Fifth Formers Defend Gays

BIRMINGHAM: Fifth-formers have come out strongly on the side of Birmingham Gay Liberation Front members whose educational visit to their school has been mauled by the local and national press.

Halfway through December a party of five gays from Birmingham GLF went to Coleshill Comprehensive School in Warwickshire as part of a school conference on sex education. At the time the visit seemed to go smoothly, no one was worried, shocked, assaulted. Instead the GLF members met a lot of school-kids and put over the problems gays face and the theories of gay liberation.

Paper Tigers

Then Birmingham GLF published their newssheet. A copy went to the Birmingham Post and Mail group.

The next thing the gays knew was that they had scandalised parents by going to the school, according to the Birmingham papers.

Then the national papers picked up the story, and as queer-bashing in print is a Fleet Street hobby, the papers invented a ‘row’ over the sex talk.

That was something that neither Birmingham GLF nor the school knew anything about.

A spokesman for Birmingham GLF told Gay News: “There was no particular response from the school until this week.

“It seems that everything has been stirred up by the local papers. The Birmingham Post got hold of a copy and as far as we know phoned up parents and said ‘Isn’t this shocking?’ just to get a story.

Girls Take More Interest

“We were just part of a conference on sex education. For some reason the girls seemed far more interested in what we were saying than the boys.

“Now the fifth formers have rung up the newspaper and told them that they weren’t corrupted in any way by meeting us. We’re glad the kids are backing us. We’re also grateful to the school for their backing.”

Mr Thomas Wilson told the Daily Telegraph: “I was not aware of any row and have received no complaints from parents.

Positive Help

“I thought it was a risk to invite a homosexual speaker, but it turned out to be of positive help to the pupils to understand better the problems homosexuals have to face.”

Mr Dennis Prosser, a retired magistrate and chairman of the school’s governors told The Times he’d not known the gays were attending the sex-ed conference until afterwards. But, he said, “If you are going to have a talk on homosexuality, it is better to get someone who can talk with authority.”

Parents had been sent a letter telling them what was going to happen at the conference and that they could deny their children the right to hear all or any of the speakers.

All Aspects Of Sex

Mr Wilson went on to say that the pupils had asked the school to arrange the conference to reflect all aspects of sex.

Meanwhile The Daily Express reported someone from Birmingham GLF as saying: “We don’t see what all the fuss is about.”

The secretary of the school’s parent-teacher association, Mr Louis Power admitted that he was “concerned” that gays should be allowed into the school.

He said: “I don’t complain about sex education itself. But there is no need to push homosexuality in front of youngsters so strongly.”

Death May Have Been Murder

LONDON: Police suspect that a Spanish waiter found strangled in a friend’s room may have been murdered. And they say, it’s hard to investigate the real cause of his death because he was “a homosexual (and) it is more difficult than usual to make enquiries. Everything is very secretive in homosexual circles.”

That’s what Inspector Robert Tapp told Westminster Coroner’s Court. Inspector Tapp also claimed: “The evidence clearly shows a homosexual tendency, and it is not unusual for these persons to be involved in fights.”

Open Verdict

The eight-man jury at the court returned an open verdict on Fransisco, who was found dead in South Kensington in the room of his waiter friend Juan. He had a white chiffon scarf and a yellow vest tied round his neck with a red workman’s lamp hooked over the ligature.

The Inspector said that for nearly 24 hours Fransisco’s body had remained undiscovered.

Through an interpreter, Juan told the court that Fransisco had spent the night with him the night before he is thought to have died.

Secretive Circles

The Inspector said: “Had he been in some other area that we know he frequented at times, we would have found some person who saw him going off with somebody.

“From 7.30 on the Saturday until his discovery (about 6 pm) the next day, we have found no person at all who saw him.”

For this he blamed “the very secretive homosexual circles”.

Suicide Suspected

The pathologist. Dr Michael Crompton, showed the jury the grubby and bloodstained ligature and showed how it had been tied.

He said it was possible that Fransisco had tied it himself.

End of the Affair

Juan, who said that his affair with Fransisco had ended in September, said £15 in cash, a rosary, and a mug were missing from his room. He added that Fransisco had been very depressed and had said he’d wished he were dead.

A police constable said broken beads, a broken paintbrush, a broken mirror and blood were found on the bed.

Dr Crompton said Fransisco’s face was bruised as if he’d been punched. His nose was broken and his face was slashed.

It was that that prompted Inspector Trapp to say: “It is not unusual for these persons to be involved in fights.”

Insufficient Evidence

Coroner Mr Gavin Thurston said: “This is a case in which we would not be justified in saying further than that there is insufficient evidence.”

The police are still investigating the case as a possible murder. Inspector Tapp told the Kensington Post.

Who’s Kidding Who: Ep. 3 – Star Turns

LONDON: The British press is taking great trouble to point out that popular musical entertainers are not gay.

Ray Connolly interviewed David Bowie, Brixton’s answer to Garbo — at least inasmuch as he won’t give interviews, according to his Mainman organisation. So Connolly’s interview with David Bowie appeared in the Evening Standard making the now obligatory statement that David is not a homosexual.

Mr Connolly, known for his accuracy, ascribed to David and his wife Angela a daughter aged 18 months called Zowie – last heard of as a son in Newsweek.

Photograph: Allan Warren, Camera Press London
Next day Tony Palmer, the former pop-writer got it on for the mums and gave us the low-down on Liberace’s life.

Mr Palmer, who just happened to mention that he’s spent the last four months making a documentary about Mr Liberace – a property he obviously has an interest in selling – confided to readers of The Observer “Contrary to gossip, he is not lonely nor oppressed by his mother. His taste is controlled, even demure … He is not a homosexual …”

Above and around Mr Palmer’s effusions about Liberace’s ‘demure’ taste were pictures of Liberace’s chintz and tinsel Hollywood home, with the Star posing just off centre in electric blue lounging clothes.

Young Hustlers Upset School Chiefs

COLUMBUS: Here in Georgia, homosexuality and gay hustling in this city’s 40,000-student public school system, has educators and city bosses “worried” and “concerned”. One local school cites the case of ‘Johnny Smith’, a 13-year-old, as an example of the ‘problem’.

The school’s head calls Johnny a “discipline problem” who has already been held back a year in school and, the head says, Johnny has a juvenile court record.

“They Have Nice Houses”

The school’s head called Johnny into his office. The boy is small and blonde. He was dirty because he’d just finished a game of basketball on the school play-ground.

Johnny said he first “went down to the church” with his older brothers and some other boys.

“You just sit down by the church, and men come by and pick you up and they take you to their houses,” he said. “Some men are old, some young … they have nice houses.”

The school head said he first became aware of the kid-hustlers last year when he was leaving services at the downtown church on a week-night.

I came out of the church and I met one of my students,” he told this reporter. “He was pretty far away from home. I knew that corner. There’s only one reason that people would be down there.”

He said that the church was in the area of Twelfth Street between Sixth Avenue and Second Avenue. This section is also the site of the bus depot where soldiers from nearby Fort Benning arrive for a night on the town.

He said: “I called the boy into my office the next morning, and he admitted to me that he and other students nad been going down there for some time.”

$25 A Night

The school head went on incredulously to say that the boys later told him they could make between five dollars and 25 dollars a night by standing on the corner by the church and waiting to be picked up by gays.

The school head who told the boys’ parents also took two of them down to the police station to see detectives.

He reported “The parents’ reactions ranged from ‘there’s nothing I can do about it’ to ‘I can’t believe my son would do such a thing.”

He said the police were “very cooperative and tried to help. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to make an arrest in a case of this type.”

Money for Mum

Johnny spoke frankly and matter-of-factly.

The boy said he would often earn 25 dollars from a man if he would “do right”.

“I gave some of the money to momma,” he said.

An Open Letter to the Company of Nine – CHE’s poetry Group

The background to this letter (published below) is as follows. CHE’s successful poetry group, called The Company Of Nine, is producing a volume of its members’ poetry. 30 contributors submitted 104 poems from which 33 were selected, including two by Laurence Collinson. Laurence later received a note from the editor of the volume asking whether Laurence wished to publish under a pseudonym. “So far I have assumed that as this is to be an avowedly CHE publication the poets will wish to have their identities concealed,” wrote the editor. Expressing surprise at this, Laurence received a second letter that included this comment: “Although the booklet is to be a CHE publication, there can be no guarantee that it will be seen only by CHE eyes, which means that for some to be published in it under their own names would not be brave but downright stupid. Second, some of our contributors may wish to avoid publicity through doubts about the worth of their work.”

30 Andrewes House,
London EC2Y 8AX

31 January, 1973.

Dear …,

I was more shocked by your second letter than your first. You give ‘two points to remember’ as reasons that contributors to the CHE poetry anthology might wish to publish under a pseudonym.

(1) The booklet might be seen by other than CHE eyes, and consequently, for some to be published in it under their own names ‘would not be brave, but downright stupid’.

(2) Some contributors may not wish publicity because of ‘doubts about the worth of their work’.

Neither of these reasons seem to me to be rational or valid. Firstly, contributors who wish to remain ‘in the closet’ should not have submitted material to a booklet that is ostensibly part of a CAMPAIGN. (Remember: CHE means Campaign for Homosexual Equality?) There are plenty of ‘straight’ poetry journals wherein one may be published without having to suffer the ordeal of guilt by association; let these courageous poets submit their creations there! Really, what respect must these people have for the Campaign, for themselves, and for their own homosexuality that they, must engage in such self-oppression!

Secondly, writers who doubt the ‘worth of their work’ don’t usually submit that work for publication!

I have decided to protest against this typical CHE furtiveness by (a) withdrawing my poems from this anthology – will you please see that this is done; and (b) publishing this as an open letter in an appropriate journal.

Laurence Collinson