Gay Spies Hit The Sundays

LONDON: Britain’s Sunday ‘heavy’ newspapers have suddenly had a rash of reports on people convicted of spying, who were said to be gay.

First it was John Vassall, interviewed by Francis Wyndham in the Sunday Times. He was a little camp, but essentially honest in the interview in which he remembered prison life – for instance, its concerts.

He said: “The ones we did ourselves were the best. There was one very amusing prisoner who was very good at dressing up. He had a nickname – Stella. Before Mountbatten (the Mountbatten Commission’s prison report) we had a wonderful concert at Thanet. We had to pick the Miss Thanet of 1965 – it was really a scream. Eight people took part: two of them were gay, so they knew what they were doing. People ran up dresses for the show, made wigs — everyone put in a lot of effort. Oh, it really was a hoot! I did a mime with someone else. He was a girl sitting on a bench and I came in as a man reading a newspaper. Somebody shouted out ‘You’re wasting your time there!’ Even I got a kick out of that. It’s much better to hear something than nothing.”

Next week The Observer slammed back with part one of a two-part serialisation of bits of a book by Brian Inglis on Sir Roger Casement, the eminent Edwardian hanged for treason in 1916 for his alleged part in the Irish ‘troubles’.

The Observer introduced the package with a paragraph describing Casement as a ‘diplomat, homosexual, Irish patriot’.

In his book Inglis claims that: “He (Casement) had left some of his possessions in his old London lodgings, among them his so-called Black Diaries for 1903, 1910 and 1911.”

Others have argued that these diaries never existed until the British Secret Service wanted to ensure Casement’s conviction and execution. It is said that they are not even in a passable imitation of Casement’s handwriting.

Indeed the Black Diaries are among the few once-secret papers the authorities keep very close tabs on.

They are still unpublished. They are in the British Museum but only ‘bona fide’ historians can get to see them.

West Germany May Get Super-Gay Group

BERLIN: Variety seems to be the present ideal of gay movements in Western Germany, since some 30 different groups existed at the last count – but they may be replaced by one super-organisation, the German Homosexuality Action Association (DAH).

After meetings in Cologne and Bochum, the 30 groups presently formed are discussing their future in Berlin.

‘Membership of some of the smaller groups, described variously as ‘progressive’, ‘lefty’ and ‘communistic’ is said to be small, but IHWO, the oldest of Germany’s gay groups — formed in 1969 – claims a membership of 500 at present and besides owning a club house in Hamburg has affiliated groups in other German cities such as Stuttgart and West Berlin.

Very active among 33 German groups is the HSM of Muenster, a small Northern university city in Westphalia. In fact, HSM’s founder, Rainer Plein, has been trying to get backing of the Roman Catholic bishop, the school authorities and the police president of North Rhine/Westphalia in smashing anti-gay discrimination.

German police actually use the old files in which all German gays were listed before Germany’s homosexual law-reform Act in 1969, but political parties, police heads and newspapers have now announced that these files are to be destroyed.

In Bochum, a few months back, a national co-ordinating organisation for the factional gay groups was founded.

It’s called DAH, but the only part of the organisation that’s running properly now is its information-swapping service. It takes the information published by all 33 German gay groups and circulates the news. Gay news from abroad, however, is spread only by Gay News (Germany), a commercial press and news service edited by Johannes Werres at Kronberg.

Most of Johannes’ news is published by the monthly Him from Hamburg. A projected fortnightly newspaper, Gay Journal, so far hasn’t materialised because of a cash shortage.

There are some three or four other gay monthlies, sold openly on news-stands, including Don, Du und Ich, Pichbube, Boys Exclusiv and Club 70.

The umbrella organisation DAH will not represent the German Homosexual Organisation (DHO) or groups for bisexuals and paederasts which are to be set up soon by the magazines Pichbube and Don.

Something Nasty In The Non-Fiction

LONDON: It’s hardly surprising that the majority of libraries in Great Britain refuse to carry gay newspapers or magazines when you consider the sort of bigoted attitude that emerged in a letter to the Librarians’ Association Record in the latter part of last year.

John Noyce, who writes a column on magazines librarians might be interested in, for another paper, the Assistant Librarian, innocently said: “As usual, the British alternative press papers seem to be following their American counterparts. The general papers are in difficulties – Seven Days and Ink gone, Frendz and IT are in financial troubles – but the sectional papers grow ever more numerous.”

Then he listed Spare Rib, and Gay News, along with GIN, Lunch, SMG News, Arena Three and Sappho.

Little did he know there was something pretty vicious waiting in the non-fiction section. A librarian wrote in to say: “In the August issue of Assistant Librarian, a contributor lists for our special benefit or enlightenment (I’m nor sure which) an extraordinary catalogue of recent outlandish periodicals, the very latest from the front line of the sexual revolution, suitable, perhaps, for educated perverts and emancipated Bohemians, as well as Lesbian librarians with doubts about their masculinity, and, of course, any pouffes-in-boots and beyond-the-fringe eccentrics floating around the outer reaches of cosmopolitan professional librarianship, but to the membership at large, of no use, one would have thought, whatsoever, unless, in the present phase of cultural pollution, we are to be credited with the same tastes.” And so he goes on. And on. Quoting George Bernard Shaw and T S Eliot. He’s read them!

With a wonderful old-fashioned hatred like that, a man could get a job with the Festival of Light.

Gay News Makes News

HATFIELD: The Hatfield and Welwyn Advertiser burbled happily when it discovered that local talent, Barbara Cartland, the ageless authoress, had been chosen as a calendar girl by no less than Gay News.

The Adver chirruped: “She is one of 12 celebrities to illustrate the months – others include Mae West, Dusty Springfield, Cliff Richard and silent film star George Arliss.” George Arliss? The Herts Adver bubbled on: “Asked why they had singled out Miss Cartland, a joint editor of Gay News, Mr Denis Lemon, said: ‘We think she’s a rather fun lady.’”

JOHANNESBURG: Viv Prince, who writes a column for the Rand Daily Mail, reads the journalists’ trade paper UK Press Gazette.

For his Play Back column he virtually reprinted verbatim UKPG’s report of Gay News getting a bit professional. Over to you, Viv, you’re better at it than us.

“I suppose it had to come. Last week I was saying how devious our young maidens are here in Johannesburg with their liberated dating techniques. Now comes the freedom fight of the twilight male.

“It’s just been announced that Gay News – the new fortnightly for homosexuals – is getting its first full-time trained reporter.

“The lad in question, a Mr Peter Holmes, is leaving the English evening paper for which he works – ‘for a paper I can believe in’.

From here on out it just quotes the story Peter wrote for UK Press Gazette.

Such as “Said Mr Holmes: ‘It may be hard work for low pay, but it’s worth it for a paper that’s only just getting off the ground. I’ve decided to put my pay packet where my mouth was.’”

Our Viv ends up with a bit of his own: “I suppose that’s what you call being liberated.”

ED: George Arliss??

COC Fights For Army Gays

AMSTERDAM: The Dutch Society for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC) has started to fight for gays in the Netherlands army. The first step COC took was to deliver a report to the Minister of Defence. This, entitled Homosexuality, the Armed Forces and the Medical Examination, was handed over by a delegation of COC committee members, two of them dressed in Dutch Royal Army uniforms.

COC’s stand is that there have always been gays in the army and always will be, even though the army’s executive staff maintains that there are no homosexuals in the Armed Forces.

Over the past few years Dutch society has shown itself to be very positive in its appreciation of homosexuality. In the penal code homosexuality is no longer mentioned. The Minister for Social Affairs recently said in Parliament that discrimination of homosexual men and women in industry must be condemned.

But the Medical Examinations Regulations of the Armed Forces still insists that homosexuality is an illness or a deficiency that must lead to rejection.

This means that the very gays who would be able to cope with military service are rejected, whereas those who dare not come out pass as fit – but the truth is that they are very unsuited indeed to the army life.

COC calls for a new kind of medical examination. It is not important to consider whether someone is homosexual or heterosexual, but whether he is able to function in a social group. COC thinks the armed forces are based on a totally obsolete image of society.

The armed forces are characterised by a very authoritarian structure; military discipline violates the principle of equality.

COC does not express an opinion about the use of the armed forces as such. It is, however, convinced that an army has no use if it will not protect the rights of minorities when necessary, or even worse, when it will tread on the rights of those minorities

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