ever” is a bit defeatist in tone. Of course you are perfectly right in a way. If homosexuality is simply a question of cocks and balls and having it off, then certainly there comes an end to that.

But homosexuality isn’t that. It’s love, and love doesn’t go, it lives forever.

So let me stay on the disco circuit, where I guarantee I’ll find more courage, humility, generosity, gentleness and sheer love per square foot than anywhere else in London, possibly in the world. Oh brave new world that hath such creatures in it. Even Pale Brother Death is halted, and stands amazed.

Dai Grove.

Face It Babes

Dear Collective,

Sorry, but I’d like to inject a sour, critically appraising note into the general chorus of congratulation. Of course it is good that you exist and the paper is mildly entertaining, though not very informative. But how many other gays besides me are increasingly turned off by the prevailing giggly, simpering, juvenile tone representing all that is passé and stupid and discredited in the homosexual image.

Face it, babes, there is something tawdry about Gay News. Just not enough reality and intelligence.

It is mostly badly written, amateurish and uncritical in its comments on almost everything. I am not calling for the over-intellectualised approach, just a more balanced and broad depiction of the real variety and maturity in much of the gay world.

And how confused can your values get? That calendar has a photograph of Mae West who may be the object of a cult but has been known for years to be extremely hostile to gay men. I suppose you’re being good Christian gays (who needs them?) in turning the other — you should pardon the expression— cheek, but first rule of any revolution, no matter how minor, is know thine enemy.

Daniel James

Fem or Butch

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I’ve just returned from a gay club in London where I was asked if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ — having never considered this, I just said I was a person. However it seemed that people expected to know if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ in order to relate themselves to me; ie was I a good pick up. I find it equally hard to relate to fem and butch images and all their restrictions. Perhaps it’s my restriction but I suggest that these gay women are presenting the stereotypes that one can find in any straight disco/bar. They also prevent other gay women coming out by turning them off the gay scene because these gay women seek individuality rather than conformity. Anyway, I’d like to know what other people think of this.

Incidentally, we’d like more women members of GLF in Leeds, we have fluctuated to two at the moment.

Jane

Much Ado

Bayswater

Dear Gay News,

Whilst, probably correctly, petulantly chanting again and again your dissociation with any organisation, do you dare print this letter and admit in reply to James Knight that Roger Baker, Press Officer for CHE wrote the attack on Martin Stafford for your newspaper?

Love, B S

ED: We dared to print your letter. So what?

Bugging the Bugs

London

Dear Gay News,

Thanks a lot for that really interesting article on crabs in GN8! As you said we can all be a bit simple sometimes and I must qualify for simpleton of the year award. I’ve been scratching my balls for about a week or so, and it was only when re-reading some back numbers of GN that I realised what I had got. I immediately rushed round to the local chemists for the Quellada (and got an icy and disgusted look from the assistant as she gave it to me!) Got a hot (too hot) bath with about half a bottle of Dettol in it and proceeded to cover myself with the recommended lotion. Then I took everything I’d worn, the bedsheets, towels and all to the laundrette and the dry cleaners. All this as you can imagine cost me a fortune, the dry cleaning alone came to £1.50. I’m still racking my brains to think when and where I could have caught the little bastards, as I get a bath very regularly and use plenty of Femfresh – er I mean Old Spice!

What really made me uptight was that the other night I was with a really fabulous boy at a club and had to make excuses when he asked me back to his place, as I still had the Quellada lotion on my body! Thanks to the above mentioned article and its excellent advice I have got rid of the pesky things and can start to live again!

On another track. I’d like to say how fantastic I think Gay News is and give my love to Julian! Keep the gay flag flying!

Rick

Lovely Points

Dear Gay News,

That letter from ‘Queenies Castle’ really slayed us (Gay News issue number 12). “If” Sebastion is “straight”, then “call me Madam”. Perhaps He (or she) had a tiff with the Manager of the “dear old Bio” and plans to get her revenge.

Keep on writing, Julian, we love to read your points of view. We also think “Queenies Castle” should be renamed “HATTERS CASTLE”.

Martha, Michelle and Diana

Never Be Parents

London, W14.

Dear Gay News,

Few people seem to be aware of the unhappiness facing the Lesbian who loves children, but, because she cannot respond to men, despairs of ever having any children of her own.

Many gay men marry women who understand their problems and together they managed to bring up happy children. Gay women, on the other hand, have to find all their emotional satisfaction in their relationships with other women – and as they get older, with increasingly young girls who tend to become daughter substitutes.

Not all gay women may have found this, but it has been my experience. All my men friends are gay; all the straight men I ever knew lost interest not being content with a non-sexual relationship. Good riddance anyway. In retrospect they are all so hung-up on role playing that they couldn’t see the real person in me or themsleves.

Is there anyone who is really into kids and is not hung-up on sex and roles? Creative and understanding? I would like to hear about gay or bi men who also get depressed because they think they will never be parents.

Dierdre.

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Rallying Point

Dear Gay News,

I saw Gay News on sale at Better Books Charing Cross Road – and my eagerness to find out about you overcame the diffidence/shyness that makes one hesitant at making a purchase which tactically ‘labels’ the purchaser. (Yes I know it’s foolish: why should we be furtive? It is a habit that many of us have grown into in self-defence but or rather thanks to GLF, CHE and publications like yours — it is becoming increasingly unnecessary).

The paper is just what was lacking, a sort of rallying point for all the progressive movements that have sprung up in recent years. Nothing is more encouraging to potential activists than news of what other people are doing. I’m sure you are going to do a great deal of good for the homosexual cause just by existing, for there is a danger of slipping back if the movements become splintered up with too much infighting. This is how ‘they’ have always kept the upper hand, divide and rule. By uniting all the various groups informally, which Gay News does simply by reporting what everyone is doing, we can avert this danger and continue to move forward. You are right to preserve your independence since this way you can be of greatest value to all groups and individuals… may you go from strength to strength.

Not the least pleasurable thing about Gay News is your selling price. For the first time we have a publication that everyone can afford, not just a rip-off ‘bold’ progressive Gay Magazine which just happens to cost 50p (or more) an issue. For far too long, gay people have been exploited by publishers who have artificially inflated prices just to make a quick profit – and this attitude extends to other spheres. Perhaps with your encouragement we can attack this particular injustice too. Readers will I’m sure, respond to your invitation on page ten to write in with comments on goods and services etc. This is a case where unity is strength since gay people are consumers with enormous total purchasing power – and only too eager to go where the best value is to be found.

Let me end with a practical suggestion for those readers like myself who are non-activist but feel they would like to do something tangible for the cause. Campaigning and street selling, etc are for the youngsters, and many of us cannot afford to be over-generous with our money or time. But there is one simple, and inexpensive thing we can do, buy two copies instead of one and leave the extra one on the train or bus or wherever it can do most good. With best wishes to everyone responsible for Gay News which is so beautifully produced in every way. Keep up the good work.

John

Vassall and Parole

Chiswick, London W4.

Dear Gay News,

Having read the letter from Michael, of Bromley, in yesterday’s Gay News, (GN12, page 6) I feel that it is imperative that the misconception raised thereby should be corrected without delay.

A person released on licence by the Secretary of State under Sec 60, Criminal Justice Act 1967 (CJA67) is only subject to supervision under that licence until the actual day upon which he would have normally been due for release from prison had he not been granted parole. After that date he is just as free from restrictions as if he had never been allowed early release on licence. This is an absolute rule (always provided that no further offence has been committed during the parole period); it could not be otherwise: to extend the period of supervision beyond the normal release-date would be to increase the sentence imposed by the judge at the trial. I quote:

“A licence granted to any person under this section shall … remain in force until a date specified in the licence, being …
… the date on which he could have been discharged from prison on remission of part of his sentence under the prison rules …”

CJA67, Sec 60(6) (b)

Therefore Vassall will only be subject to supervision for some TWO years – not eight as suggested – that is until the date upon which his release would have been due in any event.*

If any Gay News readers are troubled with legal problems on which they would like advice, I would be only too glad to anwer any enquiries, which should be sent to me c/o the Gay News Office. When writing, remember the more detail you give the easier it is to give advice. All letters will, of course, be treated in the strictest confidence. Love to all gays – everywhere,

Steve Williams

*Ps: The recently passed CJA72 in no way affects what I’ve said re parole.

Gay Public Relations

London, SW4

Dear GN Collective,

When I first started subscribing to Gay News I was none too sure of my motives. A homosexual newspaper must, by definition, be primarily concerned with sex. I have never bought or subscribed to any other sex-orientated paper or magazine before, so why do I read Gay News? Perhaps more than anything to be reassured that I am not some sort of freak, that, as Lord Arran put it in GN1, we are ‘… just human beings like anyone else.’

The problem is of course that society at large still has difficulty in believing this. Lord Arran suggested that publicity can only do us harm. It can ‘…only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds… But without publicity we simply return to square one – those strange creatures who inhabit a twilight world — a subject best swept under the carpet. We can only become acceptable if we publicise the fact, as often as possible, that we are about as normal as anyone else, and not people to be despised or feared.

Because of our limited acceptability we have practically no access to national newspapers, so the next best thing is our own newspaper. Gay News. We, like other minority groups — Naturists, Esperantists, Radio Hams, Women’s Lib (at least you may have heard of these) – are getting our own nationwide newspapers and journals, as well as clubs and societies for those who need them. Let’s hope Gay News becomes as acceptable and as popular as Hi-fi News, Woman’s Own or Dalton’s Weekly. More popular!

Chris

Correcting False Impressions

Dear Gay News,

In reference to Jakov Geissmann’s report on our recent Jewish national ”Think-In” entitled “Judaism and the Jewish Homosexual”, I became deeply disturbed on his very false impression in the way he described it as 8 hours of “boredom” to the extent that he himself left the meeting in the middle of our principal guest speaker’s talk. In order that your readers should not be misinformed, it’s my duty (as organiser of this think-in) to emphasise the positive structure and climax of this meeting. I have since discussed it with out Jewish group, and we are generally convinced that indeed it was a very successful meeting. Incidentally, no member of the group has ever heard of Jakov Geissmann so I can only presume that he sent in his report purely as an observer. Briefly, please allow me space in your column to inform your readers why we believe it was a success.

(1) Dr. Wendy Greengross in her opening remarks, accepting us as normal and healthy people, being part of society in the same way as heterosexuals.

(2) The vast number of Jewish gays who publicly declared themselves, just like an awareness group, where everybody quite freely spoke about themselves, especially in relationship to their families, followed by a general discussion.

(3) Last, but not least, our principal guest speaker, Dr Alan Unterman PhD, Student Chaplain to Manchester University, and a very humanistic and religious Jew, has made a deep research into the problems facing Jewish gays. Admittedly he quoted the Bible which forbids homosexuality, however he emphasised that according to “Judaism” there are no heterosexuals or homosexuals, basically we are all bi-sexual, although many people would disagree on this fact. He said, that Adam, being the first man was created both male and female, and at the birth of Eve, Adam was split.

He went on to define that “male and female are two halves of one whole”. His talk was obviously followed by a very heated discussion, but I stress at no time did he reject us, on the contrary he constantly accepted us as “normal” people, but insisted that we are all bi-sexual. The session ended with a very moving talk by Antony Grey of the Albany Trust, who throughout his ten years of counselling, mentioned the disturbing number of Jewish gays where marriage and family unity in the Jewish religion was the main problem facing the Jewish Gay. None of these points I’ve mentioned was remarked by Jakov Geissmann. Also since he even left before Antony Grey’s talk, on the contrary, Mr Grey himself said that he found the entire meeting most interesting and constructive and enjoyed every minute of it. In conclusion, due to our questionnaire form. I’ve had a massive response from Jewish gays interested to continue a Jewish group and I shall be pleased to answer anyone who wishes to write to me. Last, but not least, may I take this opportunity in congratulating Gay News . as Britain’s No 1 first class independent gay paper, you are doing a wonderful job and I sincerely hope that eventually your paper will be available over the counter at all national newsagents and bookstalls throughout the country.

Love and Peace,

Simon Benson, Albion Court, 75 Larkhall Rise, London SW4 6HS

Better Understanding

Dear GN,

I welcome the news that GN is branching further afield and featuring items of general interest.

This is a wise decision as it will strengthen the paper and attract heterosexuals to read Gay News, and also make them understand the problems we face and that our views on life are similar to theirs.

This in turn will make for a better understanding in our fight for equal recognition.

Carry on GN, you have my full support.

P Atkins (Miss)

Utterly Amazed

Osterley TW7 4PX
Middlesex.

Dear Gay News,

I have read and enjoyed all the issues of Gay News to date, but I find one startling fact about your ads, and that is that your paper puts an ad in pleading for new premises and has done so for quite a few months now, but to my utter amazement (and no doubt yours) you have had no response whatsoever. Surely there must be property owners in London who could help you out. In fact I would have thought that gay people all over London would wish to help THEIR paper out.

Sadly it is quite obvious to me that whilst it’s okay to read Gay News in private it is too much to help out a damn good paper openly.

Finally I would like to stress that I am in no way connected with Gay News but felt so disgusted with the gay community to which this letter concerns that I felt something should be said publicly on your behalf,

Royston Williams

Lemon Drop Kids

London, N8

Dear Lemon,

When will you realise that throwing shit at Martin Stafford is counter-productive?

I know that Martin is a humourless little twerp who’s dreadfully hung up; but if that’s his kink, let him be.

It’s very wrong of you to think that Martin is alone in his opinions. He isn’t. Throughout the country he has a great deal of support – especially from the more paranoid ghetto queens. But his supporters are by no means confined to that group.

Fresh recruits flock to his counter-revolutionary banner all the time. Some just agree with everything he says: others feel sorry for him (if you’ve ever seen him you’ll know what I mean) and tend to be especially so after the sort of bollocking he got in GN11.

The Martin Staffords of this world have an annoying habit of having the last laugh. This may well not happen with the Martin Stafford, as he does not seem able to laugh.

The only way to get rid of this type of person who constantly tries to betray his own kind is to let him condemn himself with his own (incredibly silly) words. I suggest you forgo the Bitter Lemon and try a bit of arsenic and old lace.

James Knight

ED: Denis Lemon did not write the piece concerning Martin Stafford in GN11, although he does completely condone what was said.

No Drinking

Bedfordshire

Dear Sirs,

I would like to pass a mild comment on the article ‘Lancette’ by a ‘real doctor’, in Gay News No9

The author states that the only reason doctors advise against alcohol is that one is likely to have carefree sex if one is drunk; and that in no way does alcohol affect the treatment being given.

I’m undergoing a course of treatment of pills to clear myself of non-specific urethritis. After having taken them for nearly a week, my symptoms subsided to the extent that I had to look for them. One evening (still taking the pills) I had less than five drinks.

On awakening the next morning, my symptoms had re appeared, and the discharge I was suffering had worsened.

My I suggest to your author that he thinks before quoting age-old cliches, and that he doesn’t include us all in the sexist gay society in London, where sleeping with a man is as common as drinking a glass of water. Sex is, to me, still very beautiful and very personal.

N. Ferguson

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Scandalous Behaviour

Woodsetts, nr. Worksop,
Notts

Dear Gay News,

I have been going to write to you for some time but have kept putting it off through laziness. What has at last impelled me to shake off my torpor is the appalling and scandalous action of Mr Martin Stafford as reported in Gay News no 11.

As a fellow member of CHE’s Executive Committee, I am well aware of the petulant and selfish attitude that he adopts. But I am horrified that even he could go to the lengths that you have reported. To disagree with your policy of publishing contact ads is one thing; but to go over to the enemy in this way is something that ought not even be considered by someone holding any official position in an organisation such as CHE. I am absolutely sure that the overwhelming majority of CHE members will join with me in condemning such action in the strongest possible terms. I must congratulate Gay News for its objective (even kindly) reporting of the episode. It is time that CHE took some firm action to put Mr Stafford in his place as the squalid little nuisance that he is.

On the same subject, more or less, I find it very sad that so many of our brother and sister homosexuals, while looking for and expecting sympathy and understanding for their own problems find it so difficult to be sympathetic and understanding of those of others. Typical is the letter of VJM of Dublin in GN 11. What is so awful about camping it up in female clothes that a repressed pederast finds so hard to accept?

In the meantime, it’s an ill wind … etc. I have at last got round to telling you what a good job you are doing and sending you the small donation and the cigarette coupons that I have been meaning to do for some time.

With congratulations and all good wisnes tor continued success.

H. E. (Ike) Cowan

Good News, Bad News

London WC1

Dear Friends and Lovers,

Congratulations on what must be the very best issue of Gay News yet (No. 11). What with one of my very favourite people on the cover and that splendid interview with Shuff, I sat transfixed in the laundromat long after my knickers had finished tumbling dry. Mrs Shufflewick is certainly the best drag artist working today, a comedian of genius. The interview proved that the success of such articles (which only come off now and then) lies in asking the right question at the right stage in the conversation. So congratulations to Shuff’s interrogators.

Now the bad news. I felt that Peter Homes’ report of the German gay movie at the NFT was inadequate and rather silly. The event was not, I agree, as important as all that. But it was interesting and both the film and the audience’s reaction had messages for us that deserved a rather more serious discussion than that offered.

Finally, your reporter with a cold who couldn’t stay on for CHE’s evening show after the fair has embarrassed me considerably. I certainly did not conceive the one-act musical that was put on, nor did I take part in it. In fact my only contribution to the evening was to appear in a five-minute sketch. Credit where credit’s due, etc — so thank Rex, Michael, Marie and Gavin for the show.

Lots of love,

Roger Baker

Forced to be Free

National Federation of Homophile Organisations,
65 Shoot-up Hill, London, NW2 3PS

Dear Friends,

I don’t consider myself to be “Britain’s number one homosexual”; I simply told the London Medical Group audience that I had publicly been referred to in that way at another recent meeting, so I had no objection whatever to telling them that I was gay. This was in response to a “come out” challenge to the panel by a gay visitor in the audience. I added that the Chairman had set us an impossible task by asking for a “dispassionate and objective” account of homosexuality, because everybody in the world speaks from his or her own personal subjective sexual viewpoint, and I was no exception. But I hoped that having told them I was gay myself would not preclude my hearers from accepting that what I had to say was the result of knowledge gained through ten years’ professional work and responsible experience of running the Albany Trust. We have to scotch the absurd notion that only the “straight” can speak authoritatively about the “gay” (or vice versa).

This little episode did, however, cause me to reflect about “coming out”. It is good to be able to: but not everyone yet can without running considerable social and professional risks. Isn’t it somewhat unfair for those who are in a more fortunate situation not to recognise this? To taunt a panel of three professional people, only one of whom (myself) was able to publicly lay homosexuality on the line without almost inevitable and immediately damaging repercussions in their own sphere of work, strikes me as oppressive. It’s utterly wrong, of course, that such repercussions should still happen, but until we have all done much more to put society right in this respect, each one of us must surely be left to decide how far, and in what ways, we can come out. I have fought as hard as anyone for gay liberation and other civil rights causes; but I would resent being “forced to be free” a la Rousseau.

What those who still feel bound to remain “in the closet” can do, however, is to make the work of those of us in the various homophile groups and publications more effective by seeing to it that we aren’t starved out of existence. The entire homophile movement is in a state of chronic financial crisis that threatens its continued life. I hope all your readers will carefully consider the urgent needs of the Albany Trust, the NFHO and its member organisations, GLF, Gay News, and the various other homophile publications and see to it that if they can’t yet come out of their closets, they do dig deeper into their pockets so that we can all do more to make 1973 a year that is safer for gay people to come out in.

Love and Peace,

Antony Grey,
Chairman

Slagging Julian

Queenies Castle
Sussex

Dearest Darling Gay News.

Much though I love your newspaper, I have just one teensy-weensy complaint. I refer of course dears, to our little friend Julian Denys Grinspoon. Really, I don’t know why he bothers! He doesn’t give anything worth having; and what a pseud name!

Well really, loves, who wants to know what films are on at our dear old Bio? No one ever goes there for the films, do they? One gets enough carnal knowledge from just sitting there; and as for active participation, well I don’t think I need tell you old queens anything about that! Jules makes such a fuss just because some silly duchess at the cinema wouldn’t give him what he wants. Then he makes a big thing about telling us about all the people he eventually got it from (the programme of course). As if we want to know about his private life anyway.

The double-entendres are just too much personally I don’t like that sort of thing. He’s always doing things behind people’s backs just to get his own way. That sort of thing was illegal you know! So, why do all you lovelies at Gay News waste your space (and time) on him? Anyway, loves, he’s so camp and that’s one thing I cannot stand!

Thanks for your mag.
Lots of love,
A straight reader and friend,

Sebastian

Call to All Gay Sisters

Dear Gay News,

This is really a call to all lady gays. I fervently agree with the letter from Sappho (GN10) and I sing in chorus “where have all the ladies gone?”

I’m sure I am not the only female reading this wonderful newspaper. But the guys rule the waves once again, don’t let them hog all the paper. I know lots about them and have seen plenty of their arses. How about giving me a little of what I want. Let’s have a few of our lady friends saying something about themselves. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a sexy little ladie’s page if we tried hard enough. But there is only you who can bring that about, so write in and say something – anything! Like, where a few of you lovely ladies hang out! I’m a fresher to London and am still looking for lots of friends and a tour around the gay places. So don’t keep your info to yourselves, let’s all know about it. I’m looking for an opening – don’t keep me waiting! Write and tell me, and lots like me I’m sure, where we can meet some of you lovely ladies.

Love to you all,

Lynne

ED: Please get in touch with us Lynne, you forgot to put your name and address on your letter. Without your address we cannot forward any letters to you.

No GLF At CHE

London W6

Dear Collective.

May I bring this information to the attention of your readers. Going down to the CHE London Information Centre to do my lunchtime stint on the rota on Monday, November 6, I was told by the office manager that on the previous Sunday a decision was taken by the London Management Committee of CHE to remove all GLF literature in LIC.

The reason given was that LIC had too much of a left-wing flavour, and that GLF literature was too much in evidence. I observed that other gay literature including one of full frontal nudes was untouched by this censorship.

LIC exists surely to provide first information, on CHE, then information on all other gay organisations regardless of any political, religious or any other basis. I certainly was not aware that GLF dominated the diplay, nor was I conscious of the left-wing flavour of LIC — whatever sinister spectre that term conjures in certain narrow minds. It is sad to see this rage over gay-red-under-the-bed getting the better of some of our brothers and sisters, or is there some deeper motive behind this first move? Whatever the reason I am sure this decision is a bad one and must be resolutely opposed. Group Chairmen, please note.

Teck Ong

Truer Homosexuality

Durham

Dear Gay News,

The article in a recent Gay News about so-called pederasty prompted me to get my thoughts on the subject in order and write this.

Basically I’m bisexual. At the moment I’m more heterosexually than homosexually inclined, but this is more because of ‘supply’ than ‘demand’. As far as the homosexual side of my sexual make-up goes I could be defined as a pederast, because I’m chiefly attracted to guys in an age-range of about 15—22. I doubt whether I could get it on with anyone older than this. I’ve thought about the reasons for my choice, and they’re something like this.

Physically and mentally, I’m a pretty fair balance between masculine and feminine. I’m also 19 (so that makes half my sexual make-up illegal but I don’t care, it’s the law that’s wrong), and I’m attracted to similar people. Maybe this is truer homosexuality than that seen in many couples where the butch/bitch syndrome is their basis. Anyway, there’s an elusive blend of masculine hardness and slimness with feminine softness which really turns me on. Quite a lot of guys in this age-group have it, and so do some women; the only trouble is, all the guys are straight! So I do the next best thing and go with women…

I’ve written mainly about physical characteristics; but before anyone writes a nasty reply, I do take mental characteristics into account, indeed very much so. however I can’t get it on with a guy or chick unless I fancy them. What a hangup!

Chris

Letterette Of The Month

Sidcup, Kent

… Thanks a lot … great reading … love the ads … love it all … Happiness is egg shaped … and so am I.

EL

Gay Movie

46, Cavan Drive, St Albans, Herts.

Dear Gay News,

I am in the process of finishing a gay film ‘Love Of My Own’ and I would like to hear from interested parties, in getting it on celluloid. Script-writers, film-directors with experience, actors, non-actors, and people with finance. This film calls for actresses (not in drag). I would like any gay director of a company to give permission to use the board room, and also anyone with a large house with swimming pool, so come on, let’s really make this film for 1973.

RL

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Your Letters Continued

Bigoted Letters

London EC2

Dear Gay News,

May I be permitted space in reply to the bigoted letters of Michael Harth and J B Marr in GN10.

Both are concerned with what Michael refers to as ‘screaming queens’ and Mr Marr as ‘gyrating freaks’.

It is always my expectation that the victims of prejudice and irrationality will be capable of recognising such attitudes within themselves when they are confronted by ‘deviations’ that they find disturbing in other people. This expectation is frequently disappointed. As the film It Is Not The Homosexual Who Is Perverse etc. puts it, gays who are, in general, put down by the society in which they live are often anxious to find others at whom they themselves can point the finger of scorn.

Of course, this is a phenomenon that applies not merely to gays, but is worldwide. The lighter-skinned black likes to feel superior to the darker-skinned; the Western Jew likes to feel superior to the Eastern Jew; the white-collar worker likes to feel superior to the tradesman or labourer, the pink-skinned ‘white’ likes to feel superior to those who have black, yellow or red skins; and so on … Oppressed and exploited himself, and very often not conscious of his own oppression, the superior person needs to compensate for his feelings of inferiority. The most obvious expression of this phenomenon is the dominant male/dependant female relationship.

Messrs Marr and Harth, to judge by their language, apparently believe that they themselves are acceptable to the society in which they live, and are afraid that they may lose their ‘respectability’ by being linked with their more obvious brothers. Both rationalise their fear and anger, Mr Marr by using emotive terms like ‘mincing’, ‘unwashed’ and ‘perverts’ to describe the objects of his abhorrance and suggesting that they are obsessed with sex, conveniently forgetting or not realising that the heterosexual world’s preoccupation with sex is so overwhelming that we hardly even notice it any longer – the mere fact that men wear trousers and women wear dresses is a display of sexual preoccupation (and differentiation) so enormous that we have come to take it for granted!

Michael Harth is able to rationalise his detestation by defining ‘us’ (that is, himself) as ‘true’ homosexuals and ‘them’ as pseudo-heterosexuals. How clever of Michael to be able to reach such a satisfactory conclusion when most of the people doing research in the field of homosexuality find the subject so complex that they feel unable to draw any conclusions, or, if they do, their conclusions are frequently at variance, one with the other!

What Michael and Mr Marr fail to understand is that the problem (if that is what it should be called) has nothing to do with the screaming queens but is entirely in their own heads. If some males of the human species prefer to dress and act differently from the manner in which your two correspondents think they ought to dress and act, that is not Michael’s or Mr Marr’s concern. Every human being has the right to choose his or her own way of life as long as it does no physical or mental harm to others. If other people choose to be offended, that is their option, but being offended is not the same as being hurt or victimised or brainwashed.

One small amendment to my remark about the ‘queen’s’ life-style not being Michael’s concern. Michael appears to be proud of belonging to CHE. But CHE is an organisation for all gays, and its specific aim is equality in society for all gays. If he wishes to exclude from CHE those gays whose way of life is not to his taste, then he has either to do some hard re-thinking or to resign from CHE. To that extent, the ‘screaming queens’ are his concern. I hope Michael will recollect the words of one of his favourite philosophers, Schopenhauer … “The truth was not found because … the intention was to find preconceived opinion …”

Love and peace,

L Collinson

Biased or Objective?

London

Dear Gay News,

I was sorry to see that your reporting of the Champion trial was so biased. As a defence witness I saw a number of things which your reporter failed to notice, for reasons best known to himself. For instance, the fuzz not merely grabbed someone’s camera but kicked members of the public downstairs, simply because some of them were objecting to the way the MacKenzie lawyer was being treated.

I also think that at a time when we should be fighting together, your reporter’s bitchy remarks about Peter Reed are unnecessary and useless. Whatever Peter did or did not do, I’m sure the reporter might have managed to remember to get hold of the testimony of the defence witnesses. I find it a rather poor excuse for his lack of reporting.

Incidents such as these embitter relations between GLF and Gay News; and it would be sad if what is otherwise a very good paper continued to print deliberately unfavourable reports about Gay Lib.

Yours,

Frank Honore

Vassall Supervision?

Bromley

Dear Gay News,

I read your item about William Vassall (GN10) with interest, but remain curious about one aspect that is not mentioned by you.

Since he had been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, in normal circumstances after allowing for good conduct remission of one third, he would have been discharged after twelve years. In view of every reports’ reference to his exemplary behaviour in prison, one can quite safely assume that this would have been the case. As he is released on parole I believe that he is subject to some form of supervision for the remainder of his original sentence — another eight years from now.

The authorities by releasing him two years earlier (ten years instead of twelve) have managed therefore to retain control of William Vassal for a further eight years from the date of his sentence. He would have been released in two years time, with no supervision for the following six years.

Can any of your readers let me know whether I have got my facts right?

All best wishes,

Michael

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Whoops!

4, Hamilton Close,
London NW8

Dear Sir,

Just to let you know, as calmly and sweetly as the situation permits, that the beautiful back photo on p7 of GN 10 is by me, repeat me. It is nothing to do with the journal called GAY TIMES, to which it is acknowledged, except insofar as they have printed it once, without bothering to acknowledge it at all.

The model, being well over 21, when this picture was taken, will no doubt be having the last laugh when he sees it used as an illustration on this particular subject!

Yours faithfully,

Karry Knight

Feminism is a Drag

Co Dublin,
Ireland.

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed my renewed subscription to Gay News.

I think it is a super production, but I sometimes get very depressed when I read all about the persecutions, prosecutions and the drag scene. The latter is stupidly too feminine for my liking and spoils the true concept of a homosexual.

In GN8 you had a short article on pederasts. Well, I’m afraid I’m one and as someone said in your paper, I must have a very sick mind. Maybe I have, but I have never approached or molested a child in my life, nor do I intend to. It’s far too dangerous to do and would spoil that child’s future. I reckon my mind isn’t as sick as those that dress up as women and those that act and address each other in female terms. They just cannot appreciate the male form.

For some years now I have adored, from a distance. boys of the ages 12 to 16 years. I think their faces, in most cases, are the prettiest of any human, their build just perfect. To me the body of a man is revolting and I would rather die than share a bed with one and likewise the thought of buggery is nauseating. My dream would be in the position of being able to kiss a boy from head to toe and no more.

I have never met a homosexual person in my life. Maybe because I don’t look for one. I have read many books and magazines which I often find revolting, but sometimes get satisfaction in seeing magazines of nude boys. I have never seen a real live body of a nude boy since I was a kid myself. I would really give anything, and I mean this, to see one and be with one. I have often felt like advertising, but realised it would be stupid because of the law.

It is terribly frustrating to look at a boy and not be able to touch him even though you don’t intend him any harm…

It is the first time I have ever written to a paper or a magazine. Gay News is the most advanced paper I have come across and I sincerely wish you continued success and safety.

Yours sincerely,

VJM

Beware Of Longford

Dear Gay News,

I was so enraged to see that letter in GN9 by HRA (whoever the hell he is) condemning the picture of Longford and Cliff Richard that I felt compelled to write. I reject any notion that it was in “appalling bad taste”. I found it was very funny, and it made my day. Thank God someone has got a sense of humour.

I must admit that Lord Longford has always been a source of amusement to me, but that hit the bull. If it was mocking, then it was justified. If HRA is offended by the sight of a prick, then I feel sorry for him, he’s missing out on a hell of a lot!

Going back to Lord Longford as a person, it must be admitted that he indeed has a social conscience, but his idea of ‘helping’ is ludicrous, and even frightening. All that he believes in centres around sex, pornography etc; he seems to have it on the brain (which sounds bloody uncomfortable to me). People associate him with pornography, because every time we hear about him he rattles on about it. True, he might ‘help’ drop-outs, but then I could give you a list as long as your… no, longer, of people who devote their whole life to helping in the true sense of the word.

In case anybody did not realise, Lord Longford is officially a nothing. Despite the title and the fact that he can gas away in the House of Lords, he is only one person, and represents nobody – as an MP does. He is a member of a chamber that is not elected, therefore undemocratic, and unrepresentative. He is one of the many one-time officials that are put out to grass in the Lords. He has the advantage of assuming importance so that the Government could well take notice of his monstrous report.

For anyone who knows what freedom of expression is, beware, because if Longford gets his way, you’ll lose what you’re just getting.

Although it is only one little aspect of the subject, if Oz offends someone, don’t read it. If Oh! Calcutta! depraves, don’t look at it. And if the children are going to be corrupted, the goddamn parents can make sure that they only see what’s OK till they’re old enough to judge. After all, nothing will survive unless there is the demand.

Sorry this letter is so long and rambling, but let me end on a serious note. Well done to all the collective, you’re doing a great job. I’d send some money, but I’m out of a job and I’m broke; never mind, it’s the thought that counts.

Adrian.

How To Sell More GN

Dear Gay News,

One way to encourage more people to read GN (re: editorial in GN9) is for regular readers never to throw away a copy. Every copy can be left in a public place, trains and buses being the most convenient, rather than the dustbin.

Now that the paper is well-established, borough librarians could be expected to consider requests for the paper in public libraries; or is that asking too much?

JE

ED: The best way to get Gay News into public libraries is for GN readers to demand that their librarians order it and put it on display.

CHE And Tight Foreskins

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I have recently been reading your paper which I find very interesting. There are two points from recent issues about which I would like to comment:

Firstly, someone seems to think that membership of CHE is limited to those over 21. This is not the case, though a particular local group may, if it so wishes, restrict its membership in this way. (Leeds does NOT).

Secondly, the tight foreskin problem. As an (ex) fellow sufferer, I read about this with real feeling. I suggest that unless the problem is quite exceptional the easiest and most natural method is best (I detest surgery). The method is to use a dropper with olive oil on it, drop into the problem area and very gently ease it to and fro. If this is done two or three times a week, for a month or so, you will soon find it can be pushed right back, washed, and the hood slid back with just a touch of oil for lubrication. The worst is then over, an occasional working to and fro and all will be fine (it was with me anyhow). This method was recommended by a doctor.

All good wishes.

Henry Giles Leeds Chairman, CHE

Shoddy Performance

London W8

Dear Sir,

David Lutyens’s review of my book One In Twenty in GN8 is incompetent and absurd; he cannot have actually read the book at all. He says I deplore the fact that there are no serious homosexuals. But I do no such thing – on the contrary in Chapter Four I devote a whole page to listing homosexuals of genius, including nearly all those Mr Lutyens mentions himself, plus a great many more. In fact all that he fulminates against me for not mentioning, I do, and discuss at length: that every woman has a masculine side and every man a feminine side; that homosexuality is found in primitive as well as advanced cultures and so on.

He does not tell your readers who publishes the book (Seeker and Warburg), nor how much it costs (£1.50). He discusses it as if it were a new book, when in fact it was published six years ago, when homosexual acts between adult males were still crimes and the whole social atmosphere surrounding the subject was quite different from today. He misspells my name throughout the review. In fact, he gets everything wrong. What a shoddy performance!

Bryan Magee

ED: If any other reader would care to review One In Twenty, we will gladly print it.

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Your Letters Cont.

Intrigued

Manchester M20 9DT

Gentlemen,

Your initial issue was sent to me by courtesy of the SMG. After contemplating your style and format, decided that a subscription for 20 issues would at least be an encouragement. Very promptly issues 2 to 7 arrived. I spent an exhausting evening catching up, somewhat mentally indigestible. Today number 8 arrived. Thank you for expertise, and the underlying instinct of not wishing to sermonise. Every issue has been an improvement on its predecessor. Even those bachelors have been spelt correctly; there must be a reason why the ‘t’ appears in so many gay journals.

The published letters intrigue me as also does your warning to letter writers, surely you don’t mean it? I have a sneaking suspicion that journalists write their own letters: At least you admit to asking, loaded questions to the BBC – considering the present climate of opinion, I think that you got a very fair reply — but surely First Class Philip, who says he is fed up at his classification. Maybe it’s all that ‘fucking’ that labels him. For surely we are classified by others, not ourselves, we just present the evidence, for the writing on the tags. Basically I think I know what he means, or rather implies. After some 30 years’ knowledge of myself as a homosexual, am not over concerned how I am labelled. If the GLF wish to lighten up the darkness, limp wristing it down the Dilly, with a Lily, so what? One does not have to join in. Frankly I rather enjoy the occasions. The audience are often as not more amusing than the play. We are classed, labelled, tagged, call it what you will, by the company we keep. Surely our First Class Male has heard of CHE.

Have been collecting, and subscribing to all types of gay literature and journals for many years. Am currently in the process of comprising a thesis on ‘gay publishing’ past, present and future. It will no doubt give my foundation heart failure, let’s hope the examiners take it home to bed. I’ll get that Ph.D. Cast that couch aside.

Your collective collation full of candour and camp, compels me to enclose a cheque for £5. Better than wasting it on the local rent.

Just for interest’s sake, notice that you have advertised GIN and JEFFERY, no response from them so far. I sent them P.O.’s not wishing to add to my Bank Manager’s heart failure. Way of all flesh no doubt. Quorum seem to be quivering, maybe it’s that man at the G.P.O.

Lots of luck – but does Mr J.D. Blount exist? Your cullusive collective.

With apologies for the alliteration and the typescript. Must find myself an au pair boy who can type.

Richard Spenceley

ED: The letters printed in GN are, of course, all received from readers. Thanks for your donation, Richard, it’s now safely in our vaults.

Our Wonderful Policemen

Surbiton,
Surrey.

Dear Gay News,

In many gay’ publications, including Gay News, one reads with monotonous regularity complaints and stories of allegations against the police concerning their actions and manner towards gay people.

In GN9 there was an article called Spying in Cubicles. The writer complained of police action against him. I would like to ask him what does he think should happen? I am sure he must be fully aware that such actions to which he admits can only lead to arrest, prosecution and punishment. So if he wishes to engage in such pastimes in public places instead of in private places, he should take his punishment and learn from it and not try to cast blame on the police for doing their duty. He also states that there were no children about that afternoon, but I am sure he must now be aware that a young child could have walked in, if he was not so aware before.

I would also state that I have used both gay pubs in Earls Court and many others, and have seen police move people on outside the Coleherne, but it has been when the footway has been completely obstructed and passers-by have been forced to push through a crowd or walk in the roadway. Their manner (the police) I have found to be polite and justifiable.

The number of times I have been stopped while trolling by the police, I have again found them polite and courteous. Perhaps if one takes a reasonable manner with the police they in turn will take a reasonable line with us. At least, that is my opinion, after many encounters.

I would further state that I am not a police officer nor in any way connected with the police.

Yours faithfully.

S. J. Gardner

Women in the Background

Caerphilly,
Glam,
Wales

Dear Sir,

I agree women do tend to remain in the background a lot more than our brothers, there are many reasons for this.

In the provinces, clubs are few and far between, and many of us don’t care for group activities. In fact, I feel there are still many who do not know these groups exist. I myself, until recently, didn’t know CHE or Gay Lib existed, until I heard Speakeasy on the radio (GN1). There’s one exception, of course, some knew they were gay very early, but not all of us realised we were gay until we were married with children, then what could we do? A divorce, perhaps. That’s not always easy when children are involved. And, admit it, who wants to know you when you’ve got ties? Do we have to wait maybe years, before we can start to live, too. Or will someone, somewhere, realise our need, too, and give us a chance to meet discreetly, not in clubs or bars, but with others like us who need to be discreet.

Women have their cross to bear, too. It may be legal for us, but a great many of us must keep in the background, behind closed doors, because we were not lucky enough to realise we were gay. It’s not only single people who are gay, there’s thousands of us. married with families, and remember there are still a great many who are still in the dark concerning gay magazines, papers, etc. Another way must soon be found if we are to bring a ray of light into these lives.

So, if there is any reader living in the Cardiff area, who would be interested in coming along to a coffee evening, to meet others to talk, relax, or any reader anywhere who would like to write to me, there will always be a friendly ear, and a reply.

Please write to Mrs. D. Higuera, 2 Haldane Court, Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, Glam, South Wales.

D. Higuera (Mrs)

Strange Customs

Dear Collective,

Until I read the letter from HRA of London in GN9 referring to the reply he received to an ad published in a previous issue, I had no idea that it was possible to obtain such material for less than the exorbitant sums charged in the back rooms of Soho bookshops.

I immediately despatched postal orders in many directions to see whether any of them solicited a similar reply. Unfortunately, my letter to Lux Publications in Amsterdam solicited only a note from HM Customs and Excise informing me that I had contravened the Exchange Control Act of 1947 and that my postal order had been seized. This was not what I had been expecting, nor could it be described as an acceptable substitute. I was, therefore, dismayed. And not a little curious to know how they knew there was a PO in the letter. Would it be cynical to suggest that perhaps they have a list of continental magazine publishers (and, by extension, a record of those who write to them?)

If any other readers have had a similar problem, they might like to know that the solution (at least to the financial aspect) is an International Money Order, which, unfortunately, costs 40p as opposed to 2½p for a postal order. The extra expense, however, would safeguard against the interception of mail on grounds of Exchange Control infringement — ie they’d have to find another reason if they really wanted to stop a letter. It would also avoid the disquieting situation of knowing one’s private correspondence is filed in HM vaults (under G for you-know-wot, perhaps).

Incidentally, if someone at HMC&E has been compiling a little list, if he cares to return my postal order I’d gladly send him a photo to file with my name and address.

JT

Ad To Your Pleasure

Dear Sir,

May I thank you so much for such quick replies to my advert in GN9. I have now replied to all concerned, but feel that if it had not been for you, I don’t know what I’d have done. Keep up the good work.

May God bless all gays, Graham