Preference Or Prejudice

As the perpetrator of the now, it seems, infamous “black young and gay” advertisement (GN4) I can’t let R.L. Stratton-Watt’s Feedback letter in GN9 pass without comment.

Firstly, I would like to appologise to Mr Stratton-Watts and to any other black readers who feel as he does, for any offence caused them by my advertisement. I am well aware of the large sexual and male chauvinist component in racism, as epitomised by the familiar “would you let your daughter marry one?”. I accept that there will be those who will see my advert as perpetuating the black man as sex-object syndrome. Nonetheless, I justify myself on the following grounds.

Mr Stratton-Watts uses the words “prejudice and preference” in the same breath, as if they were synonymous. For me the essence of racialism is discrimination against a disadvantaged group, racially defined. Thus, to advertise for whites only would most certainly be racialist as it would extend the area from which blacks are excluded.

But to maintain the converse would not be true, as it would assume an equality of advantage between black and white, which in our racist society does not exist. To call discrimination in favour of a disadvantaged group “racialism” is to make nonsense of the word. If this seems like splitting hairs, consider this: I am Scottish and Scottish people are in no way discriminated against in Britain today. Would Mr Stratton-Watts have been so outraged if I’d advertised for a fellow Scottish gay?

I also detect in Mr Stratton-Watt’s rather involved argument an idea which appears fairly widespread in the gay movement and in GLF in particular and which seems a hip but direct descendant of medieval body-denial. According to this view, not just prejudice but also sexual preference is unliberated and wrong and one can and should dispense love phyical and spiritual, equally and indiscriminately to all men and women of all ages everywhere.

I cannot accept this neo-Gnosticism which seems to want to spiritualise physical sex out of existence and refuse to acknowledge its less ideal aspects. Male homosexuality is, after all, about cocks and spunk and arseholes as well as love, peace and revolution.

Some of us like black skins, some hairy limbs and chests, some huge cocks, some (like me!) are turned on by all three and more. If we can accept these preferences and integrate them into the rest of our personalities, we shall be able both to love and cherish and respect any guy/girl and thrill to his/her dark skin, leather knickers, green eyeshadow, or whatever makets us horny.

In the integrative process we may also find the compulsive aspect of those preferences diminishes.

It’s when an oppressive, sexist society makes men ashamed of their desires that the desires are split off and disowned and protected onto the minority group of the moment, to whom is attributed remarkable sexual prowess and who are feared as rivals and envied for their forbidden freedom. The prejudiced man hated himself by proxy, and the proxy is too often the gays and the blacks. The person who accepts his or her preferences is free to build constructive relationships with all sorts of people while realising that, quite involuntarily, he or she will be physically aroused more by some than by others.

This letter carries two signatures. The second is that of a wonderful black guy I met as a result of my advertisement. If nobody else got any pleasure out of it, we certainly did!

Re-Building The Image

Do lovers of boys today have a characteristic ideal or image of pederasty which can be compared to the images invented in the past? Is there, for example, a modern equivalent to the philosopher who ascends to the highest point of goodness ‘by right use of his love of boys’ as we read in Plato? Or do we have anything which compares with the ‘perpetuation of chivalry’ achieved by the medieval knight through his young squire? Or with the lyrical sensuality of Andre Gide, or the Uranian poets who asked only for the touch of those ‘whose lips were hotter than little unfledged birds’ to drown their fear of society and eternal damnation in a surge of almost beatific ecstasy?

No, we have no such image. Because of the inexplicable heaves and vacillations of society’s million-year gestation (one day it will be born, I think) the image has become splintered, and our energy dispersed.

Examples of this splintering are very common. One person will quite readily hop into bed with the first obliging chick he meets on his regular weekend London cruise; but another will see a schoolboy looking lost on the Underground and be too terrified of what people might think to offer help or advice. It is the extreme diversity of cases which makes strength impossible.

It must seem that I am advocating a kind of uniformity or conformity among pederasts; and this is true to a certain extent. Shop stewards would prefer to use the word ‘solidarity’ though; and it is the binding effect of thinking together that I stress. Every time a person thrusts back an impulse to show affection for a boy, every time someone regresses to ‘prep-school teaching sublimation’, a few ounces of the binding force, the collective psychic energy, have been dissipated and lost.

Does this mean I would rather pederasts went to the opposite extreme and made seduction and promiscuity into a species of carefree sport, regardless of the effect on the boys involved? Certainly not. We can make life unbearable for our young friends if we approach the relationship in a purely selfish and insensitive manner. We have our own subculture to protect us from the viciousness of society, but youngsters are much more vulnerable.

Moreover, few people would say that selfishness and love can possible co-exist in any human relationship; and love is quite fundamental in any lasting archetype of a sexual preference. Sex without love just can’t rise to the standards required for unity and strength unless we resort to some Procrustean method of inflation – and that would only call down the society-god’s thunderbolts on a latter-day Sodom.

Where, then, are we to find our ‘image’ if we have ruled out those disabled by inhibition and those overwhelmed with desire? Perhaps a sort of benevolent teacher-figure would be the best choice; but even this is not easy to implement because of the popularly accepted (and increasingly noticeable) insulation between teacher and pupil in our schools – the extent of which is to be judged from the recent recommendation that no teacher should talk to a child alone, or touch or embrace him in any way, even if the teacher considers it will be beneficial to the child. What a difference to the situation in ancient Greece, where the value of a tutor was suspect if he was not in love with his pupil, and a teacher-pupil homosexual relationship was considered by many to be essential in the education of every well-born boy.

Let us not try to copy the Greeks, however. Our problems are more complicated than theirs, because we have more history to worry about.

I must confess, after all these words, that I don’t really know the exact form of the best boy-lover image for the future; but I am quite sure that such an image is vitally necessary.

The reason is this: I would like all people, including those who love boys, to have the psychological benefits of happiness and freedom from neurosis. At present, pederasty is considered a perversion, and so pederasts are in constant danger of accepting the role of pervert without realising it. In many cases they have a wretched feeling of desolation and loneliness, leading them quite unwillingly into the cottages, or into a miserable solitary existence with only pictures of boys for company. In other cases, the sexual urge has been so strong as to at least lead them out onto contact with boys, if only for a night; but who can really keep up the pretence that their needs are purely physical? No matter how much a person may disparage emotional relationships or be afraid of forming them, he would surely feel better inside if he knew that the pretty young fellow lying in his bed really loved him and was not just waiting to go away and spend his night’s earnings? Sex is second-best only, and no complete fulfilment of a persons needs.

There are all shades of difficulty and anxiety associated with pederasty, but most would be eliminated by generating a spirit of belonging rather than isolation, of subscribing to some common principle or identifying with some common ideal rather than making the best of a bad situation and finding oneself a bit of pleasure just«to ease the pain of living.

It is quite vital that we ourselves recognise the authenticity and potential value of boy-love, (even if it is too much to expect of society at present) and eventually work out a formula to eradicate the anxiety-producing aspects of today’s situation, in the hope of removing the need for anything other than a free and open approach to love in all its manifestations.

New Directions

EDINBURGH: The 1972 SMG Annual Report, just out, shows how the Group has developed over the past year.

The Group has nucleated into Regional Areas, and the AGM on December 2nd adopted a new Constitution which recognises development. Power has been handed over to the local gay groups. The right to raise money and to advertise locally has now been written into the SMG Constitution. The National Executive will only step in when the local group wilfully goes against the 4 Aims of SMG. Even these 4 aims have been recast to take account of past experience and the changing climate in Scotland. Their wording is “tougher and terser”

SMG’s most successful enterprise is the Saturday night Club at the COBWEB in George Square in Edinburgh (unfortunately closed over the holiday period, in case you’re thinking of visiting Edinburgh), and each Area group is now looking for similar premises, preferably under direct SMG-control and on a seven-days-a-week basis.

The Annual Report points to the success of the Annual Conference in August, and the boom in the gay publications field – referring particularly to GAY NEWS.

For the price (and the small effort) of a large stamped self-addressed envelope, the National Secretary will send you a copy of the Report. So, for the low-down on how to run a successful gay organisation, write to the Secretary, SMG, 214 Clyde Street, Glasgow, G1 4JZ.

STOP PRESS: Breakthrough In Eire

There is a distinct possibility that CHE may soon be able to form a local group in Dublin. This is the result of a visit made there by one CHE member, Allan Crossley, during which he contacted The Irish Times, the Samaritans and an already existing homophile group.

The established group is called The Legion of Mary and is described as “an apostolic organisation aiming to achieve the personal sanctification of all its members”. The group has about 50 contacts, and its leaders (both married men with families) agreed that not all homosexuals who came into contact with them could accept their approach and methods, especially if they did not wish any involvement with the church. The group accepted CHE literature which has been distributed to members.

All Irish newspapers have refused to mention this group and have refused to accept any advertisements from it. The Irish Times did, however, publish an interview with Allan (November 21), a short article which, while stating CHE’s aims quite clearly and correctly, lent its emphasis to the fact that ‘buggery’ and ‘gross indecency between males’ are illegal in Ireland. Which indicates that the full implications of being homosexual are completely unknown – to the writer of the article at least. However there is, at the time of writing, a 90% chance that the same newspaper will agree to carry a CHE advertisement on its back page of personal ads.

Allan was also able to give CHE literature and posters to the Dublin Samaritans, and to put the idea into their heads that a speaker on homosexuality might be invited along.

STOP PRESS: Counter Miss World

LONDON: Gay Liberationists and Women’s Liberation have joined forces in planning a counter-Miss World contest, which is to be held outside the Albert Hall in London.

A spokesman for GLF said the rendezvous for demonstrators against the competition was 7pm December 1, at South Kensington tube station.

As the demonstration will be a mock Miss World competition everyone is invited to wear national costume, bathing suits or the like. Anyway, the demo’s organisers want people to wear something silly

Friendly Outlets

GAY NEWS will always be on sale at the following pubs:

MARSH HOTEL (Mike & Eileen) Canute Road. Southampton
Semi-Gay. Disco every Thursday night. Also:

THE ANCHOR INN (The Viking Club), East Street. Southampton. Saturday nights – Girls only (Ask for Jan).

THE PUBLIC HOUSE, not just another bookshop. 21 Little Preston Street, Brighton. Phone 28357.

LE FAUNE Restaurant, 23 Praed Street. London W2 1NJ Tel 01-723 5170

Thanks to SHANE’S CLUB, 71 Compayne Gardens, West Hampstead, London NW6 for selling Big GN.

THE PAVILION CLUB, 123 Shardlow Road, (A6), Shardlow, Derbys Tel Shardlow 581. Open Wed. Fri. Sat & Sun from 8 00pm

THE LORD ROBERTS, Canal Walk, Southampton, (June & Mike).

THE GLOBE, Bernard Street, Southampton. ‘Always a warm welcome from:- Kath, Dick & Peter

THE ROBERT BURNS, 9 South Front, Southampton ‘The small pub with a BIG welcome:- Doris & Dennis’.

CLUB CONTINENTAL, High St. Below Bar. Southampton. (Disco) “Strictly Gay”.

THE GREEN MAN.The Place, Winchester. Hants. Your Host – David M. Powrie.

PRINCESS ROYAL, 172 Wellingborough Road, Northampton. Your Hosts – Pern and Vim.

THE NIGHTINGALE CLUB, 50 Camp Hill, Birmingham 12 (021-772 2665) sell Gay News.
(They also get a gold star for the best address we have seen so far for a club or a pub.)

Gay News, wishes to thank the management and staff at the Coiherne and the Boltons (at Earl’s Court) and the Champion (at Notting Hill Gate) for their help in letting us sell Gay News in their establishments. Gay News will regularly be on sale in these three pubs in West London.

The DisKOtheque (D O K), 2a Lowndes Court. London W1 (off Carnaby Street) regularly has Gay News on sale. Thanks.

Gay News thanks Roddy and The Masquerade – the paper is always available at the door. Masquerade Club, 310 Earls Court Road, SW5

The Father Red Cap. Boys Only, Girls Only and Mixed Disco’s. Gay News is always on sale.

Valentine’s – Georges Club (off Gay Street), Bath. Gay News is always on sale.

Thanks to “LOS CHlCOS”, 312 Old Brompton Road. Earl’s Court, for selling Gav News

Thanks to DON JOHNS, one of the North’s foremost Gay Clubs, for selling Gay News.

Ronnie will be selling Gay News in THE GREEN ROOM at The Wheatsheaf, Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush.

When you stay at MAGGIE’S PLACE Hotel you can also buy Gay News to read in bed.