Increasing Violence Against Gays

“What Are We Going To Do About It?”

03-197207XX-04Gay Lib hold regular dances in London, and most of them nowadays are at Fulham Town Hall. They are openly advertised and open to all and this combination of factors has led to troubles which may mean the end of dances at Fulham.

The trouble has been caused by local louts who seem to think that queer-bashing and baiting is a fun way to round off an evening out. At the last two dances there have been bunches of them hanging around outside, especially towards the end of the dance and attempts have been made to dissuade them from causing trouble, but without success. In part this would seem to be a result of the tacit support they receive from the local police.

One guy in drag is standing at the entrance to the hall when some of these kids come by and start to make fun of him. “You a fellah? Show us your cock then!” So, entering into the spirit of things, he does. They then try to start a fight because he flashed his cock in front of ‘their’ girls (jealous, perhaps?).

Later on, same evening. Two guys leave hand in hand. From across the road a group jeers and one or two of them throw things. It looks as if they might attack. So our intrepid twosome take the offensive, and chase them off, brandishing milk bottles. As the group disappears, they turn back and head for the station, returning the bottles to their crate. Very shortly after this, they are arrested by the ever-vigilant local constabulary for possessing offensive weapons.

Meanwhile, on the station platform, another guy has been attacked by a different group of boys.

The following week the attitude of the police becomes clearer. Once again there are groups of little ‘toughs’ hanging round outside the hall. With the previous weekly incidents in mind, someone calls the police to move them away. A squad car, complete with uniformed inspector, arrives and shoos them away. They then park discreetly nearby. Three guys leave for the station, and as they cross the road, the gang reappears. Two run, one of them decides to make a stand; he receives one severely blacked eye, and a cut needing four stitches just under the other. One of the gang has a sleeve torn from his coat, another, a lapel. At this late stage, the same squad car reappears, and the gang hastily departs. The police display their usual zeal in pursuing the formalities but do not pursue the gang. “Oh, it’s another gay dance – we always have trouble at these gay dances” . . . . . . and asking the guy who has blood mining down his face “It’ll have to be a clearer description than that!” They are about to leave when the opportunity for the clearest description possible arises – the gang reappears. They are pointed out to the police, who question them, but let them go. “They say they just off a bus.” – in spite of their clearly damaged clothing. The police then leave, and our friend goes to hospital to have his face stitched.

In order to make sure the coast is clear, someone takes a walk to make sure the gang has gone. They haven’t gone very far they – and apparently laughing and joking with the policemen. In anger he shouts out to the effect that ‘these pigs are supposed to protect people, and here they are having a laugh with the ones who caused all the trouble’. In a flash he is surrounded by policemen, and arrested for insulting behaviour and breach of the peace – surrounded by so many policemen that they can’t all fit into the squad car, and some of them are detailed to hoof it back to the station.

So that leads on to a few questions. To the police – “Who’s side are you on?” And to the gay community generally – “What are we going to do about it?”

The Scotsman And The Minister

03-197207XX-04Extracts from letters written to “The Scotsman” after the I.T. decision and subsequent furore by Rev. Malcolm H. MacRae, West Free Manse, 21 Mount Vernon Avenue. Coatbridge. Together with our reactions.

“… it is impossible for the homosexual to find real happiness while following his inclinations in a heterosexual society.”

“There is no such thing as a heterosexual society. There is such a thing as a heterosexually dominated society. Homosexuals have always existed, even in the animal world, and always will. They have greatly contributed to all known western societies.”

“Physiologically and psychologically his behaviour is so unnatural that it is doubtful if even in a homosexual preserve … a satisfying way of life could be achieved. I would have thought, then, that the most compassionate and considerate approach would be to do everything possible to restore normal sexual behaviour to the homosexual. Phychiatry can do much to help in this respect.”

Nothing a human being is capable of doing is unnatural — is it natural to refrain from all kinds of sexual activity until one is given legal sanction to indulge? Likewise it is not ‘abnormal’ to be homosexual – what is ‘normal’, if anything is, is to be simply and freely sexual. Psychiatry cannot change one’s sexual orientation, even with aversion therapy. It can create even more acute depression, even more self repression.

“The homosexual finds himself impelled to behave in a way to which, in certain respects, like the behaviour of violent criminals and some classes of mental patient. In these cases it is argued that these people are either unfit to look after themselves or so violent they must have their freedom restricted.”

The Rev. MacRae resembles a mental patient far more than any gay person I have yet met, if his letters are anything to go by. Is he suggesting that we ought to have our freedom restricted or that we are unfit to look after ourselves?

“. . the law must take cognisance of the attack that homosexuality comprises on the institution of marriage and on the accepted moral standards of our society. The law must also be aware of the possibility of the spread of homosexuality, which, in the past, has been very much to the detriment of great civilisations.”

Is he suggesting that this is a great civilisation? Does he know we lost the Empire? The ‘accepted moral standards’ of this and most other western countries are in themselves an attack on humanity, freedom and life and deserve to be attacked in their turn.

“. . . but what is the value of a cure if the individual does not wish to be cured, and how will the individual ever wish a cure as long as the law is lax and society accomodating?”

Just how unpleasant would he make those laws and that society?

“Is he aware of how International Communism views the moral laxity which has overtaken the West?”

Is he aware of how International Communism treats homosexuals. Much as he would like to treat us.

“The grace of God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and because of this delivers even the smug and self-righteous from their equally heinous sins.”

I hope you are talking about yourself there, Rev..

Sexual Offences Report

REPORT ON SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 1967 of the SMG LAW REFORM SUB-COMMITTEE

03-197207XX-04We hold as basic to our philosophy the principle that the State has no cause to interfere with or punish sexual behaviour or expression which does not involve assault, interference with children, or an affront to decency causing annoyance or nuisance to the public.

The 1967 Act falls short of this principle in a number of respects. We list as the most outstanding anomalies the following:

AGE OF CONSENT (Clause 1 (1)). 21 is now even more difficult to justify than when the act was passed, in view of the fact that the legal age of majority has been lowered to 18 by the Family Reform Act 1969

‘IN PRIVATE’ The definition in Clause 1 (2) is more restrictive than that envisaged by the Wolfenden Committee, and is undesirable both because of its discriminatory nature and the handle it gives to blackmailers.

EXCLUSION OF MEMBERS of the Armed Services and the Merchant Navy. (Clause 1(5) and Clause 2). This goes beyond the Wolfenden proposals and extends to off-duty circumstances which could not conceivably affect discipline and which could not constitute an offence if committed by a civilian.

EXCLUSION OF SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND (Clause 11 (5)). Under the differing sexual conduct laws in different parts of the United Kingdom, adult male homosexuals in Scotland and Northern Ireland have fewer rights than those in England and Wales. At the same time it should be mentioned that at least one penalty under the 1967 Act is harsher than its equivalent under the 1956 Sexual Offences Act. namely that prescribed in Clause 3(2), where the maximum penalty is increased from 2 to 5 years.

MAXIMUM PENALTIES as laid down need revision and rationalization, as do those for sexual offences generally. They are in every case too severe. The primary consideration in assessing the gravity of an offence should be not the precise nature of the act committed but the degree of compulsion or intimidation involved.

PROCURING a homosexual act (even though not for purposes of gain) which is not itself an offence remains punishable under the 1967 Act (Clause 4).

CONSPIRACY is not dealt with in the Act. In the light of recent charges of “conspiracy to corrupt public morals” it would appear that invitations to commit lawful homosexual acts may be an offence in circumstances where similar invitations to commit heterosexual acts are not. The recent House of Lords narrow interpretation of the 1967 Act (14 June 1972) confirms this.

BYE-LAW OFFENCES vary widely and are outside the scope of the Act.

Michael Coulson
Convener, Law Reform Sub-Committee.


S.M.G. August Conference.

The Scottish Minorities Group is holding its Conference on Homosexuality in the Heriot-Watt University Students’ Centre, 30 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, on Saturday 5th August 1972, from 10am to 6pm. (Entrance Fee £1 per person.)


SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP.

MEETINGS;

  • EDINBURGH, from 7.45pm to 9.00pm in the basement of 23 George Square. Check with Mike Coulson at 031-225 4395. Women’s Group at 7.30pm. Saturdays from 9.30pm to 12.30pm coffee/food/dance at the same address.
  • GLASGOW, meetings every Tuesday at 8.00pm at 8 Dunearn Street. Glasgow C4. Women’s Group at 184 Swinton Road, at 8 00pm. Third Friday of every month at 214 Clyde Street (library of community house) invited speakers, from 8pm.
  • DUNDEE, every Friday at Dundee University Chaplaincy. Social. Details from 041-771 7600.
  • ABERDEEN, Weekly social meetings. Details from 041-771 7600

Box 69

03-197207XX-04The Sunday Times,
2nd July, 1972

Sir, It is astonishing that there has not been complete public outrage at the sentences on the editors of IT, a perfect example of structuring the law to maintain, in Mr. Robert Mark’s contention, the social status-quo. It may therefore, be useful to throw some light on the way the law works in relation to homosexuals.

Having recently lost a very dear partner, whom I found through the columns of IT, and being ill-attuned to transitory relationships, I wished to advertise in the “Lonely Hearts” column of the well-known “underground magazine” “Time Out”. However, their legal advisor found my advertisement unacceptable because I wanted to meet “younger guys” and they considered this implied subsequent sexual intercourse. So I tried again seeking a partner for a cheap car-camping holiday, “preferably in the Loire”. This again returned because of the “younger guys” phrase (the most rewarding and enduring relationships that I have been fortunate enough to experience have all started with rather intelligent young men in their early twenties) and because I did not stipulate that expenses were to be shared. Frankly. I wasn’t worried if they were or not.

So I tried once again saying that I was a homosexual seeking an understanding younger woman with whom I might start a family. This went into the magazine without question, and I met some really nice girls. So, despite the change on the status books, the conclusion is inescapable that the law regards it as an offence for two men to go to bed with each other, but not a man and a woman.

On the other hand, this same magazine carries many advertisements in which “Attractive male model”, “Attractive male art student, “Adaptable young man” etc seek “remunerative evening work”. Anyone answering these ads will find that most of them are male prostitutes soliciting clients. I have no quarrel with this magazine which gives admirable coverage to social and political problems that the establishment press ignores, but with the law itself, which apparently finds ads. of the latter kind perfectly acceptable.

It is typical of the corrupt and hypocritical society in which we live, the society that Mary Whitehouse and her kind would like to perpetuate, that graft and vice are permissible, whilst decency, honesty and enriching human relationships are not.

Yours etc James Stevens. London W.14.

This is the complete text of the letter sent to the Sunday Times.

‘No’ to repealing anti-gay laws

03-197207XX-04The Democratic convention in Miami has turned down a proposal, advanced by gays in America, to repeal all laws involving voluntary sex acts in private.

Gay Liberationists, from all parts of the country, have gathered in Miami for the convention. Some quarters had supposed, because of Senator George McGovern’s liberal leanings, that this was the time to press for the removal of the many laws that still keep homosexuality a crime in most places, even a major one in some States. It is still possible to receive, for a gay sexual act even between adults, a prison sentence which could be as heavy as one passed for a major criminal act, such as armed robbery. The older gay community can still remember when ‘offenders’ felt the full severity of these sentences.

Gay Lib people have already had one brush with the law whilst being in Miami. The cities staid, retired citizens had apparently been ‘shocked’ and ‘horrified’ by seeing gays in drag in the streets and parks. But, much to the indignation of the elder citizens, the gays successfully pleaded in the city courts that the First Amendment entitled them to engage in transvestism if they so desired, and in public too.