- Smith’s Ban ‘News Of The World’
- Slander & Prejudice – Newsagent Hits Back
Joint Editors and Members of the Editorial Collective
Jean-Claude Thevenin (Design), John Yap (Design Assist), Denis Lemon, Peter Mundy, Mike Mason, David Seligman
Ian Dunn (Scotland), Glenys Parry (Manchester), Graham Chapman, David Sherlock
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SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Richard & Norman, Ken & Allan, Angus, John, Stanley, Peter, Anthony, David, Ken, Wolf and all the other Friends & Loved Ones.
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An angry reader wrote to Time Out (London’s weekly entertainment guide) complaining that while viewing ‘Dulcima’ and ‘Family Life’ at the Biograph cinema in Wilton Road, Victoria, no less than eight different men sat next to him, and there was a constant stream of visitors to the toilet. All this coming and going caused such a disturbance that he had to ask for the soundtrack volume to be turned up. He knows, he says, of the cinema’s reputation, but those who don’t “are in for a bit of a shock”. He’s willing to help establish a gay cinema, on the lines of those in New York, as the “goings on” in the Biography will not help the straight world accept gays.
The Biograph, London’s oldest cinema, is well known among gays as a trolling place and sexual outlet; a great deal of mutual masturbation allegedly goes on in the cinema.
But it is not a gay cinema as such, since its usually good programmes are advertised continuously in the London evening papers, “Time Out” etc, and because most heterosexuals are embarrassed by public sexual display and presumably want to watch a film, without having to get up every few seconds to let someone else pass, a visit to the Biograph is obviously going to heighten any anger or misgivings they might have about homosexuals.
However, many gays who go to the Biograph, cannot for one reason or another, take their pick-ups home, and even if they can, where else is there to procure a sexual partner? Basically, in police entrapped lavatories or Earls Court pubs, and while peoples’ behaviour in pubs and clubs is more “acceptable”, they are not necessarily happy places.
The Biograph has a lower admission price (25p) than any cinema in London, and is always crowded, because of its “reputation”, without which it would probably have closed years ago. It exists because society refuses to accept homosexuals on the same terms as heterosexuals, who broadly speaking, can take boy/girl friends home and can kiss and cuddle in any public place. Homosexuals are forced into dark ghettos like the Biograph, which reinforces the idea in our minds that we are second class citizens and must hide our sexuality away, in between the occasional hurried experiences in the dark.
The creation of a completely gay cinema would not really change attitudes for the better on either side, but as in the gay saunas in Amsterdam, it would mean that we could troll undisturbed and without harrass-ment; but we would just be creating another ghetto. Straights will not have the chance to accept or reject us, because they will be more oblivious of our existence.
Whatever we do to improve our situation, whether it involves the creation of a gay cinema, or organisations such as CHE or GLF, it seems to perpetuate our separation and lack of contact with society at large, which would seem to demand, as a condition of acceptance, that we live their life style. In other words retire monogamously to the suburbs, and hide our sexuality behind the net curtains.
Please note that any letters received by us at Gay news are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
Abdication of Responsibility
Those of us who can’t really afford a donation can perhaps best answer your appeal for funds by renewing their subscriptions in advance of its due date (as I do herewith). Your proposed republication of The Queen’s Vernacular has given me renewed confidence and interest in you. I was beginning to have my doubts! It has struck me recently that you were failing to live up to your title or your raison d’etre, even in provincial solitude I was aware of items of gay news which I’d have expected you to comment on. May I give you an example?
One of the Sundays recently reported a rumour that the government has relaxed the stringent regulations against sexual deviancy amongst members of the security services. If true, this is an extremely important advance in the campaign that you are supposed to be waging, and one that will make an immense difference to the welfare of a great many people. I’d have expected you to be on to this like a shot, to use every effort to get it confirmed or denied, and to have published at once the result of your investigations.
I myself worked for some years in one of the government organisations to which these regulations apply. Over the years I watched people I knew or felt to be homosexual gradually dwindle into hypocritical tomb-faced prigs, through their willing subservience to a code of behaviour which their own natures recognised as unjust. One of them, after many years of unhappy solitude, finally met and set up house with a well-known local actor. Very shortly afterwards he was dismissed at a day’s notice: after some fifteen years of service, he was stood down on full pay and subsequently transferred to the Post Office. It was all right you see, for him to restrict himself to furtive and unsatisfactory pleasures; he only became a threat to national security when he had the courage to make his homosexuality overt by establishing a happy, loving and stable relationship with another man. He had a nice sense of irony, so no doubt he appreciated to the full the hypocrisy of his treatment
Well, now you know the sort of personal implications that these regulations have hitherto entailed, and why any relaxation of them would be of great interest. For one thing, it would make nonsense of your editorial in No 15: it would imply that public opinion no longer regards homosexuality as something culpable, so that nobody would have reason to prefer blackmail to the threat of disclosure, and that the government has at last acknowledged this improvement in public attitudes.
So to sit back and moan that ‘to us it seems that nothing has changed since 1916’, seems rather an abdication of your responsibilities as ‘Europe’s Biggest, etc. Newspaper’! You are merely fortifying the ghetto mentality that you profess to deplore.
ED: Sure, Pendennis in The Observer ran the story on January 20. But then, so did Gay News in Issue 14 – under the headline Equality for Gay Cops – and that appeared a full fortnight before Pendennis ran his story.
Don’t Be Shy
67 Vere Road,
Glad to see libraries being mentioned in Gay News. I was intending to wait and hear other views before writing, but a few points have arisen in letters from Stuart Woollard and Geoffrey Leight in GN16.
LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE is a magazine for radical librarians which I started at the end of last year, around which is forming a group of like minded people interested in information and library work. Stuart Woollard is very welcome to start a gay group within LFSC, alongside the other area and “subject” groups being formed.
I’m involved in the coming together of the alternative library in several ways. Firstly, I’m looking after the library of the UNDERGROUND PRESS SYNDICATE (Europe). Secondly I’m involved in the project of microfilm alternative publications, which is being undertaken by the Harvester Press of Brighton. LFSC is not actually involved in the microfilming, though I and several other members are working on assembling back issues for filming and indexing (would anyone like to index GAY NEWS and the other gay papers?)
I’m working on the second issue of LFSC at the moment, and will be including a round up of views on gay papers and books in libraries. Public libraries (and university and college libraries for that matter), will only stock papers such as Gay News if enough people ask for them. Don’t be shy, libraries are there to serve you, not to dictate your reading habits. Nuff said…?
Editor, LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Here to Stay
Dear Gay News,
No greater tribute could be paid to Gay News than the increasingly prevalent practice of other gay publications to reprint the information on the gay scene given in your pages. Where they copy you, they are fine. Where they don’t, they produce an array of misinformation, ancient history and unintentional comedy.
No names; it would be cruel. One of them recently gave CHE’s national address as a British Monomark box number, although the Kennedy Street office has been running for nearly two years. Another listed the Club 43 in Manchester as still operative, even though it was closed in September 1970 under the amazingly stupid Manchester bylaw of 1896 which was held to preclude male dancing. The same magazine listed as gay a variety of other non-existent streets and misnamed establishments, in some of which the dominance of heterosexuality is truly frightening. And quite stifling.
Has Gay News anything to fear from its rivals? Don’t be funny. The glossy magazines may print a few more photographs of bare bums and tired organs and congratulate the legal authorities rather more often than Gay News is prone to do (a curious contradiction). But, as the best thing ever to happen to the homophile movement in Britain, Gay News is here to stay. It MUST.
Barrie A. Kenyon
Desperate To Share
I am a former patient from Broadmoor and I am gay. Since leaving there I have been hard pressed to lead a happy life, because of being in Broadmoor very few people want to take me seriously. I travel around a lot and find things to occupy myself. I desperately need to find someone who would come and share my life with me. I am very lonely all the time and am always afraid that I could get desperate or bitter and do something rash or silly.
I know I do not deserve any special attention and if you ignore me I shall not mind too much, for this has become my chief problem. I would like to meet someone who is understanding and willing to be loved in my own fashion, who is kind, but not in the wrong way. I enjoy so many good things, but find I have no-one to share them with. I have been into a lot of strange scenes and lean towards adventurous gay things. I do so because I need things to occupy my mind, to keep my senses alert and I love exploring and finding things out.
… I do not know what response my letter will bring for I have no private fortune, only a modest income and so many hopes for a future that sometimes seems impossibly remote. I am sorry to have troubled you with my cares, as though I were the only troubled gay person in the world, but I have no friends and too many acquaintances. If you can, will you help me? Merely writing to you has been something.
ED: We’ll forward any letters to G G.
Judged By My Peers
Dear Gay News,
It is interesting to see that the old problem is being discussed again: I mean the rights and wrongs of sex-without-love versus sex-with-love. But surely there is no ‘versus’ about it. These things are not opposed to each other; they are the extremes of the same pendulum.
So for example you start by feeling sick with boredom, because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street and have sex. Afterwards you think ‘How awful; never again’. So you swing to the other extreme of the pendulum and you fall in love with another chap and you think, ‘How marvellous’, and then you discover that he wants to love you without sex. And you still think ‘How marvellous’, until you discover that he’s having sex with someone else. So you cry your eyes out, against the wall, because your heart’s broken. And you have a nervous breakdown. And then you recover. And then you start feeling sick with boredom because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street…
And if a policeman walks by, and says, all sardonic. ‘Hullo, hullo, hullo, and may I ask how long this has been going on?’ you can say, politely, ‘you may well ask, officer. It’s been going on for about 7,000 years. Ever since urban civilisation began.’
During these 7,000 years, have any changes taken place? Really the big change has taken place quite recently. The change is that we don’t feel guilty any more. If somebody breaks your heart, you have to bear the pain. But at least you don’t have to bear the pain of guilt as well.
Today, as a matter of fact, the guilt lies on the other side. The guilt lies with Lord Longford and Lord Hailsham and people like that.
How fortunate for you, my lords, that God does not exist. Because, if he existed, do you know what would happen? He would call you up on Judgement Day. He would say to you. ‘Come here Lord Longford. Come her Lord Hailsham. I was hungry and you fed me not. I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. I was in prison arid you visited me not. I was homosexual and I loved you, and you called my love ‘vice’. Depart from me ye cursed, into the lake of eternal fire, which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world…”
Terrible words, my lords. Think them over when you go to pray. And while you are at your prayers, ask God to give you the grace to realise that there is more virtue in a decent homosexual boy’s finger than God can find in your Christian pretensions. More virtue, more courage, more humility, more generosity and more gentleness and more ordinary common-or-garden human love.
Where is vice? Where is viciousness? Who are your murderers? Heterosexuals. Who are your rapists? Heterosexuals. Who are your Hell’s Angels and your muggers? Heterosexuals. Who are your robbers, your bank raiders, your men of violence, aggression and hatred? Heterosexuals all. And the only thing you can do is raise your sanctimonious eyes to heaven and talk about homosexual ‘vice’.
Why? Can it be because, in your warped opinions, no crime is so great as the ‘crime’ of homosexual love?
True viciousness is formed among heterosexuals. Homosexuals, on the whole, are a gentler, sweeter sort. That is the truth my lords. And at the bottom of your cold hearts you know it.
Strength to Strength
Dear Gay News.
I’ve been reading Gay News for a few months now and it goes from strength to strength. It’s a pleasure to see each new issue coming out. knowing there’s going to be over an hour’s good reading. I am especially interested in your reports of continental gay activists, especially as we’re in the Common Market!
Could you have a regular column every week. I believe our French friends are having a far from easy time at the moment. Let’s have more contributions from your readers. You could throw some light on the provincial scene; what it’s like being gay in the Scilly Isles for example! Also the situation in Shepherds Bush, Chelsea etc, and what’s happening in Brixton vis a vis our black brothers. We all read how terrible the percentage of young blacks leaving school is. How is a black gay treated by his school mates etc?
Gay News: Let’s see more and more articles from people of all political shades. Let’s see your circulation mount and mount. Let’s hope you can keep your gay ads, because all in all Gay News is rapidly becoming indispensable.
Philip Van Grondelle
ED: Get writing folks.
Dear Gay News,
The Fellowship of Christ the Liberator (issue 16) may be good for some gay Christians, but it would be far better if they were active members of community churches — not hiding their sexual identity, not being blatantly “chip on the shoulder” but just being honestly gay.
Most priests and ministers welcome the gay, as well as the straight into their churches. If you find one who does not, move on. There are plenty more. By integrating and educating it will be seen by other church goers that gays are good.
Spinning Wheel Mead
Dear Gay News,
Congratulations on Your wonderful paper. I especially like the cover picture. Please let’s have more ‘get together’ pictures.
Is there any chance of becoming larger or even a weekly in the future?
Love, Fortune and Success to you all,
There is one word in the English language calculated to get me blazing mad. It is spelt q-u-e-e-r-s.
Five of these creatures turned up at a Midlands school conference on sex. One addressed the pupils.
In heavens name, school children should be WARNED about homosexuals, not asked to LISTEN to them. Could the subject not have been dealt with by someone who was not himself a confessed homosexual?
I don’t believe that pansies are men who can’t help being odd and should be pitied. What they want is a lecture on self discipline.
Any strange men thinking of writing me cross letters need not bother. I shall burn them.
Jim Harris, a friendly and sympathetic Gay News stockist, of Smiths Newsagents (no relation to W.H.) in Moscow Road, Bayswater was outraged on reading the article, and on Monday morning rang the News of the World, and told one of the women who wouldn’t put him through to John Field, “I’m one of the queer persons you talked about and I’m not stocking the News of the World any more.” Gay News will go on top of the counter. He was eventually put through to the editor who glibly agreed to pass on his complaint.
Two days later a member of the News of the World ‘Mafioso’ appeared and declared that if Jim Harris refused to sell his scandal sheet, they’d put a street seller outside the shop. “I understand my son. He reads Oz and Rolling Stone.” said the heavy. Jim’s response was, “You’re not allowed to peddle in the street without a licence.”
Jim says “The News of the World is a big drag. Gay Society is generally so indifferent – so often they say … ‘tut-tut – I’ll forget all about the issue at stake’. The prime reason for striking at the News of the World’s circulation now is to win the apathetic section around.” He suggests all Gay News readers stop buying the News of the World forthwith — they’d be the losers. There must be a million of us ready and waiting, and this is just the start of it – if we can really move it…
Is there such a person as John Field?
“He’s a bit elusive on Wednesdays,” say the News of the World. Jim Harris wants a public apology, or a chance for gays to answer back. “If I read an article defamatory to gays in anything I sell I’ll ban outright.”
Marion, Jim’s assistant says of the News of the World, “Filth, that’s all it is, their paper.”
Fun on the Phone
We telephoned News of the World, seeking to speak to John Field and after being shunted around several different extensions, which are probably all employed for that purpose, we got a promise that he’d ring us back, which was indeed fulfilled some ten minutes later. The conversation went thus:
News of the World: Hello, you wanted to speak to me?
Gay News: Yes, who is that?
NOW: I currently write the John Field Column.
GN: Oh, great – you’re John Field.
GN: Oh, then who are you?
NOW: That’s none of your business. Tell me what you want to know and we’ll talk.
GN: Well, tell me your name and we’ll talk.
NOW: I see. Good afternoon, (they rang off.)
Eventually their Features Editor referred us to Phillip Wrack, (Tel: 01-353 3030 ext. 306) who admits to writing the John Field column on occasions and didn’t deny writing this one. He pointed out that the John Field column is not the leader and therefore needn’t reflect editorial policy for the News of the World, but declined to comment, as did the features editor, as to whether or not this particular column was a joint editorial decision.
He refused to discuss his views on “treatment of homosexuals” but suggested our caller might care to write to him.
“But your column states you’ll burn my letter,” we replied, to which he said, “That’s right.” He then asked which paper we represented and when told it was Gay News, said “Look, old boy, I really haven’t the time to discuss our affairs with the Gay Lib News or whatever you call yourselves. I can only suggest you write to us.” He declined to comment on the question of Jim Harris, and said, “Be careful what you write or we shall sue you for libel.”
We then spoke to the circulation manager who said, commenting on their heavy’s visit to Jim Harris’s shop: “We hope we shall get a fair crack of the whip. We don’t want to suffer. We don’t want our circulation to drop two million overnight, and why are we being discriminated against when the other Sundays aren’t. We have no wish to use strong arm tactics unless it’s absolutely necessary because we don’t have any other means of persuasion. We hope we shall get a fair crack of the whip.”
We replied, “We shall be as fair to vour paper as you are to the homosexuals of Britain.”
Says a card in Jim Harris’s shop: “To know nothing is nothing at all – to imagine is everything.”
Preparations for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality’s first annual conference are now well underway. And it promoses to be a genuinely exciting and stimulating weekend. For one thing, it has been extremely well and thoroughly thought out — people started working on it more than six months ago. There will be the usual conference platforms — discussion of major papers (already available), talk-ins, brains trusts and, for the evenings, a heady social programme.
The background to the conference exposes a by-now familiar story of petty hypocrisy and back tracking. This time by Morecambe Corporation. Naturally, CHE half-expected a few rejection slips when letters were written to the well-known conference towns. But Morecambe made it clear that it was willing to have the conference there. “Should you decide to visit our resort you may be assured of our every assistance to make your conference a success”, said a letter to CHE last April. And in July the feeling was still good. “I am sure we can be helpful to you to make your conference a success, as we have the necessary facilities here,” gushed the Corporation.
But then, by September, the climate had changed. Suddenly CHE would not be welcome in Morecambe. The application had been rejected because “the conference would be split into small groups and we have not sufficient accommodation of this type” said the town’s Publicity Committee to the Morecambe Guardian. All this after a five-member delegation from CHE had visited the town and been shown the accommodation and conference facilities and agreed they were fine.
Curious mis-statements follow and the upshot was that CHE decided to hell with Morecambe Corporation. They would have the conference there anyway, but by negotiating directly with the owners of the pier to hire the facilities privately. Which means that CHE is footing a bill which the More-Combe Corporation would have met had any other organisation in the entire world sought the hospitality of this Lancashire seaside resort.
And so the Campaign for Homosexual Equality has been forced into a position of blatant inequality. But, instead of creeping away to find somewhere else, CHE is at least defying Morecambe Corporation – even though the gesture badly strains already heavily committed financial resources.
The conference itself will be the first truly national grassroots conference in the history of the Homophile movement. There have been other gay conferences, but small 5nes, consisting usually of authority figures who have, between them tended to decide what should be done for gays, not without experience and not without interest, but without consultation. At this conference, everyone has an equal voice.
The three main papers for discussion are: The law and the homosexual – which deals in considerable detail with this complex and often imperfectly understood area; the future of the homophile movement in Britain – which is certain to create some healthy disagreement; and a paper on gay life-style which asks a few questions that some people may find, perhaps, contentious.
Great emphasis will be placed on discussing the position of gay women regarding gay organisations – by women themselves, of course – and individual members and groups of CHE are already fielding some good motions for discussion.
The registration fee for the conference is 50p, even though the whole event will be more costly to CHE than it need be, and any members of CHE or the Scottish Minorities Group can attend. It is hoped that as many people as possible will make a special effort to go along to Morecambe. The dates are April 6-7-8.
Roger Baker, Press Officer
Campaign for Homosexual Equality
U S A: Outraged Army officials at Fort Ord California have taken immediate action to discharge two teenage US Women’s Army Corps members who were married five weeks ago in San Fransisco by the Rev Ray Broshears of Gay Alliance. According to army regulations homosexuals must be discharged as ‘undesirables’, but 19-year-old Gail Bates and 18-year-old Valerie Randolph are fighting for a ‘general discharge’ that will leave no slur on their characters or hinder future job prospects.
An army spokesman states that the army has no choice and that homosexuals must be discharged as ‘undesirables’, but the San Fransisco Gay Alliance threaten a protest march if the charge goes through as planned.
LONDON: A 22-year-old painter and decorator, John Cree, of no fixed address, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Kenneth Fairhurst, 46, of Stockwell, London, who died after being stabbed 22 times with a two-pronged carving-fork. Cree who was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter, met Kenneth Fairhurst in a South London pub, and the following evening visited his flat. Cree told the police that he made the attack after three separate homosexual advances had been made: “I picked up a fork, it was the first thing that came to hand and I just kept stabbing him.”
Mr Justice Forbes commented: “The jury has found that you were provoked by this man whom you killed. But killing under circumstances of provocation is still a serious crime.”
ED. There will be an editorial comment on the extremely low sentence imposed in this case in the next edition of GN.
At a Defence of Literature and the Arts Society meeting on 19 February, Mr Jeffrey Simmons, Managing Director of W H Allen and Co, the publishers, said he had just been told that conspiracy charges had been brought against the publisher of an autobiographical novel about a bisexual male prostitute, “Street Boy, Swinging London” by Richard Green, and that the publisher, Mr David John Miller had been kept in custody overnight at City Road Police Station before being charged.
According to the Guardian (20 and 21 Feb) Mr Miller visited the police station on 29 January after hearing that the Serious Crimes Squad had visited his offices. “The policemen were reading this book and said it was pornographic. I was then put in a stinking cell and was left there for 18 hours.” The next morning he was charged not only with offences against Section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 but also with conspiring together with persons unknown to produce an obscene article. He was remanded on bail of £4,000.
The National Council for Civil Liberties has expressed alarm about the bringing of a conspiracy charge in these circumstances. Under Section 2 of the Act the only question at issue is whether the article is obscene in the opinion of the jury and motive is irrelevant. But with a common law conspiracy charge having been introduced, the prosecution could introduce evidence of the accused’s intentions and beliefs if they desired to do so.
The subject of the book may be significant, and Mr Simmons who has read it, thinks this is so, “the subject of male prostitution is obviously taboo” he commented. It is indeed notable that in both the recent major “conspiracy to corrupt public morals” trials – those of IT and OZ – the prosecution relied heavily upon the homosexual content of the material to bolster their case. Your reporter, who has also read the book, found it explicit in its sexual description but non-arousing (perusal failed to bring about a single erection) and moralistic in its tone – the “hero” is throughout anxiously careful to distinguish between those “healthy” mortals such as himself, who indulge in homosexual acts (whether for payment or not) for pleasure or out of a sense of comradeship without detracting from their heterosexual desires and performance, and the unfortunate “queers” who actually fall in love with other men and whom he despises for this. In spite of such an inadequate approach to the subject, it would be unfair to dismiss “Street Boy, Swinging London” as merely pornographic; it has a story line and contains some characterisation and descriptive passages which lift it out of the “mere smut” class. “A minor male Fanny Hill” would not be an unfair verdict.
In an excellent article in the current “New Law Journal” (22 Feb) a barrister, Mr Gordon H Scott, pertinently questions the efficacy or social usefulness of the current spate of obscenity prosecutions. It is high time, he says, that prosecutors and police stopped to ask themselves a series of questions before bringing such cases. These are:
(1) Is the prosecution necessary in the public interest?
(2) Has any substantial harm been done to an individual or to the public at large?
(3) Will the public be harmed if proceedings are not brought?
(4) What (if anything) will be achieved by commencing proceedings?
(5) Will the costs of this prosecution be out of all proportion to the offence?
It will be of interest to see how the authorities answer these questions with respect to “Street Boy, Swinging London”. Meanwhile Mr Miller has been charged and the Defence of Literature and the Arts Society is appealing for funds to support his defence. Contributions should be sent to DLAS, 18 Brewer Street, London W1.
Private Life No Concern Of Council
Sam Green, the 32-year-old Liberal Councillor in Durham, who fought and won his election in spite of making the point that he was an active member of GLF, is under attack from the ruling Independent Party, and in fact has announced his decision not to fight the forthcoming county elections.
The cause of the uproar, a Granada TV ‘World In Action’ documentary featuring Sam in his triple role as psychiatric nurse, councillor and Gay Lib Activist, was to have included a face-to-face interview between Sam and his fellow councillors in the Durham City council chambers. Granada’s team have already interviewed Sam, but wanted to include comment on social attitudes to homosexuality from other council members.
However the general purposes committee banned the offending camera from Durham’s hallowed halls, and Sam was accused of using the programme to further his political career. Councillor Ron Stitt, spokesman for the Independent Party said: “I absolutely deplore this, I will discuss it openly but I will not allow the city council to be a little hub in a big wheel to expound councillors’ private lives. I consider what he does in his private life is his own concern and no business of the council.”
Oddly enough, Sam agreed that cameras should be kept out as a matter of overall policy but states: “I am not doing it for political gain, and to prove it I have decided not to stand in the forthcoming Durham County Council elections, in which I was a prospective Liberal candidate. I was making the programme to help other people. The Gay Liberation Movement is very important to me.”
The programme’s producer, Brian Blake commented that he was not disappointed, and that it would make no difference to the final programme, which could be screened any time within the next two months.
What Durham Does Today, New York….?
Although the Gays of the world can’t exactly be said to be united, at least there are signs that they’re beginning to think alike. And the thinking seems to be ‘If you can’t beat the establishment, join it and attack from the inside.’ In Durham, Sam Green has achieved fame as probably England’s only self-avowed homosexual Councillor, and now in New York John Owles, a former President of the Gay Activists’ Alliance is running on the Democratic ticket for a seat on the 43-member Council, New York’s legislative body.
This has only been made possible because of the political pressure which homosexual organisations in America have brought to bear on the ‘straight establishment’ and because of the changing attitudes towards gays which has been one of the benefits of the ‘permissive society’.
“I’m a candidate who happens to be gay and I’m seeking to bring gay people into the political process because oppression of gays can only be ended through political action.” he stated at a fund raising meeting. Other aims include removing all barriers to sexual acts betweeit consenting persons, and to end discrimination in all its insidious forms against homosexuals.
The usual arguments between moderates and activists within the Gay Movement then developed. The moderates’ objections to the fact that Osley’s supporters did not include any ‘straights’, that the problems of the poor, the drug addicts, and crime in the streets are more important that the gay issues were answered by the activists, who claimed that gay people suffered more than any minority within the city.
James Osley countered with the fact that he was just as concerned as any ‘straight’ with the quality of life in New York, and that he would stress many issues unconnected with homosexuals, and that he’d include the ‘straights’ in his campaign at a later date.
James admits that his chances of election are slender, even though his district, which includes Greenwich Village, is probably one of the most liberated and liberal in New York.
“But even if we should lose,” he said, “this campaign is going to be extremely important. Because we’re going to get a lot of people talking openly about what we stand for – civil rights for gay people. And that’s what counts.”