Is Gay Lib Still Liberated?

19720914-04One of my regular occupations in the homphile movement seems to be to try to explain what the Gay Liberation Front is doing, and why, to hostile members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality who hate to think their ‘respectable’ image is being tarnished by radical gays. On the occasion of the GLF All-London Come Together (also known as a Think-in and a Whither GLF?) at the Holborn Assembly Hall on Saturday, September 9, however, I couldn’t help but compare this meeting with one held in the same place by London CHE a few weeks back — a meeting which started on time, got through an enormous amount of work, and gave considerable (and well-deserved) satisfaction to most of those who participated.

In contrast, the GLF meeting had – for GLF – a poor attendance: about 120 brothers and a few sisters for all of London; by 1 pm, when the meeting was scheduled to start, the hall was still almost empty, and only in fact began soon after 3 pm because one brother got fed-up at the time being wasted and shouted to everyone to sit down.

As for deeds accomplished, there were the usual arguments among groups and individuals, many of whom displayed an arrogant, smug, holier-than-thou attitude that accorded ill with the ideology of love that they were expounding. The arguments were those that have been repeated ad nauseum in GLF circles for the past year or so. Only two practical proposals emerged from all the bluster and were apparently accepted: one was that all-London meetings should be held once every month, and the other was that a ginger group be formed in order to attempt to restore the spirit that made GLF such a force to be reckoned with up to a few months ago.

I don’t for one moment suggest that GLF adopt any of the often-stifling forms and rituals of the CHE bureaucratic structure, but some means must be found to make the term liberation meaningful again.

Much talk has gone on lately about self-awareness being the most important aspect of gay consciousness. Okay. But self-awareness is only a part of gay life, not its totality. Self-awareness, consciousness-raising, call it what you will, is frequently used as an excuse for sitting around rapping and taking little or no action about anything. To be truly liberated means to care about your brothers and sisters, to want to protect them against the oppressions of the straight world; the obvious corollary is that they shouldn’t have to be protected against you. Yet ‘liberated’ gays are still oppressing their own brothers and sisters and this is an oppression that takes many forms. A heavy form is being vicious, either verbally or physically, towards a brother or sister; another form is simply being late to a meeting and thereby wasting the time of those who are waiting for you. If you want to do your own thing, as many GLF people declare they do, then you can’t belong to a group, because every individual doing his own thing is going to tear that group apart. But if you are really committed to GLF, then some personal sacrifice is involved, because commitment means a love of those people who are working with you and a respect for their ideas, even when they differ from your own.

VIOLENT ALICE

19720914-04Poor Alice Cooper is in trouble, they/him have run foul of Mrs Mary Whitehouse over their latest single, “School’s Out”. The television film which was shown with the playing of the record on ‘Top of the Pops’ was also damned by Mrs Whitehouse and her flock, the National Viewers and Listeners Association.

The dear lady has been telling tales to the Home Secreatry about the naughty Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Norman Skelhorn, who apparently has taken no action over Mrs M’s heated complaints about Alice and his/their record.

It’s all the DPP’s fault though, according to our moral-protector. His office is grossly understaffed to cope with the growing volume of complaints about violence and sexually perverted material she reports, and goes on to say that Alice’s record “held violent and anarchistic connotations”. The DPP being so busy that he didn’t even try to see the ‘Top of the Pops’ film was something else she told anyone who would listen, in this case the Home Secretary’s office. She further stated that the police were powerless to act because of the DPP’s ineffectiveness.

Amidst all the obscenity, and the “permissiveness of the DPP’s office” taking place at a furious pace all around us, Mrs M is fighting a long and hard battle to stamp it out.

Other interests of hers include a ‘healthy’ involvement in the crusade of the Festival-of-Lighters. That streamlined organisation is well
known for its anti-gay tendencies. One of their earlier accomplices is the star of Sunday television religious hour, Malcolm Muggeridge. That gentleman is infamous for his now epic remark “1 don’t like homosexuals”. This ‘delightful’ phrase was delivered as a result of him forgetting his lines, amongst other things, during a speech he was making at the Festival-of-Lighters opening ceremony at the Central Hall, Westminster, in 1971.

If you ask me Mrs M is suffering from a bad case of ‘wet and twisted knickers’

ONE STEP UNDER

19720914-04ADELAIDE: South Australia’s Legislative Council has just put off any chance of reforming the law about gays in the state.

According to the Adelaide Advertiser, the leader of the opposition in the council, Mr De Garis said the Bill proposed “leant too heavily” on the British Sexual Offences Act.

Mr Russack, of the Country and Labour Party said that while he sympathised with homosexuals, he believed they could only be helped by voluntarily seeking treatment.

Any debate on the subject was adjourned.

DISC DEMO?

19720914-04The Fleet Street offices of the musical paper Disc have allegedly been threatened with a protest march and invasion by London’s Gay Liberation Front.

GLF members were irate about the paper’s constant use of the word “queer” in recent weeks. Also, headlines, such as “David Bowie Bent on Success” and “David Bowie’s Back Up Men” were said to be lacking in taste, although the Sub-Editor excused himself out of this by claiming that these were standard phrases used by the paper.

A recent news item in Disc explaining the situation to readers, was headlined “… back at the camp!” which one would have thought would only make matters worse.

GLF’s argument is “Every week in your paper (Disc) we read something which takes our cause in vain. It’s hard enough as it is, without you being snide and making fun”.

It does seem as if some members of GLF are being somewhat over-sensitive, but the childish attitude of Disc doesn’t particularly help the situation.

Old Myths & Prejudices

19720914-04In the Daily Express, on Tuesday Sth September, in an article entitled ‘No Colour in this Garden’, the critic, Ian Christie, fell foul of the old trap of calling homosexuals ‘unnatural’.

His exact words, used while reviewing the play, ‘The Garden’ (at Hampstead Theatre Club), were: ‘The householder (John Paul) is a chap on the brink of old age who is having a homosexual affair with his gardener. The revelation of this unnatural liaison causes grave disquiet to everyone else present on stage.”

Oh, come on Ian Christie, why don’t you look and think a little deeper before perpetuating such myths in your writing? You, being a critic, certainly should have the insight to know better.

Once and for all, to the majority of homosexuals, their sexual preferences are most definitely not ‘unnatural’; to be unnatural would be to deny what they are, no matter what a heterosexually dominated society may think.

The ‘grave disquiet’ from the characters in the play is most possibly due to their own limitations in coming to terms with what well over 4 million people find a perfectly reasonable state of being.

If only writers and critics would realise the damage they cause through forever passing on these old myths and prejudices. In a supposedly enlightened culture, isn’t it ridiculous that such non-understanding and ignorance should be perpetuated?

Just think for a moment the effect words like ‘unnatural’ have on young gays of both sexes, who may be in the middle of coming to terms with themselves and their sexual motivations, in a society that is all too often hostile to any form of behaviour that does not strictly conform to the accepted norm.

I of course know that nothing is going to change overnight, not after so many years of intolerance and persecution, but it would help the struggle of homosexuals everywhere if people in the various forms of media would try and be a little more aware.

I have very scantily touched on this subject of the misinterpretation of gays. In a future issue, I and Gay News hope to inform you considerably more on this unpleasant, continuing situation, with suggestions too of what we can do about it. We will carry on criticising and attacking, in the strongest possible ways, writers such as Ian Christie, for the grave errors they commit towards a sizable minority of the population, who have very little means of answering back.

On The Telly

19720914-04On Monday evening, 4th September, I turned my television onto BBC2 in time to watch ‘Thirty-Minute Theatre’ at 10.25 p.m. But I was somewhat early, and caught the last 10 minutes of a programme I was later to learn was called Controversy.

The programme was concerned with the argument ‘A New Look at an Old Animal’ which was being defended by Professors Robin Fox and Lionel Tiger.

The theory they were putting forward was, briefly, that ‘modern man’s behaviour in all its apparent sophistication — including play as men or women – is actually governed by instincts acquired during the prehistoric struggle for survival.’

Many sociologists, anthropologists and zoologists disagree with this point of view, and some of them, along with members of the general public, took part in the Controversy discussion, which was televised from the Royal Institute.

How the earlier part of the programme went, I have no idea. So far I haven’t managed to find anyone else who watched it.

At the time I tuned in though Professors Fox and Tiger were deep in heated discussion with members of the audience. Then, while a sister was speaking, I saw the badge, a GLF badge. The next two women speakers also were wearing GLF badges. They seemingly had taken offence at the argument of the two Professors.

As one of them was answering the women’s questions, the whole batch of GLF members left the meeting, walking down the steps leading up to the audience’s seats, parading past the cameras, passing around the back of the table behind which Fox and Tiger were speaking, and finally out of a doorway to the side of the speakers’ platform.

Somewhat shaken, the Professors struggled on.

Well I suppose it’s nice to see other gays openly on the box, but I wish I had tuned in earlier to understand what had been going on to cause the GLF to walk out.

The ‘Thirty-Minute Theatre’ play that followed was ‘Thrills Galore’ by Rhys Adrian. Not much to say about this, apart from the appearance of what, I take, was meant to be a latent male homosexual. He was trendily overdressed, took his white poodle to the pub on Sunday lunchtimes to have a drink with the boys, and displayed the supposed stereotyped generosity of homosexuals by insisting all the time, that one and all had a drink with him.

In the end he went off for a last drink at another pub. Thrilling stuff. I got bored and switched off.

The Beat Goes On

19720914-04Snippet from Scotland

Peeping police pursuing people peeing came across two men in the throes of gross indecency. Despite the fact that one turned out to be a vicar they were both fined £10 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on August 16. The vicar’s lawyer described it as a very sad case. “Mr Mc—— cares deeply for his wife and church. He is a man of conscience.”

The beat goes on.

Gayscotswomen

19720914-04The women in Edinburgh SMG have long been complaining that they are “ignored, or rejected by the men in SMG”. On August 28 ten women and fourteen men met to sort out the situation.

There is the age-old dichotomy in Edinburgh SMG: do we go for “mixed” (male-female) meetings, or do we hold our meetings separately? In the ideal and liberated world we are all aiming for, the choice will be easier … men and women gay and non-gay will be relating in a natural “no-sexism” way. But the caucus of women at the August 28 meeting wanted “100% gay women and no men, please!” Chairman Ian Dunn agreed that the women should grow to love and trust each other first of all, and then extend their consciousness later. It would be unsound to pretend to welcome straight women, and then mistrust their motives afterwards.

The meeting agreed (at least, the men’s side offered -) to arrange “neutral events embracing both men and women in the forthcoming Autumn programme”. Help with funds was offered for a national ad in the SCOTSMAN. The women talked and listened and worked through some of their organisational problems. A fair meeting this.

T. F. Much

19720914-04The London office of the Gay Liberation Front is refusing to supply Gay News with information about their activites – dances, discos, gay days etc., on the grounds that ‘most of the people who work in the (Gay Lib) office couldn’t give a shit about your little paper.’

One begins to wonder whether or not they care about the gay people who might like to meet one another at their dances or political functions. In future, unless someone in the GLF office informs us of what is going on, we won’t be able to tell you about it. There are too few of us with too much to do to waste time chasing GLF’s ego-trippers.

Many thanks to the provincial GLF groups for keeping us well up to date with all info concerning their activities.