We Know You’re In There

02-197206XX 4The march was scheduled to start at nine, but by nine thirty only thirty or so people were there. Since it seemed unlikely that anyone else would turn up, the march moved off. As they turned the corner into the main road, a couple of slightly hostile policemen cautioned everyone to stay off the pavement, but generally seemed to be rather amused.

The same could not be said of the employees and customers of the two main Earls Court pubs, the Boltons and the Colherne. The GLF leafletters and balloon carriers were quickly ejected from the Boltons and pushed around outside when they persisting in chanting slogans at the people within – “Come out of your shells! We know you’re in there!” and “What is Gay – Good! What is the Boltons – Crap!” did not appear to amuse anyone. All that happened was a minor exodus to the Colherne over the road. There the reception was even more hostile, and the exodus of customers back to the Boltons even larger, but the majority of people seemed singularly unmoved. In fact, there was a total lack of comprehension of one another, which made the customers ignore the marchers and drained any attempt at further action. People just stood around, and the guy from the Colherne gave up yelling “Fuck off” when it had no effect. It seemed obvious to me that no-one in the pubs saw any need for a march, and since they had come out for a drink and to cruise that was what they were going to do. People aren’t too keen to come out and be seen, and shouting at the doors of the pub they are in seemed a singularly ineffective way to persuade them that they would be better off if they did. I’m not at all sure what the march was intended to achieve anyway, but whatever it was, it didn’t. Granted, the passive acceptance of so many people of the whole “gay scene” is a depressing phenomenon, and one does wish gay people would create places for themselves as an alternative, but I didn’t hear a word about that all evening. It was all, alas, entirely predictable, right down to the policeman who moved everyone away at closing time with the immortal words “If I see any of you lot around here again, I’ll arrest you”.

Fulham, Stucco and Drag

02-197206XX 4Gay Pride week got off to a friendly but not very inspiring start with a dance at the Fulham Town Hall – all thirties glass and stucco. The hall was responsible for the poor sound – it was either too loud or inaudible – and so the first group deafened me whilst Rupert Herries gentle songs were lost. In the former case, it would have helped if the hall had been full, but, alas, the attendance was only fair.

The most noticeable feature of the evening was the quality and quantity of guys in drag, from those who took themselves very seriously and were got up in variations on a theme by Mae West/Yvonne de Carlo or even a sort of Drag Valentino in a velvet mirrorwork gown, on through the dollybird to a sort of Gert-and-Daisy character in a print shift, woolly socks and hush puppies (not to mention the hairy, stockingless legs and the three-day growth). Major entertainment of the evening for me was watching one guy lifting his skirt and hauling down his tights in order to join we poor trouserbound males at the urinal. But I do wish that the people in make-up had made up their minds too – most attempts at combining thirties vamp and Cherokee warpaint are doomed to failure, I’m afraid.

It was O.K. as dances go, certainly more fun than the last, and I’m quite sure a few of the town hall staff were given considerable food for thought. It’s a pity more people from outside GLF weren’t there – still, never mind, eh?


02-197206XX 4Wednesday, June 28th, 1972

Dear Gay News,

Yesterday, in London’s Oxford Street, I saw a mob of grotesque, raddled and over-painted nellies carrying placards and banners proclaiming “GAY IS ANGRY”. As they ambled towards Marble Arch whooping, jeering, calling out slogans and four-letter words etc., I couldn’t help bur feel utterly disgusted by their behaviour.

What, I wonder, do such people hope to achieve? Where they in any way sensible they would realise that flaunting themselves through the streets of the Capital will only shower further disgrace on all gays and incite more and more youths to go “queer bashing”.

If the object of “Gay News” is to campaign on behalf of exhibitionists such as these then your battle is completely lost, and you should toss in the towel right away. No self-respecting gay would want to concern himself with these drop-outs. They are a menace, not only to gays, but to the whole of man/womankind.

Yours faithfully
Simon L. Manson.

This letter is a comment on a G.L.F./Radical Feminist action, presumably part of Gay Pride Week. Gay News welcomes other inter pretations of this event.

Samaritan Enquiry Part 1

02-197206XX 4
Part 2 of this series is in issue #3

Many people who are lonely, frightened and isolated go to the Samaritans for guidance and comfort – and although they advertise themselves as a last ditch help service for suicides, they are accustomed to handling personal and social problems at all levels of intensity. Their policy of deliberately keeping their distance and not giving active advice makes them an attractive prospect for people like gays, who don’t want or need someone to moralise at them.

“If you go to the London branch and say yours a lesbian, you’ll see Chad Varah, and when you admit what your problem is, he’ll pat you on the knee and say ‘congratulations!’

“… We have special people to deal with the neuroses, depressives, the marital problems. So that just leaves me the female homosexuals and male deviants, a very nice thing lo be left with. They are the most vulnerable and gentle people you could meet.” (Chad Varah, the founder of Samaritans)

It’s true – I did get referred to Chad Varah very quickly, after twenty minutes talking to a woman Volunteer at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook, where Sams started 18 years ago. The Volunteer just said reassuring things and warned me off organisations like GLF on the grounds that “they do a lot of showing off” and “They are very busy being gay and not taking it very seriously.” She hadn’t heard of CHL, or showed no reaction, anyway.

Chad Varah gives me a direct and serious smile, and takes me up to his office. I began where I’d left off with the volunteer, talking quite truthfully about an affair which was breaking up, and he immediately began to give what I felt were traditional replies – the quote above was repealed almost word for word, plus little stories about “the two hundred very genuine lesbian friends I have”, and about a couple who had sent him a card while “on their honeymoon”. I felt even none isolated by this ‘happy-ever-after’ angle, as I’d already been talking about loneliness.

He uses physical contact a lot, holding my hand in both of his, patting my knee and putting his arms round me when I’m crying. I don’t like this very much, partly because I do not want to relax and put it all on to him, and I feel this is what he wants. He also makes a lot of small suggestions relevant to points I make, and I find this worrying, as if he has assessed me and decided how to act, although we have only talked for twenty minutes. He asks whether I am a Christian, and refers a lot to ‘,the boss”. This does not sound very stupid, and he is obviously sincere, but as I do not believe, it makes me feel that, again my statements are being manly pre-judged.

I spend two hours in his study, although perhaps a third of this is spent listening while he deals with telephone calls. I do feel that I want to see him again, when he asks me to make another appointment, but I do not give my name and address, and although I am sure he is genuine, I feel no compulsion to reveal that I am ‘test-marketing’. I thought I might want to admit that I am from ‘Gay News’, but what I have said about my personal life is true, and I don’t want to alter the relationship before I’ve investigated it further.

Gay News Interview 1. David Hockney Talks to Denis Lemon

02-197206XX 5David Hockney is an artists with a considerable international reputation. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1937, and studied there and later at the Royal College of Art. He has not had his work on show in London for some time – his last show was in May this year, in New York. He has told us that, as a result of the large number of gay papers available in the States, the young American male is much less hung-up about his own possible gayness, or anyone elses. After a year of Gay News here, who knows?

DL You used to be involved with GLF for a while – what attracted you to that?

DH Curiosity, that’s all really! Actually, there was no real involvement; I just went to one or two meetings out of curiosity, and I don’t suppose I will get involved too much. I would regard it as too time consuming when I would rather allocate my time out to my own work. I just assume that the other people would like to spend their time doing that – everybody’s to have something to do – so I don’t feel too guilty about not being involved too much. I don’t know if I’m an absolutely liberated person – I don’t actually know what one means by a liberated person. I suppose there are still things about me that even close friends wouldn’t know. That of course must be true of almost anybody, whether one likes the situation or not.

DL Do you think that gays need liberating?

DH What I was really getting round to saying, I suppose, was that we nice that people might have some mystery – the only kind of people who would disclose everything to somebody is probably when talking to an analyst or someone like that. There’s no real need to – but I might be wrong, there might be some people who always feel that need to tell. In fact you do meet a lot of Americans who tell you their life story in 15 minutes, tell you what they like, how they feel, and things like that.

DL You spend a lot of time in the States – is them any particular reason why?

DH I used to. I lived in California for about 5 years. I went because I thought it would be very sexy and it was! Los Angeles was, anyway – a vary very kind of sexy city, I think and a very gay city……

DL When I came to see you before you talked about American sex. What did you mean by that?

DH Well, I did talk about various things to do with American life – or American sex-life – that I rather disapproved of. In some ways I feel that it is rather segregated, which is a pity. But after having been in New York for a month I think maybe it’s slightly breaking up. If you go in the gay bars you see more girls around which might be a sign of it not being quite so uptight as it was. I put that down to the fact that Americans liked everything segregated. I don’t think we do that as much in England, we don’t go in for cutting off various groups in quite the same way. The Americans tend to remake their ghettoes pretty quickly in just another way, that’s all. It would be a pity if that happened here.

DL A club in Manchester recently stopped allowing girls in, making it into a completely male homosexual club. Can you see any reason for this? It seems very illogical.

DH It does seem odd to me, I mean, it seems odd to get hung up about it. I don’t see why they would care really. I always thought it was the old homosexuals who were a bit like that, and at parties, men didn’t like girls there…….mind you, I hardly know any girls – I don’t know why I’m defending them. It’s just that I don’t see any reason to get hung up about it, and it seems somewhat a narrow viewpoint to take. I mean, in a club!……..I could under stand it in a bath, maybe. But in a club, where the main purpose is to be social as well, one assumes people aren’t really just fucking in the middle of the floor! I don’t see why they should get hung up about it – I certainly wouldn’t care. Do you think it’s wrong?

DL I do, because in Manchester and the North, even though the more radical gays could still call them ghettoes, they’ve always seemed much freer and more relaxing than elsewhere. A reversal of this policy just doesn’t make sense.

DH It’s just what one observes. Have you ever been to New York?

DL No, not yet.

DH Compared to London……well, for instance, there must be now, literally hundreds of gay bars. And in Greenwich Village….I think what they’d have to do now is have a straight guide to Greenwich Village. They’d need a little guide to find a straight place. But, whilst on the surface it appears quite……thrilly and marvellous at first, but yet, when I kind of analyse it a little a watch it, a lot of it is very sad, because, of course a lot of people are very sad people. Which makes me think maybe its not so good.

DL Whether they’re gay or not?

DH That’s really nothing to do with it, really…. but in a way there’s something new happening. I know people in New York who want to live alone, and they get their sex by going to the baths or just nipping out and picking up – which is very easy, you know. Literally, you seem to go to the street corner, just nipping out, picking somebody up, and then having the sex reasonably quickly – and that’s it. But they really want to live alone in their place. Now that, I must admit, I don’t quite understand. It’s not a thing I particularly want to do myself, but obviously some people do. Now it seems to me there’s more and more like that, so it’s obviously getting to be a common taste with certain soups of people. The newness about it is that they are open about it, they don’t hide their desire to live alone and do this. Some people said to that they didn’t really want a kind of lover, somehow they wouldn’t like somebody living with them. Well, I find that just a little difficult to understand. I’m not condemning it, I’m only saying that for me I’d feel a necessity to have a little bit more out of something than that. That’s just my particular desires and tastes, I suppose.

DL Do you think this is just New York?

DH It’s probably very American – I’m sure California’s just the same. Probably it’s partly to do with the ease with which you can pick somebody up. If it’s easy then they always know, “Oh well, I want some sex now, so I’ll go to the corner.” Because it is so easy I suppose more and more people are thinking “That’s the best adjustment I could make, that’s the best I could get out of life”, and if that is is the case then it seems to be a wise thing to do. But when I was trying to observe it and understand it I found it a bit difficult – I mean I know I’m rather an incurable romantic, really, my views of thing tend to be romantic, even when I sometimes know they shouldn’t be, when me movie really have a certain amount of discipline in a view I still have a natural inclination to take a romantic view. But then I might be a more complicated person than other people – I obviously am a little more complex so that might account for me having seen some of it as rather empty. But if people can’t see it’s emptiness, well, then it’s not particularly empty for them. Maybe that’s my hangup, but I’m not sure. I think maybe we should question a few people like that and ask them – find a person who is extremely promiscuous in that way.

DL In a place like the Colherne – you’ve been there sometimes, haven’t you?

DH Extremely rarely now. To be quite honest I think Ive been twice in the last eight years. Not too frequent! I think I went not too long ago, but only because I was with someone who particularly wanted to go. But I don’t go out of any choice.

DL It’s a very segregated pub.

DH I must admit it’s very rare I go in pubs. I usually just go in them if…….if I feel thirsty. I have a drink and then leave. I mean, I’m not really a pub person, I don’t sit in pubs much. I prefer sitting in a restaurant or somebody’s room or house or whatever.

I’m not really and expert on gay pubs at all. The only gay place I go quite often is the “Yours and Mine” – not that I go in there much. I might go twice or three times in a month, which is more frequent than the Colherne! Otherwise my life’s a lot more domestic, not too much in public, although it used to be more so. I suppose that really depends on economic circumstances – probably, doesn’t it?

DL Yes.

DH It’s certainly one reason (it’s nothing to do with gay life, but….), why in Paris are cafes enormously popular. People tend to live in very small apartments and they don’t entertain in them much – so they entertain their friends in the cafes. Because they do that, there’s one on every corner. I mean, when I was a student and I lived in a room, and everyone else I knew lived in a room, one wasn’t particularly keen on just sitting in. It was often nicer to sit in a bar, because would be more commonable. So then I did go to pubs, but now I don’t. But I like that kind of life on the continent, I mean, I love those cafes in Paris and I live sitting in them. But it’s different from pubs – you sit outside, you watch the world go by a bit more.

DL But do you think that gay people are beginning to accept themselves more than they did before, or do they still think of themselves as outcasts, like much of heterosexual society sees them?

DH From my experience of gay people I certainly think they have a lot less hangups. Although I must admit I don’t know too many closet queens really, so maybe I’m not really an equipped guide. And again, in the world I move in, there’s really no need for people to be closet queens. I do admit in some worlds, as you must know, it’s easier than others, easier to be honest about oneself because you know a lot of people aren’t going to care, and usually the more intelligent the people around you are, the less they care about something like that, so you cna be quite open about it.

But…….well, I can remember when I was an art school at Bradford, my masters were all about fifty-five and I was, seventeen, eighteen? And I must admit I wouldn’t have liked them to know too much there. Mind you, it was a very small art school. I was always a bit frightened. But later on when I was a student at the Royal College of Art I realised, will, you just face it and then you don’t have to care. For a while, in fact, you take the opposite view, you say, you know, fuck you, and you flaunt it. I suppose that’s a natural kind of thing to do.

DL But is it natural for all gay people? Most people, especially gay people, still try to suppress whatever they are.

DH No, that’s not true. I think it’s probably most other people as well, I think the problem isn’t just a gay problem – I’m sure most people would suffer from it a little bit. Often they wouldn’t admit their real desires, would go along – suffer along a lot. Probably the reason why divorce rates are higher now is simply that people are a little more honest about themselves. And partly through economic circumstances – if one has to spend an incredible number of hours each week working and you don’t get too much for it, then obviously you can’t spend a lot of time worrying about things like that. One tends to put up with what you’ve got, tends to accept it. Obviously that is changing now, people are not willing to put up with just what they’ve got, they want a little bit more. There’s a desire for liberation, but I would think that effects everybody. Now, now instance, you can read in the New York Times that the average marriage in California lasts about seven years, and it’s dissolved – now for all we know that might be the perfectly normal time for a couple to have a relationship. Of course, in a straight marriage there is the problem of children, and how you deal with them, which probably isn’t resolved too well at the moment.

The interview ended here as David was already late for an appointment when I arrived.

Spare Rib Attacked or When the Communicating Stopped

02-197206XX 6Gay Liberation Front has always consisted of numerous small groups, each in its own way expanding and experimenting with new possibilities to develop gay pride and gay awareness. Also in their actions and in communication Gay Lib has attempted, often successfully, to alter societies ill-informed knowledge of homosexuals and to end the discrimination against gays which appears in many ways in this country, as well as, of course all the countries of this planet. But in the last few months, G’.L.F. – to many – has been stagnating or going off at tangents which totally fail to communicate anything to anyone.

On Monday 19th July, the Gay News collective had been invited to attend the Spare Rib party. This was being held to celebrate the coming out of this new monthly magazine for women, run by women. Spare Rib is intended to communicate women’s lib ideas, but without the dogma that so many fall foul of; as well as providing a magazine that truly is a women’s paper, instead of the existing mags that are run by men who think they know what women want. In other words, Spare Rib is attempting to communicate news and ideas to all women.

The Gay News collective and I arrived at the party, being held at The Place in North London, just before 9.30pm. The party had been in progress for just over two hours. As we were climbing the stairs to where the event was being held, we noticed a fair number of people leaving. When we were at the bottom of the final flight we met a few members of the self-styled Radical Feminist faction of Gay Lib. They warned us that the party was a waste of time; that it was nothing more than a middle-class trendy cocktail party. I tried to get the most agitated member of this group to explain but with little success. We said that as we hadn’t even gone into the party yet, we thought we would have a look around (and a drink) ourselves before passing judgement. This was greeted by hysterical screams of “Don’t go up there!”, and “Where’s your head at man?”. The screams continued as we ascended the final flight.

The room when the many was being held was pretty crowded, and what was immediately noticable was the lack of smiles. And the whole room, to us, had a general aura of uptightness. Gay News people melted into the chilly throng to speak with friends and acquaintances, many from other papers such as Time Out, IT and OZ. I had a chat with Rosie Boycott, one of the editors of Spare Rib, after which the reason for the apparent bad scene became cleaner. The Radical Feminists had arrived (no-one still has any idea who invited them) in a flurry of crumpled silk, grumbly cotton dresses, fur wraps, stilettoes and large amounts of makeup. (One of the women present later joked with me that the makeup looked more like warpaint.) The Rad. Femmes had taken exception, so it seems, to the fact that many of the women’s husbands. boyfriends and male friends went also invited (the gravest sin being that Spare Rib’s accountant was a man) and that the magazine wasn’t a more extremist periodical. They were accused of selling out, and. as is obvious now, must have completely misunderstood the intentions of Spare Rib. Which, to me, is to communicate to as many women as possible; through information, news and less rigid explanation of women’s lib ideas., but without the preaching.

I have been informed by members of the Rad Femmes faction that I should not be writing this piece, as I didn’t get to the party till just before 9.30pm. This I take (and this is a personal opinion) to be an attempt at censorship; maybe they have at last realised what a grave and stupid mistake it was to create such a exhibition of themselves at the party. But although I was not there from the commencement of the party, I did, for the rest of the evening, talk to as many of the women and men who had been present throughout the evening. This is what I heard; at least thirty copies of Spare Rib had been torn up by the Rad. Femmes (they haven’t got round to burning words yet), someone called someone else a “cunt”, but from which ‘side’ this abuse came is still unclear as I have heard so many different versions. A guy who is completely out of the game of sexual role playing was abused for being a mere bisexual; one women endured being shouted at for two hours, so she could try to understand the grievances of the Rad Femmes, she was unfortunately none the wiser after her attempted indoctrination. Chris Rowley, of OZ infamy, thought at the time the best way of showing he had no antagonism towards gays, tried to kiss one of the dragged-up radicals, only to be bitten for his more physical attempt at communication. And I could go on and on.

After we had been at the party for just over 15 minutes the real trouble started. This was heralded by some really frightening screaming. What exactly happened is still not clear, but someone, either from the Spare Rib people or the Rad. Femmes, had had enough and a running fist fight started. This skirmish descended down from the party to the front door of the building, where a two sided screaming match took place. After a while Spare Rib people and friends began to reappear, some with cuts and grazes, others with blood running down their faces. Some people said that some of the women had had violence tableaus enacted out upon them, by members of the Rad. Femmes, but this I haven’t been able to verify to my complete satisfaction. Whilst in retreat the Rad. Femmes had managed to take with them the remaining eight bottles of wine, a truly revolutionary protest.

So what does it all mean? To me it doesn’t matter who is in the wrong or the right, for if communication breaks down completely, especially into senseless violence, then no one wins, everybody is a loser. But one point it does raise is what exactly are these warriors in dresses on about? Are they into ending sexism and the exploitation of women? I don’t think so, their actions showed them to be no more than exploiters of the women’s situation and in the words they so often use themselves on people, they left many at that many thinking of them as ‘male chauvinist pigs’. They accuse others of telling women what to do, what then are they doing?

Do the Radical Feminists represent the general direction that Gay Lib is going in? No, they don’t. Except for a wobbly unity amongst themselves they seem very much on their own. G.L.F. as a whole cannot comprehend the delight they seemingly have for the type of alienation and hostility they create. Unforunately, Gay Lib as a whole will suffer because of these people, because as we all know, it’s those who shout the loudest who get the attention. I have spoken to many G.L.F. people since the event, and find that my opinions are shared by many within that movement. Even amonst the Rad. Femmes, there are those who really are trying to communicate and find the action of the others, like so many, mindless and damaging.

One interesting point this incident does raise, is why weren’t the Radical Feminists present at the coming out parties of Cosmopolitan and Plexus, two magazines that truely exploit women and help continue the dangerous myths about sexuality. Why

Gay Liberation Front has done many important things in the past, but unfort unately their continuing fault has been their failure to communicate, usually, to all gays. Of course there is always a need for a spearhead of people to always be attempt ing to change the many misguided and harmful parts of our society, but what good is this if at no times does anyone under stand them.

G.L.F. will suffer from the mindlessness, selfishness and intolerance of these few people. Wake up Gay Lib! As Warren Hague said at the door of The Place, “these few people are just looking for a label to exhibit their neuroses”.

Another Opinion

02-197206XX 6The confusion of repainting the GLF office was broken by an announcement “Does anyone want to go to the Spare Rib party”, “Yes” we chorussed; so we did: we being most of the people who were in the office that Sunday; wouldn’t it be lovely to have a chat with the people who were getting out a new womens lib magazine – even if we did think the editorial line up from Friendz, Oz, Vogue, etc. rather trendy. So off we went in our paint stained frocks.

When we got there (there being The Place, just off the Euston Road) we found we were in the midst of a full launching ceremony; friends, journalists and the stars all jostled at the bar; it was like being at a fifties celebrity occasion; the chat centred around nothing in particular – the magazine was being given away, but most people preferred to pocket it and read it later, rather than talk about it there.

We all had a quick look read bits in more detail and talked about it amongst ourselves; but weren’t we there as allies of the womens movement – if not more. So we broached the topic with some of the women in the room.

“What did they think of the glossy format -ooh and the only names on the cover were those of G.Best and R.Neville – and wasn’t that an ad for Woolies slap on the back cover”.

“Well you’ve got to sell your first issue haven’t you”.

“I mean, how do you get through to the women in the street if you don’t give her something familiar to hang on to”.

“Its really on attempt to bridge the gap between Vogue and all that womens lib sectarian dogma”.

Our reactions were that it was a sell out – and what a price 17½p; only a liberated middle class mum could afford that – not yer Enids at Dagenham working a full mans week and still having to cook the dinner.

It was admitted to be a compromise venture; and looking at the product, it was brought home to us that a compromise in the face of male dominated capitalist society will always be a cop out. We don’t object to make up – right on Mary Q – but to the way it’s sold with women being used as sex symbols, as inferior beings, as masks not people – as was happening right here in this magazine. How an you compromise on that.

For a womens paper, there seemed to be a fair sprinkling of men – well why not. The IT brigade was there in denims and sunglasses, other undy mags and more respectable rags were present; DJ’s and columnists mixed well here; we thought that a bit more honesty would help the situation.

“Trendy party isn’t it my dear”, “Yes I suppose it is really – plenty of booze though”. “What do you think of the magazine”, “Great effort isn’t it”. “Have you read it yet”, “No – just a peep”.

What sort of liberal shitty nonsense was this; were we here for a womens paper for womens liberation, or a glossy rag as a sop to the system? Rosie wouldn’t tolerate criticism as she’d spent six months living off a friend, borrowing money, and scrounging food. She’d worked bloody hard, and now all we could do was pull it to pieces – which a few people did later on.

It was obvious that this was not an attempt to bridge the gap between working women and the politicised minority; it was an attempt to salvage a conscience; little attempt was being made to find new ways of communicating with the mass of women who aren’t in the movement; rather than politicising them it was letting them know that womens lib was part of the system now folks – so lets all cash in.

In the midst of all the chatter, suddenly some dancing started – charlstons all round, and wasn’t that Alan Brien lifting his skirts up. This seemed to relieve some of the tension that resulted from a honest expression of our views.

In the midst of the jollity, some shouts arose from a gaggle of IT men and some GLF people; tempers had flamed when one man from IT, who said he was bisexual, showed his love for gay people by calling a brother “a fucking queer, you pansy, you filthy fairy” and to a sister “you fucking cunt”; they came to blows and spilled down the stairs and onto the street. This is what happens when male egos oppose each other. Hadn’t we learnt our lesson before – well not in such a plain way – no.

This incident held the key to the whole evening; here at last, in words, and unfortunately in blows, was confrontation. The magazine was fighting the chauvinist aggression of the system on their own terms – how could they win. We have realised that violence is their terms – and we aren’t doing things on their terms; we’ve realised the futility of that; their terms are the product of a male dominated uptight aggressive neurotic society; through staying to liberate ourselves, we have realised that we mustn’t get into that scene again; when we did we realised our mistake; can’t the sisters on Spare Rib see their mistakes as well. They sold out, we won’t.

This article was collectively written by The Radical Feminist faction within G’.L.F. They were also the people representing Gay Lib at the Spare Rib party.

An Open letter To The Rad. Femmes

02-197206XX 7Last night I saw some of you at the launching of Spare Rib. Last night I saw you behaving like the oppressive chauvinist men you claim to despise, but in fact are yourselves. Last night I saw you deciding what other people should think, now they should behave, what they should say, and when they didn’t you turned into a bunch of petulant, aggressive little children, because you couldn’t get your way. It would have helped, perhaps, if, instead of dreaming for attention like spoilt children, you had told someone what you had decided, what you thought, and what you felt could be done to change it, if it needed changing. It might have helped if you had shown some concern for others, no matter how blind, especially as you were in the company of people who, for the most part, were either gay themselves, or at the very least, not unsympathetic. But as usual the opportunities to create more, to build love, to understand each other, were wasted in favour of violent destruction.

I thought GLF was about love, about people, about life, about freedom, above all, about liberation. Pardon me. I was wrong. I recognise the straight gay ghettos for what they are – something where there would otherwise be nothing, frightened, confined. But I seek to break that confinement, where we can all be what we are and what we wish to be, without oppressing others. You have looked in the ghetto, in fact, you inhabit it more frequently than most other self-styled liberated gays, but you are there in the role of warders. You have come to the conclusion that, if people will not come out of the ghetto, you will build a fence of hate and bitterness about it so that they may rot in a prison of their own creation. Where you will go from there I do not know – perhaps to a final solution of the straight-gay problem, but I will not come with you.

“If they’re not liberated, tell them to fuck off, they don’t belong in GLF.” Who decides if they are liberated, who applies the tests? Who decides what GLF will and will not accomodate – it is for all gay people.

“We found a cocktail party atmosphere . . . . a bunch of straight men telling the women what to do . . . . one of them said she didn’t mind . . . . we told them what they really wanted . . . .” Are you any the less men telling women what to do because you’re dressed in frocks? Or are the dresses just the sheeps clothing from the safety of which you can utter your agression, your chauvinism? How do you know what anyone else wants? Who are you to tell anyone else what what need? Who gave you this wisdom, insight, righteousness? The answer is no-one, because you have none of these things. A Stalin is no less a Stalin because he looks like a moustachioed Mae West. A fuhrer is still a fuhrer in a frock. You do not care for people, because they are neither perfect nor perfectible. You care only for principles, which can be purified. You also reserve to yourselves the right to decide those principles, and to change them at will. Neatly removes everyone but yourselves, doesn’t it? You won’t fight the society and the prejudices which, whilst you may claim they do not oppress you, oppress and are real to many, many people, gay and straight. It’s much more fun fighting the people who were your friends and your lovers, far easier to hun those who have tried to be open, honest and free with you, than to attack people you never meet, never talk to, and, in the case of straight people, never have any need to relate to.

Can you not see that the words, actions, and manner you employ to achieve whatever you want to achieve, is nothing more than masculine agression run riot? Can you not see that the only end you have so far turned them to is a cold and loveless destruction of all who refuse to side with you? You are not new, you form no part of any alternative, because you use fear as your weapon, and repression as your tool You will not frighten people into being liberated, but by the way you behave it is clear that this is what you are trying to do. And in refusing to see these things in yourself you are perpetuating dishonesty and deceit. You are sincere towards others, but you lie to yourselves.

And from where came this hatred of straight people, and l say again, PEOPLE . . ? Neither you nor I nor anyone else are any better than anyone else. We each have our skills and talents, unless the repression of society has twisted us so far as to render us useless. You didn’t chose to be gay, and most of you couldn’t chose to be straight – do you think straights are in any way different, except that it’s a little bit easier for them? Do you think that the majority of straight men enjoy being dependable fathers, husbands, lovers? We are all oppressed and all brothers in our oppression, no matter how blind to the fact or how obstructive, no matter how frustrating and hurtful it is to an those who ought to be on your side placing themselves on the other, when there isn’t even a need for fences.

And on top of this, you have created nothing, Nothing, that is, that is of any use to anyone but your pure little selves in the company of other pure little selves, and even then only within your head. What help have you been to the greater body of people who are trapped within the system, whether materially or mentally? What attempts have you made to reach them? How have you tried to understand and communicate? What have you given to someone who may want only a gay club to go to unmolested, and be free of interference and insult? l’ll tell you . . . . more insult, and from the only group of people – other gays – to whom he can relate. Where have you made any changes except in your ghetto of ideology and pink-sequins? How does that show others the way forward? How does that prove to someone that he or she is oppressed, if all you do is compound the oppression?

Fascism in a frock has come to GLF. A lie masquerading as a truth, an oppression playing at liberation. Your selfishness and your arrogance are not what GLF is for. GLF no longer exists in any meaningful way whatsoever. You go your way, and those of us who still can love, and know the meaning of the word, will go ours . . . . .

Gay Unity

02-197206XX 7The Harrow local group of G.L.F. decided on Monday night (26th June) that it no longer wished to have any further ties with G.L.F., and will now go it alone under the name “GAY UNITY”. The group has been stagnating for some time because of the large numbers of members who did not wish to be associated with G.L.F. any longer – but now the decision has finally been made.

And whilst we are in Harrow…… the group often meets for a quiet drink in one of the local pubs, usually on Thursday evenings. After the meeting on Monday, when several members of the group retired to this particular pub, they were approached by the landlord, and informed that a member of the local C.I.D., posing as a genuine enquirer, had telephoned the numbers given in the advertisement in the local press, and had been told that the group could be found in this particular pub on Thursday nights. The landlord strongly requested that the group stopped recommending his pub “Cos it’s causing me aggravation, so you tell ’em to lay off.”

One wonders what was threatened.

“Buggery Clubs”

02-197206XX 7Reprinted with love, from the Evening Standard
Thursday 22nd June, 1972

A Government scientist today calls for a radical change of attitude in British society towards homosexuality.

Dr. John Loraine, head of the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Endocrinology Unit in Edinburgh, is at pains in a new book* out today to puncture what he describes as the “conventional wisdom” about orthodox sexual relationships.

In what is undoubtedly the most horrifying picture yet of “the global spectre of over-population”, Dr. Loraine acknowledges that society today is less vociferous in its condemnation of homosexuality than it was in the days when Lord Kilmuir was Home Secretary and “continuously denouncing the evils of ‘sodomite societies’ and ‘buggery clubs'”.

The scientist says: “Yet intransigence on this issue persists, for within the conceptual horizons of the wisdom there is no room for the thought that a proportion of men and women actually prefer homosexual to heterosexual relationships and they will obstinately persist in such activities in spite of the most strident calls for sexual orthodoxy.

“Indeed, the wisdom finds it exceedingly difficult to judge a man or woman by parameters other than his or her sex life; not does it see fit to stress the contributions to civilisation of men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, John Maynard Keynes and Ivor Novello”.

*The Death of Tomorrow, by John A. Loraine, Heinemann, £3.75.

Gay News would have reviewed the book in this issue, but unfortunately Heinemann’s are still keeping us waiting for our review copy. Maybe they think that the book is of no interest to a paper such as ours.