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

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News
unless you state otherwise.

Not All Cock-Happy

Finchley

Dear Gay News,

Philip’s letter (GN8) on those bloody mincing unwashed queens greatly cheered me.

These people seem to delight in offending people generally and do nothing but harm to the homosexual cause.

It has been largely due to these gyrating freaks that we have so long been regarded as peculiar in every way.

I, like Philip, am gay and proud of it, but for the greater part of every day, live what I regard as a normal existence.

My main objection to the so-called liberation groups is that they seem to be obsessed with the sexual side of life and create the public image that we are all sexual perverts.

Their time would be better spent, and our cause better served, if they’d stop flaunting their ‘differences’ and merge with society generally like other minorities such as redheads, lefthanders and the Lord Longfords of this world.

I would be glad to hear from other like-thinking ‘friends’ to see if there is anything we can do to redress the balance and bring reasoned pressure to bear on the powers that be to let us live the lives we have a right to.

Let’s set up a force that will show people we are not all exhibitionists or cock-happy.

J. B. Marr
6 Stanhope Avenue
Finchley N3 3LX


Lurking in Public

Cheltenham.

Dear Gay News,

It may interest your readers to know that the following is happening in this borough.

In a certain public convenience a ‘member of the general public’ is to be found, apparently waiting his turn to go into the cubicle. At the first sign of anything even remotely sexual, he becomes abusive and nips upstairs to fetch a waiting constable.

At this point the culprit (or victim, depending on one’s point of view) is ‘invited’ into the nearest police station. Depending on whether the culprit is a big fish or a little fish he is now subjected to ‘heavy patronage’ before being allowed to go free, or hauled before the magistrates court and charged with insulting behaviour to a member of the general public.

The prosecuting officer makes no attempt to put this ‘member of the general public’ on view in the court.

So my friends, beware of that lurking ‘member of the general public’ is the moral of this letter.

It appears we are still the most persecuted minority in this country.

J.A.


Screaming Queens

London EC13

Dear Gay News,

This is just to tell Phillip (GN8) how much I sympathise with him about the screaming queens giving a totally false picture of gays in general. There is, in fact, all the difference in the world between them and us, since they want men because they fantasise themselves as women, and are thus pseudo-heterosexuals, while a true homosexual wants his or her own sex because that’s the way he/she is, and a good way it is to be, too.

Surely CHE is the organisation he is looking for: if he finds it a bit too sedate, he could liven it up. It is dedicated to the acceptance of homos into society, and he sounds just the sort of person it needs.

Michael Harth


Personal Ads Discrimination

Dear Gay News,

Replying to your invitation to comment on letters about the small ads (Gay News No 7) of course there is something wrong with stating a preference for a “hairy homo Hindu”. It would be racialist and discriminatory.

But it would be inconsistent to refuse to print it, because, as your correspondent points out, most of the ads are equally discriminatory. On the other hand it is certainly expedient to refuse ads that are clearly a front for prostitution and expediency justifies the refusal.

Almost all the discrimination expressed by advertisers is irrational, especially when relating to physical qualities. It is a platitude that race and colour are irrelevant to a person’s character, and they are equally neutral in regard to beauty.

Preference for an oriental, for instance, would only make sense if the person concerned was indoctrinated with the Thoughts of Mao tse-Tung, thus affecting his or her outlook on life. People cannot be judged by whether their credentials match up to advertised criteria which merely limit the field. But the small ads are as entertaining as the editorial pages, and at least one, from John Hiscock, is puzzlingly obscure. Is it just a vague (and costly) expression of goodwill to all readers7

J.E.


Gay Ads Vanish

Teddington.

Dear Gay News.

As a regular reader of the musical weekly ‘Melody Maker’ I noticed over the past year an increasing amount of gay ads appearing in the personal column. One could find at least a dozen ads in each edition then suddenly — no gay ads at all!

Obviously pressure has been brought to bear — but from where? Was it internal or external and why?

As the Melody Maker has a circulation of several hundred thousand, mostly young people, I think it vital that the matter is investigated.

A. Dickenson


Success Makes Enemies??

Campaign for Homosexual Equality,
Manchester Student Group,
c/o The Treasurer,
81 Egerton Rd.,
Manchester 14.

Dear Gay News,

I suppose CHE has been too successful not to have made some enemies. It seems from the misleading propaganda in issue 8 that Gay News wants to be one of them.

Peter Kelsey states that CHE members must be over 21. This is untrue. I joined at 20, and am treasurer of one of CHE’s groups for students and young people which play a big part in the organisation. Why did your editorial comment not correct this?

In Doug Pollard’s snide review of CHE’s Radio London programme he declares that marriage can’t work for anyone. This is dictatorial. People, gay or het, should be free to try stable relationships if they want to.

Denis Lemon states that CHE ‘is very much against cottaging’. Yet on the same page is an article by Bernard Greaves, member of CHE’s Executive Committee, about his Campaign against police harassment of cottagers. CHE has also issued a card advising people on their rights if arrested while cottaging.

Lemon also complains that the CHE national office did not supply information about gay rendezvous in Norwich to a telephone enquirer. If he had bothered to find out CHE’s version of the incident he would have found that such information is just not kept in the office. The enquirer could easily have joined CHE’s local group there if he had really wanted to.

Despite its length, I hope you will print this letter to set the record straight and to show that you are not hopelessly biased.

best wishes,

R. J Elbert

ED: As Gay News does not pretend to be the organ of any movement or party, its columns are open to anyone who wants to write for it (including you,R. J. Elbert).

So the opinions expressed in articles, which we do our best to check out, are those of the people whose name appears in the by-line on that article. If you think there is any anti-CHE bias in Gay News we’d like to point out that the Campaign for Homosexual Equality cannot even be bothered to send us a copy of its regular bulletin. Also, you seem to be under the illusion that we are biased against your organisation, in the same way that some members of the Gay Liberation Front tell us that we are towards their movement.

We remain the only unaligned gay information paper in Britain. And CHE, like everyone else, is welcome to use our columns.


Our Failure?

Dear Friends,

…I think Gay News is the best paper on the market at the moment, it’s straight to the point. Only one complaint though – there isn’t enough in it about Lesbians, or if you would prefer female gays.

Love, peace, freedom,
and happiness to all gays.

Betty

ED: We know that this is our outstanding failure so far, but sisters, we need your help if this situation is to change.


The Other Ads

Mountain Ash,
Glamorgan

Dear Gay News,

I am very glad to see we at last have a newspaper of our own, not just another pin-up mag. I appeal to all gays and liberal minded people to support it in any way they can, by advertising, not just personal ads. By using it to Buy / Sell. Houses / Flats / cars / any new or secondhand goods, and by using the employment section. Also by recommending it, and by giving it to all your gay friends.

Roger E Hawkins

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Your Letters Cont.

CHE Club

Highbury London N5.

Dear Gay News,

Like ‘Lady’ Rona Gainsborough (Gay News 8) a group of CHE people think that clubs for homosexuals (owned and run by the members) are required in London and other centres – and we are doing something about it.

The first club will, we envisage, be in London. It will have a bar, dancing area, meeting room, etc. We hope it will not only ‘break even’ but will produce some surplus money which can be put towards the cost of setting up other clubs elsewhere, and also fighting for the rights of gay people.

As a member of the CHE Club group, I shall be happy to provide further details of the project. Please write to me c/o CHE Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street, London W1.

Last, but not least, congratulations to the Gay News Collective on the punchy, pulsating newspaper you are getting out each fortnight.

Michael Moor


Don’t Get Way Out Yet

Dear Editor,

Fantastic! How come I live in London and only get to see Gay News on its eighth issue.

Pity your mag wasn’t around when I was eighteen — the article on CRABS alone would have saved me six months of scratching misery — frightened to go to the family doctor in case he told my parents.

Took 6 months of daily scratching and 2 baths a day before I could go to bed again with the boy I lived with.

Unfortunately I don’t get where most gays get to. I live what you might call a suburban life with my friend and have done for 10 years. So I doubt I shall be able to sell any newspapers. Still —

I am looking around for possible distributors and will write to you again if I have any luck.

Dare I suggest something? I beg you not to get too way out — remember that some of us gays are knocking on a bit and know from experience that one has to operate from a position of strength. You need subscribers – cash — circulation — then you can put your foot down on the gas and bugger (‘scuse the pun) the establishment.

Remember we need Gay News, please don’t come on too strong and get the pigs out to hammer you.

Edward


Stay A Royalist

Sutton, Surrey.

Dear Friends,

How refreshing it is to read Gay News with its balanced attitude and pleasant humour: it is to be hoped that these will not change. Here is at least one reader who sympathises with people like Philip (letter GN8) who feel put out by the antics of some members of GLF. At this stage in the process of getting homosexuality accepted it is fatal to present a one-sided and somewhat warped view of gay life. All the more reason to expand the sales of Gay News.

I now go on to the topic of circumcision. Whilst the advice given by your correspondent in the last issue would certainly prove helpful to anyone compelled to have the operation, it would be doing your readers a grave disservice if they were given the impression that it is a harmless one. The condition for which it is normally advised is extremely rare and the operation is not without risk; so unless there are specific medical indications for a circumcision, my advice as a practitioner is ‘keep that bit of foreskin and stay a royalist’.

Michael


Joint Club Membership?

Dear Gay News,

Why don’t some of the larger gay clubs get together and produce one major membership card to enable the user to use it to go into a set amount of clubs instead of writing off for membership to each and every one? Surely this would save time and trouble in the long run. Comments please. Many thanks for producing such a good paper. This has been needed for a long time.

Rod Owen


Need for Non-Conformists

c/o Sussex GLF Stanford Arms,
Preston Circus, Brighton.

Dear Gay News,

Re: latest protests against GLF public behaviour.

I was recently in one of those nationwide cafes where quite adventurous decor is pierced with coloured slide visions of impossibly attractive dishes of food. I was accompanying a dishy but wierd-looking (non-gay) hippie who commented that he “didn’t like the vibes” of the place. Doing a quick translation into more precise (if less colourful) middle class English, I assumed that either he was offended by the Commercialism of Art, or by the hostile glances of other customers towards his hairstyle (which could be loosely described as Gone-With-The-Wind-Bouffant) or both.

Attempting to translate back, I ventured to suggest that he possibly could be merely receiving back in a Radar manner, some of his own projected vibes. When I talk to hippies I pretentiously like to think that I aid what little communication is possible between human beings by using words they use.

When talking to foreigners I drastically reduce my vocabulary and speed, and even talk with a pseudo-German accent. I have never found this to cause offence, although some confusion is sometimes caused when an Englishman with equal helpfulness tries to reply in German! When I teach maths I make a big effort to appear one foot away from the class instead of five miles away. It may still appear as Greek, but I deliberately compromise myself according to who I’m with.

But some people don’t, and I believe there is a need for such people. If it hadn’t been for some daring non-conformists I would still be strangling myself and my classes in some awful authoritarian, uncomfortable, dark-blue suit and stiff collar. The race needs the way-out people — to go to the moon even if half the world is still starving. We need the uncompromised mysteries of Einstein’s equations even if many of my students still find it difficult to add up. We need people to point out the pretentiousness of Wimpy Bars. We need people in dresses and beards to show us how ridiculous our conventions have become.

I think, however, (compromising again) that maybe the time and place is important. It would be no use Einstein talking undilutedly to most of my students unless they were ready. He might even put them off maths for life, God forbid! It’s no use talking about the Adventurous Frontiers of Space to someone who can only think of the frontiers of his stomach. And it could be that our well-intentioned GLF friends in London, with their extremely witty juxtaposition of images, only produce bad vibes in public. WE NEED THESE EINSTEINS, BUT PERHAPS MOST OF US (GAYS AND NON-GAYS) CAN’T QUITE MANAGE ADDING UP YET. Only a few are inspired to do the hard slog when dazzled by advanced theory. (But some are).

To conclude therefore, may I suggest (with gratefulness even though it may sound patronising) that the Great Philosophers pay more attention to who is listening in their classes, and that those who are not yet ready for the ‘five-mile-out’ parade lessons, may possibly like to attend their local CHE Arithmetic Sessions? (In their suits of course). Or maybe an O-level Provincial GLF course? (Jeans allowed).

If you don’t wish to go to the moon how about sanding a foodparcel to India? Or a donation to Gay News? Or are you only prepared to write negative letters? They occur very early in maths.

Malcolm

Your Letters

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

Quiet and Concealed

Natal, South Africa,

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on launching your paper. It’s pretty good too!!

It’s great to be in touch with what is happening in the UK. Here in 19th-century South Africa one can feel terribly isolated from all the activity that one feels sure is going on elsewhere: a copy of Gay News seems to bridge the gap somewhat.

Some brief notes on South Africa: we have a largish gay community (among the Whites) organised in each of Durban, Cape Town and especially Johannesburg. In each of these cities there is an exclusively gay night-club and sometimes a bar (non-exclusive). Johannesburg has about three clubs and at least an equal number of bars.

Gay attitudes being essentially S. African attitudes, there is very little racial mixing, any contact is frowned upon. I do not know anything about gay communities (if these exist as such) among any of the black population groups. I have heard that the Indians have a gay club in Natal, but apart from this one could easily believe there to be no black homosexuals in S. Africa!

Gay Liberation — none so far as I know, except for a small group in Durban started recently by a couple of friends and me. So far we’ve had little success. There is too much apathy and fear of coming out, even on the campus.

Police action – although homosexual acts are illegal, the police turn a blind eye on the clubs, at the moment. They don’t like Gay Lib though!

Generally speaking, the South African scene is quiet and concealed. Everyone minds their own business and lives in their own closets. As long as you conform more or less, you’re OK.

Richard Wallace-Tarry

Appalling Bad Taste

London SE15.

Dear Sirs,

I must say I find your picture of Lord Longford and Cliff Richard in the current issue of Gay News in appalling bad taste. Lord Longford is one of the few really good men in public life today, spending much of his time helping drop-outs in all walks of life. Because you disapprove of his investigation into pornography, it is no excuse for slandering him in this way.

The thing that worries me about pornography is the effect on youth. I am not a father but I don’t wish my young nephews to see lurid paperbacks when purchasing their sweets and comics. Nor when answering an ad in your magazine, do I wish to be invited to ‘cum in my pants’ while watching young boys having sex on film. Don’t you think it is wicked that children should be exploited in this way? What sort of lives are they going to lead? Anything that Lord Longford can do to clean up pornography as it affects children is long overdue.

There are many good things in your magazine and also some offensive. With so many representations of the male organ in the current issue I should think even more retailers will refuse to handle it, and I don’t blame them.

H.R.A.

Thanks to Gay News…?

York.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for your paper — it’s saved me from going completely insane. My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years, during which time I found out he was gay.

Together we dragged ourselves off to various doctors and psychiatrists, after which time we were both taking anti-depressants for some time. Phil began to think he was a raving pervert, and I believed it was gay people who were perverting him.

Then Gay News emerged into our lives, and slowly the gap between us narrowed and we began to live again. Only through understanding and respect of each other as people have we managed to denounce the roles that society has given us.

At last Phil can be as gay as he likes, and I’m proud of him for it. After reading some of your articles in GN I’ve cried with guilt to think that a year ago I might have thought like those cops.

With the help of GN and a change of attitudes we now have an extremely happy relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Maybe your paper ought to do an article on bisexuality. One doctor we went to see told us there was no such thing! During one visit, when Phil wasn’t there, he told me that I should find myself a nice straight guy so that I could have children, as that what my aim in life should be, and what was a nice girl like me getting mixed up with a ‘queer’ for.

Well, it’s shit to the lot of them because we’ve proved them wrong, we’re happy. I’d much rather stay with Phil as he’s a beautiful person, than go forth and multiply with any Tom, Dick or Harry for the sake of keeping up with the attitudes of society, ie that gays and straights are two different kinds of species.

Lots of love from a converted straight,

Joan

Safety in the Suburbs

Dearest Pooftahs,

What with all the carry-on, hasslings, arrests, righteous indignation and wrongful suspicions of stolen cameras that has been happening around and about the dear old Coleherne lately, isn’t it about time that someone (could it be me?) tried to bring some little perspective into the matter.

So all right, the pigs persecute us gays on every possible occasion, and most of us have known about it for quite a time. But aren’t we playing rather too obviously into their hands in this particular case.

How many times have you visited the Coleherne at closing time, not merely as a witness to the bullying pig tactics which quite obviously go on, but as an observer of how one particular part of a minority group (ie the gays who use the Coleherne) behave late at night in a high-density living area. OK, I know 11pm isn’t late for some, but some of us are early risers by economic necessity, and the cruising and camping, bitchy fights and lingering farewells often do carry on until much later.

Perhaps if a few of our people were less shrill in their manner and more abstemious with their gin and tonics, the pigs wouldn’t even have an excuse.

Anyway, right on. Gay News, you’re just beginning to let it all hang out!

Love.

J. Porter.

ED. Bring up any little thing you like J.P. and play into anyone’s hand you can get into, but some of us have been frequenting the Coleherne regularly for up to ten years, as customers, and we know the scene. Earls Court is generally a noisy late-living area, especially the Old Brompton Road itself, it’s the police who push people into the back streets, and who are we, or you, to dictate drinking habits to anyone.

Any Offers

Cheshire,

Dear Sir,

I am writing to see if you may be able to help me with my problem.

Since 1940 I have been a confirmed S/M, and my first wife was also, and therefore I had no occasion to look elsewhere to have my bottom smacked or caned or whipped to give me complete sexual satisfaction. But in 1960 I lost my first wife with cancer. In the 18 months which followed I met three men, one a homosexual, in Manchester and he got pleasure out of smacking my bottom for an hour at a time until it was bleeding, and this relationship lasted for three weeks then he disappeared. I found two more but they were only one night stands. Then I remarried and tried to introduce this way to my second wife and found she wouldn’t and couldn’t respond to it, and I have tried to find someone, unknown to my wife, of course, who would smack my bottom but I’ve had no success and I’m very frustrated now. I don’t mind which sex, colour, or nationality as long as I can meet someone, or as many people as possible because I like plenty of it.

So if you could help me at all I would be very grateful. Or course this is all unknown to my wife and there would be hell to pay if she found out, but if I make contact with someone first, arrangements could be made later.

R.B.

ED. If anyone wishes to write to our friend we will pass all letters on to him. Stamped envelope please.

Kiddettes

London WC1

Dear Gay News,

Even if Councillor Kidd appears to be developing an obsession with homosexuals there is no reason why we in turn (as seems to be the case) should develop an obsession with him. There are few people in Scotland who would treat his views with the seriousness of Gay News 7, and still fewer who would go to the trouble of seeking them out — with the possible exception of BBC Scotland looking for a lighter item for its News. Councillor Kidd has been a laughing-stock throughout at least the Lowlands for years; the very mention of his name provokes derision. Homosexuality is only the latest in a very long list of subjects on which he has pronounced with unfailing unintelligence. He is an isolated eccentric even in true-blue Edinburgh: have you thought about how much practical effect his exhortations to the police have had?

You would do better to think more about the support for us that does exist outside the gay community (and finds regular practical expression — witness the Iona Community’s help to SMG) than to build up bogeymen for us to shudder over in private. Do for goodness’ sake cheer up: much of your last issue reads as if it were produced in an office full of inconsolable depressives.

Good wishes anyway.

Graeme Woolaston.

Sickening Treatment

London NW3

Dear Sir,

I was interested to read your Stop Press item on the trouble it the ‘Champion’ on 16th September. As an onlooker that evening, I was sickened by the way the Landlord and police treated the GLF boys who were not in my opinion in ‘drag’. I feel that this word must be defined more precisely before the law is allowed to come down upon it.

I was also shocked by the lack of support from other gays in the bar and I left shortly after the events, determined not to support that pub again. Until the Landlord drew attention to himself and the police arrived I was not even aware of our persecuted comrades.

I am not accustomed to wearing drag but I did not find the clothing in the least offensive and they behaved admirably in the circumstances.

If gay people allow this sort of discrimination without protest, where will it end?

A Teacher

No Chips Please

Birmingham

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, thanks for a newspaper that looks towards the future and not the usual propoganda we read and hear so much about, as though we have a chip on our shoulders about being gay.

We are all human beings with the same feelings towards life as everyone, homosexual or heterosexual and not at all odd, so there is no need for anyone to feel guilty about being gay.

I would like this paper, given time, to be read by heterosexual as well as homosexual. We will eventually get accepted by the general public if we don’t segregate ourselves as though we are different and as if we are all the time hitting out upon the public as though they are always against us. It works both ways, and the sooner we realise this the better our chances for an equal acceptance!

Every Success for your good work,

P. Arthur Miles
Gwen Browne

Your Letters

19721001-02Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

 

First Class Male

Dear Gay News,

I am writing this short note to gay brothers and sisters everywhere, with small hope of change.

I am simply fucking fed up with being classed as a screaming queen. First of all, let me explain the cause of this letter. It is simply to say the queens who prance about, drag up, and fucking let down the gay side of life when they go to those stupid GLF marches ought to be shot. If only they would stop to think what a bloody fool they are making of themselves it might change their attitude.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am gay and jolly well proud of it. I am, needless to say, the normal gay. Get that folks, normals I dress normal, go to gay pubs and clubs etc, but I feel so ashamed when I see some of the pranks those queens get up to. So come on all you normal gays, there must be thousands around, put ink to paper and write to Gay News.

Isn’t there some sort of club or organisation we could all join apart from GLF etc. I do apologise if I have caused any ill feelings, but once again I got fed up with being classed as the queens who attend marches!!

Philip

PS These GLF marches etc are the only side of the gay life the public sees and we’ve got to be bloody well classed with them. Bloody cheek, if you ask me!!
PPS Gay News is great. Keep up the great work.

 

‘Go On Boys, Don’t Mind Me’

Dear Collective,
Michael Kaye’s little piece on ‘Coming Out’ (GN No 6) reminds me of an experience about ten years ago, when I was still a good little civil servant, I got into the Cheltenham train at Paddington one evening and found an empty compartment, in which I was joined by two railwaymen, evidently just off duty and still in their working gear. They were both nice-looking well-built chaps in their thirties, and I was struck by their rather pre-occupied manner. As the train neared Reading I became aware of the extreme intensity of the silence in our compartment and glanced up from my newspaper to see that they were both leaning forward with their knees wide apart, their elbows resting on their knees, and their hands clasped in front of them. (They were sitting side by side and I was sitting directly opposite them.) The right knee of the one was very firmly laid against the other’s left.

I was immediately paralysed with embarrassment.

I longed to say, ‘Go on boys, don’t mind me!’ but couldn’t have spoken to save my life. I thought of myself as they must have seen me, a very proper Establishment figure in my trilby and city overcoat, looming over them. I thought of moving to the other end of the compartment, to give them more privacy, but I felt I couldn’t do so without their interpreting my action as one of disgust. Instead, I buried my head in my newspaper, hoping that if I could be out of sight to them, I might also become out of mind. This lasted till Swindon, where they got out. As they stood up, one of them looked down at me over the top of my paper with an expression of mingled grief and hatred that I have never forgotten. Perhaps this was the first and last time in their lives that they could be together, and by my presence I had spoilt it for them.

Well now, boys and girls, the moral of this little anecdote is as follows: that respectable citizen who seem momentarily such a blot on you and your lover’s landscape — give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be really on your side. He may be rejoicing in your mutual happiness and anxious to encourage you, but too shy to say so, too scared of seeming intrusive.

On the other hand, of course, he may not!

J. D. Blount

 

NO POLITICS

Dear Gay News,

The piece on Hoover (Friends in High Places, No. 6) turned me up!

Are we expected to forgive this man for hounding hundreds of decent Americans because he laid off a few gays? This is “Fuck you. Jack, I’m all right” with a vengeance.

Can anyone work out similar pleas for Hitler?

Of course GN should be open to many points of view, but we keep hearing “no politics!”

In heaven’s name, why? However much we shout, the age of consent won’t be lowered or the Act extended to Scotland till Parliament amends the law.

And the police are “politics” too!

Ed.

More Letters on Page 6

Your Letters

19720914-02Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

BRISTOL

University of Bristol Union,
Queens Road Bristol BS8 1LN
Telephone 35035
5th September 1972

Dear Sirs,

This is to let you know that the University of Bristol Gay Liberation Front Society will be continuing its operations from October on. We are arranging films, talks, meetings, dances and exhibitions for the autumn term. Those wishing to contact us should write to us by name at the above address.

Trevor Locke, Chairman


Stonehill Road,
Derby.

Dear Readers,

I would like to congratulate the team who have produced Gay News. They realise they are taking rather a risk, I only hope their labour will not have been in vain.

For those who are reading their first issue of Gay News, I would suggest they take out a subscription.

Being a subscriber myself, I feel we would be getting our money’s worth. In conclusion I would like to say to the team of Gay News: “Carry On Regardless”

Ken Pollard


Gays on Radio

Upper Tooting,
London SW17

Dear Sir,

Tonight I have forgone my usual visit to my favourite pub to listen to the radio, having been told by friends, Gay News, Lunch and the local group newsletter, that CHE was taking over ‘Platform’ on Radio London this evening.

I thought the programme put over our case fairly well; the only point I have to make is that the female homosexual was not very well represented. Why was Jackie Forster not on the panel to give their point of view, instead of being just an ordinary radio listener who only was given THREE minutes on the air as a questioner, and the answer to her question was only 22 seconds air time.

I feel that any further programme (if any) should include Mrs Forster to give a balanced point of view, as the females on the programme were not very vocal tonight.

Brian Webb


Mature Wine

Manchester, M20 8NS

Dear All.

Poor James Stevens (letter GN 6). I am sure he is every bit as gorgeous as he protests (sic). But perhaps he is beginning to look haggard chasing all those chicks, or is it that they don’t see his charms in quite the same light. But those kinks, they must be interesting from someone who is so sure he has them!

Poor, poor James; as I fast approach middle age, I know how he feels. Perhaps he should try a slightly more mature wine – me, for instance! What a pity, I have just noticed his PS. to his letter, ”I love Grinspoon” — so that’s me out, am too late again.

Derek Jones


Kick up the arse!

Folkestone, Kent
Kent.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for issue no. 5. I am sorry to read that the financial state of Gay News is so critical (re editorial). I am enclosing £5, I hope you can find a use for it — I wish I could afford more.

I am convinced that your paper is a very necessary part of the Gay scene, and the important role that it plays and the good which it does overall, is immeasurable.

If the Gay World allows Gay News to sink – I count myself as one of them – they will need a very hard, very severe kick up the arse. My apologies for being vulgar — I feel very strongly about this. Gay News is our link, our voice to the rest of humanity. About who we are, what we think, how we react and what we can contribute to the Peace and Stability of the world.

I do not wish to write a sermon, but there are many things which could be said (or written) and perhaps ought to be. There are, however, many souls far more eloquent than I, who can make a much better job of it, so perhaps I had better leave it to them.

In the meantime, how about it, all you gays, dig deep down and fork out a few bob – this paper needs it. If it goes under, it will be our own bloody fault, so there will be no use in moaning about it.

Why bookshops refuse to sell it beats me, when one sees some of the mags they dish out. Anyway, keep it up, it looks good. I hope things improve for you very soon, and I wish you every success.

Lots of love and best regards,

Jimmy Thatcher


Hypocrisy

West Kensington.

Dear GN,

How about dropping the only bit of hypocrisy that I can find in your otherwise super paper? I mean that silly bit about taking no ads with any form of racial prejudice … are you scared of the Race Relations Board, at a time when you’re obviously not scared of anyone else? Since your ads are mostly blatantly discriminatory — ‘no effeminates’, ‘early mid-twenties’, ‘slim, non-kinky’, “attractive literate preferred’, etc.— what would be wrong with a stated deisre for a ‘hairy homo Hindu’ or sorqe^uch?

Love and peace.

Fair (greying)., Fat and Forty (+)

ED. We are neither scared or beholden to the Race Relations Board. Racial prejudice of the type we refuse to print, and hopefully discourage through our paragraph at the end of the personal ads, is something that is odious and uncivilised, and we believe it to be very different matter to the forms of preference/discrimination found in that column.

We realise that this may be a point of controversy amongst our readers and we welcome any further correspondence on the matter. Particularly, we would welcome comment from our black brothers and sisters.


Sexist Ads

Redcliffe Gdns. London SW10

Dear Gay News,

I was somewhat puzzled to see in your no. 4 issue that after several articles denouncing sexism, there was a whole page of extremely sexist personal ads in the back.

It seems a shame to spoil an otherwise promising paper with ads asking for ‘trendy butch dolly males’.

Yours sincerely.

Andrew Wilson.
(London GLF – without any chip on my shoulder!)

ED. We do not write or censor personal ads. except where absolutely necessary. The Gay News collective prefers to return unacceptable ads, which we cannot print, either because of the encouragement it would give the Director of Public Prosecutions to immediately pounce on us, or because we suspect that the ad is a front for prostitution. The latter reason we have discussed amongst ourselves on numerous occasions, and, because we can never come to an agreement on whether this is a totally inexcusable practice or not, we decline, for now, to accept such ads in our columns.

Is it right or wrong for us to do so? As we have not set ourselves up as moral judges, perhaps readers would let us have their views on this subject.

Also, if Andrew would care to enlighten us, and you, in greater depth on his argument against certain ads. we would only be too willing to publish anything else he may wish to say.


No ‘Bashings’ at Biograph

London

Dear Gay News,

I felt somewhat angered by the letter of BN sent to CHE (of which I too am a member of group 7).

It seemed so infantile and thoughtless in condemnation of our paper. Does he really think any cottage is ‘safe’, and it is a good thing you point out the ones you know are under surveillance. The criticism of the Samaritans I thought constructive, this kind is beneficial, and I have yet to hear of any bashings up involving ‘gays’ at the Biograph. Surely we have enough of a struggle from the present society without our own kind being so bitchy. A lot of us owe very much to a certain section of people who are working very hard in the face of strong opposition to better the lot of us kind, and this includes Gay News, and I look forward to every new edition. Let’s have criticism by all means, but let it be constructive, and let’s all back each other all we can, the old adage unity is strength’ is as true for us as in anything else, so let’s all be united, which we must if we are going to be powerful enough to get things moving.

In another letter, same edition, David Brown refers to a recent letter in issue 3 from Malta as being offensive, and refers to them as the Maltese Meat Market, he is entitled to his opinion of course. But as one who took up this chance of writing to them, I should like in all fairness to point out that I found these lads to be most friendly and hospitable, sincere and willing to please a truly great circle of friends. Nothing like it exists in this country as far as I know, and I would be interested to hear from anyone who would like to form such a group solely for the Pleasure and Enjoyment that meeting new friends can bring. To you all at Gay News I would say carry on the good work; most of us appreciate your efforts, and hope you will meet with success.

B. M.


Telegraph Bigotry

Streatham, London, SW16

Dear Sir,

What bigotry is displayed by the Leader Writer of the Sunday Telegraph in their issue of 25th June, 1972 (Gay News issue No. 5 Page 5).

It has occurred to me that if all gays who take both the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph refrained from doing so from now on, the loss of trade (sorry) to that concern would be felt.

My estimation is that at least a million gays take these papers so why not let’s boycott them and see what we can do.

Of course, we would never know the result of our actions but it would be worth a try to educate the bigot who wrote the Leader and then took the unprecedented step of refusing to publish replies giving the other sides’ version of homosexuality but replied individually to the letters sent.

I have cancelled my order – what about you?

“T.E.S.”


Stifle self-pity

London SW7

Dear Gay News,

I suspect the key to the disillusionment of your anonymous correspondent who was ‘tired of being gay‘ is at the end of his letter: ‘…and now another – my ex-affair…’ However restricted the circles he moves in, it cannot really be true that all the gays he knows ‘wear smooth, trendy clothes and expensive immaculate hairstyles’ (that is, unless he’s been very selective), because even in the Boltons and the Colherne many of the customers would certainly not fit that description, and in the provincial pubs some of the clientele could only be described as dowdy. Many of the people who’ve used small ads over the years aren’t into the club and pub scene at all, and finally (though only recently I agree) there are the gay organisations, like CHE and GLF.

My advice to ‘anonymous’ would be, stifle the self-pity, and if you don’t like the gays you know now, try some others.

Peter Norman


Where to get it

Mount Pleasant,
St. Albans, Herts.

Dear Sir,

I should like to point out to any of your readers that may live in or around St Albans that Gay News is stocked by the Index Book Shop, near St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street, St Albans. I know that the young woman who runs it has just begun this shop and I am sure that she would appreciate all orders however small they may be. It would be a pity if through lack of demand she should cease to stock Gay News. I might add that I am in no ways interested in Index, nor have I any gain to be made through recommending this shop.

I should also like to say how much I enjoy reading Gay News, and whilst I cannot agree with all the views in it, I do believe that it is by far the best Homosexual paper to have been published to date. May I wish you the best of luck.

Yours sincerely,

David Richardson.


Would Neville Gadd kindly get in touch with us at Gay News. We have lost your address. In other words we have out securitised ourselves. Sorry to bother you, Neville.