I’m not typical

Tests For Lesbians-How Do You Tell?

05-197208xx-5“Dr. A.J. Eisinger and colleagues from London hospitals, London University, and Dundee University….set out to discover whether female homosexuals were different from heterosexual women…..they compared forty-two lesbians, all members of a lesbian organisation who volunteered to help in the study, with a control group of mothers of the same age”.

Apart from the implied assumption that lesbians are not sometimes mothers too, this seems a ridiculously small sample. Could not this diverse group of researchers have rustled up more subjects, with all the resources of London and Dundee at their disposal (especially all those gorgeous nurses)? And, surely, if all the gay girls had come far enough out to join a specifically lesbian organisation, they would not react ‘typically’ to a personality test. A minority within a minority is a dangerous choice for scientific research of this kind.

“No differences were found in the age of menarche between lesbians and the control group, nor were there any hormonal differences. It was also found that the secondary sexual characteristics, for example lack of facial hair in women, were normal for all the lesbians, and no differences were found in the external genitalia.”

What did the good doctors expect? Perhaps to find a clitoris long enough to be capable of fucking, as beloved by the Victorian porn-writers, on every gay girl! It’s a relief to know we aren’t recognisable, anyway, isn’t it girls? After all, the Nazis had measurement tests to determine who was Aryan and who a Jew, once upon a time.

“Measurements of body size did show the lesbians to be greater in stature and shoulder width than the control group, but Dr. Eisinger and his colleagues did not consider that difference to be significant”.

Thanks! I’ll stop my diet at once!

“Tests for masculinity revealed a difference between lesbians and the control group of 1.4 units, the lesbians being more masculine; but again, that is not a significant finding, as the normal difference between an average man and an average woman is 14 units. The differences in the investigation, however, disappeared when the larger size of the lesbians was taken into consideration”.

Wonder what these tests were? Saliva sampling, like those victimised athletes, I suppose — or was it downing pints, driving a three ton truck, and selecting a suit and tie? With most people’s preconceived ideas about lesbians, it could happen – almost.

“As a result of the tests, Dr Eisinger and his team conclude that there is no such thing as a typical lesbian physique”.

Something one look inside the Gateways (suitable disguised in drag, of course) would have told them — and they would have had a bigger sample, instantly!

“The only significant difference in the physical appearance of the lesbians was that they all looked much older than their age, sometimes strikingly so”.

“Poor things!” commented the gay guy who passed this report to Gay News. It seems to be the gay men who are preoccupied with the youth-and-beauty criteria, not the women, in general. Anyway, how the fuck do you scientifically determine how someone “looks older than their age”?

“Having failed to find any significant physical differences, (they) then gave the lesbians two personality tests, one of which measured anxiety, restlessness, tension and vulnerability to stress, and the other measured impulsiveness, sociability, empathy and gregariousness.

“In the first test, for neuroticism, the lesbians achieved a much higher score than normal, whereas for the second, extraversion, test, they scored significantly less than normal. That showed that the lesbians were prone to anxiety and nervousness, and had obsessive tendencies.”

Some tests! They certainly tell a lot, don’t they? They sound as omniscient as I Q tests were once believed to be – and just as suspect.

I suspect all such research, especially when the word ‘normal’ is used as above, but I do see a need for honest and thorough research into sexuality as a whole, considering the whole spectrum and relating to all sexes. As a small and lighthearted contribution, what about a Gay News poll on experiences and attitudes? any opinions and suggestions as to approach welcome . . . . . .

I’m Tired of Being Gay

05-197208xx-5I’ve been gay (well actually bisexual with a strong homosexual bias) for as long as I can remember, and I’m completely adjusted to it. All my friends know, and accept me for what I am: even my parents accept me.

I’m tired of what being gay implies. To me, what it should imply is simply being myself, and preferring relationships with my own sex over those with the opposite sex. But what it actually does imply to all but a very few of the other gay people I know is being totally artificial and shallow, wearing smooth trendy clothes and expensive immaculate hairstyles, cutting oneself off from the straight world and isolating oneself in sordid clubs and pubs, picking up similar people for use-once-then-throw-away sex. It’s just not me.

I’m a great believer in human relationships and personal honesty within them: such relationships I could never have with any of the gay people know. On the other hand, all my relationships with my straight friends – of both sexes – are so much more meaningful that I’m sorely tempted to give up being gay and try being “straight”. If I were to repress my homosexuality in favour of heterosexuality it would not be because of oppression by the straight world but by the gay world. The only alternative would be to tread the downhill path into dishonesty, and become an institutionalised queen. I have seen one once-liberated guy do this, and now another – my ex-affair – is on the way down. It makes me despair. It makes me so sad that I’m tired of being gay.

Introducing FRIEND

05-197208xx-5FRIEND is an adjunct of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, staffed by volunteers, carefully selected in consultation with our professional advisors.

We befriend, along similar lines to the Samaritans, homosexuals who have difficulty in establishing good personal relationships and in accepting themselves in a largely unsympathetic society.

We are supported by a team of professional advisors to whom we can refer problems outside our terms of reference.

Our aim is to expand our network of FRIEND Groups throughout the country and individual Befrienders where no Group exists. Co-ordination of London and national befriending is organised from Centre, which is the national headquarters of FRIEND.

If at any time you feel that FRIEND may be of help to someone who comes to you for assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. There is, of course, no charge and all information received by FRIEND is held in the strictest confidence.

FRIEND is operative for personal callers at Centre on Monday & Friday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30 p.m. Please try to let us know beforehand if someone is coming to see us. Address: Friend, Centre, Broadley Terrace, London NW1

Consenting poodle

05-197208xx-5Fan of Larry Grayson? So was I. Then he gave an interview to “Tit-Bits” (no, he’s not one of their pin-ups).

He’s so nice to his fans … “A lot of the queer people like me … I should hate people to think there’s anything like that about me ….. I thought I’d only appeal to a certain section of the public, but it’s not like that at all.” He’s discovered he can make money out of straights, too.

He says he lives with a woman of 62 and a twelve-year-old poodle. I wonder which one of them gives him “these terrible pains down my leg.”? He gives me a pain somewhere else (and it certainly wouldn’t be my arse).

He says he only does what he does for laughs. Anyone want a “Loveable Larry”, going cheap? Perhaps I’ll have a word with Julien….

A Church for Gay People

If you had told me, just six months ago, that I would be spending a lot of time this year plugging the idea that there is a real need for a church movement that openly welcomes homosexuals, I would have laughed. Right now there are a lot of people laughing at me, plus a few who are quite hostile, but there are plenty more who are sympathetic and helpful.

05-197208xx-5How did I come to change my mind? In February this year I was in Los Angeles, and one Sunday afternoon a chance remark to a friend that I’d like to hear the Reverend Troy Perry preach resulted in us both going along to the Metropolitan Community Church. Like many others before us. we had read sensational press articles and so we went along out of curiosity, quite prepared to snigger and perhaps to sneer at this latest eccentric religious cult from California.

The church building is quite large, and was quite full by the start of the service. My estimate was a congregation of some 400, but I have learned that it must have been nearer 800. We were welcomed by those around us, as I believe is customary in America, and were struck by the full cross section of the public represented there: all ages, all (well, nearly) colours, male and female, gay and straight, affluent and not-so-well-off, couples and singles. I understand that 20% or more of the members of the church are sympathetic straights. As a badly lapsed, middle of the road member of the Church of England, I found the evangelical flavour of the service strange and it took me some time to warm up and feel part of things. A good stirring sermon on the Prodigal Son, and by the end of the service I was feeling for the first time in my life that here was a church that I could really feel at home with, and that homosexuality and Christianity are wholly compatible.

A couple of weekends later I was in Washington D.C., and went along to the church there, a smaller and fairly recently started branch of some forty or so members. Although I was a complete stranger to everyone there I was welcomed as a friend, and I now know that I need never feel lonely in any American city where there is a branch of the Metropolitan Community Church. This, for a start, is a lot more than can be said for going on tour with a guide to gay bars! One can feel just as much frozen hostility in American gay bars as one can over here.

So, really, I must in all honesty say that it’s as much the actively friendly social side of things as the realisation that I have a religious side to my nature after all that has warmed me to the whole idea of a church movement aimed at gays. I’ve read what I can about the Metropolitan Community Church, and found a lively organisation centred on Christian worship and charity, with a whole range of social activity, welfare work, counselling, prison visiting, law reform, non-violent anti-discrimination pressuring, all integral parts of the movement.

It is not my purpose in this article to do an exclusive advertising and selling job on the MCC. I’ve been a church drop-out for a good many years, and it’s only since I came back from the States all fired with enthusiasm that I’ve started taking an interest in church matters relating to the homosexual and meeting churchmen.

I have learned for the first time how very many ministers and clergy are actively interested in the homosexual and his problems. I keep hearing that there is no need for yet another sect of Christianity in these days of ecumenical change, and that it can all be handled very nicely .thank you, by the existing churches. Well, perhaps it can but I need to be convinced. St Paul said that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Those who are outside the church, like myself, need to see for themselves that the churches care and that they welcome homosexuals without a lot of static about a fact of our natures over which we have no control. If the churches start doing something-instead of just talking about it, jf they get out into the streets and trie bars and show us that they really have something to offer, only then will I agree that there may be no need for the MCC to start up in Britain.

Meanwhile, the Revd Troy Perry is going to be visiting London for a few days from about 20th to 26th September. He will be talking to an open meeting in the Holborn Assembly Hall, thanks to CHF, at 8pm on Friday 22nd September. Some friends and I are trying to arrange other engagements, including press coverage, and I hope you will get in touch with me or keep an eye open for further news. He has four years of campaigning in America, and I know that we can all learn something from his experiences. Don’t ask me about the MCC and the work it is doing in the States, ask him. All he is asking is that you come along and listen to what he has to say with an open mind.

‘Disgusting’

05-197208xx-5Sterlings bookshop, St Martins Lane, London has refused to stock Gay News because our covers are “disgusting” and cannot be displayed in a shop like this, which has been established since 1920”. 1. The manager has never displayed the paper – “I’ll sell it,” he said when he saw issue one, “but I’ll keep it for my regulars, I can’t put it on show”.

2. Sterlings is one of the best-known purveyors of gay-wank, near-porn fiction in London – seen the covers on a lot of current paper and hardback novels now cashing in on the ‘queer-is-fashionable’ media boom? Of course Sterlings has every one of these on open display.

Please – every time you have a lunch-time drink in the Salisbury, every time you cruise down St. Martins Lane, go in and ask for “The latest Gay News, please.”

SNIPPET

05-197208xx-5‘Journey’s End’, currently at the Cambridge Theatre, London, is the definitive World One trenches play, and well worth seeing

It’s an unashamed ‘Well – made play’, with plenty of manly comradeship and stiff upper lips, set in the officers mess dugout in the front lines.

The final credit reads: ‘Tatoos by Mary Quant cosmetics.” Bona drag, darlings, and I love the dinky gas-masks!

Yours on top of hers

Quite recently, I went to my local GP (a male doctor) and told him I had begun to get severe pains in the groin and abdomen. His reply was “Oh, nothing to worry about. Plenty of women get it.”

05-197208xx-5I then told him that I was sleeping with a girl who had had severe salpingitis quite recently – could I have caught it from her? “No, no – you’re not lesbians or anything like that, are you?” I told him that, yes, we were. His attitude then became somewhat hostile – “Off to the VD clinic with you, then.” – and he gave me some painkillers. He made no internal examination, and did not examine me in any other way.

The next week I was on holiday, and had to get antibiotics from the local GP, as I had begun to have attacks of sharp pains. I went back to my GP and told him this, and was given more painkillers and told to rest.

Later that week my girlfriend had to take me to the casualty dept, of the local hospital.

I was given some pills and told to get more from the doctor, which I did.

05-197208xx-6On going to the VD clinic, I was asked whom I had slept with recently. I gave the names of about five women. They were not interested in these, and wanted to know when I had last slept with a man, so I told them, and said it was about six months ago. I kept going for check-ups, and was told I did not have VD, but an inflammation of the fallopian tubes.

The doctors’ attitudes ranged from amusement, to sarcasm, and lastly open hostility. One of the doctors wanted to know if I was butch or femme I explained that I wasn’t into role-playing, etc., at which he was most amused and surprised, and wanted to question me further. I answered his questions, as I felt he needed educating, but he was merely titillated.

I asked him if it were possible for women to transmit sexual infections to each other. He did not appear to know, and ended up by answering me in this fashion: “Well, I would imagine it would be rather difficult to get, er, ‘yours’ on top of ’hers’, wouldn’t it?’” “No, it’s not that difficult, actually.” I then asked him if we would be at risk by plating each other (cunnilingus). He was very embarrassed by this, and again could give no definite answer.

I was given more pills, and will now have to go for further examinations.

In the first place, I think this could have been avoided with more help and interest from my doctor; in the second place, there should be more readily available information about transmission of VD etc. between women, as gay women do go to these clinics, and need help as much as anybody else.