Funny, or How Very Queer

19720901-04Julie Frost, Gay News’s super salesman at The Boltons in Earl’s Court, had a rather strange story to tell after an evening of selling the paper recently.

On leaving his local tube station, Caledonian Road, a car drew up alongside of him and out popped three plain-clothes policemen. Julie was questioned about what he had been doing; his bag of unsold Gay News’s was searched, and a copy of the paper was scrutinised. After more questions and his, and the paper’s, name and address being taken he was allowed to finish his journey home.

A not too unusual occurrence, but wait. When Julie arrived home he noticed a dark blue unmarked police car, with its lights off, parked outside his home. Inside were two uniformed police officers. They were still there when Julie went to bed, and it was observed that they were still there much later that night.

We wonder what all that’s about?

Incidentally, Julie was the cover-model for Issue No. 5 of Gay News. This week Gay News, next week Vogue or Playboy?

Front cover, issue #5

05-197208XX

Fourteen –
Old enough to wear long trousers.
Old enough to protect my sister in the dark of the night.
But I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Fifteen –
I joined the army today.
I’ve grown up now, you see.
Yes.
I’m old enough to kill…
or to be killed.
And yet…
I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Eighteen –
Now I really am a man.
Because I am old enough to marry, and to raise a family.
I’m old enough to drink in pubs –
No more kids shandies for me.
Yes, I can even vote.
But still…
I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Twnety-one at last.
The day has finally come.
The way I love is mine to choose.
The only trouble is…
those I love,
are not old enough to choose
the way they love.

Love’s Laws by Karmon

Who Was Obstructing Who?

No Photographs ~ No Evidence

05-197208XX 2At approximately 11.20 pm on Saturday 12th August, 1972, Denis Lemon, a member of the editorial collective of Gay News, was arrested for allegedly ‘wilfully obstructing the passage of the footway of Wharfdale Street, London SW10’. He was released on £10 bail later that night, and appeared at Great Marlborough Street Magistrate’s Court on the morning of Monday 14th August. After pleading Not Guilty to the charge. Denis was remanded until Tuesday 22nd August. He applied for legal aid and was remanded on bail.

It is understood that Denis will be represented by a solicitor and will be calling a number of witnesses in his defence.

Wharfdale Street, SW10, is directly behind The Colherne public house in Old Brompton Road. After ‘closing time’ on the Saturday evening Denis had been acting in his official capacity as a Gay News reporter and had been taking a number of photographs of police action outside and in the nearby vicinity of the pub. After taking a number of photographs of the police directly outside The Colherne, he crossed to the opposite side of the road where he took a few more pictures, then moved to Wharfdale Street where he was arrested whilst trying to take a shot of a number of police officers ‘moving on’ a small group of people chatting in the im street.

Denis was active that evening as he was attempting to gather documented evidence of alleged ‘police harassment’ by members of the constabulary from the Chelsea Division of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Over the past few months it has become apparent to the Gay News editorial staff, from either information received at the paper’s office or personally witnessed by the members of the collective, that the level of police action outside The Colherne has been increasing. A number of people have been arrested on various occasions.

It has also been noticed that police dogs have been frequently used by the police whilst performing their duty outside the pub. This has seriously worried members of the general public as well as customers, and the use of particularly large groups of police, often exceeding 20 in number, has sometimes nearly led to unpleasant situations to say the least. Alleged too, by Colherne customers, is that unnecessary violence has been used by the police whilst performing this almost nightly ‘duty’.

Other, more serious allegations have also been made by people about this regular occurrence. Gay News is at present taking a number of statements from individuals, which in time will be handed over to the correct authorities.

Police officers who have been questioned about these activities at The Colherne have commented that they are in the area because of complaints from local residents and because of obstructions to the highway and footway. Parking on both sides of the busy road outside the pub in fact seems largely responsible for the highway being frequently congested. A report of the outcome of Denis’s hearing at the Magistrate’s Court will be in the next issue of Gay News. There will also be continuing reportage of future developments at The Colherne in Earl’s Court.


The editorial collective of Gay News would like to point out to the customers of The Colherne that they will only be taking photographs of the police and will try not to take recognisable shots of the pub’s patrons. Any photo that clearly shows the identity of either customers or the general public will have the faces blanked out if these pictures are used in Gay News or any other publication.

Here They Come Again

05-197208xx-322 men were held for trial after a police raid on a nightclub in Tangier last Saturday (12th August). More than 80 men were originally arrested, but most of them were released, including two male dancers from the Royal Ballet. The raid occurred after complaints about men in drag, men dancing together, “nudity and obscene gestures in public”, and “debauchery of minors”. The club is called “The Blow-Up”.

Meanwhile back in dear old G.B., Newham Council have closed their “vapour baths” because someone saw two men “behaving indecently” there, called the police, and had them arrested for gross indecency. The men were subsequently fined £30 each at West Ham court. The council caused some considerable rumpus by closing the baths without any notice, until they can take steps to ‘increase supervision’.

Tangier or Newham, it’s a hard life and a short one.

Reuters. Evening Standard, and Newham Recorder …….thanks.

She Found Out Too Late

05-197208XX 2Letter from an anonymous person to CHE

TO ALL HOMOSEXUALS

You are all so utterly vile, cause so much distress and unhappiness and are a complete disgrace to the human race. You should all be exterminated. I am not a crank but a mother with two wonderful children and we have suffered appallingly during the last three years, since one of your kind perverted my husband after 17 years of happy family life.

The best you can do is leave decent people in peace and I suggest you get a single ticket to the moon or better still to the planet Mars because that is farther away.

You are all so completely disgusting and revolting and your advertisement is an insult to all normal people.

YOU ALL ABSOLUTELY STINK.

Gay Corner

Members of Campaign for Homosexual Equality stood up to be counted for the second time at London’s Speakers’ Corner on Sunday August 13.

05-197208xx-3Even though the five speakers took just under an hour to outline the main points of the gay-oppression struggle, CHE managed to gather a good crowd of some 300 or 400. And, better still, the speakers held that crowd despite the heckling from both sympathisers and opponents of homosexual equality.

The most striking thing about the meeting was the fact that there just weren’t many interruptions, as well as one of the speakers being unexpected.

A guy called Bill stood up. He’d never heard of CHE or GLF, but he way gay and proud of it. He wanted the people to know that. He thought homosexuality and intelligence were interlinked. “Many of the most intelligent people in history were gay”, he said.

One of the best speakers was Jacquie Forster. She stood up and said: “You’re looking at a roaring lesbian.” Then she pleased for people to drop labelling everyone else. “We lesbians aren’t trying to get into your wife’s knickers all the time.”

Jackie was a forceful speaker and she got a lot of laughs, which helped offset the rather earnest tone of the rest of the meeting.

But even if there are some criticisms you can make of the CHE meeting, one thing’s for sure – it took a lot of guts to stand up there and say “I’m gay and I’m proud.”

Fulham

Fulham police are smarting from the defeat they suffered in the gay dance queer bashing case at West London Court.

05-197208xx-3Tony Reynolds, 21, one of the organisers of GLF’s Youth and Education Group and of Gay Pride Week, was charged with using threatening behaviour outside Fulham Town Hall.

With the court’s public gallery packed to capacity with GLF members, some of them in full drag, the magistrates were told of how a gay left the GLF dance on July 7 and was beaten up – needing four stitches in the cuts in his face (reported in GN3).

Sgt Mervyn Sault said Tony shouted obscenities and raised his arm, with his fist clenched, at a group of youths standing on the other side of the road.

Tony told the magistrates he had shouted: “Look there’s one of them. He’s laughing and joking with them – British justice!” But he’d said nothing obscene – in fact, he rarely swore. He didn’t clench his fist.

Three witnesses appeared to corroborate Tony’s evidence.

The police did not attempt to deny that they had been laughing and joking with the queer bashers, and had to withdraw a charge of using threatening words.

The final egg on the law’s lace came when a well-wisher handed Tony the £5 from the public gallery to pay his derisory fine.

A Thoroughly Responsible Paper

05-197208xx-4The freedom of the British press is something we have all learned to value. Usually this is understood to mean that our newspapers are not controlled or censored by the government, the state, the police or the army. Publish and be damned is still a good slogan.

However, this freedom is also assumed to mean that individuals and groups of individuals have the right to reply to attacks made upon them by individual newspapers. Quite often this right is freely given. You will find in general that all contentious topics are given a pretty free airing from both sides, whether it is scientology in dispute or Sir Basil Spence’s erection.

A significant exception was made recently though by The Sunday Telegraph. On Sunday, June 2Sth the following item appeared in that paper’s column of pungent tit-bits called To the Point; —

Gent’s Directory

LEAVING aside any dispute about the power of judges to make what is in effect new law, there will be general satisfaction that they have declared to be illegal any advertisement designed to put homosexuals in contact with one another.

It has now become clear that the concept of privacy enshrined in the Wolfenden Act should have applied, not only to homosexual practices as such, but to anything likely to encourage them. The Act was intended to protect an unfortunate minority from persecution, but not to empower them to spread their deviant ideas in society at large.

Presumably no one would dispute the S. Telegraph’s right to express such an opinion. Some people might question the use of emotive language – eg. ‘unfortunate’, ‘empower’ and ‘deviant ideas’, not to mention the use of ‘their’ with its establishment of a ‘them’ and ‘us’ division.

Quite naturally though the paragraphs upset a great many homosexual men and women. And several immediately wrote to the newspaper.

Dear Sir,

I would like to take issue with you, as no doubt others of your readers have done, over last week’s article entitled ‘Gents’ Directory’.

You leave aside the question of whether it is right that the judiciary should usurp the legislature’s function by effectively making laws to cover what a few unelected judges consider to be Parliament’s omission. I have not seen in your columns an equal lack of concern at, for example, left wing youth groups which similarly by-pass the established democratic channels from time to time.

You assert that the denial of advertising rights to homosexuals will meet with general satisfaction. Among the one in twenty homosexuals who read and write for the Sunday Telegraph? Among those who believe in one law for all citizens and abhor discrimination against minorities? Among those concerned at the isolation and despair often faced by homosexuals denied the opportunity for social contact and fulfilling relationships because you do not like them?

You claim that the Sexual Offences Act intended to protect homosexuals from persecution. The Act indeed allowed consenting adult male homosexuals a limited freedom at law. But society persistently denies homosexuals the opportunity to exercise that limited freedom. You justify this with the emotive concept of homosexuals ‘spreading their deviant ideas in society at large!’ We do this, apparently, by seeking to contact other homosexuals via advertisements, just as heterosexuals freely do, on a much larger scale. And if they feel the need, in an entirely heterosexually orientated society, how much more so must we!

The outcry against this social persecution has only just begun. We are comforted by the knowledge that, although this is and must be our battle, we are not alone.

Tony Ryde, (Vice Chairman Campaign for Homosexual Equality) 28 Kennedy St., Manchester.

Dear Sir,

Your editorial comment on homosexuals (Gent’s Directory, last Sunday) has brought considerable and unnecessary distress to a great many people. The note is based on the misconception (which a little unbiased research would have swiftly corrected) that homosexuality is infectious. When a homosexual advertises for companionship then only another homosexual is interested. Society at large remains unaffected.

Surely you would agree that one’s sexuality can hardly be dismissed as a mere idea, but is an inescapable fact of one’s personality.

What you refer to as the “spread (of) deviant ideas” is the simple assertion that the homosexual man and woman have a human right to exist in equality with our heterosexual brothers and sisters. A society which happily accepts our contribution to its economy (mostly greater than that of married people) yet continues to condemn us to a crippling emotional isolation might itself be judged deviant.

Roger Baker
Press Officer: CHE 28 Kennedy St.
Manchester.

Dear Sir,

I was dismayed to read your editorial “Gents Directory”.

To many heterosexual adults, the subject of homosexuality appears to be aligned with pornography, bestiality and intentions to deprave. Anyone admitting to being a homosexual is branded as unclean and considered fair sport for either mental or physical punishment.

This is manifestly unjust. It is surely the case that homosexuals are by accident of birth made what they are. How many of your readers would endorse your condemnation if it were directed at another branch of society different from the norm of which there are so many tragic examples.

I do not agree with the aims of the Gay Liberation Front and others which appear to show the homosexual as superior to his brethren but I am sure that the majority of this section of the population merely want to be accepted for what they are and have the equal rights to which we subscribe in every other walk of life.

In the present isolated environment that has been forced on them, why should we even now deny them the right to try and establish contact with each other? Your own endorsement sir, of the recent Court ruling aggravates the present bigotry and further delays the coming of a free and well adjusted society.

Anonymous

Dear Sir,

I read with astonishment your editorial ‘Gents’ Directory’. I can only hope that your extremely distasteful and hostile remarks stem from a complete ignorance of the nature and effect of homosexuality, rather than a wilful desire to inflict suffering by perpetuating wicked myths.

I and my colleagues, who include doctors, surgeons and priests, have daily brought home to us the misery and unhappiness of that minority whom you gratuitously describe as ‘unfortunate’. Our clients problems are not caused by their homosexuality but by the very attitudes within society towards homosexuals as examplified by your editorial.

If, as a responsible, opinion forming member of that society, you should wish to discover the truth, I and my colleagues would welcome the opportunity to inform you of our work. If, however, your prejudice will not permit you to take up our offer, then I hope your conscience will restrain you from publishing such ill-informed editorials in the future.

Michael Launder
(National Organiser)
Friend,
Broadley Terrace,
London.N.W.1.

These are clearly sensible, reasoned letters, hardly the work of maniacs or cranks. But of course, none were published. Instead, Brian Roberts the 68-year-old editor of the Sunday Telegraph took what seems to be the unusual step of replying personally to his correspondents.

Sunday Telegraph
Fleet Street,
London.E.C.4.
Tel: 01-353 4242

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of June 28.

There is nothing in our editorial which I wish to withdraw. It did not attack the protection afforded to homosexuals by the Act. In rightly supporting the recent Court ruling against advertising, it took into account that there must be many what I might call “borderline ” homosexuals whose often courageous resistance to homosexual practices should not be undermined by such proselytising. Tolerance is one thing, encouragement another.

B.R. Roberts
Editor

One could, of course, go on for several paragraphs about the implications and — perhaps more important – assumptions of Mr. Roberts’ letter. Tony Ryde, in fact, did reply, as follows: —

Dear Mr. Roberts,

Thank you for acknowledging my letter. I did not ask you to withdraw any part of your editorial but rather to recognise that there are other views, equally strongly felt and perhaps as widely supported. Perhaps you intend to publish such an alternative view this Sunday since presumably the Letters Column in the Sunday Telegraph, as is generally the case, doesn’t have to reflect the Editor’s personal opinion.

I recognise that your editorial did not attack the protection which the 1967 act affords to homosexuals (so long as they are over 21 and live in England); I do not think I suggested it did. Rather I pointed to the social persecution which continues unabated and is reflected by your own views, albeit in the guise of protecting borderline cases from temptation.

Of course there are borderline cases on both sides. If I, being predominantly homosexual am tempted to heterosexual practices neither I, not I think you, will applaud as courageous any resistance I might offer. The morality or immorality, surely, depends not on the act but on the spirit. For you, as for the proponents of the 1967 Act, homosexuality is to be considered as intrinsically evil or sick. Whereas CHE, together with all homosexuals campaigning for full civil rights argues that truly fulfilling, responsible relationships have nothing to do with hetero- or homosexuality per se, but with people and personal values. The borderline homosexual therefore has an equal chance of, and right to, meaningful homosexual relationship as to a meaningful heterosexual one.

In any case you cannot contend that homosexual advertisements appeal primarily to ‘borderline cases’ and you will admit I think I that trying, I believe misguidedly, to protect them you are denying a far greater number of confirmed homosexuals the opportunity to I make contact with other confirmed homosexuals in the hope of relieving their loneliness and establishing mutually rewarding relationships.

If CHE proselytises it is for this freedom which should be an unassailable right; so long as it is denied to us tolerance is pure fantasy.

Tony Ryde

What is disturbing about the whole episode is The Sunday Telegraph’s inability to admit another point of view — and a point of view backed with rather more experience of the real situation that the author of the original article.

The Piccadilly Affair

One Thursday night I was at Picadilly Circus, viewing the lights and minding my own business, when after a time, I got talking to a boy next to me. and in the course of the conversation he said he was from Australia. He had a slight Aussie twang in his voice (which was rather nice), his hair was fair, with pale blue eyes and freckles over his nose, which made him rather attractive to me. We talked for a time and then went for a cup of tea.

05-197208xx-4By this time I had fallen in love with him. with his soft Ausie twang and his freckles, and his slim build, and he talked away quite freely, about everything. “Where do you live” I said. “Kent, he said, “What time is your last train”

I said, “1.45″ he said, “Well come down to my place and spend the time till your train time” which he did, good I thought, this boy will be mine for a few hours. Wow, I thought, wonderful. wonderful.

After a short taxi ride we arrived at my place, up the stairs and into my small bed-sit, and after a short period of time his beautiful, slim, half-sunburnt, naked body was mine, there there will be no need to tell you any details, only one thing, there was no response to me advances, he just lay there quite passive, letting me do the work, when the time came for him to go he got up and dressed himself, and as doing so he said, “you know the score, what about it”, “About what” I said, “Come on, you know what I mean, my £5 plus my taxi fare back to the place where you found me”.

I could not believe it, then I realised it was not me he wanted but my cash, then he realised that I was surprised and that I had not realised he was for rent when we were talking at Picadilly, and I think that in a way he was sorry, by the way he talked after. We had a cup of tea and we talked and I gave him his £5 (may be daft on my part), and then he went for his train, and as he went out he said “I would like to see you again”, “OK sometime”, I said, and went back to my room and remembered a poem of long ago, it is;

You are not the boy of my prayers and tears
But of my love, my hope, my certainty
You are not a god you are the boy I am
You breathe in me my blood is yours
What I have you possess
As I hoped and wished
We shall henceforth be together for ever
And it is my turn to say to you
How splendid that is
                      always
If it be sin to love a lovely lad
Oh then sin I for whom my soul is sad

and I have been around Picadilly a few times and seen my god from Australia with other people, then disappearing, how sad I am when it is not me who is with him, what can I do, can anyone tell me for I love the lad from Australia, love him with all my heart, do the people who rent themselves not realise, they are breaking peoples hearts in the process.