Gayness Doesn’t Exist

19720901-04RUSSIA: Elya Glazer, a 35-year-old biologist, who was senior scientific worker at Moscow University, was recently sentenced to three year’s ‘strict regime’ (the extreme form of punishment in the USSR) for alleged slander, anti-Soviet propaganda, “and other unspecified criminal activities”.

Pravda, reporting the sentence, said Mr Glazer, a Jew “whispered with all sorts of scum and moral cripples to nourish foreign reactionary sources” and accused him of “licentious and sexual abnormality”. It doesn’t take too much thought to work out what they mean by that.

In Russia there is no legislation either condemning or condoning homosexuality. According to Soviet law, homosexuality doesn’t exist. But apparently “licentiousness and sexual abnormality” does.

Elya Glazer has, unfortunately, not only been persecuted because he is a Jew, but also because, apparently, he has chosen his own form of sexuality.

Informed Jewish sources in this country have for some time now been reporting that large scale anti-semitism is taking place in the USSR. Also, Jews wishing to leave for Israel are usually preve-nted from doing so.

No Evidence

19720901-04BRIGHTON: John Campbell, a 34-year-old London chef, was kept in police custody for three weeks for cottaging before the prosecution decided to give up and let him go home.

Mr Campbell, of Southgate, London N14, was put into the police cells on July 17 while the police got ready charges against him alleging that he “importuned for immoral purposes” in a men’s lavatory.

In the end the prosecuting solicitor David Nissen said the police had no evidence to offer.

He said: “I would submit that the police acted quite properly. There has been no application for bail in the last three weeks.”

John’s solicitor, Mr Cyril Chapman, said he’d asked for bail for John, but this had been refused because the police said papers on the case were being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Chapman said he couldn’t see how the charge against John had been brought in the first place.

Mr Nissen said that John made a habit of going to Brighton to “meet other men”.

The magistrates awarded John £20 costs against the police. The chairman, Mr Harry Brogden, said the court had sympathy for John and the £20 would cover his costs.

The man he’d met in Brighton, Paul Mitchell, 20, of no fixed address was put on probation for two years for stealing clothes and a railway ticket from John.

Thump in the Dark

19720901-04HAMPSTEAD: An anonymous Gay News reader was given a black eye by plain clothes police while walking on the Heath.

The reader told Gay News: “I was walking on the Heath and I met these three large men in dark suits and blue shirts. I should have known they were police. One of them punched me in the face and 1 have a black eye.

“When I got to the roadway I saw there were two unmarked police cars parked. And from the noises behind me I could tell the plain clothes men were having a good time beating up gays.”

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said:

“There was an injury-only accident at Hampstead Heath, which required the usual police procedure.”

He denied that there were any plain clothes police in the area.

Wish You Were Here

19720901-04LEWES: Gays in Sussex are to get a “new deal” from the police.

The Chief Constable of Sussex has promised Gay News that he will look into any allegation of police harassment personally.

Mr T.P. Williams, at his Lewes police headquarters, said that any gay who feels he’s unduly harassed by Sussex police should report the matter directly to him, and not to his local police station.

A spokesman for Sussex police said that this system was not really new, it should exist in all areas. Check with your chief constable.

Funny, or How Very Queer

19720901-04Julie Frost, Gay News’s super salesman at The Boltons in Earl’s Court, had a rather strange story to tell after an evening of selling the paper recently.

On leaving his local tube station, Caledonian Road, a car drew up alongside of him and out popped three plain-clothes policemen. Julie was questioned about what he had been doing; his bag of unsold Gay News’s was searched, and a copy of the paper was scrutinised. After more questions and his, and the paper’s, name and address being taken he was allowed to finish his journey home.

A not too unusual occurrence, but wait. When Julie arrived home he noticed a dark blue unmarked police car, with its lights off, parked outside his home. Inside were two uniformed police officers. They were still there when Julie went to bed, and it was observed that they were still there much later that night.

We wonder what all that’s about?

Incidentally, Julie was the cover-model for Issue No. 5 of Gay News. This week Gay News, next week Vogue or Playboy?

Contented Deviants

Professor Carstairs Calls Homosexuals ‘Deviants’ In Medical Handbook

19720901-04A non-gay woman member of SMG brought disturbing news to the Chairman, Ian C Dunn, recently. Researching for her final year studies in Dietetics at the Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, she discovered some particularly unpleasant writing on homosexuality in the prestigious medical handbook “The Principles and Practice of Medicine” (10th edition, eds. Sir Stanley Davidson and John Macleod, published by E & S Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1971).

The offending passage occurs in the section “Personality Disorders” (pp 1076-1078). Homosexual activity is described as “.. . abnormal practices which do interfere with other people”. A little later the writer suggests that “the Sexual Offences Act 1967 for the first time in Great Britain” (my italics) gave freedom to homosexuals. This is a blatant error of fact. Prior to 1885 homosexuals did have the freedom to make love in private, Moreover, prior to 1871, the age of consent was lower than the artificially high 21 years it is today. The writer also fails to point out that both Scotland and Northern Ireland remain outside the law reform of 1967.

“Most forms of deviant behaviour, such as homosexuality, seem to be the result of distorted experiences at the stage of development when boys and girls learn their sexual role.” What sort of advice is this to present to medics-in-training? The writer would do well to undertake a study of heterosexual behaviour before making such sweeping generalisations about homosexuals. Is there a “cure”? The best advice the writer can come up with is a suggestion that these poor people could “dampen down their drives” (by drug ingestion? – we are not informed). “Deviants seem rather content with their lot” is the final remark, and one almost feels like saying, “gosh, sir, thanksalotsir!” It is a thoroughly bad piece of psychiatric writing.

But who wrote (or approved) the article? This is where the shock comes in: for it was Professor M Carstairs himself who acknowledged responsibility when Ian Dunn rang him up to discuss the matter. Did he (Prof. Carstairs) consider the article compatible with his publicly expressed views on homosexuality made as Honorary Vice-President of SMG?

The Professor said that he would have to re-read the article. Would he consider re-writing the section for the 11th Edition (due 1973)? The Professor agreed to consider this, and asked for some notes to aid him in his task.

Here, then, is an opportunity for the gay community to ensure that the real life facts on being homosexual get inserted into the best reference books. I would like to make a direct appeal to those readers who may have the time to undertake this work to get in touch with Ian Dunn, 15 Hope Park Terrace, Edinburgh, EH8 9LZ. Please send in suggestions backed up with chapter and verse references, if possible. Maximum 750 words.

Where Scots Lag…

Scotland “lags behind” England as far as homosexual legislation is concerned, a Glasgow psychiatrist told a one-day conference on homosexuality in Edinburgh yesterday.

Dr Keith Wardrop, Director of the Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Glasgow, told the conference, organised by the SMG, that the attitudes among certain sections of the public towards homosexuals led to such things as drug-taking – particularly among young people.

Scottish Sunday Express, Glasgow.

SMG held a one-day conference on Homosexuality in Edinburgh, ft received the above report in the Scottish press. We received the following report from Joan Aitken.

SMG CONFERENCE

19720901-04One of the enormous tasks facing the gay movement is that of educating the rest of the world to the effect that gay is not bad or sick or corrupting. That is, to reverse the whole situation of gay people. For this reason SMG decided at their last AGM to hold annual (at least) conferences on homosexuality and to encourage the public to come along.

The first of these was held in Heriot Watt University on Saturday August 5th – the title of which was “Homosexuality – is it a problem?” In going along to any conference one tends to have doubts about the whole structure and almost to have headaches in anticipation. But I got a pleasant surprise – I can only say this was the best conference I have ever attended.

In the morning the question was discussed by four speakers – Anthony Grey, Michael Steed (Tres. CHE), Dr Keith Wardrop (Dir Forensic Psychiatric Clinic – Glasgow) and Sharon Murray (NE Womens Group). In the afternoon we broke into discussion groups. The conference ended with a forum.

I found the discussion on the female homosexual (did I notice a certain reluctance to use the word lesbian?) interesting in that it reflected how much homosexuals or any oppressed minority does tend to load itself with problems. There is an element of paranoia and thus some of the problems for the homosexual are self-created. I felt that Sharon Murray did present an example of this when she failed to realise that many of the problems of the lesbian are problems for the heterosexual as well. She was right, though, to get angry when Mr Wardrop suggested that life was easier for the female. There was some discussion between the speakers and the floor as to who had the roughest time – the male or the female. My own view is that it is an irrelevant question and to pose it is to indulge in the self-pity and egotism that Anthony Grey had attacked earlier in his talk.

The consent of the oppressed as a mechanism in the process of oppression was discussed by Michael Steed in an interesting talk where he scientifically looked at attitudes to homosexuality. He quoted the results of National Opinion Polls on whether homosexuals should be able to make love freely in private and on whether homosexuals needed treatment. The latter reported that 93% thought that such was the case.

This point about attitudes came up again in the discussion on why the Homosexual Law Reform Act did not apply in Scotland. David Steel, MP proved a most willing and interesting speaker and explained attitudes to homosexuality were at the time of the act less ‘enlightened’ than the English. However since 1967 the Church of Scotland, still very influential in deciding Scottish public opinion, has eased its attitudes and there has recently been much correspondence in the ‘Scotsman’ on the subject of homosexuality. The reliance on common law in Scotland to safeguard the position of the homosexual can no longer be trusted, especially after the recent House of Lords decision in the IT case, and recent local prosecutions.

But a lot of myths have to be waded through yet and how many differences there are on large issues and how much pain has to be disentangled to reach rational attitudes. The conference was good in that everyone relaxed together and the discussion was calm and sympathetic. It felt as if a breath of fresh air

The Rural Homosexual

19720901-05I quote from Gay News No. 4 editorial ‘It is on this level, with individuals telling it like it is, that progress is being made towards liberation (in the true sense of the word, not just as a slogan).’

This is what it is like with me. This is what it is like at the opposite extreme to the ‘liberated’ city gay mixing freely and openly with his ‘liberated’ friends.

Thousands of people in Britain live not in cities or towns, but in villages, hamlets, farms and farm cottages (using the word literally), and in every group of 1,000 such persons there are, supposedly, 50 who are homosexual. I am one of them. I write only to say what it is like with me, but I am probably saying what it is like with many others.

In a truly rural society no individual can escape observation and comment. For him there is no anonymity. He is a subject of gossip and speculation, and while he may be accepted as a ‘character’ or an eccentric, let him offend against the rural community’s code of acceptable behaviour and he will find he has few, if any friends — and perhaps no job.

So the rural homosexual person, once he understands his predicament, either heads for the city (how many have done this because they were homosexual and not because they were looking for work?) or lives on where he wants to live, guarding his feelings and wondering who the other 49 (24½ males — 12 adult?) homosexuals are in his group of 1,000 — or have they all fled and is he all alone?

I can hear the ‘liberated’ city gay saying: “Come out into the open” or “Come and join us”. I admire the courage of those who have declared themselves openly, but I suggest, with respect, that the rural homosexual’s case is slightly different. The homosexual city dweller who declares himself may lose some friends but he will gain others. He may encounter discrimination and unkindness, but at the end of the day he has understanding friends to help restore his shattered morale.

At the end of the day I am alone. And, no offence meant, I don’t warn to join them. I want to live where I am.

Of course I want to love and be loved. For a long time I have been putting out discreet and tentative feelers and in recent months have made contact with members of a group in a city. In that respect I differ from the majority of rural homosexual persons who are ignorant of the means of making contact, but my equilibrium is worse now than it was before contact was made.

Twice I have been to the city (nearly 100 miles away) and mixed with group members on social occasions, but I was not one of them. Barriers built up in isolation take a long time to dismantle. I was accepted — they were friendly, but each had his own circle of friends, and I was in a world which was very strange to me. One would have to go there very frequently to build up the sort of friendships one is really seeking.

So I returned home on each occasion sad and depressed — sad because I had met people with whom I wanted so much to make contact but who were too deeply involved elsewhere, and depressed because these traumatic experiences had taught me that I could never be integrated with the group so long as I lived so far from it. To recapture my former comparative tranquility I should forget the group.

Forget the group? I can’t do that. So long as they work, as they do, to improve the lot of homosexual people I must identify myself with them. I must identify myself with all those whom they work.

So that is what it is like with me now. If anyone thinks he detects self pity in this writing, I assure him there is none. I have just told it like it is.

I did not choose to be homosexual. I do choose to go on living here, and one can get by without sex. But I still want someone to love. Is that wrong?

Coming Out

19720901-05My boyfriend once apologised to a woman who had caught sight of us embracing (it was in her house as it happened). The woman’s reaction was “You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start doing that!” And I’m sure she was right — unless the hets are confronted with direct expressions of gay affection, homosexuals will continue to remain one of those faceless minorities about whom anything can be said, and who can be freely discriminated against by anyone who cares to, confident that no-one dare speak in protest.

How many of us really believe the one in twenty figure? Don’t most of us really fear that we’re only perhaps one in a hundred or even less? For the rule is to assume hetero until proven guilty, and we all fall for this at some time or other. That dishy guy you fancy so much at work just can’t possibly be gay – because he’s just too ‘normal’-looking, and anyway you’ve heard him admit to fancying that voluptuous chick all the guys go for. This sort of situation would be a good time for a gay guy to ask himself how many times he had agreed to being attracted to a woman when he really wasn’t, and to remember the times when he, along with the others, had joked about what the queers had been doing in the Sunday papers.

The popular misconceptions, which the people in the liberation movements so confidently laugh off, affect us all, and we propagate them either directly by backing up the male chauvinist pigs and laughing at their Queer jokes, or indirectly – which is just as harmful – merely by laying low, by denying our gayness to society in showing no affection in public and in keeping up heterosexual appearances while in non-gay company (I can remember one ridiculous situation when about five of us clammed up for the benefit of one het!)

But for whom do we act like this? For a minority of ignorant bigots, or is society as a whole really so unapproachable? How many gay people tend to arrogantly believe that society consists of prejudiced ignoramuses who just ‘couldn’t understand’? What good are we doing ourselves by poking in corners for cases of discrimination and complaining what a raw deal we have because public opinion doesn’t allow us the ordinary social facilities of the majority, when, in fact, public opinion has never really been tested – most people ‘have never met one’.

The only product of lying low – gay people pretending not to be gay – is unhappy gay people: isolated people who think that they’re ‘the only one’, bitter political people with a deep sense of ‘us and them’, and people who have crushed the very quality of their personalities by repressing every aspect of their gayness. If only a lot of gay people would come out, then the isolated individuals would i see for themselves that they’re not alone, the ‘us and them’ feeling would be dispelled as many of them turned out to be us. and society might, after all, prove to be rather more human than we perhaps believe.

Don’t we owe it to our fellow gay people not to mention ourselves, to come out and express the goodness and enjoyment of being gay? Fve held hands, hugged and kissed with other boys in some very public places, not necessarily as a protest but because it seemed good to do it there and then. Usually, nobody notices, sometimes you get a bit of a surprised stare, and the most reaction I’ve ever found was “Uh! Fucking queers!” And I’m sure most gay people can think of a reply to that!

Love to Graham Chapman and other people who’ve come out.

Friends in High Places

19720901-05John Edgar “Mother” Hoover is dead at 77. Although Mother was much maligned in recent years by radicals — both Gay and straight — Hoover will probably be remembered in history as one of the great heroes of Gay history.

His critics said he was a master of the queenly arts; that he maintained his power by cunning conivery; that he was a master of deceit, that he used his dossiers on the sex lives of politicians to get his way. All of these techniques are the skills of the old-time queen; the things that queens had to do to survive in a hostile world.

In spite of his right wing political views, in spite of his practice of using his sex files against his enemies, not once in his 48 years in office did he use his files against a Gay brother. Undoubtedly, his files had the dope on many secret homosexuals in high and low places, but to Hoover, this secret was a confidence, a holy trust which he never betrayed.

During the McCarthy-Nixon anti-homosexual witchhunts, Hoover refused to turn over his vast files on homosexual employees to the Unamerican Activities Committee.

When McCarthy and Nixon equated homosexuals with communists. Hoover wrote a best selling book, “The Masters of Deceit”, in which he said that while communism is a conspirital political movement, it has no connection with homosexuality, and, in fact, communists are vehement in their persecution of homosexuals.

When President Johnson’s chief aid, Walter Jenkins, was arrested for sucking cocks in the YMCA toilet, Hoover sent Jenkins a bouquet of roses. Hoover and Jenkins had been close friends for many years. When Hoover was summoned to court to explain why he gave a top security clearance to a man with a long record of arrests for homosexuality. Hoover told them it was none of their business, and refused to turn over his file on Jenkins.

The evil things they say about the viciousness and treachery of Hoover may be true, but he didn’t cooperate in the purges and persecution of homosexuals. In fact, Hoover often used the prestige and power of his office to protect homosexuals from the witchhunters.

Some radicals used to start of discussions of the F.B.I. by saying “Did you know the director is a fag?”. Gay Liberationists often used Hoover as the horrible example of the closet queen. But Hoover could not come-out as a self-declared homosexual. To have done so would have destroyed his effectiveness.

Hoover is survived by Clyde Tolson, his constant companion during the last 44 years of his life. Tolson, now 70 years old, was very close to Hoover. The two bachelors lunched and dined together almost every day and had dinner together in Tolson’s home the night Hoover died. Every day. Hoover would pick up Tolson on his way to work, and drop him off again after dinner in the evening. They spent their vacations together. They worked together in the same office.

Hoover left his entire estate of $551,000 to Tolson, who now lives alone in Hoover’s $100,000 antique filled mansion in Washington D.C.

Most Gays are still hostile to Hoover because of his conservative political views, but in time, Hoover may come to be recognised as the great benefactor of the Gay Community, a man who was loyal to his friends, and never did wrong to a fellow homosexual. The status of homosexuals in America today would be a lot worse than it is were it not for the protecting hand of Hoover.

The story of the 44 years of mutual love and devotion between Edgar and Clyde may become a classic story of Gay love, and rank with the stories of David and Jonathan and Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

Reprinted with love from the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), May 31, 1972.