Gay Deceivers

I’ll take peoples’ prejudices – up to a point, because of my own. A healthy prejudice is as integral to character as kindness. What I WON’T take is the furred mind of the holy heterosexual pontificating virtuously without being aware of his own pernicious immorality of the double standard society. THE OBSERVER – that great platform of Liberal philosophy will not ‘accommodate’ a classified ad for Sappho Magazine. THE SUNDAY TIMES – that trendy sparkling weekly won’t print the word ‘gay’ in the classified ad column to describe Sappho magazine. So single shot men write for a copy imagining it to be a pix magazine. The women we wish to subscribe ignore the ad for the same reason

THE STAGE AND TELEVISION TODAY refused our ad as the managing director Frank Comerford explains: ‘We receive quite a number of requests to include advertisements for publications with a pornographic content or inviting indiscriminate social introductions. It is true that many respectable papers do have a more permissive policy but we take the view that these advertisements do not enhance our paper. We cannot be involved in too much detailed argument as to the content of individual publications that come within a broad description of homosexual magazines. I know that you have a more serious purpose and that it is not your policy to include pornographic material, but I am afraid that insertion of any copy which might be useful to you would make it much more difficult for us to sustain our policy and involve us in arguments out of all proportion to the value of the advertising…’

LET’S LOOK AT THE ADS THE STAGE WILL PRINT:

WANTED Topless Go-Go dancers, striptease artists. Top rates.

Actress/Dancer required for Broadway and Road show in America. Very good figure to appear semi-nude.

ASTOR CLUB, Berkeley Square. All types of acts required. Striptease, Belly dancers.

Topless Go-Gos if you want extra work with hotel and travel paid

Respectable young ladies as dancing partners. No previous experience necessary … and so on and so on …

A well-sustained policy of indiscriminate social introductions would you say?

Fully clothed lesbians advertising a non-prurient magazine are filthy. Nude boobs, belly buttons and bottoms servicing jaded late-night society in the crudest manner imaginable is clean living. The most vicious in their self-righteousness is a particular type of female het. One example is in an Adoption Society. She used the most unchristian language at the mere IDEA of female homosexuals adopting children.

Another owns Bensons Newsagent in Crawford Street, London. In front of her mother, her husband and several customers she flew into a foaming fit about Sappho magazine without even opening it. “Filthy … it’s dirt … disgusting people get out of my shop …” which was stuffed with distorted boobs, belly buttons and bottoms . . Come again, Comerford:

‘On the more general point you asked for a responsible attitude and I feel that there is more than one way to demonstrate this. The problem of homosexuals are reflected in much theatrical material with which we are concerned and I think you would be hard put to detect any bias or unwillingness to deal with these matters in so far as they are relevant.’

I fail to see the relevance of straight actors playing gays for public entertainment compared with the REALITY OF LIVING LESBIANS which is not reflected in any responsible way by society.

Responsible attitudes are demonstrated every which way in the prevailing double standard morality by the peddling of pornography (including homosexuality) for a heterosexual market to the exclusion of non-prurient homosexual publications.

Porno comes from the Greek meaning harlot. Pornocracy means dominant influence of harlots, especially in government in Rome in the tenth century. Today the pornocracy of the presstocracy is only too evident.

I’m No Pervert

All I want is sympathy, because I am no longer a filthy pervert, after a lifetime of fervent dedication and grinding.

On June 10th last I left the Picador Club in Manchester and en route to my bus-stop, called into the cottage on High St. The place was not empty, neither was it interesting, so after a slash I left by the back exit. Once outside I was approached by a dirty looking dosser who asked if I could suggest anywhere for him to spend the night.

As I am in Manchester GLF and was wearing my badge openly, I could hardly refuse to help him crash somewhere. So off we went, me making sure he wasn’t a mugger or some odious being and him making the odd grunt.

Having decided to try the trusty and lovely Steve as a possible solution, I changed direction to go towards his place. After about half-an hour I wanted to piss again, so I nipped under a bridge near the Union Hotel. In midstream I was grabbed and told that two pigs (the speaker being one of them) had followed me for thirty minutes from High St cottage.

They trumped up a charge of gross indecency even though the dosser was some 70ft away from me (can you imagine the kind of cock he must have had?)

At Bootle St the usual insults were hurled – I had annoyed them by refusing to go to the police station until one of them threatened to “throw me in the fuckin’ canal”. I was called a poof, a pervert and homo etc, all of which I am – I do them exceedingly well.

One of the pigs was so resentful of my obvious talent and ability that he said he’d like “to cut the bollocks off all queers”. The dosser was found guilty, in the station, of having the same surname as one of the arresting pigs – so he was duly smashed about the head.

I was told that my GLF badge, manifesto and some leaflets would be sufficient to convict me. The dosser was told that he didn’t have a chance because of previous convictions (all 19 of them for het sexual offences). All a load of crap, obviously, as was the statement that if this nasty pig (a mere constable) opposed my application for bail I wouldn’t get it.

“Plead guilty” they said, “get it over with cheaply and discreetly and with no chance of remand in custody” – so the dosser did and was remanded at Risley for two weeks for probation reports.

I pleaded not guilty and after several appearances before magistrates eventually reached the Crown Court. The jury couldn’t reach a majority verdict – in my opinion because the judge’s summing-up was slightly biased against me.

Re-trial four weeks later in two sessions: prosecution on Friday, me (starring) the following Monday. I said I was gay and had a previous conviction for soliciting and that I was in and supported actively GLF.

The prosecution asked me if I knew High St cottage was a homosexual lavatory. I explained that a lavatory has no sexuality, het or homo, and the judge told the prosecution how to say what he had intended “was it frequented by homosexuals”.

I told him that all gays use lavatories. After stressing that the facts as stated by me were contradictory to those alleged by the pigs, the prosecution said “so in fact these policemen have told the court a pack of lies?” I said that I agreed entirely.

In summing up the Judge (Steele) said “Let’s get down to brass tacks – the policemen allege that the defendant was tossing off another man and the defendant says how could he when he and the other man were some considerable distance apart.”

The Judge also gave a brief resume of the history of the law regarding gays, with particular reference to the barbarity of some aspects and sent the jury out. Fifteen minutes later the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty and I was discharged.

One gay voice has destroyed the grunting of two pigs – so we are getting somewhere. So all gays, “Fight hard enough and you will win”:

Many thanks and much love to the lovely gays who gave me moral support, brandies and rigs throughout, and to the two navvies from the public gallery for the congratulatory slap on the back.

John Probert

ED: While the term ‘pigs’ used in this news item is not necessarily the terminology which would be used by the GN collective, it is the policy of the paper to reproduce worthy articles as we receive them. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate John Probert on the outcome of his court experiences and to further commend him for taking the course of action he took, as all too often gays take the easy and faint-hearted way out.

Liberation Landslide In Debate

Saturday November 11th saw a house packed to the gallery at Newcastle University for what was billed as the “Gay Liberation Debate”, with a local Methodist minister, The Rev. J. M. Furness, proposing that “This House deplores the Emergence of Homosexual Self-Confession and Self-Justification”. Mr Furness who assures us that most of his knowledge of the subject was gained from books borrowed from the library that morning, spent quite a lot of time trying to define who these homosexuals were. And by the time he had excluded you-know-what in public schools, in the armed services and in prison cells, his case that homosexuality was an aberration the flaunting of which struck at the very roots of society began to look a little thin. By the time he reached the responsibilities of older men with families to fight against the corruption of the young, it began to feel a little thin. And when he got to the bit about homosexuals deserving sympathy not condemnation, but that we should, presumably like the people with only one arm to whom he had compared us, be neither seen nor heard, it was clear that his seconder was not going to have an easy task.

After this it seemed a bit unfair on him that Michael Barnes opposing on behalf of Newcastle GLF should start off in a clarion-call voice and style resembling Henry V on the field of Agincourt. He was certainly going to be heard and he made it clear that sympathy was the last thing he had in mind, unless it was sympathy with any homosexual who should be unlucky enough to turn to Mr Furness for advice. Not a beer-glass rattled through his rousing speech and he made sure every member of the audience knew that there was still discrimination against us in law, socially and in our jobs, discrimination which would continue unless gays did come out and fight for the right to live in a way which others regarded as their birthright, fight against inhumanity like that of the Newcastle employer who recently announced that he’d not rest while a “fucking poof’ continued working in his office.

Richard Webster, secretary of Tyneside CHE, seconding for Michael under the Gay Lib banner (who said Brighton is the only place where there’s co-operation?) would have a hard job to knock down Dr A. S. Wigfield, Consultant Venereologist at Newcastle General Hospital, who seconded for the proposition. This wasn’t one of those venereological ogres but someone, evidently nearly as unhappy with the motion as he was with the VD figures, who in a witty speech delighted the audience with some of the best bad puns of a long time and condemned the commercial exploitation of sex in terms with which many gays would be happy to agree.

But it was a pity that his peroration against permissiveness was rather spoilt by a cheerful inability to resist a dig at the idea of gay marriage with the comment that we seemed to be wanting “our bride bartered on both sides”.

Richard was against “permissiveness” as well, but on rather different grounds. What right, he wanted to know, had Society to take upon itself to “permit” fellow human beings to be themselves? If (as he pinned a GLF badge on one side of his nice new suit, and a CHE one on the other) by confessing himself in public he had done something to help just one other gay person to feel proud of himself as a fellow human being, he’d have done something worthwhile. But as for self-justification, that term came from those who believed we had something — the plague? – we needed to justify. He knew he had not.

After which we sat back with bated breath waiting for what the Floor would say. One brave girl made a brief speech in defence of married life, and then… silence. Throughout the evening scarcely anyone had nipped out for a pee, hardly a whisper of disinterest had reached the platform (except while Mr Furness was consulting his borrowed books), yet no one else would speak. Had we all been so brilliant that there was nothing left to say? Had everyone a raging thirst? Could it be that all these liberated students weren’t liberated enough to speak on such a delicate topic? We don’t know. We don’t know either what the voting figures were: there was no point in counting all those hands when they were raised so overwhelmingly against the motion and in our favour.

Block On Gay Mags

LONDON: Production of gay magazines has been hit by a refusal of firms that fold the magazines to do the work. They blame the print workers’ union for deciding not to handle the magazines, but a union boss told GN that the firms were “lying”.

A spokesman for Quorum magazine said that the magazine’s printers had been told by firms specialising in finishing – folding and stapling – magazines that the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades had sent a directive to its members telling them not to handle gay mags, along with many other magazines, including much pornography of a very explicit nature.

Quorum isn’t the only magazine to be hit by this ban by the firms.

Follow-Up magazine’s third issue is now three weeks late in publication.

Don Busby, who runs Follow-Up told Gay News: This is hitting me especially hard, as Follow-Up is still running at a loss without this sort of thing happening to make things worse. It’s having to exist on the money that comes in from Male International Nude.

“With things like that, the last thing I need is a hold-up in production of Follow-Up. It means that there’s no new money flowing into the magazine, and there won’t be for some time.”

Follow-Up was due for publication on November but it has had to be rescheduled for publication on November 21. Male International Nude, Don Busby’s other magazine, is not hit by the finishers’ war-of-nerves, because it has less pages and folding it is, therefore, not a specialist job.

The story that a directive had been sent to print workers was given to the magazines’ printers by, among other firms, Stewart Phillips, of Golden Square, Foldform of Blackfriars, Hatch Pinner, of Farringdon Road and Howgate of Triangle Road, London E8.

But Mr Joe Flynn, the general secretary of SOGAT told Gay News that: “Those firms are lying. There has been no such directive sent out. In fact, our members even work on International Times, which, I think, shows they’re not narrow-minded.”

The Managing Director of Hatch Pinner told Gay News: “We never refused to handle any magazine, we have never received a directive from SOGAT leaders.

“If the magazines’ publishers say we are refusing to handle the magazine, they are mistaken, that’s all I can say.”

We’re Doing Something

EDINBURGH: People working for homosexual law reform in Scotland were astonished to read GN11’s Editorial which — while making very pertinent points on Age of Consent and the heavy task ahead for those who will be promoting sexual law reform in the UK — failed to take account of progress in Scotland in 1972.

The main work has been carried out by the Scottish Minorities Group (Law Reform subcommittee), and by some office-bearers of the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties, to which SMG is affiliated. The whole work was greatly assisted by a donation from an SMG member of £100. Without this vital cash, SMG would not have been able to get beyond the “talking shop” stage.

The moves began in May 1971 when I (the SMG Chairman) successfully guided through an SMG Motion to the SCCL Annual General Meeting, calling on SCCL to take a firm stand on remaining social and legal discrimination against homosexuals in Scotland. This motion was on similar lines to that adopted by the National Union of Students (Scottish Region) in March 1971. A much expanded version is before the NUS Margate Conference, November 1972, proposed by the University of Reading.

In December 1971, the SMG Annual General Meeting adopted Councillor Ian Christie’s motion which instructed the Executive Committee (a) to consult with the SCCL upon the introduction of parliamentary legislation to repeal the 1885 Act as far as it applies to Scotland in order to legalise homosexual acts between consenting adults, and (b) to conduct an energetic campaign to enrol public opinion in Scotland in favour of such law reform.

We got off to a brisk start in January when the SMG pamphlet “The Case For Homosexual Law Reform in Scotland” was circulated to all 71 MPs who represented a Scottish constituency, and to a fair cross-section of Members of the House of Lords who had spoken out in favour of law reform in the 1960’s. The pamphlet was accompanied by a covering letter signed by Peter Wellington, the then Chairman of SCCL. The response was disappointing. Those MPs who even bothered to reply said they’d oppose Law Reform, or said that they were “sympathetic” but didn’t think it was an urgent issue. Liverpool CHE got much the same response when they wrote to all MPs in their area in May 1972. Disappointed as we were, we followed up the letters with an insistent lobbying campaign in the Edinburgh Area. The results of our conversations were quite encouraging (for the first time MPs were face-to-face with homosexuals, and it wasn’t so easy to be evasive), and we gradually realised that our best chances of success lay in the introduction of a Bill in the House of Lords.

Meanwhile (June 1972) we had completed our analysis of the (English) 1967 Act. A summary of this appeared in GN3 (July 1972). The analysis procedure was carried out over a series of committee meetings. We sought the views of SMG members through SMG NEWS, and wrote to several people with a knowledge of Scots law. We also began to write to the major religious and social institutions calling on them to inform SMG of their attitudes towards homosexual law reform, and to support the SMG campaign. So far, the Society of Friends in Scotland (Quakers) has expressed clear support for the SMG proposals.

This was the grimmest period of our work. The task was difficult and often distasteful. The existing law is couched in highly pejorative and emotive terms. Reluctantly we realised that we couldn’t hope to “clean up” all the phrases. The idea of a sexual “offence” is retained in our final proposals, as is the distinction between “sodomy” (buggery in England and Wales) and other types of sexual “offences”. Our legalisation proposals are fixed at 18 absolutely, with strong defence safeguards for 16 and 17-year-olds. No less than 5 Acts (3 exclusively relating to Scotland) are repealed in part or amended, and this explains why we felt it necessary to promote a “Scotland only” Bill — we really doubt whether an English Act could successfully take into account the fundamentally different aspects of Scots law. We have sent a copy of the Bill to Gay News. The Bill will be formally published on 2nd December 1972, and copies can be obtained from Mike Coulson, 9 Moray Place, Edinburgh, 3 at a cost of 30p each, post free.

Although we have had one definite response from a Member of the House of Lords, who has agreed “as a last resort” to introduce our Bill, we are still in the process of sounding out other Members’ views. Our lobbying campaign continues (up-to-date details from our Annual Report for 1972, issued 1st December), and the Crown Agent has congratulated us on the draughtsmanship of the proposed Bill. His main criterion is whether or not reform proposals are enforceable, and our proposals are “thoroughly enforceable”.

We have come under much pressure — even attack — from many homosexuals, some “figureheads”, for pushing ahead with Scottish proposals. When people haven’t been questioning us on the need for law reform (why bother, we’re okay thanks, brigade) others have criticised us for being too timid. Most people seemed to forget that the Law Reform Committee was (and is) working within the terms of the SCCL and SMG Annual Meeting instructions. Within these terms, we maintain, we have made good and solid progress towards Homosexual Law Reform for Scotland.

Ian Dunn

ED: The editorial in GN11 was written deliberately with the hope that we would receive such a response as above. To date we have received no replies from Campaign for Homosexual Equality or Gay Liberation Front.

We do though, consider it a great pity that SMG have settled for eighteen as being the consenting age for male homosexuals, for as we said in our editorial – ‘The age (of consent) should and must be sixteen, as it is with girls – for to settle for anything else would be an admission on our part that homosexuality is something different and strange.’