No Bread but Good Vibes for Gay News

01-197205XX 4The National Federation of Homophile Organisations was born on 30th October 1971. The insemination took place 15 months previously at York University during July 1970. This slow gestation period reflects the changes in attitude and heart of its founder members (SMG, CHE, St. Catherines, womens’ groups) as much as the turtle’s pace which NFHO has tended to move since October, 1971. The Meeting in Catford on Saturday 1O June, 1972 – thanks Tony Cross of INTEGROUP – was to formulate planning and financial policies for the year ahead. 2O people representing most of the structured homosexual organisations in the U.K. attended.

Sadly we began too formally. This imposed a deadness on the proceedings which proved hard to lift, though one or two tried. Quite a few of us were strangers and didn’t really know who was representing what. The rest, (the old guard), were glad of the rare chance to socialise and exchange gossip. We needed no introductions having been active in structured homosexual society since its beginnings in the 1960’s. Wise old cheshire cats we are, delighted and yet bewildered at the great growth and diversification in the gay world since GLF shattered the silence late in 1970.

There was agreement on limited non-controversial topics. Michael Butler’s suggestion of a residential weekend conference 2-3 September at St. Catherine’s on the subject of “Befriending”, was enthusiastically received. We also decided, though less cheerfully, to seek NFHO offices (rented) in principle, which would also house a CHE office, Albany Trust, Albany Society Limited, and A’3. Group meetings would also take place there. “GAY NEWS” was also discussed at some length. The idea of the newspaper as an “official organ” of the National Federation was rejected, but a strong plea was made that individuals should write in to the paper because the quality of the paper depends on the strength of the articles it receives.

NFHO’s best function will be as an organisation for information collation and exchange. It will be best equipped to talk directly with the large Foundations and organisations such as the National Council of Social Service, Marriage Guidance Council, Home Office, D.E.S. However, overshadowing everything is the nagging realisation that NFHO is an extra financial committment for its member organisations.

Anthony Grey urged everyone to think big in cash terms, otherwise the gay movement would never finance itself.

IT lose House of Lords appeal

01-197205XX 4STOP PRESS.. ..

No-one, no matter how many gowns and wigs they wear, degrees and titles they hold, has any moral right to dictate to anyone how they shall find their lovers. For the majority, it is quite rightly accepted that the law cannot tell you to remain in isolation. But the law has now finally decided that it can and it will impose both these restrictions on the gay people in this country – the law in the shape of the House of Lords has decided that International Times was breaking the law in publishing small ads for gays. In other words, it might be legal for two consenting adults to go to bed together, but it’s illegal to do anything in order to “promote” the occurence of this.

The law does not realise that it is not a case of “promoting” bizarre sexual practices – it is in fact a case of helping people who are kept in isolation by their social and legal situation to find one another and perhaps bring love into their lives. Homosexuality is, after all, about love, as is any other form of sexuality. Heterosexuals are allowed to contact one another in any way they wish – small ads, computers, specially designed magazines – in order to break any isolation they might find themselves in, but we are expected to be martys to an antiquated mode of thought and legal system which has so far given us one inadequate crumb of comfort, with which we are supposed to creep back into our caves and ghettoes and be grateful. Well were not, and we wont be until the law reflects the facts – that we are people the same as anyone else, that we are not carriers of some contagious “perversion”, that we love and live much like anyone else and have a perfect right to do so.

And as for the false distinction everyone is intent on drawing between love and sexual activity – what is wrong with sex for the sake of it? It is a normal healthy appetite like any other which needs feeding like any other. Granted it’s nicer (we think) with someone you love, but it’s also fun with anyone who attracts you. Surely no-one still hangs on to the recrimination and guilt which has been woven about sex and has led so many people into either hypocrisy or frustration throughout their whole lives?

But there it is – the situation is clearly worsening for us; this present case is only another stage in the repression we suffer. Entrapment is increasing at a frightening rate – after arresting 120 guys in two cottages in the short space of two months in Harrow, protests where made and the local council warned the police off. But did this deter them? They are now doing much the same things on the same sort of scale in nearby Watford. Such instances are not special or isolated, but typical.

Our small ads column is still there, and will continue to be. With a little care on your part and ours we can steer a course round the law, or perhaps through it. Love may laugh at locksmiths – it also laughs at laws.

Gay News Emergency Editorial.

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.

The Biograph Review

01-197205XX 6In these days of rush and constant turmoil there is a definite need for one to be able to sit back and relax. And where better than at the pictures. I find three hours in front of the silver screen with ones favourite stars feeding those fantasies all of us have. Nowadays though there are so many films around that it is quite easy to miss something one really wanted to see, and an excellant little cinema for catching up on things one has missed, and re-seeing old favourites is at the Biograph in Wilton Road in Victoria.

Mind you though dears, it sometimes attracts the strangest people. More often than not it attracts boozers, for what else is the answer to the fact that so many people have to continually rush off to the convenience to receive themselves of a full bladder of beer or gin. l’m partial to a drop of gin, but I like to think that I can keep it inside of me long enough to have a little bit of a rest.

Another minor discomfort at the Biograph is that many people find after paying their admission that the film wasn’t really their cup of gin, sorry, tea after all; that makes many people restless and seemingly so bored that they get what can only be described as a kind of ants in your pants of the cinema, as people are continually changing their seats. Mind you they could just be seeing old friends, for many people arrive on their own but quite often leave with an aquaintence or relative or something like that. A friend did tell me though that some people find that the occassional faulty seat and lack of arm-rests make it very uncomfortable for some people.

Anyway back to the films. In what will be, I hope, a regular feature in this lovely paper, I will let you know what goodies are showing at that little haven just by Victoria Station.

Unfortunately the paper went to press too late for me to tell you of an especially intriguing feature starring that super John Wayne. Oh! what a masculine name. The epic in question is The Commancheros. John Wayne is such a gorgeous man and actor. Sad too is that you probably also missed a chance of seeing The Damned. This is a very strange film, set in pre-war (2nd) decadent Germany. And dears, the most peculiar things happen in it. Men dressed up as women is just one of the fascinating delights that come dancing from the celluloid. at least the beer drinkers and relative finders were some how oddly quiet and stilled by this tomfoolery on the screen.

Commencing on Thursday 22nd June there is that darling Simone Signoret thrilling us all in The Confession. A drama, if ever there was one. Support feature is the prophetic You Can’t Win Them All with dolly Tony Curtis.

The Sunday show on 25th June is a sailor film, Sink The Bismark, where those brave, virtuous, strong and well built boys in navy blue battle those nasty Germans and their big boat. Second feature is a newy for me, I Deal In Danger, which is an apt title for a film showing at the Biograph on a Sunday. It gets so crowded you can hardly find a seat, lots of laps but no seats.

I must say I find the air conditioning wanting at limes, so do most other patrons, most have their coats off and over their knees as soon as they get into the cinema.

Monday 26th June’s attraction is Loot. Such a queer film, involving a questionable relationship. I’ve seen it many times.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is showing on 29th June for three days. It’s as well Sherlock did keep some of the incidents that are depicted private. Very indiscreet film it is, shocking at times, but I like it.

The Inspector and Nine Hours to Rammer, sorry Rama, is the Sunday show on 2nd July; followed on Monday 3rd July by A Severed Head, kinky movie about everyone forgetting who their loved ones are, but they all seem quite happy, especially the two ladies.

A future attraction to make a note of is The Amorous Virgin. It’s a first for me, missed it when it was at that nice cinema just off Picadilly,

Before I leave you this time, I’d just like to tell you of one of the extra material comforts to be found at the Biograph. They keep the lights on quite bright so you can find anything you have dropped, and it does make it easier to find ones bits and pieces when leaving. Look after yourselve dears. Bye for now.


  • The Biograph, Wilton Road, Victoria, SWI.
  • Thursday 22 June
    The Confession AA with Yves Montand and Simone Signoret.
    You Can’t Win them All A with Charles Bronson and Tony Curtis.
  • Sunday 25 June.
    Sink the Bismark U with Kenneth More.
    I Deal in Danger U with Robert Gourlay.
  • Monday 26 June.
    Loot X with Richard Attenborough and Lee Remick.
    The Secret of Santa Vittoria AA with Anthony Quinn and Anna Magnani.
  • Thursday 29 June.
    The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. A with Robert Stevens and Colin Blakeley.
    Ordered to Love X with Maria Perschy.
  • Sunday 2 July.
    The Inspector A with Stephen Boyd.
    Nine Hours to Rama A with Robert Morley.
  • Monday 3 July.
    A Severed Head X with Lee Remick and Richard Attenborough.
    I Walk the Line AA with Gregory Peck and Tuesday Weld.
  • Thursday 6 July.
    McKenzie Break AA with Brian Keith.
    Take a Girl like You X with Oliver Reed and Hayley Mills.
  • Sunday 9 July.
    Charge of the Black Lancers U with Mel Ferrer.
    The Amorous Virgin X with Marisa Solinas.

Gay Film Busted in New York

01-197205XX 6New York City police seized Fred Halstead’s SEX GARAGE, a gay porno film, at the 55th Street Playhouse on April 14th. It is called ‘seizure’, but if you saw it happening you’d probably call it by some other name.

What happened was this; NY city police served the management of the cinema with a subpoena made out in the name of Moon Enterprises, demanding that the film be shown to court officials to determine whether it was of a distinctly abusive and debasing nature, and therefore illegal and outside the broadly legal spectrum of pornographic film shown in dozens of theatres in NY. But Moon Enterprises is the former, not the current, tenant of the Playhouse, so the subpoena was invalid.

The judges reaction to all this was to throw up his hands and say, “Work it out with the District Attorney”. And that means de facto that the film can go on playing for months (or as long as the customers keep paying) before the jury ever gets hold of the case. In the meantime, the film is doing very well indeed at the box-office and in its first week grossed over $20,000 (over £8,000)

In their more or less regular raids of pornogrinds, police have been leaving the explicitly gay theatres untouched. But a perceptive look at Halstead’s Sex Garage, a sado-masochistic (S-M) film, and its co-feature L.A. Plays Itself which was not seized, explains the change in policy. Both are films which begin with a gay S-M consciousness toward their subject matter.

It’s not that homosexuals are anything new in movies. John Schlesinger’s films have frequently portrayed male homosexuals from the point of view of straights, or, worse even, from the point of view of homosexuals who look self-denigratingly at themselves through some imaginary version of heterosexual ‘eyes’. This can lend the films the air of reporting (in the true liberal fashion) on the cutting edge of changing sexual mores, while still holding up their characters as curiosities. Billy Wilder too has featured faggots in many of his films. Again, they’re seen from a straight point of view, but Wilder has had the decency to never hold his own characters up to ridicule. As a straight dealing with gays, he has consistently been compassionate or left well enough alone.

What Halsted has done is to make a radical demand; homosexuals must recognise that their own view of themselves is the only one with which they can comfortably carry on their lives. They must get over that self-destructive impulse to accept the thought-controlling prejudices of the straight world. Further more, they must begin to show the straight world that a homosexual consciousness is in fact part of their (the straights’) everday world too. It is present everywhere. It is interpreting the billboards which sell commodities and line the streets of Los Angeles (Birmingham) and every other American (British) city. It is giving new erotic meaning to casual gatherings in the city’s parks.

Sex Garage is like a homosexual La Ronde (the Ophuls film, remade by Vadim). In the butch environ of an automobile repair shop shop a girl seated in a Mazda gives a young stud a blowjob. Intercut with her sucking are shots of details oft are shots of details of the car. Can he be fantasising these while she works on him? The stud then turns around and screws the chick. This scene is intercut with shots of a Mercedes Benz. Now clearly a Mercedes is more desirable as a commodity than a Mazda.

Sex Garage and L.A. Plays Itself represent therefore a very radical threat to the heterosexual domination of Planet Earth. The films, apart from their arousing pornographic intent, (and God knows they could stimulate a myopic mule, including the one sitting next to me in the theatre… ‘Excuse me sir, thats my leg’) constitute a liberating rallying-cry to homosexuals.

Is Halsted implying that one type of sex-act is preferable to another in some absolute scale of sexual values? But the Mercedes actually arrives at the garage, and from it steps z another boy, a masochist. Roughly the stud fucks him, during which he entertains masturbatory fantasies of a motor-cycle, which in fact arrives on the scene moments later.

What is happening here is simple. Halsted has played with certain cinematic editing conventions, making unclear the function of the motor vehicles in the film. They can be representing either fantasies or actual vehicles by which people connect together in the far-flung parts of L.A. as they run from one orgasm to the next. All of this builds to the film’s final shot of masses of cars bumper to bumper on the freeway. All are driven by actively-fantasising men and women, passing their days linking orgasm bumper to bumper with orgasm.

The seizure of Sex Garage is based on a rather primitive notion of the effect that film has on viewers: that the viewers can accurately penetrate the metaphors which enshroud the ‘real’, that they are powerless to resist the ‘message’ that is hidden there, that once having received the message their behaviour (bereft of other stimuli) is determined by it and accords with its dictates.


The above article was written by Mitch Tuchman and is taken from a recent issue of Cinema Rising. Many thanks to them both.

What follows is a section of a letter (received by a member of the Gay News collective) which reviews the films in a different and possibly more personal context. Many thanks to Manus Sasonkin for his permission to print this part of his letter.


An Afternoon at the Cinema

‘In the afternoon, I attended, for the first time – ever – a cinema which was showing a double bill of gay ‘pornography’. The films, Sex Garage and L.A. Plays Itself, were virtually interchangeable, except that Sex Garage had been photographed (appallingly) in black and white, whereas L.A. Plays Itself had been photographed (no less appallingly) in glorious colour. There was no attempt made in either film to tell a story; neither was there any attempt made to create (let alone develop) any characters. Both films displayed extremely pretty young men, copious amounts of masturbation, detailed accounts of fellatio, and the occasional anal penetration. My favourite episode (which was from Sex Garage) involved a comely young stud standing in a shower-bath, masturbating, whilst the sound track issued Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire in the piano transcription of the late Dame Myra Hess.

Elsewhere the bodies were all attractive. and the activities which the bodies performed caused me to feel wistful and just slightly covetous; but the impersonality of all the encounters – the total lack of human (as opposed to physical) contact – depressed me, and caused me to feel nobly justified in hailing declined the attentions of a Piccadilly Cruiser on my recent visit to London. Seeing the films helped to convince me that, for me at least, sex without human involvement is futile, barren, unrewarding, and – in the last analysis – more frustrating than gratifying.’

It is unlikely that either of these films will be shown in the British Isles, however, as is obvious here, different people react differently to ‘gay’ films. And it occurs to us, with further relaxation of censorship, if seems likely there will be more films with a more explicit ‘gay content’.

There have been in the last few year a number of films on general release portraying the homosexual stereo-types, and in the showing of Some Of My Best Friends Are… the first attempt to cash in on gay audiences in this country.

We of the collective have varying ideas as to the possible good that may come from these developments in the cinema, and would like to know how you feel about and react to this.

The Homosexual and Venereal Disease by a Consultant in VD at a large London clinic

01-197205XX 7There seems to be no doubt that the two main reservoirs of venereal disease in this country at present are the promiscuous female and the promiscuous ‘passive’ homosexual male, neither of whom necessarily exhibits any symptom or sign of the disease. At one time homosexual patients used to express surprise that they could have been infected with venereal disease by contacts with their own sex, but now nearly all of them rightly seem to realise that they are just as likely to contract it homo sexually as heterosexually.

It is difficult to be sure that there is now a higher incidence of venereal disease amongst homosexuals than there used to be, because before the 1939-45 war patients were much more reticent about admitting any form of sex contact; but during a year’s work in a VD clinic in those days can only remember treating three or four patients who admitted having had homosexual contact, whereas in the same clinic during the last ten or fifteen years I have been treating that number or more each week.

Before the war, even heterosexual males were shy about admitting their sexual activities, and at first often blamed their trouble on accidental infection from a lavatory seat or some such source, only giving the true history when they had gained the doctor’s confidence. Nowadays, heterosexual patients almost always admit to sexual intercourse at once, and similarly in recent years homosexuals have been more inclined to give an immediate true history to an understanding and sympathetic physician, but even now some of them are, not unnaturally, cautious at first.

For all practical purposes there are three common venereal diseases in this country, and they affect both homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. They are syphilis, gonorrhoea, and non-gonnococcal urethritis. Syphilis is caused by a minute parasitic organism called a spirochete, which enters through a very small abrasion in the ano-genital region and very rapidly, in a matter of hours, spreads throughout the whole body. This disease can be passed to another person by the semen, the saliva, or by contact with a syphilitic sore. The first sign is a papule or raised red spot appearing at the site of contact nine to ninety days afterwards and rapidly becoming a comparatively painless sore or ulcer. In the male homosexual this is usually on the penis or anus, and is often accompanied by an enlarged gland in the groin. This sore, which is called the ‘primary sore’ or chancre, is usually obvious when on the penis, but if it is an anal sore it may be inside the anal passage, when it may not be noticed or is perhaps mistaken for a pile or fissure.

After about two or three months the infected patient, if untreated, develops a generalised and usually non-irritating rash, more or less painless ulceration of the mouth and ano-genital region, and enlarged lymphatic glands. This ‘secondary’ stage lasts several months, the external signs eventually clearing up without treatment, but the spirochetes continue to attack the body internally and after many years serious and irreversible damage to the arterial and nervous system will occur. Proper treatment with Penicillin or similar drugs in the primary and secondary stages will eliminate the disease entirely and prevent permanent damage.

The diagnosis of the disease is usually made by finding the spirochetes (i.e. causal germs) in the sore, or by a positive blood test which develops about six weeks after infection. The infected person is dangerous to others from the moment he is infected. Thus a promiscuous person may spread the infection to many others during the incubation period before any signs of disease appear in him.

It was my experience since the war years that syphilis has been more common among homosexuals than heterosexuals, and now probably more than half the cases treated are found to have contracted the disease homosexually. There seems to be no clear season for this. Promiscuity itself is not the only cause, because both groups of people seem to be equal in this respect. A promiscuous passive homosexual would be well advised to have regular blood tests for syphilis every few months, in case of hidden infection.

Gonorrhoea is a disease of the mucous membrane lining the penile urethra (water pipe) or the rectum and is caused by a germ which usually infects the genital regions only. In the homosexual, urethral gonorrhoea almost always follows contact of the penis with the ano-genital region of an infected male. and appears two or three days or even weeks afterwards in the form of a greenish-yellow discharge. If untreated. this discharge will persist for months and lead to such complications as painful swollen testicles and severe arthritis. If treated in the early stages it can be cured completely and will leave no after-effect. Gonorrhoea of the rectum in the male can follow any peno-anal contact (not necessarily penetration) and may show itself by a discharge from the anus, irritation and soreness, but these symptoms may be so slight that it is not suspected until a subsequent sexual partner complains of having been infected. The rectal infection usually requires more treatment than the urethral, but responds equally well in the end (sic.).

Non-gonococcal urethritis may be described as a milder condition resembling gonorrhoea, but in which the causal germ is unknown. It responds more slowly to treatment and tends to relapse. It is seldom as severe as gonorrhoea, but by its persistence it has great nuisance value.

It is very uncommon for any of these diseases to be contracted accidentally. They almost always follow sexual contact and usually, in the homosexual, contact between the penis and anus. Syphilis and gonorrhoea occasionally follow oral contact, but men and women are seldom infected when mutual masturbation only has taken place. Of course, persons infected with venereal disease, whether they have acquired it homosexually or heterosexually, are in danger of infecting their sexual partners of either sex.

A person suspecting any of these diseases should consult his doctor at once, and will probably be referred for examination and treatment to a VD clinic or to a private specialist. If he does not wish to consult his general practitioner, he can go directly to a clinic or private specialist without introduction. Most venereologists nowadays are used to treating homosexuals, though some accept them less readily than others.

Patients of a VD clinic or private specialist can be confident that their cases will be dealt with in the strictest secrecy, and that information about them will under no circumstances be divulged to the police or anyone else. It is a National Health Service Regulation that “any information with respect to persons examined or treated for venereal diseases in a hospital shall be treated as confidential”.

It is in the interest of all homosexuals and heterosexuals to seek medical advice at once if they suspect that they may be infected, because venereal disease can be cured easily in the early stages, but little can be done about the much more serious later effects. A more tolerant attitude by the public to private homosexual acts between adults would be a great step towards the eradication of venereal disease from the whole community, since it would undoubtedly encourage more carriers of the disease to come forward for treatment.


Gay News does not necessarily agree with the moral attitudes evident in the above, but the medical advice seems sound. In future issues we will be printing our reactions to the treatments (medical and moral) that we received on visiting various VD clinics around the British Isles. Also in the next issue we will have the reactions of another doctor to the article here. AND we would like to near about your experiences whilst seeking treatment at a VD clinicso write and tell us about it.

No Freedom to Love

“There is a sense in which all law is nothing more nor less than a gigantic confidence trick. Law is not enforceable at all if a sufficient number of people disregard it, and this is true of all laws.” Quinton Hogg

01-197205XX 8Laws which interfere with the individual’s sexuality and sexual expression will only continue to exist so long as we allow it- the will not be changed FOR us. Gay News intends to campaign for changes, since these matters are not, nor should they be, a realm in which legal controls belong. We welcome the stand taken by the Quakers in calling for the age of consent to be lowered to 14, but take the view that the law has no place in anyone’s sex life, and therefore the best sex laws are no sex laws at all: that would make us all equal, and leave no room for the suppression of any minority.

If you are a gay man, you cannot legally have sex before your 21st birthday, but if you’re a gay woman, or a heterosexual you can do so as soon as you are 16. The law is intended to prevent adolescent boys from being seduced by older men. They are apparently trusted not to succumb to a woman of any age against their own will, or if they do, it’s only a private misdemenour, not a criminal offence. It presumes that he couldn’t say no. But they can be prosecuted for seducing one another. Confused yet?

…Obscenity laws exist to repress normal sexual desires which are somehow, in law, equated with depravity. N.C.C.L. Guide to Civil Liberty

The law reflects the traditional male attitude to gay men – on the surface, we are despised, within, we are feared. Because within themselves they see us – their own heavily controlled love and desire for their own sex – and they fear.

The 1967 Act does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland – the law remains as it was in both these areas.

Sexual Offences Act 1956: section 32: “It is an offence for a man persistently to solicit or importune in a public place for immoral purposes.”

When the act was passed, this section

And remember… “Law is not enforceable at all if a sufficient number of people disregard it, and this is true of all laws.”

MEANT a man pimping for a woman. The law is almost never used in that sense, but to stop you picking up a guy you fancy whenever and wherever you may see him. It is never used to stop a man picking up a woman, even if he is offering her money for her services. She is in the wrong then.

Maximum penalties for some acts committed by older men with minors were increased by the 1967 Act.

Policemen can close down our pubs and clubs, and raid our parties more or less at will, if we are not behaving like heterosexuals. Because they have a duty to “preserve the peace”. Or if the backhander from the owner isn’t enough.

Publication of advertisements for the encouraging of homosexual practises is at present an offence, depending on the outcome of the It appeal currently being heard by the House of Lords.

It doesn’t matter if you are all over 21 and consenting, if there are more than two of you, it’s illegal.

In short, you can’t pick up anyone except in a pub or club or party, but the police can still raid these at will. You can’t take a man under 21 to bed, and if you’re under 21, you just can’t, that’s all. You can’t place lonely-heart ads.

BUT… Gay News WILL carry small ads for as long as you wish to use them. It must surely be an individuals human right to choose the way he or she wishes to make contact.

BUT… Gay News feels that far too little is being done to campaign for the age of consent to be lowered to the logical level, 16, giving us parity with everybody else. It should only be a matter of time before the whole question of legally enforceable age of consent for anyone comes under review.

Since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 very little positive action has been taken to remove this obsolete law from the statute books. We hear that S.M.G. is still squabbling about what particular age limit to campaign for; it’s a nice discussion point in C.H.E. and as Warren Haig says in OZ 42, “If Gay Lib had a concern for all homosexuals it would actively campaign for this… but it doesn’t.”

If you are being persecuted in any way for being yourself, we are here to try to do something about it. Tell us and let’s try together.

Gay News WILL campaign for this reduction. But, more important still, we’d like to make our columns available to anyone involved in campaigning against this particular black mark on the statute book.

The Twilight World of the Heterosexual

01-197205XX 8In this enlightened frank age we must all face the fact that like it or not, heterosexuals make up a sizeable portion of the population. Since by their very nature heterosexuals are furtive and deceptive, no-one can say for sure exactly how many there are but psychiatric estimates run from five to twenty pet cent in England and America, slightly higher in Europe. We have no figures at all for the Orient, since inscrutability added to furtiveness makes it impossible to judge.

While many people naively think that heterosexuals are easily recognised, the reverse is very often the case, for in reality very few are the close-cropped snarling man or the simpering passive woman we see in the movies. Many lead outwardly normal lives and the gentle boy next door, and the tough competent girl down the street may have more than a passing interest in each other.

What then is heterosexuality? Simply put, it is the inability to love your own sex and the subsequent turning for sexual release to the opposite sex. Many hardened heterosexuals will attempt to turn it round and insist that heterosexuality is the ability to love the opposite sex. But if this were true, it would have to be an ability that grew out of a complete homosexual fulfillment – for it stands to reason that you can’t love something different to yourself unless you can first love people the same as you. And most heterosexuals are incapable of a true homosexual relationship.

STRANGE RITUALS

The claim that heterosexuality involves love falls apart when we examine the nature of heterosexual activities. There are two forms of heterosexual union, the “affair” and the “marriage”. In both the sexual activities themselves are mechanical non-feeling, unrelated to the individual couple, and prescribed in advance according to the strange rituals of the heterosexual twilight world. The man has certain things he is supposed to do in a certain order, and the woman likewise. It is difficult for the healthy homosexual to grasp how alienating heterosexual “love” really is, but perhaps we can glimpse it when we examine that curious artifact, the sex manual. These are books, and the heterosexual world abounds with literally hundreds of them, that actually describe, step by step, the actions that heterosexuals are supposed to perform when they “make love”.

It is hard to say whether the “affair” or the “marriage” is more artificial and restrictive. In the first, the man and woman will meet, perhaps in the notorious “cocktail bars” with their cold hushed atmosphere, so different from the lively gay bars most of us know. Then they will “chat”, a process which consists of talking inanely about any subject so long as they do not reveal any part of their personalities. In fact, the entire “affair” coasts of projecting a false image.

SPECIAL HOTELS

obtaining the prescribed release, and then breaking off relations. When the proper time has elapsed the man and woman will go off to a special hotel maintained especially for heterosexual liaisons. There they will each do what their manual tells them and then say goodbye, priding themselves on that they have never betrayed any real emotion. Perhaps they will meet again and repeat the process, perhaps not.

The “marriage” is a much more bizarre form of practice and one which is far too complicated to describe here. Briefly considered, it is an agreement between two heterosexuals to live together for the rest of their lives and never relate sexually to anyone but each other. Though we might think such a strange arrangement might at least produce some degree of honesty, the opposite is often the case as the heterosexual compulsion to project totally false images becomes more and more obsessive over the years.

HORMONAL IMBALANCE

What buses a woman or a man to stray so far from normal development? To date, medical authorities have not developed any comprehensive theory. While some doctors claim a hormonal imbalance, many psychiatrists consider it an over-identification with the mother or father or both. One interesting theory claims that insecurity makes the woman want her vagina engorged or the man want his penis sheathed. Perhaps some engaged in their first heterosexual acts as a form of rebellion and then, guilt-ridden, felt they were trapped in the heterosexual world forever.

One thing is certain. The problem will not go away by our pretending it does not exist. Nor will making heterosexuality a crime deter those men and women from seeking each other out and arranging their secret liaisons. We who are more fortunate must learn compassion for those who cannot help themselves ,who do not choose to be this way (though many will exhibit a reverse stubborn pride). If we do not close our eyes, if in fact we devote more extensive research into the whole range of human sexuality then perhaps we can eventually release the diverse sexual elements in all of us and restore these unfortunate people to society.


INK Page 14 February 25th, 1972
By kind permission of INK newspaper