BELFAST: Students lobbying for law reform to make gay sex legal in Northern Ireland have been denied official recognition by Queen’s University Academic Council, because of possible legal repercussions.
The Gay Liberation Society which has been active on the university campus for the last year, exists to fight social prejudice against homosexuals and to lobby for a change in the laws of 1885 and 1861, which still apply in the province, as the 1967 Sexual Offences Act applied only to England and Wales.
Equality With England
The Gay Liberation Society wants equality with English gays. It points out that the law in its present state in Northern Ireland – and Scotland for that matter – exposed homosexuals to blackmail and legal harrassment for actions which were their own affair.
The university’s academic council turned the society’s plea for official recognition down flat and said the society would have to get legal advice before reapplying for recognition.
Meanwhile the society was going ahead with its plans to stage a ‘gay play’ at the university.
The play, Find Your Own Way Home, by television playwright John Hopkins, was to be staged jointly by the Gay Liberation Society and the university’s dramatic society.
Belfast’s Sunday News called it “the most sexually explicit (play) ever to be staged in the Province.”
Deep Blue Air
The play deals with the break-up of a marriage when the husband leaves to live with his gay lover.
The Sunday News confided: “Its language turns the air a very deep blue…
“But director Gwen Williams, a graduate in English, is not worried about possible protests.
“The play is a serious exploration of homosexual relationships,” she said, “and though the language is very strong, I think it’s justified.
“It was obviously written to combat prejudice against homosexuals, hence the cooperation of Gay Lib. Homosexuals are still hampered in Ulster by outdated social attitudes and by legislation, but I think Ulster people are mature enough to take this type of play, If protesters try to stop the production we shall make it into a club performance.”
Enthusiastic About Role
Arts student Andrew Hinds plays the husband’s lover, Julian, and he’s enthusiastic about this role, during which he has his shirt ripped off him by another of the play’s gay characters.
In one scene he describes his casual sex encounters in parks and cottages using what the Sunday News was moved to call ‘X certificate terms’.
Andrew said: “In the play, the husband leaves his wife, Jackie, for me. She thinks he’s left her for another woman when she finds letters to him signed ‘Julie’. It is only when she meets me that she realises that ‘Julie’ is, in fact a man called Julian. When that strikes home she is physically sick on stage.
But Andrew does not object to the ‘bad language’ in the play. “It’s about time this kind of language, which all young people use, got on to the stage; and realism would have suffered if it had been omitted.
LONDON: Clearing the television documentary on Andy Warhol which he and two other Appeal Court judges had barred from being shown on ITV, Judge Denning tried to give the programme his seal of disapproval by saying it shows “the perverts and homosexuals who surround Mr Warhol”.
Not only did Lord Denning confuse “perverts” and “homosexuals” but he found that the programme was “dreary and dull. Taken as a whole, however, it is not offensive.” That was his verdict after he’d seen the television programme made by photographer David Bailey which he and another Appeal Court judge banned without bothering to see some weeks ago.
Lord Denning may have been prepared to make a volte-face in the light of public opinion about the court’s television censorship, but he was determined to get a last word in on the subject.
He said: “I speak as I find. The film struck me as dreary and dull. It showed the sort of people, perverts and homosexuals, who surround Mr Warhol and whom he portrays in his works. Taken as a whole, however, it is not offensive.
“Viewing it piece by piece, there are some incidents which seem to be inserted in an attempt to liven up the dullness; but this attempt did not succeed as far as I was concerned.”
Whether Judge Denning watches the programme or not is immaterial, what is important is that the court got rapped over the knuckles rather sharply by Sir Peter Rawlinson, the Attorney-General, who said it had no right to issue an injunction against the broadcasting authorities on the strength of a private complaint.
Ross McWhirter, the shocked and somewhat disappointed would-be hero of the ban-Warhol attempt, should have complained about the showing of the programme through the Attorney-General, Sir Peter said. And if though there was a breach of the law regarding broadcasting standards in the screening of a programme, it was up to him to get the injunction against the authority concerned. In this way he scotched the clean-up-TV-campaigners’ hopes for more and more successful court actions against TV companies.
QUOTES: Ross McWhirter: “I have received donations towards my (legal) costs in advance of today’s hearing.”
Mary Whitehouse: “The case is a beacon to the silent majority.”
David Bailey: “If the judges had liked it that would have been really something to worry about.”
Jimmy Vaughan, Warhol’s European agent: “I’m delighted. It’s a victory against humbugs.”
FOOTNOTE: Four days later Andy Warhol’s Trash opened at the London Pavilion, two years after the cans of movie arrived at Vaughan Films, and minus 23 seconds.
It has taken two years to get the British Board of Film Censors to agree to give Trash an X-certificate.
The 23 missing seconds include a fraction of the scene in which drag starlet Holly Woodlawn masturbates with a beer bottle, a fraction of a scene where Joe Dallesandro injects heroin into his arm and a little of one of the movies infrequent fucks.
Only one of the London film critics (Alexander Walker of the Evening Standard) realised that Holly Woodlawn, the glamourous heroine, is a well known Warhol factory transvestite.
BRISTOL: Bristol Gay Awareness took its message to Clifton College, Bristol, recently. After a showing of the Gay Liberation Front movie Come Together, everyone divided up into discussion groups.
Members of the Bristol group felt that the evening was very successful in that they were able to put over the problems faced by gays in society to an understanding audience.
Perhaps other public schools and the gay groups near them, should do the same.
◉ Teacher Cleared
PRESTON: At the Crown Court here a former Southport teacher was found not guilty of ‘indecently assaulting’ a 15-year-old boy pupil.
The judge directed the jury to clear Peter, who now lives in York, of the charge. Peter denied the charge.
◉ Reading Students Back Gays
READING: Students at the university here have passed a motion declaring their support for moves to have gays’ rights discussed at the next conference of the National Union of Students.
This makes the third time that students have tried to get the NUS to take a stand on gay rights. The Reading motion was proposed by Goff Sargent, of Reading Gay Alliance, who was interviewed about this by the Reading Evening Post.
Goff said the NUS represented 24,000 gay students who were isolated and met with discrimination.
He told the Evening Post: ‘“Under the 1967 Sexual Offences Act the age of consent is 21. For heterosexuals it’s 16.
“There should be no discrimination between the ages of consent.”’
He said being gay was like being black.
‘“White people never understand what it is like to be black.” ’
The next NUS conference is on February 24 and students want to hear discussed the need for counselling and befriending gays, the provision of social facilities for gays and the creation of sexual equality. “It is no longer a clandestine activity,” Goff said.
RGA, which started as a student gay group, is now a town-and-university group. There are now more town members than university members.
What problems do Reading’s gays face? Goff said: “There is no great problem of harrassment as they have in London, but there is a general air of hostility, which means that many homosexuals are isolated. It’s the usual syndrome where he can’t mention it to his best friends and parents.”
◉ A Wilder Wiltshire
CHIPPENHAM: A group of gay people is forming in this Wiltshire market town. Initial Contact: Bob Illingsworth, Phone Box (Somerset) 2881. – BGAG.
◉ Stage Bans Gay Ads
LONDON: The Stage, the theatrical newspaper, has refused to carry a travel firm’s advertisement on the grounds that the ads refer specifically to gays.
When Gay News asked The Stage for an explanation, a spokesman for the paper said: “I’m not allowed to comment on this. But we’ve had so many veiled references, you know, that we’ve just had to start cracking down.”
We’ll report further when the managing director explains the Stage’s position of sexual discrimination in its advertisements.
◉ Dilly Goes On Record
LONDON: The Save Piccadilly campaign is giving away a 45 rpm record as part of its propaganda blitz to try to get the Greater London Council to shelve plans which will wipe out humans from London’s largest tourist attraction and gay-cruising spot.
Both sides of the record are written by Mike Klein (music) and Alan Wakeman words). The record, performed by Everyone Involved, a community rock group, is being given away.
If anyone wants a copy of The Circus Keeps On Turning/Motor Car Madness, all they have to do is to go along to The Almost Free Theatre, Rupert Street, London W1 and ask.
Nigel Stewart, Gillian Dickinson, James Asher, Mike Klein and Richard Oscar Lanchester, who make up Everyone Involved, made the record for nothing as their contribution to the Save Piccadilly Campaign.
Co-writer Alan Wakeman was partly responsible for the GLF-supporting record ‘Come Together’ which was given away last year.
About 2,500 copies of the Save Piccadilly record have been pressed.
◉ Northern CHE Gays Evade Subs Payment
LIVERPOOL: Liverpool CHE group has found that less than one-fifth of its 170 members have paid the additional local subscription of £1 over their subscriptions they pay to belong to CHE nationally.
The local sub, the latest Liverpool newsletter says, is to entitle members to go to the group’s meetings at the Archway Club.
Membership of the Archway Club does not entitle people to attend the CHE meetings held there. The club is a new meeting place for the group which finds that some members are put off coming to meetings because they are now held in a gay club
But, the newsletter says, ‘trust us; the Archway is a relaxing, pleasant, safe place to be and especially on our own nights, is reserved exclusively for CHE. And being a club means that you can unwind before the meeting with a drink, and stay on afterwards for a chat or a dance – until 2 am if you wish.’
The group has also negotiated with the club’s management to get cut-price membership of the club for its members. Liverpool CHE members who show their cards can now join the Archway club for £1.50, rather than the standard £2.00 club membership fee.
◉ York Honours Sir John
YORK: The university here has granted an honorary degree to Sir John Wolfenden, chairman of the committee which produced the then-daring report on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution.
Sir John, director of the British Museum, is a former vice-chancellor of Reading University.
His committee’s report did much to lower the temperature of opinion against gays in Britain, and thus made the 1967 Sexual Offences Act possible.
The committee was the first serious attempt to study the problems gays face and, whilst its findings may appear dated now, it was seen in its time as a great step forward.
◉ Thanks … But
LONDON: Gay News’ news section depends, to a large extent, on information sent in by local groups. If there’s a heavy bias towards a few groups, it’s because we get information from them, and therefore know what’s happening around Britain. Meanwhile thanks to Bath Gay Awareness, Leeds Gay Lib, Chilterns CHE, Liverpool CHE and Reading Gay Alliance for their newsletters/bulletins/ arrows etc.
If we don’t mention what you’ve been doing, it’s because you haven’t told us. Just type it – double spaced, please – and mail it to the News Deskette at Gay News, address is still 19 London Street, London W2 for now.
LONDON: Britain’s press has suddenly discovered the ‘Dilly Boys’ after a book by the same name was published by a small publishing house, Croom Helm. First in where angels fear to tread was the Sunday Mirror. With dazzling originality it called its Sunday Mirror Documentary on the Dilly boys ‘The Dilly Boys’ and admitted that it borrowed heavily from the book.
It saw a Picadilly Circus peopled almost entirely by 13 and 14-year-olds playing the flipper games and the market at Playland and the other mausement arcades, but carefully avoiding naming names or getting close enough to the problem for the article to be more than an empty piece of plagiarism from Mervyn Harris’ book.
It seemed the only people at Piccadilly Circus older than 14 were either older men there to pick up the boys, probation officers leaning on the anti-pedestrian railings or even Sunday Mirror reporters.
The Mirror’s story said: ‘We traced the case-histories of five Dilly boys who, homeless and short of cash got caught up in the dragnet.
‘Two have graduated from amphetamines to hard drugs; one has gone to jail for stealing another has put a girl “in the club”. The fifth has managed to get out of the game and gone back to Bolton.’
Earlier, Victor Sims, the Mirror’s man in the dirty mac at the Dilly had told us: ‘Nearly all of them have heard about the easy pickings to be had in London’s rich heart, and reckon they can eke out a living on their wits.
‘more often, they finish up frozen, half-starved, asleep inside a telephone box, huddled for warmth in a deserted railway coach, in a hotel car park or even in warehouse packing cases.
‘It’s at this stage of disillusionment that the trouble starts. They hang around Piccadilly, desperate for food and shelter. Instead of pocketing their pride and going home, they become easy prey to anyone who will offer them a warm bed …
‘Horrifying? Shameful? Almost unbelievable?
To the senior police officers and detectives at West End Central police station, the problem is very real.
‘The Chief Superintendent told me: “The situation created by these juveniles, who drift into our area is one of the most difficult we have had to handle.”’
The Chief Superintendent didn’t mention gay trade at the Dilly being more of a problem than any other drop-out youth situation there. But the Mirror chose to run as its second headline on the piece: ‘Their trade shames a national showplace’ and under it published a picture of a probation officer ’at “The Meat Rack”, the Piccadilly Circus haunt of young boys waiting for homosexuals.’
Five days later it was Friday and the Times lifted its skirts and had a slam at the Dilly.
In a series called Policemen Talking, Peter Evans wrote a piece on the ‘Missing boys and girls enmeshed in Soho vice nets.’ Racey stuff this for The Times. Police sergeant M Woodheath of the Juveniles Squad, gave us the low-down from her point of view. She said: “If they are young lads, men will start speaking to them and take them home and be nice to them. These boys are usually naive and often accept. The man demands something more of them. Eventually they put these lads on the streets as male prostitutes and they give the men part of their earnings. Their ages can range from 14 upwards. Many of these boys end up as permanent homosexuals. It is very difficult to get at the men in charge of them. Boys are reluctant to give a description or a name and address. They are frightened to give you much.
“One man had ten little boys working as male prostitutes for him from 14 upwards. They were reluctant to give evidence. Some turned up at court to give evidence. He was convicted.
“The same sort of thing happens to girls. Lesbians pick them up from 13 upwards. Three girls from Cardiff were arrested for soliciting before we discovered they were juveniles…”
And so on. It seems you get the Dilly’s dirty washing aired just as publicly in The Times as you do in the Mirror. And The Times gives its readers more details of the washing its discovered.
ED: We’ll carry a full review of Mervyn Harris’ The Dilly Boys in Gay News 17, and we’ll try to look a bit deeper into the rent scene in the future.
DUBLIN: The Irish Medical Times’s resident man on the psychiatrists couch, Dr T K McKeogh, reckons that dominant Irish mothers and one-sex schooling in Ireland, usually by anti-sex clerical teachers, helps make young Irish people gay, and worse, is psychologically damaging to the young people.
In his Talking Points column in the IMT, Dr McKeogh wrote: ‘Some interesting illustrative studies have been done in this field, and one which indicates the influence of cultural patterns on the expression of symptoms in patients with a given mental disease is the study of Irish-American and Italian schizophrenics in New York City by Dr Marvin K Opler in 1959.
This study seemed to demonstrate unequivocally that the Irish culture inhibits sexuality and emphasises male inadequacy, fear of females and latent homosexual tendencies, and inevitably that alcoholism was much more common among the Irish than in the Italian-American patients.
‘Whilst the change in sexual mores amounting to a revolution in some countries in the last decade may have gone too far, in Ireland so far one can applaud the more liberal attitudes now prevailing and point happily to a rising marriage rate and the lower ages at which they occur.’
The Irish Trouble
In his column, which was headed ‘No Thanks To Heaven For Little Girls!’, the doctor said: ‘The dominant Irish mother who idolises her sons and deprecates her daughters does incalculable damage to both, and our one-sex schools, too often permeated by the anti-sex attitude of the clerical teachers, male and female, aggravates the injury.
‘There may have been a time when the Irish were the chivalrous lovers that light fiction once asserted, but that possibly was before the deity appeared to weigh in on the side of Victorianism with the disastrous famine.’
He also tells us a story which made him think of all this. A girl walked into the lounge of a Dublin hotel, and wanted to sit down with her girl-friends. There was no empty chair, so she had to drag a chair up to join them.
I’m Only A Psychologist
The doctor, in horror, confides in the IMT’s readers that ‘none of the males present displayed the slightest interest in her that I could see (and a psychologist is a man who watches other men’s faces when a pretty girl enters the room).’ At no time does he explain why he never rushed to help the seatless lady.
LONDON: Just to prove that there are some that can and some that can’t, the three judges who banned the David Bailey documentary on Andy Warhol actually sat down and looked at what they’d stopped the public seeing.
It was the first time the judges, who banned the television programme without seeing it, put their innocence in jeopardy by exposing themselves to the documentary film about the pop artist and movie maker.
For this treat, they left the boring old Appeal Court, where they spend about 30 per cent of their lives. And just to prove that he didn’t mind risking being corrupted by the ATV programme he’d got blacked out, Ross McWhirter, the rugby commentator and record book compiler, who has ambitions for political office, went along too. He’s behind the Master of the Rolls, Judge Denning (centre, front row).
Now that McWhirter has battled the Bailey documentary to a guarenteed high viewing figure when it is finally shown, he intends to take on the Attorney-General at the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the Government committed an illegal act by making Britain join the Common Market.
He’s a versatile campaigner, who even the Daily Telegraph put down as someone who ‘has set himself up as a legal watchdog on Governments and public bodies’.
In the past he’s failed to get elected to Parliament as Conservative candidate for Edmonton (1964), accused James Callaghan, the Labour Home Secretary, of jerrymandering (1969), and finally settled out of court for £250 costs.
The fact that not only the judges, but also McWhirter were allowed to see the television movie demonstrates that in the eyes of the law some can be corrupted, and some can’t. Those who can’t are judges and their friends.
SYDNEY: Australia’s first serious gay magazine, William and John, has been busted by police for obscenity.
The charges the publishers face are caused by their continuing publication of gay small ads. The case appears to be similar in many ways to the International Times case, which the three defendants lost.
NEW YORK: America’s latest super media-wheeze, the televising of the agonies of real family life – as opposed to the homogenised cleanliness of David Cassidy et al – has caused something of a storm, possibly because young Lance Louds is a silver-haired gay.
The idea of the programme was to show the real life-style of the real American family. But during the filming of the family going about its everyday business, the main protagonists, Mr and Mrs Bill Loud discovered they couldn’t stand each other any longer. Their 20 year old marriage collapsed and they discovered that their son Lance was gay.
Apparently the idea had never crossed their minds, even when Lance dyed his hair silver when he was 14.
The film showed Mrs Loud going to the gay commune in a hotel in one of New York’s seedier districts and not even then grasping the full significance of what had happened.
Scenes like this has made the Loud family’s public agony bigger in television ratings than the Partridge family and that sort of thing, as people start wondering whether the malaise that’s affecting the Loud marriage might not apply to just that family.
Creator of the series, Craig Gilbert, finds himself sitting on top of a hit. He claims that when they started the nine-month shooting programme last year, the television company didn’t realise that the Loud marriage was in such imminent danger of collapse or that Lance was gay.
What chance is there of seeing the programme here? It’d really get them going in Enfield.
Project note: the making of this series, An American Family, was turned into a fictionalised film in 2011 starring James Gandolfini and Tim Robbins calledCinema Verite.
LEICESTER: Two men were given suspended prison sentences by the Crown Court here be cause they had sex with a 15-year-old boy who was, according to their counsel, “experienced in these matters”.
Terence (40) and David (59), both of Leicester, pleaded guilty to buggery, attempted buggery and charges of ‘indecency’ with the boy.
Mr Michael Astill, appearing for both of them, said of the boy: “His corruption took place long before he met these men. He was experienced in these matters. Both men are adamant that it was the boy who was the instigator. The boy came back, and back again.”
Terence was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and David was jailed for 18 months. Both sentences were suspended for two years.
Judge W A Sime told them: “The law in its wisdom some time ago made it legal for persons to indulge in these kind of practices in private and with adults. But one of the points of that relaxation was that young boys should be protected.”