Your Letters

05-197208XX 1Cliftonville
Margate
Kent

Dear Friends,

Having lived in the borough of Margate for a year and a half, I am finding it not as dead as I at first thought. Gay people are gradually turning up here and there, and trying to form some sort of social get together. It is always a slow process, as people still seem to like the ‘exciting’ cottage pick-up rather than respectable social introductions. Love is a very beautiful thing, if used properly and wisely.

As a yogi priest or monk, I have found out a lot about life in my thirty-nine years in this period of my full spiritual development. Gay people can love God without any feeling of guilt, as long as they are true to their nature, sincere and loyal, and steer away from man-made religions and all the unhappiness and guilt they have caused.

My personal advice to gay people is to form loyal balanced friendships with as many people as possible, with or without sexual love. To keep healthy trim bodies as far as possible, and to love God through nature and peace.

Clive


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

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, many congratulations on the launching and production of this much-needed paper. We in R.G.A. are much impressed by what you have so far produced and wish you all success for many editions to come.

Reading Gay Alliance is a group of gay people formed to promote the interests of homosexuals in our area. We are an umbrella organisation consisting of CHE and GLF members, both men and women, including people who do not belong to any existing established group.

Fortnightly we publish a newsletter for all interested parties, called Gay Arrow, and this, and any other information about us, can be obtained by writing to the above address.

Yours very sincerely

Reading Gay Alliance.


Pittville Circus,
Cheltenham.

Dear Collective,

Some random thoughts about you, provoked by No. 3. First, thank you for existing. The personal ad column alone should have demonstrated to the MPs you visited that you perform a valuable social function. With a background much like that of ‘Neville Gadd’, I too wondered what I was letting myself in for. I have so far only found one item offensive, and that was the advertisement for the Maltese meat market in No. 3. If the law ever descends on you, it will have been provoked not surely by your ads (though they may provide the legal pretext) but by the degrading tone of letters such as this. I wonder if others thought it inappropriate for what aspires to be a national newspaper?

I appreciate that as a collective your right hand may not know what its left hand is doing, but I wish one of them could spare the time for a bit of proofreading! If I lived in London. I’d come and do the job for you free. It’s a shock to see Samaritans’ spelt ‘Samaratians’ in a headline! Accuracy of detail is, I’m afraid, an essential element in the confidence one puts in a newspaper.

It would help if you mentioned whether answers to ads have to be individually stamped one might want to answer two at once or enclose one in a letter to you, and presumably you forward them under separate cover.

Some of your statements I find very baffling. How could Doug Pollard find ‘unpleasant and unnecessary moral attitudes’ in that valuable article on VD? It would need an advanced case of persecution mania to discover any moral attitude whatever in that clinically dispassionate prose. Let’s have more of it!

Finally. ‘Neville Gadd’ is missing a lot in life, I fear, through his preoccupation with the ‘age barrier’ whatever that is. The fact is surely that the number of years one has lived hat precious little to do with one’s value and charm as a human being. Different aspects of the human entity age at different rates, some people improve physically as they mature; some seem to grow younger with age. I know of one 44″-chested butch of 50 who is twice the man he was as a sallow short-sighted priggish bookworm of 25. I wonder whom of the two Neville would prefer?

David Blount


Campaign for Homosexual Equality,
28 Kennedy Street,
Manchester.

Dear Mr. N

Thank you for your letter received the other day with regard to “Gay News”. I am sorry that you did not like this publication but would point out that it is an independent newspaper and in no way a CHE enterprise. I am, therefore sending your letter on to “Gay News” for them to deal with.

Yours sincerely.
Paul Temperton
General Secretary.

London, N.4.

Dear Sir,

I am a member of CHE and belong to Group 12 London. Last Thursday evening I bought a copy of a paper called Gay News no. 3. Well of all silly papers I ever read.

On page 3 there is a small advert about “Danger Police at Work” in toilets. Does this mean all other toilets are safe?

On page 8 there is an article on V.D., which does not give one much confidence about going to be treated. In 30 years of going to be treated never has anyone ever said anything to me. Also on page 8 the Samaritans comes in for a bash Where does one go for advice? Can you suggest?

On page 7 there is an article on the “Biograph”. So gay so wonderful. But no mention of the people who get a good bashing there.

Also on page 7 there is an article on the CHE correspondence column being used for procuring sex. Does this mean that CHE will help a person if letters are opened by Police?

I would go on if this fell into the hands of a young person it would do damage. For instance the address of two cottages to add to list. I never knew that cottages were gay in Battersea Park.

I though that CHE was to bring people’s mind above cottage level.

If anyone wanted to prove that homosexuals are dirty and depraved here is the very paper.

Yours with Disgust.

B.N


London S.E.11.

Dear Gay News.

I have just read your first issue and would like to reply to Lord Arran’s comments.

Whilst he expresses concern for our “sociological and spiritual position” he fails to see why we need our own newspapers.

Homosexuals are a part of the community but within this we are a distinct social group, whose existence society would suppress. The images of ourselves with which we live are those fostered by heterosexuals and it is a lack of a common Gay identity, and the resultant isolation which has led to the personal problems of so many homosexuals.

Straight people have the security of an established culture with which to re-act. and if we are to develop fully as individuals we must assert our own cultural identity at every opportunity.

It is for this reason that your paper is of importance to us all.

T. Howard.


“POSSE”
16, St. Saviourgate
York

Dear Gay News.

The paper seems to be going quite well; we’ve sold all bar one or two of No. 3. and people are coming back to pick up copies of Nos. 1 and 2. It’s a pity but we’re not making contact with many of the people who’re buying the paper (even though Arthur and I look anything but straight goodness knows), lots of people flash past and pick one up embarrassedly like buying Durex in the Chemists. Still, maybe time will tell.

WOOF (of Posse)


Knightsbridge,
London. S.W.1.

Dear Gay News,

I would like to congratulate you on getting a gay paper published for the benefit of gay people and after reading the first issue (I missed the second one being abroad on holiday) I feel that it is something that has long been needed. I only hope that you do not fold up like so many other mags have done in the past, i.e., Jeremey, Spartacus etc.

The price is reasonable, the cost of the ads are not excessive and the news items and features appear to be very good and easy reading. The main thing is that your paper is a means of being in touch with other gay people which can’t be bad and can only bring relief and relaxation with the possibility of meeting others like one self.

You may possibly be able to give an answer or advice to the following query.

I have been told by lots of acquaintances that quite a lot of youngsters prefer older men for company, but whilst I am not senile! (just over 40) I have tried unsuccessfully by means of ads, visits to pubs (which I am not very fond of) joining CHE, rather boring at times, without success. I wouldn’t say I was ugly but as far as I can see most youngsters prefer people their own age or thereabouts and I am not blaming them, however unfortunately I am one of the gays who are much happier in young peoples company, providing they are genuine and not making it obvious that they are tolerating one for their generosity or what they can get out of them.

Anyway it is nice to be able to put on paper ones’ thoughts and if I can be of any help in running your paper, (not selling I’m afraid), I will be only too pleased to do so in an administrative capacity, home typing etc.

I only hope I have not bored you with my letter or offended anyone and would like to wish you all the success with Gay News and hope it continues to be published and gets better as time goes on.

Charles G. Brown

If any reader wishes to contact the writer of the above letter, please send your letter care of Gay News and we will forward it on to him.


Gateshead,
Co. Durham.

Dear Gay News,

You are doing an absolutely splendid job which I would have though to be economically impossible and almost as impossible to get out a gay paper that’s representative and not dominated by one particular line.

I only hope you get the support you deserve — I’ll certainly do my best to get other people to buy it.

Richard Webster


Coleraine,
Co. Derry.
Northern Ireland

Dear Gay News.

With Ulster’s other troubles always in the headlines. who thinks of the plight of the province’s gay population?

First, the law. Under Northern Irish law, we are allowed to breath – as long as it’s in private, with consenting oxygen molecules over the age of twenty-one.

The first convenor of the now dead Belfast C.H.E. group wrote to the last two prime ministers, and received similar answers, to the effect that legal reform didn’t seem really necessary, as the old law wasn’t used very much, and anyway there didn’t appear to be any real demand for reform.

That about sums up the official attitude. The attitude of the general public is about the same as in England – the working class don’t give a monkey’s either way. the middle class are against any change in a nice system that suits them. How does one convince them that a bad. stupid law should be scrapped, rather than kept as a curiosity?

There is also the lack of facilities to consider.

Belfast has one (yes. I said one!) gay bar. There were two others about fifty-fifty, gay and straight, but they are suffering from a slight case of bomb damage at the moment. For the wanderer benighted in the backwoods, the last resort (only fucking resort!) is the lounge of the Royal Avenue Hotel.

Queen’s (?) University has a flourishing G.L.F. group – address on the back page. Drop in on them if you’re passing through, they’ll be glad to see you.

And if you’re unlucky enough to be passing through Coleraine (The wages of sin is death!) and if you’re male and under thirty, well I’m sure Gay News would let you have my address.

Also, if any reader is starting his or her studies at the New University of Ulster at Coleraine, and is interested in forming a group in this area. I would be thoroughly delighted to hear from him or her, or them.

Dear Gay News, please get my name right this time! Your last misprint, for some reason, caused extreme mirth to a straight friend – odd how one misplaced ‘u’ can have that effect.

Sam Frizzell, jnr.

Your Letters

ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.

04-197208XX 02Epsom,
Surrey

Dear Gay News,

Thanks for the first two issues of G.N., they were more professional-looking than I expected. Inevitably as a ‘straight gay type’ I find the extensive coverage given to the Rad. Femmes rather tedious but I daresay I’m in a minority there anyway.

I’m enclosing a cheque to help things along, hope plenty of other people are doing the same! Looking forward to bigger and better issues – keep it up (I meant the paper).

A.F.T…


Leeds Gay Liberation Front,
Liberation office,
153 Woodhouse Lane,
Leeds. Tel. 39071

Dear Gay News,

May we comment on the various articles concerning the Rad. Femme faction in London GLF? There are things happening in the Capital which give us cause for great concern. Most of all we are extremely worried at the prospect of GLF (or even our GLF group) being ‘captured’ by any faction whatsoever. GLF is a movement not an organisation – an organic entity rather than a closed structure with a unified ideology. In our present state of affairs that is, to say the least, a point of some tactical worth. We are aware that within one movement there are various political viewpoints — Liberal, Marxist, Radical, Feminist, Situationist – being expressed. We welcome this. We believe that a consideration of all our revolutionary theories and the establishment of a dialogue between the various points of view is of great service to our growth as people and as a movement. All this demands that we guard against a takeover (either practical or ideological) by any faction within the movement. If the London Rad. Femmes are attempting such a takeover they can be assured of our undying opposition.

We might add that the behaviour displayed to the sisters working on ‘Spare Rib’ shows a monstrous lack of solidarity. Surely we should not publicly criticise actions in other areas of struggle? Surely this sort of thing tends to suggest that the various people’s struggles are not linked to each other, when what we ought to be suggesting is that they are?

We are hoping that the alarms are exaggerated. If they are not we shall fight every attempt to wreck the gay movement, whoever it be made by.

Power to the People
Leeds GLF XXX


The Albany Trust,
32 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1V 8EP.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for asking me to tell you what I thought of your first two issues. It’s nice to be billed as a “Special Friend”, and I hope I’ll go on being that even if I’m a candid one as well! So here goes.

Well, I think your “egg” symbol just about sums it up – as the curate said, good in parts. Mostly very good. It looks good, feels good (full marks to your choice of paper, type and layout design) and a lot of it reads good; though I agree with your correspondent who pleads for a more wideawake proof-reader. You’ve elevated gay journalism head and shoulders above your oh-so-trivial predecessors and have given us, for the first time, a sincere, serious minded yet lively and entertaining newspaper by gay people.

I nearly added “for gay people”, but stopped short, saying to myself; “I hope not”. At least, I hope not just for gay people. For if Gay News is to fulfil its most sorely needed function, it will not only tell us more about ourselves but (and more importantly for the betterment of things) also really increase understanding of us in the non-gay world. What this movement needs most of all – and most urgently in Britain — is improved communications; amongst ourselves, yes, but primarily the initiation of a meaningful dialogue with the wider community, too many of whom view us through the distorting mirrors of myth, stereotype, ignorance and prejudice.

That’s why I very much hope you’ll keep your powder dry and not squander talent, energy, strength and hard-won bread tilting prematurely at windmills. For instance, I believe it’s more vitally important, for the sake of many thousands of gay people who don’t even know yet that you exist, to consolidate Gay News and ensure its regular publication and wide circulation, than to get caught up in a fruitless hassle with the more antiquated elements of the British establishment over such relative trivia as small ads.

Not that I think the recent ludicrous IT judgment can be allowed to stand – indeed it must be strenuously fought, and will be – but I want you to be around providing battle reports, not clobbered into silence.

Your wise philosophy of not forgetting that we’re all. whether gay or straight, people confronted with many of the same rather lousy human predicaments in our living and loving, I like. Your concept of Gay News belonging to all its readers, and not just to its regular writers, I like too – creeping censorship is the occupational disease of even the most conscientiously fair minded editors. Certainly I and, I hope, my friends and colleagues in Albany Trust, NFHO and elsewhere, will try to keep Gay News readers informed about what’s going on around our scenes. You’ve already shown quite a flair for lively reporting and trenchant comment. It’s clear that some of us won’t always be pleased at what we read, but where we disagree or feel mistranslated, I’m sure your columns will be impartially open to all coherent viewpoints.

Times change. Much of your VD article originally appeared a few years back as an Albany Trust pamphlet, and became a constant best seller. Yet an influential well-wisher criticised it as a great blunder because he thought it would spread the idea around that most homosexuals were promiscuous and probably disease-ridden. I said I hoped that any who were the former wouldn’t necessarily also be the latter, which was why the pamphlet was written. Thank goodness we can be more matter of fact now.

Two noticeable gaps. So far the world scene hasn’t featured except for the rather pointless piece about cottaging in Canada. Surely that’s not the most significant aspect of gay life there or anywhere else. It exists and needs reporting, I agree, but there’s so much else you haven’t yet touched upon which could have been featured first. Most of your readers won’t be aware at all of the existence of an influential homophile movement in North America and some European countries which has chalked up some really significant achievements in civil rights progress for gay people during the past 25 years. (The notion that campaigning for homophile recognition is something that didn’t exist until about a couple of years ago is just plain wrong.) Second, I hope there’ll be lots of discussion in Gay News, as time goes by, not only about what gay people are doing, but about what they could be doing but aren’t (such as treating one another with more consideration than is often the case; and not talking about “love” when they only mean “sex”).

That’s enough from me for now. Keep right on!

Love and peace,

Antony Grey.


GAYINTERNATIONAL,
Raamgracht 13,
Amsterdam Centrum,

Gay News,

A group of friends, living in Amsterdam, have formed a group called GAYINTERNATIONAL. We are working at presenting opportunities to gays in England to find contacts in Amsterdam – and the rest of the Continent, in fact — and vice versa. This is being done by sending a newsletter to those interested. We feel that Amsterdam is an ideal centre to operate from, because of the relaxed and informal attitude here, and, at the same time, circumventing the harassment and persecution that such an organisation will find, if it were based in England.

Through this service, Englishmen may in fact safely establish local contacts!

If any of your readers are interested in the group, they should write to us, including an International Reply Coupon for postage, and we will gladly send them information.

D. James.


Park Avenue,
George Street,
BIRMINGHAM B12 9RU

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I was interested to read the various articles about the Radical Feminists in GAY NEWS Number Two.

I knew nothing about the Spare Rib incident, and it’s good to have a newspaper which brings such events to our notice. But I’m a bit worried all the same that you may not be as much in danger of creating sectarian rifts as you say the Radical Feminists are.

Some of your criticisms are perfectly valid. The Radical Feminists – at least, those who presumably belong in some measure to this group and were at the Birmingham come-together – can be very aggressive in their manner, ready to put down disagreements or even nervous questionings in a manner that is male chauvinist. There certainly is a danger — a right-wing danger – in a pre-occupation with individual change which ignores the necessity of changing circumstances and of reaching out to oppressed sisters and brothers less well placed to explore and liberate themselves than all but a minority. In so far as the Radical Feminists think that everyone in GLF should do what they do, there is an element of the fascist freakiness that we all know so well — “do your own thing, so long as it’s my thing”.

But it does not help any to put down the Radical Feminists in precisely the terms that validate their anger. Your correspondent Simon Manson as well as featured writer Doug Pollard and rather more obliquely Denis Lemon all got at the Radical Feminists because they wore frocks, put on garish make-up and were generally a bit of a sight. That is precisely the language of male chauvinism that the Radical Feminists object to and are put down by. Of course the Radical Feminists don’t look ‘normal’; of course they are going to affront all those who cling to rigid definitions of the sex role with their appearance. It is very important indeed to see that this is an absolutely crucial aspect of gay politics. It is not a question of tolerating the Radical Feminists, but of realising two crucial things — one, that we must learn from them, their difficulties and, in fact, remarkable successes m thinking through and acting out what it means to overthrow sex roles; and two, we must see that the affront they are to straight society is a political action in which we are all implicated and from which in the last analysis we shall all benefit.

The GAY NEWS put-downs of the Radical Feminists are all the more inopportune in that the article by the Radical Feminists themselves (-and why call them a faction so glibly?) implies the degree to which they do put alternatives to violence and chauvinist aggression into their thinking, how they intend not to be drawn into situations where ‘male egos oppose each other’, how they are prepared to go deeper than the make-up and dresses that GAY NEWS so gleefully jibes at.

As I say, there are important arguments to be made about the Radical Feminists, about the role of individual liberation and radical action, about the way in which sex roles are to be broken down. But the arguments are not at the level of attacking the life style of the Radical Feminists from which we have a lot to learn and which is working for us in its impact on the political scene. The argument is more about the need to be generous towards those who have never come out. those who haunt the ghettoes. those who lead double lives, and the need to find ways of living with each other in a movement that is emotional sexual and political. Above all. we’ve still got to learn to love being gay. to love other gay people, and to think of ourselves as we gay people, not isolated individuals who happen to be gay.

Richard Dyer.


Nottingham Street,
London W1.

Dear All,

I have issue No. 2 in front of me — and frankly I’m rather sad.

I don’t quite see, for instance, the point of what I consider a rather revolting picture on the front of the newspaper. I am opened-minded, and am not in any way a ‘prude’, but I do feel that it was in rather bad taste.

In fact, to be quite honest, the whole newspaper spells ‘G.L.F.’ — an organisation that appears to have one great big chip on its shoulder. The Biograph Review, does it have to be written in such a school-boyish way? Or is it a school fourth-former that actually does write it?

I am all for a gay newspaper, as all gay people seem to be. But we do want one with a pretty high standard of journalism. Gay News is very young — and it will improve – at least I hope it will. This can’t be done without the help of others – that means us – so perhaps it you do print this, it will spur up some enthusiasm.

George Copeland.

Your Letters

ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.

03-197207XX-02The ………. Club,
Malta
July 1st, 1972.

Dear Gay News

I and my fellow Gays here have read with interest the account of your new venture “Gay News” in Alan Brians Diary in the Sunday Times, of June 25th.

Here in Malta we have formed a Gay Circle consisting of seven Maltese three English and two Italians, ages between 18 and 69 (the latter one of our most active members).

It has long been our wish to contact visiting gays of any nationality and to give them hospitality. All of us have our own accommodation and can put up suitable visitors with similar tastes. We know how difficult it is for strangers in a strange land.

All of our circle are attractive especially the Maltese who are in the 18-24 year group. These boys are most appealing having beautiful eyes, sensuous and accommodating mouths, and beautifully experienced fingers. All are slim and most seductive. We are all two way operators and everything goes for us except whipping. That is the only thing we bar.

We understand that you cannot print gay lonely hearts ads in your magazine but we would be most grateful if you could pass the news of our existence in your circles.

We would like to subscribe to your magazine but police cencorship of magazines is so tough here it would be dangerous for us to receive it.

In any course we understand that all letters will be answered so who knows you may get us some contacts.

If any visiting gays want to contact our circle will they please contact me by letter first stating their likes and dislikes, their preferences or desires and I am sure they can be well accommodated.

Best wishes for the success of Gay News.

J.


Che Kent Youth Group
1, Trinity Road,
Folkestone,
Kent.
8th July, 1972

Dear Gay News,

I am very impressed with both issues so far, I think your format, articles and layout is just great, please keep it up and don’t for goodness sake fold up will you?!! Can you find a space somewhere just to ask if there’s anyone in Kent, especially S.E. Kent who reads Gay News and hasn’t joined either CHE or GLF and is willing to help me get things going in this “respectable” seaside resort. So far I am having to do all the leafletting, sticker sticking and campaigning work by myself which beside being time consuming can be rather disheartening too. So please all you young active gay guys and girls if you’re reading this and want to help drop us a line for heaven’s sake!

Love,
  Brian Hart.


Co. Derry,
N. Ireland.

Dear Gay News,

I do not usually write congratulatory letters so consider yourselves honoured.

The only sour note was the ‘Het of the Month’ bit – I’d call that a scandalous liberty, in the case of issue No.1. There is, I contend, no evidence whatever to suggest that Cliff Richard is heterosexual.

S.Fruizzell.


HANDS OFF !!!
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE
GENERAL POST OFFICE.

Dear GPO,

We feel flattered that members of the GPO are interested enough in Gay News to the extent that they wish to acquire copies. But please, could you buy them like everyone else. If you write to us we will tell you your nearest stockist, or alternatively, why don’t you take out a subscription?

It is very naughty to open up our parcels and pinch copies; it upsets the person receiving the parcel, not only because copies are missing but because the then tatty parcels don’t protect the rest of the papers very well. We get upset too because we lose money that is needed and it makes life hell for the person keeping the books.

Latest example of this petty pilfering reported to us is the strange disappearance of 4 copies from a parcel sent to Birmingham.

Please stop it!

Gay News collective.

Continues on Page 9

Your Letters Cont.

03-197207XX-09Continued from Page 2

Littlehampton,
Sussex.

Dear Friends,

Why oh why must the minority of gay campaigners always use foul language, clown-tactics and general public rudeness? to put our case (what is our case)? over. We (the majority) don’t want it done this way.

You will find that the majority of gay people argue their way of love with calm, sensible reason. Public bodies, i.e.: Central Government, Local Government. Police and social services etc; would rather listen to sensible suggestions and requests than take heed of ‘Gay-Circus’.

Instead of constantly criticising and giving abuse to Court and Government decisions, no matter how unjust, why not try appeals, reasoned public support.

If law is unjust or a bad one then the public will have it changed, in time. Don’t treat the public as a moronic TV audience, but get about and inform them of the facts, as we see them, ask, politely, for their help. It is amazing how many people, when informed of a wrong, will give help and advice. All it takes is a PLEASE, some thing that seems to be lacking.

Why are the gay organisations segrating us from our fellow man and woman? We’re not zoo specimens, we are ordinary, yes ordinary, humans who want to live life our way, and love our way. Segregation will NOT bring public recognition of our way of life. We MUST mix, we cannot make ourselves into an island.

Why are there not more reports from CHE and CHE groups? Have these groups no Press Officers, or are they just plain lazy? There seems to be too much GLF reporting in Gay News. An organisation that does more harm than good to our campaign, it seems their one aim is to cause trouble. Does GLF now stand for: ‘Get Lost FREEDOM’? I would hate to see Gay News turn into a ‘revolutionary rag’. At the moment this news paper is what is just wanted by the more moderate majority, but please be very careful.

Remember, preach calm, reason and tolerance and we WILL win much much more support. It takes time but then thats life.

Kindest regards
Norman Redman.

 

Monday 10th July.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has sent the following letter to United States senator George McGovern.

Dear Senator McGovern,

We are much encouraged by the pledge you have given to work for full rights for homosexuals. We urge you to resist all pressures to drop this pledge from your programme or to accord it a lower priority.

Homosexuals are discriminated against and oppressed in nearly every country in the world and any action in obtaining full civil rights for homosexuals in any one country contributes to their struggle all over the world. We in Britain have been greatly encouraged by your adoption of our cause. We earnestly hope that at this stage you will not abandon it.

Many of us sincerely hope that you will obtain the Democratic nomination and be elected President of the United States. That you will use the office to liberate social injustices that oppress them.

We wish you well.

 

CHALLENGE
6 Dauphine Court
Spencer Road
Wealdstone
Harrow

17th July, 1972

Dear Gay News.

I was very interested to read in your first issue about the furore which appeared to have developed over GLF’s representation on Jimmy Savile’s Homosexual Speakeasy program, and particularly of Michael Butler’s unfortunate involvement in this seemingly underhand business.

We were pleased to have eight members there and naturally we plugged Challenge. GLF’s only representation, out of their thousands of supporters, were three people who managed to squeeze in because they happened to be involved with Gay News.

At Challenge we were bewildered by Michael Butler’s letter:

“The BBC rang and asked me to find thirty gay people as representatives of as many gay organisations and groups as I know, excepting Gay Lib. They also talked about something called “Challenge” which I assumed to be a Gay Liberation Front venture”.

On March 16 our Secretary sent Michael Butler a letter which stated our aims and intentions very clearly. When he greeted us at the Speakeasy recording he apologised for not replying and for not taking up our invitation to come and speak at one of our meetings, so he knew what Challenge was at that time.

The suggestion that he thought “something called Challenge” was a “Gay Liberation Front venture” might possibly placate GLF by implying that in inviting Challenge he thought he was not really excluding GLF. But if one doesn’t think it right to exclude a group as large as GLF then why on earth have any part in the BBC’s plan to do so?

Love and peace.
Hugh.

 

111a High Road.
Leyton,
LONDON,
E.15 2DF

27th June, 1972.

Dear Sir:

I don’t think I am far wrong in stating that the majority of “straights” think of homosexual’s as half-men, half-women, or men who want to be women, and visa versa.

So what does GLF do? They, above everyone else, confirm the attitude and opinion of the straights by encouraging their members to come to meetings, disco’s, gay-days, and demos, etc, in drag. What for? Only GLF knows.

I was once a regular attendant at most of the London GLF meetings. One in particular was the Disco at the White Lion in Putney. But I was completely shaken, confused and (yes) shocked by what I saw. Boys wearing false-eyelashes and bright red lipstick, some even in complete drag. And men with beards and moustaches wearing women’s dresses and a baloon or pillow up the front to stimulate pregnancy. This was too much for me and I had to get away.

Now let me get one thing clear. I am not anti-transvestite. To each his own, and I would not dream of imposing my own set of morals on anyone. Let everyone do their own thing. I don’t imprison anyone. Because, like the straights, if you imprison others, you also imprison yourself. Nor do I see any harm in a bloke dressed as a bird. It’s not wrong. It’s not right. It just is. But why come to GLF and put back the cause of homosexuals 200 years or more?

We all know that every man has homosexual tendencies. That is no surprise to anyone. But if we, as homosexuals, are to be taken seriously, we have to appeal to the straights latent homosexuality. But if they think that by “coming out” of their plastic shells that they too, will become half-women, half-men, then they will NEVER come out .. and we will never be free to live our lives the way we want to live them in our own natural and beautiful way.

For God’s sake, GLF, wake up! And do what’s right. To help ourselves, we have to help others to understand us. It is just as important to learn what not to do, than what to do.

I think the whole idea of GLF needs to be pulled down and re-shaped. Throw out the pot-smoking freaks who are no help to anyone, let alone themselves, and be a bit more, if I may say so, professional.

So, members of GLF who like coming in drag, the next time there is a public demo, think before you attend it in drag. Ask yourself: “Is this really the way to be accepted? I have no doubt that it ISN’T the way.
With Love and Hope,

Wolf von Jurgen

 

The Family Planning Association.
Margaret Pyke House.
Mortimer Street, London W1A 4QW
12th July, 1972.

Dear Sirs,

I should be grateful if you would let me have a copy of your new publication.

II am especially interested in the article “The Twilight World of the Heterosexual”. (Gay News No.1)

Yours faithfully.
W.G.Smith,
Press Secretary.

Your Letters

02-197206XX 8ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.


BCM/PETREL
London WC1.
24th June 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Yesterday I was able to by Gay News AT LAST. It was worth waiting for. The look of it is very professional and the content positive and provocative. Long may you continue and prosper.

Re your Speak-Easy spat. Sappho was invited too and I was the ‘wise child’ who asked the producer if he was gay. For someone who is forty plus I found this an excuse for an elegant ego-trip! We were under the impression as the recording was being held in the National Youth Clubs Centre we would have had the stimulating experience of discussing homosexuality with young people. To discover that the audience for the programme was also the tight little group of homosexuals representing various gay organisations was a big sell and the closet atmosphere of the ‘studio’ did not enhance the occasion. This was no jault of the gays present but the responsibility of those organising the programme. To segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals is absolutely against the aims and objects of Sappho. However we stayed because the opportunity for peak time programming for homosexuals is non-existant. Hearing the programme afterwards certainly made it worthwhile because we sounded like a large audience as well as sounding off. Sappho has made a large number of new contacts, who were despairing and isolated. I must take issue with Doug Pollard glossing over the GLF scene on the previous Speakeasy programme about homosexuality. GLF were totally disruptive – or I should say one or two individual members of GLF were – to the exclusion of other gays getting a word in. I admire so much that GLF does and contribute to many of their actions and am present at their demonstrations, but I despair of those individuals whos turn up at events organised by others than GLF is quite understandable and was caused by rogue members of GLF themselves.

Thank you for advertising Sappho on your back information page. May I point out that we are a magazine not a paper. We also hold meetings every first Monday in the month at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm Upstairs room, Great Russell Street, London WC1 and all women are welcome to hear speakers. discuss the magazine and air their own views. The price for individual copies has gone up to .25p plus postage, but the subscriptions remain the same, £1.50 for 6 months, £3.00 for 12 months including postage.

Love and peace
Jackie Forster
Editor of SAPPHO

 

Birmingham.
23rd June, 1972.

Dear Gay News Staff & Friends,
Your newspaper gave me delightful reading, as it was in good taste and good sense.

It is a welcome newspaper, as in todays society a needed source.

All the best of luck in the future.

Mis P.A…………

 

London N.W.3.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Thank you for the letter and please pass on my thanks to all the staff of Gay News. I bought a copy yesterday and read it through twice and enjoyed it immensely. I intend to send you my subscription at the end of the week, to make sure (in a little way) that Gay News carries on.

It is very good that Gay People, like myself, have now got their own paper. Cheers.

Love Nick C…………

P.S. Liked the ads.

 

London W.2.
20th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I have frequently wondered about Gay News, because as a ‘local’ I often pass 19 London St. and now the Evening Standard has confirmed my suspicions. I am delighted! I should be pleased to hear about your activities and I should also like to become an immediate subscriber to Gay News.

Ian M…………

 

Middlesex.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I was rather touched by your letter to the editor of the ‘Evening Standard’, in which you aptly referred to ‘Lords in Clash on Gay Advert’, and wish to take out a personal advertisement in Gay News, but I am rather haunted and terrified if possible blackmail, Is there any way to eliminate the risk if blackmail in this respect?

Also, I would very much like to obtain a copy of your latest edition of Gay News, and would be very grateful for any help you may render in this respect.

S.A…………

 

Sussex.
23rd June, 1972

Dear All at G.N.,
Have just received my first copy of Gay News. I found it very interesting with varied reading for all.

How about a monthly crossword? And might I suggest that you write to all or some of the County Councils and see if they will take out subscriptions for their library reading rooms, and so put G.N. along-side the national papers etc.? I will be contacting my local council to see if we can put it in our library, and will send you their reply.

Look forward to number two, keep up the GOOD work. Will also send you a donation in due course.

Norman R………………

 

There was no address,
and we couldn’t read
the postmark.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Boys,
I am very disappointed with Gay News, and before you can expect to build up a ‘readership’ you’ll have to not only improve your articles, but also employ an on-the-ball proof reader.

The quality of the paper is good, and I have no doubt that everyone worked extremely hard – but such co-operation and talent (?) you must be capable of doing better.

Look forward to issue no.2 before subscribing.

Yours etc.
Paul X.

P.S. Incidentally – should any of your readers be holidaying in Marbella (Spain) there are two bars worth visiting – Cozzi’s International and El Boccacio.

 

Your Letters

01-197205XX 5Dear Gay News,

Absolutely delighted to hear about Gay News! Please find enclosed subscription for 10 issues and accept all my good wishes for the success of the paper.

I haven’t much news to give you at the moment, none worth printing anyway as I am at present trying to get the group organised. Things are a bit quiet in this “respectable” seaside town and any leafletting, campaigning, etc., has to be done by myself at the moment, if you’ll forgive the cliche it’s like trying to swim through porridge!! To give you an example of the social atmosphere you might be interested to know that when the local Odeon showed “Sunday Bloody Sunday” there were loud gasps when Murray Head went to bed with Peter Finch, about half a dozen people walked out! Incredible, isn’t it’?

I intend to make enquiries at the library this weekend as to their stocks of books regarding homosexuality and whether I can put some leaflets and a CHE poster on their noticeboard keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway, if I do have any interesting news you can be sure I will send it on for your consideration, in the meanwhile good luck to Gay News.

Love, Brian Hart.
Folkstone

 

Dear Gay News,

Sorry! I do not really feel like helping with Gay News. I do agree that “it is high time that we had reliable and entertaining news and information for the four million or so homosexuals in this country”. But I do think that it is high time that such information, news, etc., was part of the ordinary press.

Yours sincerely, Tim Beaumont
(Lord Beaumont of Whitley)

 

Dear Gay News,

Just to wish you luck with Gay News and share the tension for new ventures. So I enclose a Sappho magazine and wondered if we could have an exchange deal. What I mean is instead of subscribing to each other just send our copies to each other.

Please let me know if you think this is an idea worth following.

Yours sincerely, Mrs. Jacqueline Forster
Editor

 

Dear Friends,

………………….We wish you every success with the Herculean task you have set yourselves.

Willy Snippe
Foreign Committee of C.O.C.

 

Dear Mr. Seligman,

Thank you for your letter. But I cannot honestly say that I like the idea of Gay News. I am against making homosexuals into a group on their own. The whole point is that they are just human beings like anyone else, and to as it went publicise them can do them no good and can in certain circumstances do them harm.

You must realise, as I am sure you do, that there is still a strong prejudice – and indeed always will be – against the homosexual, and to try and make something special out of them can only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds which persist.

Do not please regard this as in any way a hostile letter. If I were hostile towards homosexuals I would not have introduced my bill. It is just that I am not in agreement with you over the tactics required to improve their sociological and spiritual position.

Sincerely,
Arran

We may not have much in Hemel Hempstead folks, but we’ve got a real live earl!

Earl of Arran of the Evening News

Trouble Shared

01-197205XX 5We’ll do what we can to help and advise if you share this trouble of yours with us in this regular column.

ALONE IN GLASGOW

It’s only recently that I’ve realised I’m as attracted to certain women as I am to men. This came as a big surprise to me and I’m sure it would be more of a horrible shock to my friends; which is exactly the trouble. I know no-one who feels the same as me and I have very little access to meeting them. In fact, I sometimes feel I’m the only lesbian in Glasgow! Glasgow seems to be a more repressed area than most. It’s a huge city but one which prefers to ignore part of its population and keep them in isolation and loneliness. I mean, where can you meet people? I see many women in the street to whom I’m attracted, and I’m sure they feel the same, but there’s this horrible stigma about being homosexual or bisexual or anything which deviates from the norm. It must be really bad as it took me 19 years to even admit it to myself. I believe there’s a great number of people, both male and female who consider themselves totally heterosexual but in fact have a nagging doubt at the back of their minds about this. Men have been conditioned into worshipping females with big boobs and bums and women have just been conditioned into worshipping men in all pimply, hairy and un-deodorised forms! I just can’t understand why people should be outlawed because they are attracted to a member of the same sex. I think it might have something to do with the way men are expected to be extremely manly and women to be feminine. The fact that we are all just people has been forgotten. What I’m trying to say is, I think of myself as a person first and then a woman second and if I’m attracted to a girl it’s because of her personality and then her sex.

I think homosexuals will be more and more isolated as time goes on. You only have to look at the way “Straight” People act physically towards each other – there is no form of physical communication at all – only between members of the opposite sex. This has come about quite recently because 20-30 years ago it was usual and normal to see women go walking down the street arm in arm without half the street turning round for a second look. People are being pressurised more and none into being heterosexual.

In mediaeval times it was usual and highly commendable for young boys to have knights as lovers. In fact it was considered a disgrace if they didn’t!

How times have changed!

I think the only way to bridge this terrible gap of lonely people is for a magazine like Gay News, produced sincerely for homosexual people, to organise a system like box numbers (at the very least) to help people communicate more easily.

I personally hope this will take place in the very near future.

It is a ‘terrible gap’ – and we exist to help bridge it. Although we were, and still are, concerned about the whole business of running box number ads, not least because they might technically be illegal, Gay News does have a small ads column (q.v.) and box numbers. For the sake of the future, though, gay people cannot go on hiding away from the stigma put upon us; we must become known, as people who happen to be gay. No fear ever goes away until it is faced, and nothing is won from this society without some measure of defiance. But the power of the oppression is strong, stronger in our minds, I believe, than in fact, but still with great power. And so in deference to her wishes we have not printed the name of our lonely sister. We’ll pass on any letters we get to her and put her in touch with gay organisations in Scotland.

Gay Pride Week

01-197205XX 5On a late June night in 1969, police attempted a routine search at the Stonewall, a gay bar in Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. This time, however, they met with resistence. The patrons of the bar pushed them out into the street. Greenwich Village is the largest gay ghetto in the world, and the police soon found themselves confronted by hundreds of angry homosexuals who streamed out of the surrounding apartments. What developed was a minor rebellion, complete with bricks and bottles: a spontaneous explosion of years of pent-up anger and frustration.

This was the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in America, A year later it was to appear and grow in London. Every year in New York a carnival is held to celebrate the event and to demonstrate the movements feeling of Gay Pride. Last years celebrations were held throughout North America, and this year will also be celebrated in London and the major cities of Europe.

The London Gay Liberation Front is planning a week-long series of events as part of this years celebration of Gay Pride. Theme of the activities will be both an assertion of Gay Pride and and two concrete demands: repealing of all anti-gay laws and full civil rights for gay people.

The weeks events are:

  • FRIDAY JUNE 23rd: West London Gay Dance – Fulham Town Hall, 8pm – 12pm.
  • SATURDAY JUNE 24th: Various events, including mass leafleting of the gay areas.
  • SUNDAY JUNE 25th: Gay Days at both Battersea Park and Waterlow Park, Highgate. Meet at both parks at 12 noon.
  • MONDAY JUNE 26th: Disco at the Kings Arms, Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street. 8pm.
  • TUESDAY JUNE 27th: Street events around London: ring GLF number below for further information. Amongst other activities the will be GLF vigil outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, against the continuing war in Vietnam. 12am – 1pm.
  • WEDNESDAY JUNE 28th: West London Gay Disco at: White Lion Pub, Putney. 8pm.
  • THURSDAY JUNE 29th: The same events etc. (excepting US Embassy vigil) as Tuesday. Extra events are expected to come from local GLF groups.
  • FRIDAY JUNE 30th: GAY PRIDE DANCE: Fulham Town Hall, 8pm – 12pm. Featuring rock groups, light-shows, disco, bar, and much togetherness.
  • SATURDAY JULY 1st: GAY PRIDE CARNIVAL, meet at Trafalgar Square 2pm. March from there at 3pm. to Hyde Park through the streets of London. From 4pm. at Hyde Park there will be music, food, fun and surprises. On Saturday evening there will be a Disco at the Northern Polytechnic, Holloway Road. 8pm – 12pm. Music, lights, beer and even more surprises.
  • SUNDAY JULY 2nd: Gay Day at Primrose Hill from 2pm.

There will be more events and celebrations as they come together, for further information about Gay Pride Week contact:

Gay Liberation Front, 5 Caledonian Road, London N.1.
Telephone 01-837-7174.

Gay News is in no way involved in the organisation of Gay Pride Week, but we fully support the idea and motives behind this week of proposed gay celebrations. We wish than concerned much success in this venture and hope you, like us of the Gay News Collective, will endeavour to attend and participate in as many of these scheduled events as possible. Gay News, of course, will bc reporting and examining in depth the events of this week.