Tyneside CHE

05-197208xx-323 members and guests came to the first meeting of Tyneside CHF which was held in Jesmond on Tuesday, July 25th, among them members of the North Yorkshire/South Durham and Nottingham groups, and of GLF, as well as others of us whose first experience it was of a gathering of this kind. Our Convenor, David, at once demonstrated his talent for creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere by faultlessly introducing every one of us by name to the last arrivals, and Derek, who had very kindly given us his hospitality, helped to make us feel very much at home by producing coffee at just the right moment before the talking started.

David, introducing the meeting, kept up the informality by suggesting that we first get to know each other and our thoughts about the Group before getting down to the business of constitutions, committees and subscriptions at a later date. Any fears that we might turn out to be a tongue-tied lot were quickly dispelled, and some pretty lively discussion took, place on the balance we should keep between carrying out the campaigning and educational objects of CHE and the fulfilling of social needs. Most of us seemed to agree that there need be no clash between the two, and that as well as furthering in every way we could the aims of the Campaign, we should also make our Group a socially attractive one (which it looks like being anyway), with special emphasis on helping those who have been victims of social isolation. David undertook to discover our “hidden talents“in the form of a questionaire.

On the subject of meeting-places, most people thought Newcastle would generally be the most convenient centre, but that we should aim to vary our surroundings at the homes of members who were able to offer hospitality. For the more organised monthly occasion, the possibility of our being able to use a private room at the Percy Arms would be investigated, also the Quakers’ Hall, and David mentioned that there was a chance of his being able to negotiate the use of other licensed premises where we could meet in privacy. Inevitably no one evening in the week would be equally convenient for us all and, though on Tuesday the Tuesdayites were in the majority, we would see how the evening could best be varied. Meetings with guest speakers from a distance might need to be on Fridays, and we resolved to invite as our first guest to speak National Executive member Ike Cowen, legal adviser to CHF, whose recent talk in Durham had been enjoyed enough for those who had heard him there to want to hear him speak again. We hope he will be able to come up towards the end of September.

Michael suggested the very valuable possibility of our being able to make eventual use of office facilities which GLF are hoping to acquire in Newcastle, and our thanks are due to Ken who is giving up his time and facilities for the duplication of material like this, and also to Alan who has offered the same essential service.

There was such a generous response to David’s request for offers of transport that there will be no difficulty over arranging a ferry service from Newcastle for anyone who needs it to our next meeting at David’s at North Shields on August 8th. An equally generous response to the plate which was passed around to cover immediate expenses raised £2.54 and since Derek absolutely refused to allow us to reimburse him we actually start with something in the kitty.

I think we all found it was a most encouraging beginning. Tyneside may have been the last major region to form a Group, but from Tuesday’s experience it looks as if our late starter may well surprise some of its elders.

Prejudice hinders Law

Manchester Police Victimize Gay Robbery Victim

05-197208xx-3In the early hours of July 16th, 23-year-old John Ash left his two lesbian friends outside the Picador, a gay club in Manchester. He began to walk through town to catch his bus home. In Sackville Street he was approached by five youths who suddenly surrounded him and demanded his wallet. The street was deserted and they began to push and kick him. John was carrying £7, which he gave them. They then ran off.

John reported the incident to the police shortly afterwards, and was interviewed by a member of the C.I.D. The policeman asked where he had been and who with. John replied and when the police asked the names of the girls he had been with earlier, John gave them.

The policeman then asked, “Are either of those ladies your girlfriend?” When John replied that they were not, the policeman said, “Mr. Ash, are you a homosexual?”

John said that he was, but could not see why that was relevant to the robbery. The interview went on, and the policeman eventually told John that his story was not consistant. The policeman brusquely asked him why he had not cried out or ran away.

John was by this time not only shaken by the robbery but also bewildered by the aggressive and antagonistic police questioning. John explained that there was no time to cry out, and that the street was deserted anyway. As for running away – he was encircled by the heavily-booted boys.

The police would not accept this, despite the obvious evidence of John’s cuts and grazes. John left the police station convinced that they had no intention of trying to find the robbers.

He wrote to Gerald Kaufmann, his M.P., who has said that he will take the matter up directly with the Chief Constable.

The implications of this are grim. Although the police ask for public cooperation in this sort of robbery, the fact that you are homosexual obviously affects the police attitude.

Suffice to say that none of John Ash’s gay friends in Manchester would now appeal to the police for any assistance whatsoever.

Here They Come Again

05-197208xx-322 men were held for trial after a police raid on a nightclub in Tangier last Saturday (12th August). More than 80 men were originally arrested, but most of them were released, including two male dancers from the Royal Ballet. The raid occurred after complaints about men in drag, men dancing together, “nudity and obscene gestures in public”, and “debauchery of minors”. The club is called “The Blow-Up”.

Meanwhile back in dear old G.B., Newham Council have closed their “vapour baths” because someone saw two men “behaving indecently” there, called the police, and had them arrested for gross indecency. The men were subsequently fined £30 each at West Ham court. The council caused some considerable rumpus by closing the baths without any notice, until they can take steps to ‘increase supervision’.

Tangier or Newham, it’s a hard life and a short one.

Reuters. Evening Standard, and Newham Recorder …….thanks.

Crabs and The Law

05-197208xx-3Might I suggest you have a feature (if you haven’t already) on How to Get Rid Of Crabs. They seem to be on too many people these days, and a lot of guys don’t even know they’ve got them. Quickest method is a spray of Pestroy or Vamoose (dog powder) and a bath half an hour afterwards, but there may be better ways.

Oh, the cops have been acting very suspiciously in Hyde Park, just north of that bandstand where the cruising goes on. I was going through there the other night with a friend and we saw two figures up against a tree – turned out to be a couple of young cops (one of whom was gorgeous) with their helmets off, obviously out for some quick promotion. With a readymade story no doubt cooked up already so that each could corroborate the other, what could be easier than to nab some innocent gay. Panda cars were also much in evidence, so to hell with all the robbery and violence everywhere else – just a short spell in Hyde Park and you are a detective constable in no time. Please warn your readers!

Gay Corner

Members of Campaign for Homosexual Equality stood up to be counted for the second time at London’s Speakers’ Corner on Sunday August 13.

05-197208xx-3Even though the five speakers took just under an hour to outline the main points of the gay-oppression struggle, CHE managed to gather a good crowd of some 300 or 400. And, better still, the speakers held that crowd despite the heckling from both sympathisers and opponents of homosexual equality.

The most striking thing about the meeting was the fact that there just weren’t many interruptions, as well as one of the speakers being unexpected.

A guy called Bill stood up. He’d never heard of CHE or GLF, but he way gay and proud of it. He wanted the people to know that. He thought homosexuality and intelligence were interlinked. “Many of the most intelligent people in history were gay”, he said.

One of the best speakers was Jacquie Forster. She stood up and said: “You’re looking at a roaring lesbian.” Then she pleased for people to drop labelling everyone else. “We lesbians aren’t trying to get into your wife’s knickers all the time.”

Jackie was a forceful speaker and she got a lot of laughs, which helped offset the rather earnest tone of the rest of the meeting.

But even if there are some criticisms you can make of the CHE meeting, one thing’s for sure – it took a lot of guts to stand up there and say “I’m gay and I’m proud.”

Scots Bits

Councillor Kidd reads Gay News!

05-197208xx-3The most surprising thing about Councillor Kidd’s letter is that he actually read the newspaper.

Councillor Kidd is well known in Edinburgh and derided by all political factions. He is a fool and an imposter of the first order. His preoccupation with homosexuals borders on the sick. As I have said before (as Chairman of S.M.G.), he seems to have an unusual knowledge of the goings-on of a certain sector of the homosexual community in Edinburgh. Kidd has commented several times on the “sick fairies of Calton Hill” and he’s publicly threatened to set the police dogs on gay men who frequent the Hill.

councillor-kiddWho is Councillor Kidd? He slipped into Edinburgh in 1947, sat as a Progressive on the Council until the late 1950’s, and is now an Independent Councillor for Newington.

He is lazy and does not attend for the full duration of Council Meetings (but does eat up the free lunches!) He provides an effective voice for the reactionary Right Wing of Edinburgh’s Town Council. He can safely be ignored: there are many fine men -Councillors Christie, Hoy, Smith, Laurie and Ross for example – who are openly gay or who support S.M.G.’s local fight for gay rights.

Ian Dunn

Premises Progress

At a specially convened Policy Meeting on 29 May SMG EDINBURGH took the crucial decision to look for premises for the Edinburgh Branch. Expenditure of up to £15,000 was authorised, and quick cash backing for up to one third of this amount was received from two or three of the Members at that meeting. The meeting warmly welcomed John Compass’ offer to examine likely premises with a view to purchase. His export knowledge will be invaluable, as will be the advice of several other people whose views have been sought.

We are looking for premises which will include a large hall (theatre/dance), a bar, a library/ quiet room and space for offices. If we are fortunate there could be a house-manager’s flat and space for diverse group meetings.

SMG Women

Progress continues in both Edinburgh and Glasgow with the occasional recruit also enrolling from outside the two main centres.

One happy feature is that the women appear to be becoming less “introverted” and are taking an ever increasing part in the general meetings and activities. One related problem which has arisen: a hospitalised non-member, but lesbian, requires accommodation for a period of one month in order to secure discharge from hospital. This could be with either a host or a hostess, and in any area. For full details apply to SMG NEWS. Helping others inevitably puts ourselves to some inconvenience. But if the welfare aspect of SMG is to be a practical reality rather than a lip-service deal we have to be prepared to do just this. So . . . offers of help, please.

Reprinted, with love, from the Scottish Minorities ‘SMG News’.

Fulham

Fulham police are smarting from the defeat they suffered in the gay dance queer bashing case at West London Court.

05-197208xx-3Tony Reynolds, 21, one of the organisers of GLF’s Youth and Education Group and of Gay Pride Week, was charged with using threatening behaviour outside Fulham Town Hall.

With the court’s public gallery packed to capacity with GLF members, some of them in full drag, the magistrates were told of how a gay left the GLF dance on July 7 and was beaten up – needing four stitches in the cuts in his face (reported in GN3).

Sgt Mervyn Sault said Tony shouted obscenities and raised his arm, with his fist clenched, at a group of youths standing on the other side of the road.

Tony told the magistrates he had shouted: “Look there’s one of them. He’s laughing and joking with them – British justice!” But he’d said nothing obscene – in fact, he rarely swore. He didn’t clench his fist.

Three witnesses appeared to corroborate Tony’s evidence.

The police did not attempt to deny that they had been laughing and joking with the queer bashers, and had to withdraw a charge of using threatening words.

The final egg on the law’s lace came when a well-wisher handed Tony the £5 from the public gallery to pay his derisory fine.