Is He Or Isn’t He

FAIRFIELD, CALIFORNIA: American justice officials, desperate to nail anyone for the mysterious slayings of 25 farm workers at Yuba City, have finally hit on an answer that satisfies them — all 25 who were mutilated after being killed were the victims of one man. A man they variously describe as ‘hopelessly heterosexual’ and as a ‘homosexual masochist’.

Juan Corona, a 38-year-old married farm labour contractor, is not the man who killed the 25, his defence lawyer says. But lawyer Richard Hawk won’t name the murderer.

He did tell Corona’s trial at Fairfield that in all cases the victims had been found with either their pants off or open: “We will establish that these were homosexual murders – with the 25 victims playing the part of the man” and the killer “playing the part of the woman.”

He said witnesses would testify that the killer must be a “homosexual masochist” who went into a “broiling homicidal rage and destroyed and mutilated his victims”.

Juan Corona was none of these things, said Mr Hawk. Witnesses would testify that Juan Corona was not a homosexual.

In fact, lawyer Hawk said, Juan Corona was “Hopelessly heterosexual… and hopelessly in love with his wife.”

Juan Corona is a Mexican – California’s lowest grade of citizen – and he has pleaded innocent to all 25 charges of murder. Mr Hawk called him “a well-liked man, the type of guy who taught his daughter how to ride a minibike. He had no motive for the killings.” However, the prosecution has called Juan Corona a homosexual masochist and told the jurors in Fairfield that he killed all 25 men before cutting off their genitals.

Sapphonic Success

Sappho had a ball on Saturday! Sounds like a line from a dirty song, but actually it describes the party organised by Sappho magazine at the Marquis of Cornwallis pub in Coram St on Oct 8.

There was a friendly disco, superb hot food in generous helpings, an efficient bar service, a prize treasure hunt over a map of Lesbos (where else?) and a happy, dancing crowd of Sappho subscribers from all over Britain, with a sprinkling of friends from CHE. It was the most relaxed crowd of gays I’ve seen for a long time, and the intrepid male Gay News reporter who went with me agreed: “It’s good to get away from staring lines of men clutching their drinks and watching each other” he opined.

Earlier in the evening Maureen Duffy read some of her poems, which we missed. As latecomers we were not allowed in for fear of disturbing the reading. Who would attempt to argue with the divine Jackie Forster, guardian of the peace, but two small doubts – do poetry and a dancing-and-drinking evening mix, and might I have fled the pub if I’d mustered the courage to arrive alone, and then been asked to wait downstairs in the pub for half an hour?

This is in no way a detraction from the success of the evening, well deserved by all the Sapphos involved – when’s the next one?

S.J.P

ED: See the details of Sappho meetings and magazine subscription on the information page.

Gay Artist Satisfies

David Rutter, whose exhibition of paintings at the Whibley Gallery in London has just closed after three highly successful weeks, is an active member of the Counter-Psychiatry Group of the Gay Liberation Front.

The paintings, which ranged from small, vivid flower pieces, executed in an unusual technique that mixes ink and crayon, to huge oils of Mediterranean landscapes, were all beautifully accomplished by someone who obviously knows how to handle his material. It was rewarding, in these days when anyone with a flair for publicity can wield a brush or an aerosol can and on the basis of a few wiggles or abstract shapes, declare himself an artist, to discover someone whose craftsmanship and feeling for nature can create such a satisfying response in the viewer. This ‘critic’ was particularly impressed with David’s watercolours, a medium that seems simple to the non-artist, but which requires extraordinary control; they bore the signs of the best watercolour paintings, being delicate, luminous and free.

David, who lectures on Art Appreciation at a College of Further Education, hopes to use the proceeds from this exhibition to visit India whence he expects to return with plenty of material for his next.

Gay Film Unit

LONDON: Gay movies made in Britain may become a reality through the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

CHE is helping the gay film unit get started, but after that the movie group is meant to become self-sufficient.

A spokesman for CHE said: “Specific projects will await the formation of the group, but they could include educational, informational, documentary and campaign subjects, experimental, abstract and narrative films, and possibly films designed for theatrical release.”

An initial meeting to discuss aims, structure, ideas and finance will be held in November.

Meanwhile anyone with professional or amateur movie-making experience should contact the group at CHE’s London Information Centre at 22 Great Windmill Street, London W1.

No Harm Suffered

BRISTOL: Parents at a Bristol school rallied to help a teacher who appeared in court charged with ‘indecently assaulting’ six boys aged between 11 and 14 — one of them more than 20 times.

John, a young teacher in the city was charged with six indecent assaults and pleaded guilty to all of them. The magistrates who heard the case conditionally discharged him and ordered him to pay £20 costs.

The prosecuting solicitor, Mr Maurice Sparks, said that John, who is now, of course, out of work, had assaulted the boys over a period of months.

He said: “It is right for me to say that from the voluminous statements in the case it is not revealed that any of the boys regarded this with any gravity, and it is unlikely that any of them suffered any harm.”

John’s solicitor, Mr Patrick Butler, pointed out that the offences John was charged with were minor sexual assaults.

“A number of parents at his school had expressed sympathy with him and concern about his future career.”

Mr Butler added: “In these offences there was a complete and utter absence of motive or desire, and nothing like it will ever happen again.”

The court was never told about the boy who allowed John to “assault” him more than 20 times.

Faggot And Dyke

Cats In Church

“Most convents have their cats. When one well-known community came through the cloisters for Vespers their cat often led them to the chapel, his black and white fur matching the Sisters’ habits.

“Visitors to Walsingham will remember the twin cats Faggot and Dyke. Dyke was somewhat irregular in his attendance at church, but Faggot spent much of his time there, often sitting on his master’s lap during a service and being carried round in a procession.”

From the ‘for Young Readers’ section of the Church Times. Thanks to Private Eye for at long last reprinting something worth us pinching.

It’s On

MANCHESTER: The Campaign tor Homosexual Equality announced it will definitely hold its first annual conference, despite the resort’s playing hard to get.

At a meeting of Morecambe Corporation’s Publicity Committee, the members heard CHE’s case put by the campaign’s chairman, Alan Horsfall.

The committee decided it had no objection to CHE holding its conference in Morecambe in April 1973 by private arrangement with the owners of the Central Pier.

But the committee would not rescind its inaccurate minute that Morecambe did not have the facilities CHE needed even though committee members agreed that the minute was untrue.

The committee would not even recommend that the council rescinded this untrue minute.

A spokesman for CHE told Gay News: “The facilities point was a feeble excuse by which Morecambe Corporation naively hoped originally to hide the fact that members of the council were discriminating against CHE for reasons of pure prejudice.”

Spying In Cubicles

I feel I must write to warn any readers who use the cottage on Wandsworth Common, to take care, as this place is under constant surveillance by the police.

A few weeks ago I was there and I noticed two men going in and out. I followed a boy in and stood next to him. The two men were still in and out, and I presumed they were gay as they were obviously trying to attract attention. They eventually went into the two cubicles behind the stalls. As it was quiet and no one else about, the boy and I started masturbating each other. After a few minutes both men came out of the cubicles and said they were police officers, and charged us both with gross indecency.

We were hustled into the police Rover between policemen, and had a motor cycle escort to the police station even crossing the red traffic lights, this made me feel a real criminal, I can tell you!

After taking particulars, we were moralised on our behaviour in public places. About how they had had complaints, and especially young children who might go into the toilet. I don’t know who complained, as there were hardly any people about that afternoon, and I didn’t see one child. We were also asked if we had ever considered having treatment, as if we had a disease. Shades of ‘Clockwork Orange’!

We both appeared before the SW Magistrates Court. I was fined £100, and given a three year prison sentence (suspended) and again moralised by the magistrate about our behaviour in public places, frequented by good, normal upstanding citizens.

This sentence has really upset me, and goes to show how banal the present law is, and an utter waste of police time and public money in trying to get a conviction of an unsuspecting gay, when they should be out looking for genuine crime and criminals.

As I am not sufficiently liberated, I must withold my name and address. Lots of love to all, especially Julian, and thanks for a marvellous paper.