Refreshing Radicalism

The first National Women’s Conference on Homosexuality was organised by Glenys Parry and Liz Stanley, CHE Executive Committee members at the end of January in Manchester University. Two hundred women of all sexes came from as far afield as Scotland to Southampton, Wales to Whitby and points in between.

The morning was spent in area reports, all of which repeated the depressing lack of women in CHE, GLF and women’s groups. The causes were brooded upon; possible hostility from men … fear of meetings … lack of personal welcome-warmth … fear of being recognised as gay in a small community … partner hunting which, when successful, deprived the group of the pair who settled into a replica of straight marriage.

In the afternoon, we broke up into small groups and tangled with five broad areas:
(1) Problems of married gay and bisexual women; the children of gay parents.
(2) Coming to terms with one’s own homosexuality; relating to each other and gay men; relationships to heterosexuals.
(3) Where gay women can go for help; specific problems relating to the caring professions.
(4) Women’s Lib, Radical Feminism and their relationship to the gay women’s struggle.
(5) The problems of isolated gay women in provincial towns.

Group 1 said: that gay/bisexual wives were stuck with their husbands for financial reasons. The social security alternative was a hand to mouth existence. Bisexuality isn’t the good thing people think it is. One looks into the future … one asks what is going to happen … Am I going one way or the other? Gays should investigate alternative life-styles, such as communes and pool resources of cash and childcare, but lesbians weren’t enough together as a gay movement to make this effective.

Group 2 said: there wasn’t a precise age at which one came to terms with homosexuality. Some never did. The young, particularly, have suicidal tendencies. Some believed that they were physically or mentally maladjusted. All feared mixing with men, whether gay or straight. Mixing in CHE groups would do plenty to resolve this.

Group 3 said: those in the group who had sought help from doctors/priests/psychiatrists had been lucky. All were sympathetic. The group was aware this wasn’t typical. Citizens Advice Bureaux, Samaritans and social services must be informed about local CHE/GLF groups and Friend.

Group 4 said: gay women live in a counter society … live against the grain of society … outside the nuclear family … so are radical. Essential to educate Women’s Lib out of fear of the stereotype aggressive lesbian. Priority action should be taken from the outside on behalf of gay women teachers who had an appalling oppression of job risk, not from pupils, but from their colleagues and superiors. Demand compulsory homosex-education in schools.

Group 5 said: National CHE should put their publicity weight behind local groups to use local radio, TV, papers and posters. Provincial groups had difficulty in keeping together because of wide spread areas. Convenors must be vigilant about continual contact. Pre-meetings contact with a new member should be in pairs. A one-to-one scene caused a shy lesbian to suspect a pick-up.

Whither women and CHE rounded off the session. Those there, were pro-bono CHE, but acknowledged its male image put lesbians off. Until there was an equal number of women to men in CHE, it would be ineffective in representing homosexuals.

Judging by the state of rapport at the end of the session and during the disco, the more National Women’s Conferences the better. This ’ere cockney was much enriched by exposure to out-of-London lesbians. CHE took on a larger dimension of honest-to-guts discussion about the realities to be faced and the resolve to overcome them brought refreshing radicalism to the usual staid stag socialising that bedevils London CHE groups.

Integrate The Straights

About this integration bit — homosexuals and straight society scene. The idea needs turning inside out. Heterosexuals should integrate into homosexual society — not the other way round. I am not saying the whole of straight society should integrate for obvious reasons of dispersing the minority society – just little bundles of het individuals.

Homosexuals are already integrated into society within the personal limitations we all know about.

When declared straights and declared gays get together in discussion groups or larger forums, everyone expounds on the similarities. The more reasoned the discussion the wider the separation. No matter whether the topic is garden committees, ornithology or the price of wheat, – the ONE AND ONLY THING that heterosexuals want to know – balk at – think about is HOMOSEX.

Don’t let’s mess about – this is and always will be the great divider. I can sense the straights’ suspended anticipation until sex is mentioned. When it arises their conditioning scatters in chaotic internal confusion. Their prejudices boil up to the surface and retreat in humourless disorder without leaving the room. Those who wish genuinely to understand gays, in reality wish to understand how and WHY physical love with someone of the same sex.

It is their obsession, not ours. It can never be said enough. There won’t be any integration ever, until this hangup is realised and acknowledged and said by both gays and straights. When Jews or blacks – to use the tired old minority bit – declare themselves in society the argument is usually on religious, ethnic and social discrimination – BUT when a Jewish or black homosexual declare themselves, it’s their sex they are forced to defend. Have any of us heard a gay person ask of a straight “What exactly do you do?” Why don’t we ask? Because we already know and aren’t interested. If we don’t know in detail, we can find out from any movie, play or book. Obviously one of the ways for heterosexual integration is that homosexual films, plays and books are as commonplace as heterosexual ones.

Does any heterosexual have to define or defend their sexuality in public? Does any heterosexual have to make a demonstration about kissing in public, thereby being unnaturally aggressive? Or suppress all need to, in order to pass as a pseud-gay? Can there ever be easy male chat about sex between gay and straight men? To a great many gay men cunt is repellant and the female body distasteful. The straight male rarely appreciates enthusiastic descriptions of blowing and rimming and fellation with a fella. Can you see a straight father discussing children’s upbringing with male-pairbond-parents in the natural way of things? Few gay women will take a straight woman’s description, for any length of time, of being screwed by her old man, without nightmarish, incomprehension as to why the het she puts up with it; or be deeply disturbed it could happen to their partners.

Unbothered by the Balls and Breasts Brigade, gay minds and energy can and do apply themselves to just about anything in society.

What is homosexual society? First of all it is not a child-based society, although there are homosexual parents with children within it.

Secondly there is a far greater dependence and need for social contact with adults which makes for the pubs and bars scene being so essentially gay. Thirdly the conversation content and language is different and distinctive, and the humour is full of visual images and send-up. Fourthly the gender roles between male and female, female and female, male and male gays, bear no relation to the stereotyped images straight society believes to be true. Nor is there any similarity in role-playing to the male and female straight stereotypes.

Unable to be gay by day, the social scene is heaviest in the evenings and at weekends, outside work and the family if it is straight. Holidays are spent in predominantly gay places and the behaviour patterns remain the same, no matter the country or nationality.

Were heterosexuals to stand out as freaks in a gay community, they would do one of two things: find a straight society in which they could be themselves, or become pseud-gays. Until a heterosexual experiences the lack of signals being recognised and/or being acknowledged by the opposite sex because they are gay, they can never begin to understand the isolation within society which is experienced every day as a part of a gay’s life in straight society.

Until the sexual divide disappears, we are living in fairy tales about integration. Social, intellectual and moral grounds are no substitute. In the present male-structured society the lesbian does have the edge over queens. She and the straight fellas have a big thing in common – they both go for girls!

Gay Deceivers

I’ll take peoples’ prejudices – up to a point, because of my own. A healthy prejudice is as integral to character as kindness. What I WON’T take is the furred mind of the holy heterosexual pontificating virtuously without being aware of his own pernicious immorality of the double standard society. THE OBSERVER – that great platform of Liberal philosophy will not ‘accommodate’ a classified ad for Sappho Magazine. THE SUNDAY TIMES – that trendy sparkling weekly won’t print the word ‘gay’ in the classified ad column to describe Sappho magazine. So single shot men write for a copy imagining it to be a pix magazine. The women we wish to subscribe ignore the ad for the same reason

THE STAGE AND TELEVISION TODAY refused our ad as the managing director Frank Comerford explains: ‘We receive quite a number of requests to include advertisements for publications with a pornographic content or inviting indiscriminate social introductions. It is true that many respectable papers do have a more permissive policy but we take the view that these advertisements do not enhance our paper. We cannot be involved in too much detailed argument as to the content of individual publications that come within a broad description of homosexual magazines. I know that you have a more serious purpose and that it is not your policy to include pornographic material, but I am afraid that insertion of any copy which might be useful to you would make it much more difficult for us to sustain our policy and involve us in arguments out of all proportion to the value of the advertising…’


WANTED Topless Go-Go dancers, striptease artists. Top rates.

Actress/Dancer required for Broadway and Road show in America. Very good figure to appear semi-nude.

ASTOR CLUB, Berkeley Square. All types of acts required. Striptease, Belly dancers.

Topless Go-Gos if you want extra work with hotel and travel paid

Respectable young ladies as dancing partners. No previous experience necessary … and so on and so on …

A well-sustained policy of indiscriminate social introductions would you say?

Fully clothed lesbians advertising a non-prurient magazine are filthy. Nude boobs, belly buttons and bottoms servicing jaded late-night society in the crudest manner imaginable is clean living. The most vicious in their self-righteousness is a particular type of female het. One example is in an Adoption Society. She used the most unchristian language at the mere IDEA of female homosexuals adopting children.

Another owns Bensons Newsagent in Crawford Street, London. In front of her mother, her husband and several customers she flew into a foaming fit about Sappho magazine without even opening it. “Filthy … it’s dirt … disgusting people get out of my shop …” which was stuffed with distorted boobs, belly buttons and bottoms . . Come again, Comerford:

‘On the more general point you asked for a responsible attitude and I feel that there is more than one way to demonstrate this. The problem of homosexuals are reflected in much theatrical material with which we are concerned and I think you would be hard put to detect any bias or unwillingness to deal with these matters in so far as they are relevant.’

I fail to see the relevance of straight actors playing gays for public entertainment compared with the REALITY OF LIVING LESBIANS which is not reflected in any responsible way by society.

Responsible attitudes are demonstrated every which way in the prevailing double standard morality by the peddling of pornography (including homosexuality) for a heterosexual market to the exclusion of non-prurient homosexual publications.

Porno comes from the Greek meaning harlot. Pornocracy means dominant influence of harlots, especially in government in Rome in the tenth century. Today the pornocracy of the presstocracy is only too evident.

Gay News By Sappho

So the egg has finally chickened off the inside pages altogether. No wonder for eggs are solely dependent on the hen. (No — it’s the chicken that needs a cock).

GN No 7, together with the previous issues, gives the impression that homosexuality is exclusively male/drag-queen orientated. (Oh, there was the odd roaring lesbian, Homosexual Woman and VD and Het GRANDMOTHERS, for gods sake, – Barbara Cartland, Mae West and Marlene Dietrich.) It’s enough to make an egg boil, let alone disappear, that lesbians have such indecent exposure. Don’t give me that bit about information is hard to come by; sisters are too shy; we could have a women’s page. Homosexuality cuts across role playing, income and class structure. GN, as the alternative press collective, has the whole field to itself to prove this fact. The content, in the main, is based on politics of experience and rightly in these emergent times – the experience of the male dominated collective, who are marvellously militant about police harassment, social oppression and legal discrimination. By all means continue the in-fighting. At the same time the politics of experience have a wider range than cottages and courts. Besides knocking the ioiquitous areas GN must publicise the positive progress between the gay community and the uncommitted heterosexuals and write about it with the same ardour as in outrage.

Your editorial in No 5 states ‘We here at Gay News don’t want two worlds, gay and nongay. We want one world for everybody.’ So you know. So you don’t need telling. You just need to be doing – editorially that is! And you can start right away with more lines for the lesbians. The ladies have learned a lot about the lads in your columns, it’s now time that the lads knew more about the ladies.