Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Why Risk It?

Middlesex

Dear Sir,

I have only seen numbers 9, 11 and 12 of GN.

I advertised in numbers 11 and 12 for someone to share my home and life. There was a bigger response than I expected and I am dealing with this now in what I hope is a civilised way.

Meanwhile, one or two thoughts occur to me. I think the heading of your illegal page is excellent. Some of the ads, however, are a bit doubtful. If you want to remain in circulation, why put it at risk in this way? There is always a temptation, feeling oneself to be in a minority, resentful, a bit aggressive about it, to be daring. Resist it. You do not have the lampooning function of Private Eye, that can tell any client of the blessed Arnold Goodman to get fucked. JS recently found BS by way of your columns (it may have been the other way round!) One of them wanted a big black cock but he could well have found it by other means without exposing you to police prosecution. Stratton-Wells is justified in his complaints. I am half-guilty myself, knowing that particular appeal, though I am not passive. Still, there is a fantasised urge there. I think Antony Storr points out that many active homosexuals want a partner with a big prick, which is, may I say in passing, English vernacular as opposed to the American cock, applicable to both male and female genitalia. The fantasised urges I spoke of can’t be allowed to direct our lives. I hope that JS and BS are happy together.

But I do think that being ‘turned on’ is suspiciously mechanical.

Faults of layout and format are not worth criticising in view of the difficult conditions you have to cope with. I wish you could find a gay millionaire to smooth things out.

Another thing: whatever Messrs JS and BS may say, your business is not to do with cocks and spunk and arseholes. These are very private matters. Gay includes women. Women do not have the apparatus mentioned. Not only do you need to devote more space to women, you also need to promote more effective communication between gay women and men. I am sure you are thinking about this.

Finally, I think you could and should increase the price of GN to at least 40p. You are in a seller’s market, with the unique advantage that you are on the side of the buyer.

Peter Jackson

Second Thoughts

Brighton

Dear Editorial Collective,

At your invitation I feel I must write and ask who is the self-styled Mary Whitehouse, or Little Hitler? Who has barred such innocent words as leather and denim from the personal ads ?

While I must agree some of the ads have been near the knuckle. I’m sure the situation doesn’t justify this discriminatory action.

Why, even in GN 12, Julian got all switched on when “he” visited the Wheatsheaf’s Green Room. I can’t wait to get there.

If you don’t want to continue the personal adverts for fear of prosecution, then come clean and say so, and don’t inflict this dictatorial attitude. After all. I’m sure everyone knows the idea of the ads.

I was hoping to put a personal advert in after Christmas, but for fear of this censorship, I am having second thoughts. So will many others.

Have another think about this matter, and come up with a logical answer.

Roy Bonham

PS. Have subscribed to no 23. Make it!

ED: Sorry we didn’t explain our new policy towards personal ads clearly enough in GN13. We most certainly are not “barring” words such as leather and denim. But for now we must alter or refuse adverts which explicitly refer to sexual acts, preferences or organs, ie whipping, CP, well-endowed, etc.

Love Lives Forever

London, SW8

Dear Gay News,

Your correspondent Doug Pollard approached the problem of ageing (GN 12 page 7) with as much wit as possible. Correct. Better laugh than cry, always. But I must tell you that the lads at the disco don’t tell me (as Doug does) to go and find an armchair at the Athenaem; and talking to my old school chums (all those bloody bishops). On the contrary, the lads at the disco invite me to come again, because I love them and they (bless their hearts) love me.

There’s only one solution to the problem. We must create a special Marxism for grandpas. What about joining the T.G.W.U. (Terpsichorian Grandpas of the World Unite) and then I can buy a ticket to the Yuletide National Lorrydrivers Lottery (You’ve nothing to loose but your life).

To be serious, Doug, I think that your phrase “gone for ever” is a bit defeatist in tone. Of course you are perfectly right in a way. If homosexuality is simply a question of cocks and balls and having it off, then certainly there comes an end to that.

But homosexuality isn’t that. It’s love, and love doesn’t go, it lives forever.

So let me stay on the disco circuit, where I guarantee I’ll find more courage, humility, generosity, gentleness and sheer love per square foot than anywhere else in London, possibly in the world. Oh brave new world that hath such creatures in it. Even Pale Brother Death is halted, and stands amazed.

Dai Grove.

Face It Babes

Dear Collective,

Sorry, but I’d like to inject a sour, critically appraising note into the general chorus of congratulation. Of course it is good that you exist and the paper is mildly entertaining, though not very informative. But how many other gays besides me are increasingly turned off by the prevailing giggly, simpering, juvenile tone representing all that is passé and stupid and discredited in the homosexual image.

Face it, babes, there is something tawdry about Gay News. Just not enough reality and intelligence.

It is mostly badly written, amateurish and uncritical in its comments on almost everything. I am not calling for the over-intellectualised approach, just a more balanced and broad depiction of the real variety and maturity in much of the gay world.

And how confused can your values get? That calendar has a photograph of Mae West who may be the object of a cult but has been known for years to be extremely hostile to gay men. I suppose you’re being good Christian gays (who needs them?) in turning the other — you should pardon the expression— cheek, but first rule of any revolution, no matter how minor, is know thine enemy.

Daniel James

Fem or Butch

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I’ve just returned from a gay club in London where I was asked if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ — having never considered this, I just said I was a person. However it seemed that people expected to know if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ in order to relate themselves to me; ie was I a good pick up. I find it equally hard to relate to fem and butch images and all their restrictions. Perhaps it’s my restriction but I suggest that these gay women are presenting the stereotypes that one can find in any straight disco/bar. They also prevent other gay women coming out by turning them off the gay scene because these gay women seek individuality rather than conformity. Anyway, I’d like to know what other people think of this.

Incidentally, we’d like more women members of GLF in Leeds, we have fluctuated to two at the moment.

Jane

Much Ado

Bayswater

Dear Gay News,

Whilst, probably correctly, petulantly chanting again and again your dissociation with any organisation, do you dare print this letter and admit in reply to James Knight that Roger Baker, Press Officer for CHE wrote the attack on Martin Stafford for your newspaper?

Love, B S

ED: We dared to print your letter. So what?

Bugging the Bugs

London

Dear Gay News,

Thanks a lot for that really interesting article on crabs in GN8! As you said we can all be a bit simple sometimes and I must qualify for simpleton of the year award. I’ve been scratching my balls for about a week or so, and it was only when re-reading some back numbers of GN that I realised what I had got. I immediately rushed round to the local chemists for the Quellada (and got an icy and disgusted look from the assistant as she gave it to me!) Got a hot (too hot) bath with about half a bottle of Dettol in it and proceeded to cover myself with the recommended lotion. Then I took everything I’d worn, the bedsheets, towels and all to the laundrette and the dry cleaners. All this as you can imagine cost me a fortune, the dry cleaning alone came to £1.50. I’m still racking my brains to think when and where I could have caught the little bastards, as I get a bath very regularly and use plenty of Femfresh – er I mean Old Spice!

What really made me uptight was that the other night I was with a really fabulous boy at a club and had to make excuses when he asked me back to his place, as I still had the Quellada lotion on my body! Thanks to the above mentioned article and its excellent advice I have got rid of the pesky things and can start to live again!

On another track. I’d like to say how fantastic I think Gay News is and give my love to Julian! Keep the gay flag flying!

Rick

Lovely Points

Dear Gay News,

That letter from ‘Queenies Castle’ really slayed us (Gay News issue number 12). “If” Sebastion is “straight”, then “call me Madam”. Perhaps He (or she) had a tiff with the Manager of the “dear old Bio” and plans to get her revenge.

Keep on writing, Julian, we love to read your points of view. We also think “Queenies Castle” should be renamed “HATTERS CASTLE”.

Martha, Michelle and Diana

Never Be Parents

London, W14.

Dear Gay News,

Few people seem to be aware of the unhappiness facing the Lesbian who loves children, but, because she cannot respond to men, despairs of ever having any children of her own.

Many gay men marry women who understand their problems and together they managed to bring up happy children. Gay women, on the other hand, have to find all their emotional satisfaction in their relationships with other women – and as they get older, with increasingly young girls who tend to become daughter substitutes.

Not all gay women may have found this, but it has been my experience. All my men friends are gay; all the straight men I ever knew lost interest not being content with a non-sexual relationship. Good riddance anyway. In retrospect they are all so hung-up on role playing that they couldn’t see the real person in me or themsleves.

Is there anyone who is really into kids and is not hung-up on sex and roles? Creative and understanding? I would like to hear about gay or bi men who also get depressed because they think they will never be parents.

Dierdre.

Preference, Prejudice, Perversion – Or Common Failing?

An answer to all those who complain of their ill-treatment by the gay world because of their age or plainness – and a few thoughts about why.

Take a look at the personal ads page. Read the ads there. It’s clear that words like ‘young’, ‘dolly’, etc are used frequently. ‘Same age or younger’ is a common turn of phrase employed. Yet many times I hear complaints that the younger guys are only interested in one another, and not in their older gay brothers. Lots of people see this as something wrong in the gay scene — as though this rejection were something one had to suffer if you’re a gay man. A part of our ‘difference’.

Well, it isn’t. It’s a normal reaction that one finds in every situation, gay, straight or twisted. Its power, however, is increased greatly by the myth-machine which produces adverts, films, books, plays.

How the wig-makers, cosmetic firms, car manufacturers, boutiques must laugh sometimes – all the way to the bank with your money! After all, a gay man, by the time he’s thirty-five or so, can reasonably expect to be earning a reasonable wage – he can also reasonably be expected to be spending a large proportion of that income on trying to convince himself and others that he’s younger than he is. Clothes, toiletries, cars, furnishings – the middle-class, middle-aged gay must be an ad-man’s idea of a perfect consumer. Put a pretty boy in a pair of coloured underpants in the Y-front ads and watch sales figures soar in Kensington and Earls Court!

But … it doesn’t make you any younger, or prettier, really, You’ll still look the same when you drop ’em.

But … the biggest but of all . . . take a look around and you’ll see that we aren’t the only ones to fall for it. Look at the ads for ‘body-belts’ (one firm has renamed them sexi-belts), wigs, bronzers. The straight male buys just as much of this sort of thing as some of us do – he’ll buy a sporty looking car, bronze his skin, adjust his toupee, and drive off up West to try to ‘pull’ a dolly bird.

His wife will have an even more comprehensive range of creams, powders, clothes and sprays to appeal to her desire to look and be young again. And when she’s put it all on she will invite that nice young milkman in for a cuppa. Honestly, everyone admires and chases young and pretty sex-objects.

And if you’re young but not very pretty – Johnny can sit all night in a. club – whether it’s Bumpers or the Masquerade doesn’t matter, but unless he’s traded in his hornrims for contacts, his pimples for ‘bronzer’, and his grey flannels for tight jeans, he’s quite likely to go home alone.

Vera can sit there all night, but unless she’s either nude or in heavy clogs, striped tights, peek-a-boo pop eye make-up, teenform bra, Tampax, Femfresh, Mum Rolette (etc) gaucho pants and a smock, sit is all she’ll do.

Both of them will quite likely get talking to some nice girl/boy (perm any two from four) at work, or on the tube, or anywhere, and eventually settle into a relationship. But they won’t hit it off with anybody in the sort of situation where you have to be a sex-object all the time – like a gay pub or club.

If we were all known as who and what we are at all times in all places, the same might happen to all of us — in fact I’m sure it would.

But most of us are only able to openly be gay in the hothouse atmosphere of a pub – and if you aren’t young and/or beautiful, that sort of thing doesn’t really suit you. You’re looking for HIM – while all we youngsters are looking for IT. Undue emphasis gets placed on this young-and-lovely because it looms large when you don’t come out and you don’t know who is and who isn’t. Try it and see.

It’s hiding away like this that makes this natural phenomenon look much more cruel and unnatural than it really is.

Right – having established that the youth and beauty cult isn’t a special ‘hang-up for gays’, where does it come from?

It is forced on your attention all the time in the form of ads – posters, telecommercials, on the sides of buses, shop windows – the message is the same everywhere. Buy this and you’ll be irresistably sexy.

‘Things happen after a Badedas bath’ croons the dripping young lady with a towel almost making her decent.

‘We’ll make you blush whatever kind of cheek you’ve got’ says the Woolworth lady peeping from behind her lace curtains.

‘You too, can have a Morley like mine’ grimaces the straining hulk in a tight blue tee shirt.

But you don’t judge a book by its cover – so why should you judge what degree of sexual stimulation/satisfaction you’re going to get (if you must look at people that way) by who’s teeshirt, bra or aftershave he/she’s wearing?

Face it, you lifelong bachelor uncles of this world, he might not be the bang of the century but your old school chum is a lot more likely to be able to talk on your level about things that interest you both/has spent as many years as you have collecting hints and tips for use around the bedroom and kitchen, and is probably as well off as you are. He won’t deafen you with the stereo, won’t cost you nearly as much in nights at the club, and he won’t perpetually be calling you grandpa when you’re cross. Not, like our little chickens, however, pretty.

Don’t get too conned by the adman and his sexopohstic world – they even try and sell fire extinguishers on sex appeal now. It’s lying there, on fancy-wrapping and ribbon, with a romantic lovey-dovey message on a card – and what does the slogan say?

‘TAKE ONE HOME TONIGHT – ITS MUCH MORE THOUGHTFUL THAN FLOWERS’. How romantic – he/she will fall into your arms in rapture and you’ll have the world’s foamiest bed that night. Oh yes, I can see it now. Soft lights, sweet music and a quick squirt on the sofa!

And where else in the world do you find rose-tinted youths skipping into impossible sunsets with demure young blossoms draped in their arms? That one is perpetuated by the Barbara Cartland School of Smarm and others. Think of the unreal way ‘love’ is presented in all the kids books you ever read – no sex, white weddings, and intense conversations on the library sofa. No wonder everybody chases the common idea of beauty (which is just another sort of fashion) and supposedly carefree youth. Everyone, mind you, gay and straight. Like other pressures, we feel it more in our isolation.

Of course some people are more attractive than others – but that’s a matter of personal taste and preference. Of course it’s nice yo taste a little youth, both literally and vicariously, by the company of young people. But, I’m afraid there’s nothing odd about youngsters prefering their own company in the bedroom.

Just remember that it’s much nicer to grow old gracefully than to try and look, act and be younger than you are. After all, age ought to have its pleasures too. It makes a lot more sense to pursue them than to try to regain what has gone, I’m atraid, for ever.

Doug Pollard

ED: Doug’s article on ageing can only cover a single aspect of one of the most important subjects in gayness. So, if you agree with him or disagree with him, write to Gay News and tell us what you think. We want to give all points of view an outlet, that’s the policy of independent GN.