Charity Evicts GLF Squatters

LONDON: Notting Hill’s gay commune has been split up by workmen acting for the Notting Hill Housing Trust, a charity.

The Trust owned the house in Colville Terrace and agreed to let the gays move in and squat while it didn’t need the house. The Trust had other homes to upgrade before getting round to Colville Terrace.

The Trust gave the 12 gays four months to live in the house. Now it is to be modernised.

The Housing Trust’s deadline ran out at 11 am one day, and workmen immediately started to force their way into the house, whose doors and windows had been barricaded by bedding and planks. Signs outside the commune’s house said: ‘We are 12 men. We are gay. We are a family.’

One of the commune’s members was Tim, who said: “We want the housing trust to give us a home because we think we are representative of a section of the community in this area. The house was unoccupied for six months before we moved in.”

A spokesman for the housing trust said: “It’s against the feeling of all the members of the trust to put people out in the street, homeless, but when there’s so much at risk, you have to act. The house will make five units of accommodation for families we are geared up to re-house.

“It’s another case of the desparate housing need in this area. Squatting is endemic in an area like this where there are no available homes and it is particularly sad in this case because they are a minority group who are being discriminated against because of who they are.”

While members of the commune were talking to the spokesman and her fellow members of the Trust, the Trust’s workmen forced their way into the house to start work on converting it.

While they were trying to take over there were scuffles between gay communards and workmen. Two people were slightly injured.

Two Injured.

GLF communards are still living in the house at 42 Colville Terrace, and they have not fitted a siren to give themselves warning of any further attacks on the house.

GLF supporters told Gay News: “At 10am two members of the housing trust accompanied by two if its employees tried to break into the collective in Colville Terrace.

“They tried to do this by saying that they had a court order to enter and take possession of the house. After being asked by the occupants to see this notice, they withdrew.

“They said they would be back at 11am and all possessions had to be out by then. When they returned we insisted that we be allowed to the Housing Trust office.

“Three of us went and were assured that no attempt would be made to evict today. But when we returned to Colville Terrace we found that they had broken in (this going against what was said at the Housing Trust office).

“They forced their way up the stairs of the outside of the house, viciously pushing aside the many supporters who had arrived in the meantime.

“One of our members was injured slightly by one of the workmen. On reaching the door they attacked the window of the door, smashing it into the hallway. Some of the occupants were injured by flying glass, one with a piece of glass in the eye.”

Police arrived and stood around as the workmen tried to break into the house via the basement. But they were frustrated by the nine-inch concrete floor. So they just burst the water main.

It was at this stage that one of the spectators who had been injured complained to the police who told the workmen that they could be prosecuted for common assault. This has now been done.

At noon, the police. Housing Trust officials and their workmen withdrew.

Before any of the action happened the Colville Terrace Commune sent the following letter to the Notting Hill Housing Trust:

“We, the present tenants of 42 Colville Terrace, hereby make a formal application to be rehoused by you, our landlords. We are one unmarried couple and a family of 12 gay men, members of two minority groups who remain as yet unrecognised by you. We strongly suggest that you call an emergency meeting to discuss our plight. We are, by your definition, squatters; in that we moved into the house without consulting its owner. We moved in because we had nowhere to live. We had been continually harassed by private landlords.

“Tired of being forced to live in separation, miserable, exorbitantly expensive, squalid bedsits, obtained by pretending to conform to society’s heterosexual ‘norm’ we decided to live together in a rented house in Brixton. There we were harassed by gangs of local school queer bashers to the degree of getting hit over the head, or front door bashed down, and having bricks thrown through all our windows. We were refused protection by the police who even threatened to arrest us for soliciting, breach of the peace, etc. Within 24 hours we were given notice to quit, which we were in no position to fight.

“We came to Notting Hill for a number of reasons: principally because most of us had been forced out of rooms in that district.

We are challenging your refusal to rehouse us, not from the point of view of being squatters, but of being a family. We are as close as any nuclear family.

“We as gay men are as persecuted as any minority group (if not more so); the difference between us and other minority groups is that we receive no help from any liberal institution or charity. We never qualify: where must we go? Back into our lonely bedsits through the country?

“We demand a meeting with all the members of your trust. We want a firm policy statement on gay people and unmarried couples. We are a family, we hear so much about the plight of broken families, but we are surrounded on all sides by attempts to break our family.

“We will not move unless we are guaranteed a house.”

ED: For reasons of space we have been able to print only extracts from the commune’s letter.

Secret Dossier On Gay Teachers

The police have openly admitted keeping secret dossiers on schoolteachers whose private lives they think to be ‘corrupt’. And they are angry that they cannot act against these teachers.

In a recent issue of The Police Review, the semi-official organ of Britain’s policemen, the magazine complained that police involved in this private-lives work did not have enough legal protection.

The magazine said: “It may be that the information – in police possession – would not support a prosecution; it may not even relate to a chargeable offence, or it may be a matter of strong suspicion without proof.

“In one force, a schoolteacher was seen frequently loitering near public toilets and another was known to have a private library of obscene books.”

What the big-brother cops do usually is to report on this sort of nasty habit to the education authority that employs the teacher only if he (the teacher) commits a criminal offence.

What they don’t like is the fact that if the reports were made without a prosecution the teachers could sue the public eyes for libel.

The magazine adds on the cottaging teacher and the one who had a library of wank-material: “As there was no prosecution in either case, one presumes that the (education) authority remains unaware and the teachers continue to be in charge of young people.”

The Police Review stretches its moral tests to take in foster parents, adoptive parents and medical staff.

But in a rare flash of fairness The Police Review says it isn’t fair to wreck someone’s career by whispering in his employers’ ear. That, the magazine says, would be “contrary to natural justice.”

Instead what the police would like to do, it says, is to take the ‘deviant’ public employee aside and make him an offer he can’t refuse, so he either changes his behaviour or resigns.

Somehow the magazine has forgotten entirely the old forgotten rule of British justice that you’re not guilty until proved so.

Don’t Jail Lord Porn Pleads Brigid

LONDON: Author Brigid Brophy believes that Lord Longford and his team who produced the recent ‘investigation’ into pornography should be allowed to roam freely, she told a meeting of the National Secular Society on October 3.

The meeting in the Conway Hall was called The Longford Threat to Freedom.

Miss Brophy said that the secular society and the Longford porn-busters differed in their attitudes to offensive literature.

She said: “I do not believe that the mere fact that a book offends me is sufficient reason to punish its authors, to suppress the book and to deprive my fellow citizens, all 55m of them, of the right to choose for themselves whether to read a book or avoid it.

“Although it admits that, on the evidence, pornography causes no social harm, The Longford Report feels entitled to over-ride the evidence. One of its pretexts for doing so is its assertion that pornography is addictive. My own guess (which is just as much a guess as the Longford Committee’s, the difference being that mine is a guess, not a special revalation) is that for every person who becomes addicted, there are two who, having satisfied their curiosity and found that pornography does them no large harm and no large good either, move on to types of books and films that are less repetitive and predictable.

“Most people in this country know from their own observation that there is great danger of addiction, especially in the case of young people, to whom we have a special responsibility, if a person starts collecting stamps. Chess is even more notoriously addictive.

“Either the Longford Committee doesn’t in fact believe its own argument or it is grossly irresponsible in not specifically proposing to ban either chess or stamp-collecting.”

She said that the book that, to her, did most to “outrage contemporary standards of humanity accepted by the public at large” was the Origin of the Species, Darwin’s theory of the evolution of humans from monkeys.

Miss Brophy said: “The Longford legislation would have forbidden Darwin to plead that his work was for the public good and would have suppressed the book. Moreover, the book would still not be published now, because not having been available in the meantime, it wouldn’t have been able to persuade the public to adjust their standards of outrage in the light of reason.

“Most original thought and much original art proceeds by outraging previously accepted standards. The Longford legislation would wipe out our cultural future – and much of the past, whose works are often outrageous by present-day standards.

“The Longford legislation is a prescription for replacing the permissive society by a stagnant society. A society that is not free to be outraged is not free to change.”

Mr Gerald Sanctuary, the sex-educationalist, told the meeting: “I hold no brief for pornography. It is a symptom of society’s sexual sickness. This sickness will not be cured by telling people not to be sick; prevention – through education – is the only answer. We need a shield, not a sword.

“It is time we made a serious national attempt in this country to bring about an era of sexual sanity. Let us do so by applying such knowledge and skills as we possess to the problem of sex education. The obvious authority to do this is the Health Education Council, a body ideally suited for the purpose and already deeply concerned with the subject.

“To rely on voluntary advisory councils or viewer’s or listeners’ associations to provide guidelines will be to put prejudice and ignorance where knowledge and science should be.

“Has it occurred to no-one that, by educating the children of today we are educating the parents of tomorrow? How else can we break the vicious circle under which sexuality is viewed by successive generations as something indecent?

“Why do you think there is such an enormous market for pornography in Great Britain, Germany and the United States? Because it is we Angles and Saxons who have most tended to equate sexuality with sinful ness and dirt.”

Gay News Goes Under The Counter

LONDON: Kensington police sent out an inspector early the other day to make sure the newsagents on their patch weren’t selling anything naughty, so Gay News went under the counter at several newsagents, even though the paper is on no-one’s list of proscribed publications.

The National Newsagents’ Association has told its members to be cautious about displaying Oz Comix, Curious Male, In Depth and several other publications, but not IT, which currently has a phallic front cover, or GN.

All the same, after the visit from the Kensington police heavy whose job seems to go through newsagents’ magazine racks, some of the newspapers that are as yet unaffected by any back lash action have disappeared from police sight to be sold on request only.