Criminals, Queers, Etc.

19721001-04LONDON: The London Medical Group, a Christian-Medical group is running an open debate on Society’s Responsibility to the Homosexual on October 17. And among the speakers will be a high-ranking criminal psychiatrist.

The meeting’s chairman will be Dr Trounce, the sub-dean of Guy’s Hospital Medical School, who is a physician, Mr T. J. West, MD, DPM, of the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, Mr Michael Hollings, author of Counselling the Homosexual, and Anthony Grey, of the Albany Trust.

The meeting will be open to the public at 5.45 at Guy’s Hospital Medical School.

Where Scots Lag…

Scotland “lags behind” England as far as homosexual legislation is concerned, a Glasgow psychiatrist told a one-day conference on homosexuality in Edinburgh yesterday.

Dr Keith Wardrop, Director of the Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Glasgow, told the conference, organised by the SMG, that the attitudes among certain sections of the public towards homosexuals led to such things as drug-taking – particularly among young people.

Scottish Sunday Express, Glasgow.

SMG held a one-day conference on Homosexuality in Edinburgh, ft received the above report in the Scottish press. We received the following report from Joan Aitken.

SMG CONFERENCE

19720901-04One of the enormous tasks facing the gay movement is that of educating the rest of the world to the effect that gay is not bad or sick or corrupting. That is, to reverse the whole situation of gay people. For this reason SMG decided at their last AGM to hold annual (at least) conferences on homosexuality and to encourage the public to come along.

The first of these was held in Heriot Watt University on Saturday August 5th – the title of which was “Homosexuality – is it a problem?” In going along to any conference one tends to have doubts about the whole structure and almost to have headaches in anticipation. But I got a pleasant surprise – I can only say this was the best conference I have ever attended.

In the morning the question was discussed by four speakers – Anthony Grey, Michael Steed (Tres. CHE), Dr Keith Wardrop (Dir Forensic Psychiatric Clinic – Glasgow) and Sharon Murray (NE Womens Group). In the afternoon we broke into discussion groups. The conference ended with a forum.

I found the discussion on the female homosexual (did I notice a certain reluctance to use the word lesbian?) interesting in that it reflected how much homosexuals or any oppressed minority does tend to load itself with problems. There is an element of paranoia and thus some of the problems for the homosexual are self-created. I felt that Sharon Murray did present an example of this when she failed to realise that many of the problems of the lesbian are problems for the heterosexual as well. She was right, though, to get angry when Mr Wardrop suggested that life was easier for the female. There was some discussion between the speakers and the floor as to who had the roughest time – the male or the female. My own view is that it is an irrelevant question and to pose it is to indulge in the self-pity and egotism that Anthony Grey had attacked earlier in his talk.

The consent of the oppressed as a mechanism in the process of oppression was discussed by Michael Steed in an interesting talk where he scientifically looked at attitudes to homosexuality. He quoted the results of National Opinion Polls on whether homosexuals should be able to make love freely in private and on whether homosexuals needed treatment. The latter reported that 93% thought that such was the case.

This point about attitudes came up again in the discussion on why the Homosexual Law Reform Act did not apply in Scotland. David Steel, MP proved a most willing and interesting speaker and explained attitudes to homosexuality were at the time of the act less ‘enlightened’ than the English. However since 1967 the Church of Scotland, still very influential in deciding Scottish public opinion, has eased its attitudes and there has recently been much correspondence in the ‘Scotsman’ on the subject of homosexuality. The reliance on common law in Scotland to safeguard the position of the homosexual can no longer be trusted, especially after the recent House of Lords decision in the IT case, and recent local prosecutions.

But a lot of myths have to be waded through yet and how many differences there are on large issues and how much pain has to be disentangled to reach rational attitudes. The conference was good in that everyone relaxed together and the discussion was calm and sympathetic. It felt as if a breath of fresh air

No Bread but Good Vibes for Gay News

01-197205XX 4The National Federation of Homophile Organisations was born on 30th October 1971. The insemination took place 15 months previously at York University during July 1970. This slow gestation period reflects the changes in attitude and heart of its founder members (SMG, CHE, St. Catherines, womens’ groups) as much as the turtle’s pace which NFHO has tended to move since October, 1971. The Meeting in Catford on Saturday 1O June, 1972 – thanks Tony Cross of INTEGROUP – was to formulate planning and financial policies for the year ahead. 2O people representing most of the structured homosexual organisations in the U.K. attended.

Sadly we began too formally. This imposed a deadness on the proceedings which proved hard to lift, though one or two tried. Quite a few of us were strangers and didn’t really know who was representing what. The rest, (the old guard), were glad of the rare chance to socialise and exchange gossip. We needed no introductions having been active in structured homosexual society since its beginnings in the 1960’s. Wise old cheshire cats we are, delighted and yet bewildered at the great growth and diversification in the gay world since GLF shattered the silence late in 1970.

There was agreement on limited non-controversial topics. Michael Butler’s suggestion of a residential weekend conference 2-3 September at St. Catherine’s on the subject of “Befriending”, was enthusiastically received. We also decided, though less cheerfully, to seek NFHO offices (rented) in principle, which would also house a CHE office, Albany Trust, Albany Society Limited, and A’3. Group meetings would also take place there. “GAY NEWS” was also discussed at some length. The idea of the newspaper as an “official organ” of the National Federation was rejected, but a strong plea was made that individuals should write in to the paper because the quality of the paper depends on the strength of the articles it receives.

NFHO’s best function will be as an organisation for information collation and exchange. It will be best equipped to talk directly with the large Foundations and organisations such as the National Council of Social Service, Marriage Guidance Council, Home Office, D.E.S. However, overshadowing everything is the nagging realisation that NFHO is an extra financial committment for its member organisations.

Anthony Grey urged everyone to think big in cash terms, otherwise the gay movement would never finance itself.