Offensive Badge

LONDON: Julie Frost, one of the GN editors and members of the paper’s editorial collective was stopped and questioned by Chelsea police, who after asking him for his name and address, took a ‘Glad to be Gay’ badge away, calling it an “offensive weapon”.

Julie was walking home to Lennox Gardens from a GLF discotheque. He turned into Pont Street and was stopped by two policemen.

The police asked Julie what he had in the carrier bag he was carrying. In it they found a copy of GN9, a GLF diary he’d been given for the GN office and his cheque book

When he was asked his name and address, Julie gave it to them. The National Council for Civil Liberties told him the next day that he should not have given his name and address. The NCCL’s legal department told Julie to complain to the Commissioner of Police at Scotland Yard against his treatment at the hands of the Chelsea Police.

The police questioned Julie about the paper in his bag and about his working for GN.

The NCCL said that, strictly speaking, Julie could bring an action for assault against his person by the policeman who removed his Glad to be Gay badge, saying it was “an offensive weapon”.

The Commissioner now has that complaint and Julie is waiting for his reply.

Longford Withdraws

LONDON: Lord Longford, the self-appointed arbiter of Britain’s morals and his publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, have issued a statement admitting that at least one section of the Longford Committee’s report on pornography was inaccurate.

Longford and Hodder Paperbacks had been challenged by Derek Hill, the founder of the controversial New Cinema Club, which has always tried to erode absurd obscenity laws, that a ‘quote’ from Mr Hill in the Longford report was a fabrication. Now they have admitted it.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Longford Study Group on Pornography and Hodder Paperbacks: “In the Longford Report published last month, Derek Hill was stated to have told the study group on pornography that to ,afford to show experimental minority interest films and to insist on the principle that cuts are unacceptable … he was forced to offset losses on an audience of, perhaps 50 to 150 people, by also putting on sexploitation films which would attract perhaps 5,000 and … most of the national critics.’

“In fact Mr Derek Hill has never described any films presented by the New Cinema Club as ‘sexploitation’ films, as Lord Longford on behalf of the Study Group and Hodder Paperbacks, the publishers of the report, are glad to acknowledge. They accept that the Club does not select films to offset losses and that Mr Derek Hill did not make the statement attributed to him.”

That may be just one small part of the report; but how much would Longford and Hodder have to withdraw if everyone misquoted by the official report were to take the same stand as Derek Hill? Makes you wonder who you can trust these days.

Gay Civil Rights

In Gay News No 10 the article on the “New Gay Movement” (Gay Civil Rights Council) was the result of a very early meeting. Since then a modified programme has been developed. We see ourselves primarily as a service — legal, counselling, information, accommodation and a place to meet and chat.

At the same time we would hope to work with CHE and GLF in propaganda and education. We would talk to schools, colleges and medical schools or any other institutions where necessary. We believe in developing a sense of self respect and pride amongst our community; but we are a non-political organisation and we are not into publishing any particular line about liberation. To do all this we are trying to get people to invest money in buying a building. Anyone with expertise or who is willing to work, or who has money to spare, should contact Frank Honore, Room 405, Hughes Parry Hall, Cartwright Gardens, London WC1, or Telephone 01-387 7501.

Mental Check For Gay

JERSEY: Assistant magistrate Sir Graeme Finlay sent a gay for a ‘medical check’ after he had refused to stop interrupting the police case against him, calling the case a “bloody farce”

Twenty-nine year-old David, of Oxford, and another man, Edward, were charged with ‘gross indecency’ after police had arrested them in the island’s Weighbridge cottage.

Det Sergeant D. M. Watkins told the court that he and another policeman were on duty on the cottage roof keeping an eye on gay activity under them. When the sergeant reached the bit of his evidence saying that David and Edward went into the cottage, David shouted what the local press described as a ‘four-letter word’ to describe the ‘evidence’.

The Assistant Magistrate told David to shut up and control himself. But David shouted: “This is a load of rubbish. It’s a bloody farce.” and Sir Graeme walked out of the court in disgust, while David was removed to the cells.

The detective tried to chat David into apologising for his behaviour, but he stood his ground and refused.

When Sir Graeme deigned to return to the courtroom, he said he wasn’t prepared to go on with the case “under these circumstances.” Then David was brought back into the dock and stood there with his hands in his pockets. Sir Graeme said he was going to order a medical report to be made on David because he didn’t know whether he was fit to plead, David just shook his head and grinned.

When David and Edward were remanded until the next hearing, Edward was given £20 bail and David was remanded in custody.

Your Letters Cont.

Intrigued

Manchester M20 9DT

Gentlemen,

Your initial issue was sent to me by courtesy of the SMG. After contemplating your style and format, decided that a subscription for 20 issues would at least be an encouragement. Very promptly issues 2 to 7 arrived. I spent an exhausting evening catching up, somewhat mentally indigestible. Today number 8 arrived. Thank you for expertise, and the underlying instinct of not wishing to sermonise. Every issue has been an improvement on its predecessor. Even those bachelors have been spelt correctly; there must be a reason why the ‘t’ appears in so many gay journals.

The published letters intrigue me as also does your warning to letter writers, surely you don’t mean it? I have a sneaking suspicion that journalists write their own letters: At least you admit to asking, loaded questions to the BBC – considering the present climate of opinion, I think that you got a very fair reply — but surely First Class Philip, who says he is fed up at his classification. Maybe it’s all that ‘fucking’ that labels him. For surely we are classified by others, not ourselves, we just present the evidence, for the writing on the tags. Basically I think I know what he means, or rather implies. After some 30 years’ knowledge of myself as a homosexual, am not over concerned how I am labelled. If the GLF wish to lighten up the darkness, limp wristing it down the Dilly, with a Lily, so what? One does not have to join in. Frankly I rather enjoy the occasions. The audience are often as not more amusing than the play. We are classed, labelled, tagged, call it what you will, by the company we keep. Surely our First Class Male has heard of CHE.

Have been collecting, and subscribing to all types of gay literature and journals for many years. Am currently in the process of comprising a thesis on ‘gay publishing’ past, present and future. It will no doubt give my foundation heart failure, let’s hope the examiners take it home to bed. I’ll get that Ph.D. Cast that couch aside.

Your collective collation full of candour and camp, compels me to enclose a cheque for £5. Better than wasting it on the local rent.

Just for interest’s sake, notice that you have advertised GIN and JEFFERY, no response from them so far. I sent them P.O.’s not wishing to add to my Bank Manager’s heart failure. Way of all flesh no doubt. Quorum seem to be quivering, maybe it’s that man at the G.P.O.

Lots of luck – but does Mr J.D. Blount exist? Your cullusive collective.

With apologies for the alliteration and the typescript. Must find myself an au pair boy who can type.

Richard Spenceley

ED: The letters printed in GN are, of course, all received from readers. Thanks for your donation, Richard, it’s now safely in our vaults.

Our Wonderful Policemen

Surbiton,
Surrey.

Dear Gay News,

In many gay’ publications, including Gay News, one reads with monotonous regularity complaints and stories of allegations against the police concerning their actions and manner towards gay people.

In GN9 there was an article called Spying in Cubicles. The writer complained of police action against him. I would like to ask him what does he think should happen? I am sure he must be fully aware that such actions to which he admits can only lead to arrest, prosecution and punishment. So if he wishes to engage in such pastimes in public places instead of in private places, he should take his punishment and learn from it and not try to cast blame on the police for doing their duty. He also states that there were no children about that afternoon, but I am sure he must now be aware that a young child could have walked in, if he was not so aware before.

I would also state that I have used both gay pubs in Earls Court and many others, and have seen police move people on outside the Coleherne, but it has been when the footway has been completely obstructed and passers-by have been forced to push through a crowd or walk in the roadway. Their manner (the police) I have found to be polite and justifiable.

The number of times I have been stopped while trolling by the police, I have again found them polite and courteous. Perhaps if one takes a reasonable manner with the police they in turn will take a reasonable line with us. At least, that is my opinion, after many encounters.

I would further state that I am not a police officer nor in any way connected with the police.

Yours faithfully.

S. J. Gardner

Women in the Background

Caerphilly,
Glam,
Wales

Dear Sir,

I agree women do tend to remain in the background a lot more than our brothers, there are many reasons for this.

In the provinces, clubs are few and far between, and many of us don’t care for group activities. In fact, I feel there are still many who do not know these groups exist. I myself, until recently, didn’t know CHE or Gay Lib existed, until I heard Speakeasy on the radio (GN1). There’s one exception, of course, some knew they were gay very early, but not all of us realised we were gay until we were married with children, then what could we do? A divorce, perhaps. That’s not always easy when children are involved. And, admit it, who wants to know you when you’ve got ties? Do we have to wait maybe years, before we can start to live, too. Or will someone, somewhere, realise our need, too, and give us a chance to meet discreetly, not in clubs or bars, but with others like us who need to be discreet.

Women have their cross to bear, too. It may be legal for us, but a great many of us must keep in the background, behind closed doors, because we were not lucky enough to realise we were gay. It’s not only single people who are gay, there’s thousands of us. married with families, and remember there are still a great many who are still in the dark concerning gay magazines, papers, etc. Another way must soon be found if we are to bring a ray of light into these lives.

So, if there is any reader living in the Cardiff area, who would be interested in coming along to a coffee evening, to meet others to talk, relax, or any reader anywhere who would like to write to me, there will always be a friendly ear, and a reply.

Please write to Mrs. D. Higuera, 2 Haldane Court, Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, Glam, South Wales.

D. Higuera (Mrs)

Strange Customs

Dear Collective,

Until I read the letter from HRA of London in GN9 referring to the reply he received to an ad published in a previous issue, I had no idea that it was possible to obtain such material for less than the exorbitant sums charged in the back rooms of Soho bookshops.

I immediately despatched postal orders in many directions to see whether any of them solicited a similar reply. Unfortunately, my letter to Lux Publications in Amsterdam solicited only a note from HM Customs and Excise informing me that I had contravened the Exchange Control Act of 1947 and that my postal order had been seized. This was not what I had been expecting, nor could it be described as an acceptable substitute. I was, therefore, dismayed. And not a little curious to know how they knew there was a PO in the letter. Would it be cynical to suggest that perhaps they have a list of continental magazine publishers (and, by extension, a record of those who write to them?)

If any other readers have had a similar problem, they might like to know that the solution (at least to the financial aspect) is an International Money Order, which, unfortunately, costs 40p as opposed to 2½p for a postal order. The extra expense, however, would safeguard against the interception of mail on grounds of Exchange Control infringement — ie they’d have to find another reason if they really wanted to stop a letter. It would also avoid the disquieting situation of knowing one’s private correspondence is filed in HM vaults (under G for you-know-wot, perhaps).

Incidentally, if someone at HMC&E has been compiling a little list, if he cares to return my postal order I’d gladly send him a photo to file with my name and address.

JT

Ad To Your Pleasure

Dear Sir,

May I thank you so much for such quick replies to my advert in GN9. I have now replied to all concerned, but feel that if it had not been for you, I don’t know what I’d have done. Keep up the good work.

May God bless all gays, Graham