Letters Continued

Bristling Inaccuracies

9 Moray Place, Edinburgh 3
Dear Gay News,

I never thought I’d find myself springing to the defence of Sir Michael Swann, but your news item in GN14 bristled with so many inaccuracies that the record must be set straight.

  1. The reference to his brush with Scottish International omitted the essential point, which is that he’d got hold of the wrong end of the stick. He thought that the story about a warden at another Scottish university was a bizarrely distorted version of something that had happened at Edinburgh.
  2. The teach-in on Homosexuality on March 8th is not being organised by the Scottish Minorities Group, but by a specially formed committee of staff and students (more non-gays than gays) from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt University — containing, by the way, not one professor, but two.
  3. Sir Michael did not write letters complaining about the abusive letters he’d received, though he did ask the Deputy Secretary to the University to tell me that the Teach-In could not be described without Senatus approval as an official University event, as the Glasgow Herald (for reasons best known to itself) had labelled it.
  4. To say that ‘he has taken steps to make sure that no university funds are spent on the teach-in by telling university committees that they may not regard the teach-in as official’ is almost libellous. Our Committee has no evidence that this has happened.
  5. In short. Sir Michael is not ‘on record’ as being anti-gay. It would be quite untypical of him to take any such positive stand. I have recently heard that in reply to at least one of the ‘abusive letters’ he started off by reassuring the writer that the Teach-In was not an official event and ended by saying that the University believed in encouraging free discussion. This hedging of his bets strikes me as far more characteristic of the political animal that he is.

I am not happy about the attitude of the University committees we have approached for help; their reasons for rejecting our applications strike me as specious and unconvincing. But individual prejudice, conscious or subconscious, could well be a sufficient explanation. Making wild and unprovable accusations of behind-the-scenes rigging is just playing into the enemy’s hands. In the long battle for gay rights we have to learn to be cunning as well as courageous.

Michael Coulson

Back In Business

Gay Arrow,
Reading Gay Alliance,
Room 7, 30 London Road,
Reading.
Dear Gay News,

We would like to clarify a point in your article “Angry Silence Hits RGA” (Gay News 14). It ended with the suggestion that complaints from a member of the public may gave made the landlord “forget” to renew his music and dance licence at the Tavern.

This is not true. The complaint to the brewers regarding the press advertisement came after the lapse of the licence. The landlord has done his best to ensure that our meetings go ahead without problems, and was very apologetic at the loss of the licence. He continued to let RGA use the club-room free of charge for the period without extensions or dancing, when attendances were very low and his revenue negligible.

The help he has given RGA since social functions started last June has been the most that could be expected from any licensee in business for gain, and in no other way associated with the aims of our organisation. This contrasts with the attitude of his monopolist employer.

We are pleased to report that he has now regained his licences, and our socials and discos are back in business.

Dave Thompson, Goff Sargent,
Editors of Gay Arrow

Not So Lucky

Albany Trust,
32 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1V 8EP.
Dear GN,

Your editorial spiel on money and the gay movement was dead on — except for your belief that “the Albany Trust is lucky enough to have a charitable trust supporting it just now.” I wish this was true, but it’s not. Last year we did receive just under £3,000 from the Gulbenkian Foundation.

But that was a once-only, emergency grant aimed at helping us keep our heads above water to the end of 1972 so that we could continue with the vital job of co-ordinating counselling and befriending activities for the homophile movement. The money has all been spent now, and the grant was necessitated because our 1972 income had dropped to half of what it used to be.

Now, at the beginning of 1973, the Albany Trust is once again faced with the prospect of being out of business within a few months unless adequate support is forthcoming. Our autumn appeal – designed to put us “in the black” for this year as a first step – was a failure. Yet we are not only “carrying” all NFHO’s administrative expenses but have also been contributing to those of CHE and other homophile groups. This can’t go on unless the gay world shows positive signs of wanting it to.

To expect more work to be done by gay organisations when they haven’t enough cash in hand to keep going at present levels is futile. There’s no question of “chicken or egg?” here. Given the cash, we will do the job. But time is short – for the Albany Trust and for NFHO, as well as for Gay News.

Antony Grey, Managing Trustee

1973: MAKE OR BREAK YEAR

When the National Federation of Homophile Organisations held its first annual general meeting on 9 December, one fact stood out very clearly: that unless the homophile movement speedily gets much more realistic about relating resources to objectives — and in particular about money — it might as well pack up shop in 1973.

The present situation is only too lamentably plain. Too many self-consciously overlapping groups are trying to do far too much with far too little. Unless this unreasonable competitiveness stops, and a greater willingness to pool scarce assets and work together for the common good emerges, we shall all get nowhere fast.

Much of the homophile movement, to my mind, is far too reminiscent of those children’s games of wish-think, where the more grandiose and fantastic your dreams of self-importance are and the more euphoric you become the more it is all a case of “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

Want a great big gay social club? An instant nationwide legal aid and counselling service? More law reforms? Bigger and better issues of ‘Gay News’ and other gay mags? Of course.

So you join CHE, GLF, Sappho, SMG, Challenge or one of the other homophile groups, and feel jolly virtuous and recklessly generous if you give them even a nominal quid above their slender subscription rate.

And then you grumble when the great big club and the bigger, better newspaper don’t materialise. Come off it. A collection of paupers in a workhouse planning to gut and refurnish Buckingham Palace would be as sensible.

But most gay people aren’t paupers. On the (not excessive) assumption that a high proportion of them earn average incomes of at least £1000 a year, the 18 member organisations of NFHO represent individuals worth £5 million. And if one considers that there are probably between 4 and 5 million British gays (and bis), the whole gay community – charitably assuming that there is such a thing – commands a formidable spending power. It would certainly seem so when one surveys the cash changing hands over the bars and counters of their favoured pubs and clubs every weekend!

So why is the homophile movement in danger of fading out for lack of cash? Maybe it’s because not enough people know the facts. Here are some of them.

To start with what you’re reading, ‘Gay News’ own economic problems are compounded by the refusal of the big monopolistic distributors to handle our only community paper – although despite this it has built up a circulation of several thousands in thirteen issues: a most creditable achievement. £1000 at least is urgently needed NOW to ensure ‘Gay News’s’ survival through 1973. Practical suggestion to everyone who reads this article: put £1 in an envelope and post it to ‘Gay News’ immediately!

No single homophile group is looking forward to a 1973 budgeting surplus on present membership levels and current subscription rates, and most have only enough cash in hand to look ahead on a month-by-month basis. This makes long-term development planning virtually impossible, and the sheer nitty-gritty of keeping the organisation going is a chronic worry for those responsible. (I know – I’ve talked to most of them).

The need tor centralised information services to deal with the ceaseless flow of personal enquiries and requests for help reaching all gay organisations and publications cannot be met without the necessary money to set it up and maintain it. NFHO and the Albany Trust have agreed in principle to do this – but the funds must first be found.

The Albany Trust, whose staff currently consists of myself, one secretary and a clerical assistant who gets only out-of-pocket expenses, is short of £5000 a year to ensure its survival even on this slender basis. Its recent appeal for new Deeds of Covenant has so far brought in only £300 instead of the £4000 £5000 hoped for, and we cannot go on living on “windfalls” in the shape of legacies for much longer. Unless more support is forthcoming from the gay world pretty quickly, the Trust – which was responsible for most of the positive work done for gay people between 1960 and 1970, and still has many valuable contacts in the political and social-work worlds – could have to close down during 1973. That would mean that NFHO’s plans for collective counselling and information services, and the Sexual Law Reform Society’s work on further law reform, will all be jeopardised.

As Chairman of NFHO, I have told all the member organisations that this movement is at a critical point where it must either go sharply uphill in terms of committed support and finance, or it will go down the drain. If the gay community of this country really wanted to, it would raise £50,000 a year for its own organisations and services with little difficulty. It all boils i down to this: do most gay people want a vigorous and effective homophile movement, and are they willing to support organisations and publications which work actively on their behalf – or are they contented with the present situation of lamentable public ignorance about, and discrimination against, homosexuality?

If the latter is the case, an increasing number of people will begin to wonder whether the gay minority is a minority worth working and fighting for. I hope it is, because I have spent the last ten years of my life doing just that.

Your Letters

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

Scandalous Behaviour

Woodsetts, nr. Worksop,
Notts

Dear Gay News,

I have been going to write to you for some time but have kept putting it off through laziness. What has at last impelled me to shake off my torpor is the appalling and scandalous action of Mr Martin Stafford as reported in Gay News no 11.

As a fellow member of CHE’s Executive Committee, I am well aware of the petulant and selfish attitude that he adopts. But I am horrified that even he could go to the lengths that you have reported. To disagree with your policy of publishing contact ads is one thing; but to go over to the enemy in this way is something that ought not even be considered by someone holding any official position in an organisation such as CHE. I am absolutely sure that the overwhelming majority of CHE members will join with me in condemning such action in the strongest possible terms. I must congratulate Gay News for its objective (even kindly) reporting of the episode. It is time that CHE took some firm action to put Mr Stafford in his place as the squalid little nuisance that he is.

On the same subject, more or less, I find it very sad that so many of our brother and sister homosexuals, while looking for and expecting sympathy and understanding for their own problems find it so difficult to be sympathetic and understanding of those of others. Typical is the letter of VJM of Dublin in GN 11. What is so awful about camping it up in female clothes that a repressed pederast finds so hard to accept?

In the meantime, it’s an ill wind … etc. I have at last got round to telling you what a good job you are doing and sending you the small donation and the cigarette coupons that I have been meaning to do for some time.

With congratulations and all good wisnes tor continued success.

H. E. (Ike) Cowan

Good News, Bad News

London WC1

Dear Friends and Lovers,

Congratulations on what must be the very best issue of Gay News yet (No. 11). What with one of my very favourite people on the cover and that splendid interview with Shuff, I sat transfixed in the laundromat long after my knickers had finished tumbling dry. Mrs Shufflewick is certainly the best drag artist working today, a comedian of genius. The interview proved that the success of such articles (which only come off now and then) lies in asking the right question at the right stage in the conversation. So congratulations to Shuff’s interrogators.

Now the bad news. I felt that Peter Homes’ report of the German gay movie at the NFT was inadequate and rather silly. The event was not, I agree, as important as all that. But it was interesting and both the film and the audience’s reaction had messages for us that deserved a rather more serious discussion than that offered.

Finally, your reporter with a cold who couldn’t stay on for CHE’s evening show after the fair has embarrassed me considerably. I certainly did not conceive the one-act musical that was put on, nor did I take part in it. In fact my only contribution to the evening was to appear in a five-minute sketch. Credit where credit’s due, etc — so thank Rex, Michael, Marie and Gavin for the show.

Lots of love,

Roger Baker

Forced to be Free

National Federation of Homophile Organisations,
65 Shoot-up Hill, London, NW2 3PS

Dear Friends,

I don’t consider myself to be “Britain’s number one homosexual”; I simply told the London Medical Group audience that I had publicly been referred to in that way at another recent meeting, so I had no objection whatever to telling them that I was gay. This was in response to a “come out” challenge to the panel by a gay visitor in the audience. I added that the Chairman had set us an impossible task by asking for a “dispassionate and objective” account of homosexuality, because everybody in the world speaks from his or her own personal subjective sexual viewpoint, and I was no exception. But I hoped that having told them I was gay myself would not preclude my hearers from accepting that what I had to say was the result of knowledge gained through ten years’ professional work and responsible experience of running the Albany Trust. We have to scotch the absurd notion that only the “straight” can speak authoritatively about the “gay” (or vice versa).

This little episode did, however, cause me to reflect about “coming out”. It is good to be able to: but not everyone yet can without running considerable social and professional risks. Isn’t it somewhat unfair for those who are in a more fortunate situation not to recognise this? To taunt a panel of three professional people, only one of whom (myself) was able to publicly lay homosexuality on the line without almost inevitable and immediately damaging repercussions in their own sphere of work, strikes me as oppressive. It’s utterly wrong, of course, that such repercussions should still happen, but until we have all done much more to put society right in this respect, each one of us must surely be left to decide how far, and in what ways, we can come out. I have fought as hard as anyone for gay liberation and other civil rights causes; but I would resent being “forced to be free” a la Rousseau.

What those who still feel bound to remain “in the closet” can do, however, is to make the work of those of us in the various homophile groups and publications more effective by seeing to it that we aren’t starved out of existence. The entire homophile movement is in a state of chronic financial crisis that threatens its continued life. I hope all your readers will carefully consider the urgent needs of the Albany Trust, the NFHO and its member organisations, GLF, Gay News, and the various other homophile publications and see to it that if they can’t yet come out of their closets, they do dig deeper into their pockets so that we can all do more to make 1973 a year that is safer for gay people to come out in.

Love and Peace,

Antony Grey,
Chairman

Slagging Julian

Queenies Castle
Sussex

Dearest Darling Gay News.

Much though I love your newspaper, I have just one teensy-weensy complaint. I refer of course dears, to our little friend Julian Denys Grinspoon. Really, I don’t know why he bothers! He doesn’t give anything worth having; and what a pseud name!

Well really, loves, who wants to know what films are on at our dear old Bio? No one ever goes there for the films, do they? One gets enough carnal knowledge from just sitting there; and as for active participation, well I don’t think I need tell you old queens anything about that! Jules makes such a fuss just because some silly duchess at the cinema wouldn’t give him what he wants. Then he makes a big thing about telling us about all the people he eventually got it from (the programme of course). As if we want to know about his private life anyway.

The double-entendres are just too much personally I don’t like that sort of thing. He’s always doing things behind people’s backs just to get his own way. That sort of thing was illegal you know! So, why do all you lovelies at Gay News waste your space (and time) on him? Anyway, loves, he’s so camp and that’s one thing I cannot stand!

Thanks for your mag.
Lots of love,
A straight reader and friend,

Sebastian

Call to All Gay Sisters

Dear Gay News,

This is really a call to all lady gays. I fervently agree with the letter from Sappho (GN10) and I sing in chorus “where have all the ladies gone?”

I’m sure I am not the only female reading this wonderful newspaper. But the guys rule the waves once again, don’t let them hog all the paper. I know lots about them and have seen plenty of their arses. How about giving me a little of what I want. Let’s have a few of our lady friends saying something about themselves. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a sexy little ladie’s page if we tried hard enough. But there is only you who can bring that about, so write in and say something – anything! Like, where a few of you lovely ladies hang out! I’m a fresher to London and am still looking for lots of friends and a tour around the gay places. So don’t keep your info to yourselves, let’s all know about it. I’m looking for an opening – don’t keep me waiting! Write and tell me, and lots like me I’m sure, where we can meet some of you lovely ladies.

Love to you all,

Lynne

ED: Please get in touch with us Lynne, you forgot to put your name and address on your letter. Without your address we cannot forward any letters to you.

No GLF At CHE

London W6

Dear Collective.

May I bring this information to the attention of your readers. Going down to the CHE London Information Centre to do my lunchtime stint on the rota on Monday, November 6, I was told by the office manager that on the previous Sunday a decision was taken by the London Management Committee of CHE to remove all GLF literature in LIC.

The reason given was that LIC had too much of a left-wing flavour, and that GLF literature was too much in evidence. I observed that other gay literature including one of full frontal nudes was untouched by this censorship.

LIC exists surely to provide first information, on CHE, then information on all other gay organisations regardless of any political, religious or any other basis. I certainly was not aware that GLF dominated the diplay, nor was I conscious of the left-wing flavour of LIC — whatever sinister spectre that term conjures in certain narrow minds. It is sad to see this rage over gay-red-under-the-bed getting the better of some of our brothers and sisters, or is there some deeper motive behind this first move? Whatever the reason I am sure this decision is a bad one and must be resolutely opposed. Group Chairmen, please note.

Teck Ong

Truer Homosexuality

Durham

Dear Gay News,

The article in a recent Gay News about so-called pederasty prompted me to get my thoughts on the subject in order and write this.

Basically I’m bisexual. At the moment I’m more heterosexually than homosexually inclined, but this is more because of ‘supply’ than ‘demand’. As far as the homosexual side of my sexual make-up goes I could be defined as a pederast, because I’m chiefly attracted to guys in an age-range of about 15—22. I doubt whether I could get it on with anyone older than this. I’ve thought about the reasons for my choice, and they’re something like this.

Physically and mentally, I’m a pretty fair balance between masculine and feminine. I’m also 19 (so that makes half my sexual make-up illegal but I don’t care, it’s the law that’s wrong), and I’m attracted to similar people. Maybe this is truer homosexuality than that seen in many couples where the butch/bitch syndrome is their basis. Anyway, there’s an elusive blend of masculine hardness and slimness with feminine softness which really turns me on. Quite a lot of guys in this age-group have it, and so do some women; the only trouble is, all the guys are straight! So I do the next best thing and go with women…

I’ve written mainly about physical characteristics; but before anyone writes a nasty reply, I do take mental characteristics into account, indeed very much so. however I can’t get it on with a guy or chick unless I fancy them. What a hangup!

Chris

Letterette Of The Month

Sidcup, Kent

… Thanks a lot … great reading … love the ads … love it all … Happiness is egg shaped … and so am I.

EL

Gay Movie

46, Cavan Drive, St Albans, Herts.

Dear Gay News,

I am in the process of finishing a gay film ‘Love Of My Own’ and I would like to hear from interested parties, in getting it on celluloid. Script-writers, film-directors with experience, actors, non-actors, and people with finance. This film calls for actresses (not in drag). I would like any gay director of a company to give permission to use the board room, and also anyone with a large house with swimming pool, so come on, let’s really make this film for 1973.

RL

Your Letters continued on page 6.

National Jewish Talk In

Picture has been edited as the age of the subject is not clear.LONDON: It was a bit of an anti-climax, really. Eight hours devoted to the subject of homosexuality and the Jew was enough to put off even the most devout Jew — or devout homosexual for that matter.

There we were, gathered in Holborn on a wet Sunday afternoon, each ready to bare his or her soul to the distinguished speaker who was constantly on the verge of appearing but never seemed to arrive.

The first half of the epic length debate consisted of Ian Harvey giving his famous Dunkirk speech that everyone has heard before, and dear old Anthony Grey looking for all the world like the undertaker to the gay world, and saying how much he liked being in with all his Jewish friends.

Things didn’t improve when a show of hands revealed that less than half the people present were actually Jewish. But never mind … Simon Benson was obviously enjoying every moment of it, and everyone agreed that it was very good of him to have arranged the whole thing.

There were the usual stories of How I Told Momma – spiced on this occasion by a few leaden Jewish jokes. The break came as a great relief.

In the interval the Star Turn appeared – looking very biblical with his long beard and eating sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil. He held out much promise.

By the second half, many had left, and the Jewish element in the audience had the strange experience of being a minority in an establishment run primarily for them.

The Star Turn gave us hard stuff about the Jewish attitude to the homosexual. Jewish law does not recognise the existence of homosexuals — only homosexual acts; these are forbidden. If I followed the talk correctly, the soul was regarded as being bisexual, and could only attain full unity when partnered with its other half, which, I gathered, could only happen within heterosexual marriage.

When asked what he would say to a Jew who asked him how to be a good Jew and a practicing homosexual as well, the distinguished speaker was at a loss, Finally he said that he would have to say “do your own thing…” Ten years ago that would have been a fairly radical statement, and the distinguished speaker thought that it was still a radical point of view, because he asked the reporter from the Jewish Chronicle not to report this part of the proceedings.

When the understandably flabergasted reporter asked why, she was given a pathetic string of implausible horrors that could befall Jewish teachers who step out of line. I was depressed, and I left soon after.

On my way out I saw Anthony Grey coming up from the loo, still looking for all the world like the undertaker. He gave me a short, tight smile and went back to the meeting, obviously bored beyond words..

Some Of My Best Friends Are Doctors

LONDON: Even the sub-dean of Guy’s Hospital Medical School learned a little about the gay world at the London Medical Group symposium on Society’s Responsibility to the Homosexual, which was addressed by a Cambridge criminologist; Antony Grey — “Britain’s number one homosexual” — of the Albany Trust; and a Roman Catholic priest who has written a book on advising gays.

Professor J. R. Trounce was the symposium’s chairman and he told the meeting: “This is something that I, for one, know very little about.”

He then heard the cold medical facts from Dr D. J. West, of the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, who said: “It is not identical to have sexual relations with a member of the same sex and to have a preference to have sex with the same sex.

“In recent years it has become possible to measure the response that homosexuals have for other men. Most recently the penis measurement machine has made it possible to be accurate in this form of response measurement.

“It is fairly sure now that the only people who can be ‘cured’ of homosexuality are those who would like to have sex with the other sex. In fact, the rate of success of clinicians turning homosexuals into heterosexuals is very small.

“I think this is because of the widespread nature with which this condition occurs – that is what causes it. The fact that it is so common leads one to doubt how it can be purely pathological.

“By and large, no survey of both male and female homosexuals has been carried out in this country.

“Until recently we were told that male and female hormones were present in the male homosexual. The general feeling now is that homosexuality is decided by endocryne levels. The level of andronogens will alter the strength of the sexual drive of the individual.

“Most homosexuals see themselves as males or females. In many cases there is a very strong attachment to mother and a disturbed relationship with father.

“In the case of transexuals, the feelings for mother and against father could almost be called psychotic.”

Mr Antony Grey, managing trustee of the Albany Trust said he had once been introduced as Britain’s number one homosexual. He said: “The problem about homosexuality is really ignorance.

“It is a disgrace that sex education and even professional training for doctors ignores sexual deviation.

“The law is very discriminatory against homosexuals. The police have more interest in harassing homosexuals rather than investigating heterosexual offences.

“The stigma applied to someone who declares himself to be a homosexual is immense. Society’s responsibility to the homosexual is the same as society’s responsibility to anyone: that is to let them exist in society as people without any restraint being put upon them.

The Rev Michael Holings, author of the book ‘Counselling the Homosexual’ gave a Christian view of homosexuality. He pointed out that: “When I wrote my booklet, I knew that to the majority of the Roman Catholic Church homosexuality meant just one phrase ‘mortal sin’. But if you are a human being you have to recognise that human beings are different.”

After the speeches the audience, mainly medical students, was allowed to ask the speakers questions. All of them came from gays. The medical students stayed silent – perhaps they did not want to learn.

Laurence Collinson, author of the banned book ‘Cupid’s Crescent’ said: “Dr West raised the subject of transexuality, which is very different from homosexuality, but that is not the impression he gave.”

CHE Talks To Liverpool

From the Convenor of the Liverpool Group

On September 20th, the Liverpool Group of CHE held a “teach-in” on homosexuality at Liverpool Cathedral. Intended for professional workers, the meeting attracted some 3S people representing schools, youth clubs, the probation service, voluntary and local authority social services, Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy, Samaritans and magistrates.

The speakers were the convenors of the Liverpool and Wirral Groups of CHE and Michael Butler, Deputy Director of the Samaritans in London. They covered various aspects of homosexuality, including the myths and misconceptions surrounding the subject, the legal position of homosexuals and the need for CHE and Friend. Afterwards, a panel including the speakers, Antony Grey of the Albany Trust and Dennis Nadin of the London CHE Churches Working Party, answered questions and engaged in a discussion with the audience.

The discussion was well worthwhile, especially where it probed the ways in which the Group and the various agencies represented could co-operate to help homosexuals. These discussions will now be extended through a number of discussion groups being arranged at the request of many of those present. Many of the contacts which the group has made, particularly with the probation service and Samaritans, were cemented and new links forged. The help which the group is now getting from various sources is very gratifying.

The meeting was also interesting as it was the first occasion for which the group had solicited press coverage. A small announcement in the “Liverpool Echo” a couple of days before started complaints against the use of a place of worship for a meeting on such a disgusting subject. The protests were spearheaded by the Secretary General of the Christian Political Union, whatever that is; we’re still trying to find out – and hit the front page of the Liverpool “Daily Post” on the day of the teach-in and was given prominent coverage in one of the suburban weeklies. There were demands that the meeting be called off. The group is very grateful to the Dean of the Cathedral for allowing us the use of a room and to him and his staff for dealing with the complaints. Because of the protests, interviews with the convenors of the two Merseyside groups and the Christian Political Union were broadcast on Radio Merseyside the next day and a short report appeared in the “Liverpool Echo”. We thought the press coverage reasonably fair to us.

On the whole, a very fruitful evening. Expensive and time-consuming to arrange, but it paid off in all sorts of ways.

Paper Turns Down Ad

LONDON: The Jewish Homosexual Liaison Group, the new organisation for Jewish homosexuals in Britain, is being stifled by the Jewish community’s own newspaper.

The Jewish Chronicle, which is the newspaper for Britain’s 450,000 Jewish people refuse to accept any advertisements for the group’s first national think-in which contain the words “gay” or “homosexual”.

Simon Benson, who’s getting the group going told Gay News: “The editor’s secretary said it was a family newspaper and the words would offend certain people.”

The think-in is on Sunday, November 19 between 2pm and 10pm at the West Central Jewish Club, Hand Court, High Holborn.

Speakers will be Dr Alan Unterman, student chaplain to Manchester University, Francis Treuherz, social worker with the Jewish Welfare Board and Antony Grey, managing trustee of the Albany Trust.

The 1967 Confidence Trick (1)

Law or Sexuality. Which Corrupts?

02-197206XX 2Do you believe that the 1967 Act solved everything? That it gave you the same rights as anyone else. Well, take very careful note of the words of one of their high and mighty lordships (Lord Reid) in deciding that IT was breaking the law in publishing gay personal ads. According to him, and therefore the law, there is “a material difference between merely exempting certain conduct from criminal penalties and making it lawful in the full sense.” In plain English, it’s legal, but then again, it isn’t. To the corrupt minds of their lordships, of the police, and of everyone else in a position of power over you life and mine, our homosexuality is a “vice”, a “perversion”, an “abnormality”.

It cannot be said too often that homosexuality, like any other sexuality, is about life, about people, about love, and not just about sexual practices. That human beings cannot be classified into “normal” and “abnormal”, they are simply different from one another. There is no such thing as “sexual normality”, but if “normality” means the sexual preference of the majority of the population, then it would not be heterosexuality, homosexuality or even bisexuality, but sexuality without a fixed direction. The unpleasant, impersonal things of gay life, like the cottages and sauna baths, the overpriced clubs and pubs are a result of the fear and shame specifically created by the law, because the law forbids us to meet freely as everyone else can, to advertise freely as everyone else can. To live openly and freely is our right, but the law denies this, depressing us into a less than full existence, treats us as less than human. If the way we live is depraved and corrupt (and I most strongly contend that it is not), then it is the law which is responsible for that and not our sexuality.

Which is more reprehensible – two people making love (or having sex together), or a whole organisation of people dedicated to isolating. punishing and discriminating against ordinary human beings became they make love? Which is depraved? Which is corrupt? Which harms others? Do we seek to keep any group of individuals down, to deny them less than their full rights as fellow human beings, to damage and control them because of their sexual preferences?

Look at the letters reprinted here – they are from organisations of gays working for our rights. Then consider what the law has said. It doesn’t take much to work out who cares about people, and who is depraved and corrupt


THE TIMES 19th June, 1972

HOMOSEXUALS AND THE LAW

From Mr Antony Grey and others

Sir, the undersigned are chairmen of organizations with a combined membership of over 5,000, representing the welfare of homosexual men and women throughout Britain. We have read with the gravest concern The Times’s report (June 15) of the House of Lords judgment in the case of Knullar (Publishing, Printing and Promotions) Ltd v Director of Public Prosecutions.

The effect of this would seem to be that homosexuals are prohibited from making contact with one another for non-criminal purposes through the public press – a freedom which is not denied, so far as we are aware to any other group of Her Majesty’s subjects. We deplore the House’s apparent judicial belief that homosexuals “corrupt” one another, and we are impelled to seek urgent Parliamentary action to clarify, and if necessary amend. Lord Reid’s dictum in relation to the Sexual Offences Act 1967 that there is “a material difference between merely exempting certain conduct from criminal penalties and making it lawful in the full sense”.

It was the clear wish of Parliament as expressed in that Act – supported, according to opinion polls, by two-thirds of the population – to relieve adult homosexuals of a criminal stigma which had brought much suffering to individuals and wastage to the community. Are we now to understand that this objective has been circumvented by the courts?

This seems a ludicrous and unintended outcome of reform. It is also lamentable that such old fashioned and ignorant views about the nature of homosexuality apparently still persist in high judicial quarters (eg Lord Hailsham’s quaint notion, expressed on television this week, that it is simply a “vice”). We think it is time for those who lay down the law to do some elementary psychological homework.

Yours faithfully.
ANTONY GREY,
Chairman, National Federation of Homophile Organizations,
MARJORIE BRYANTON,
General Secretary, NFHO,
TONY CROSS,
Chairman, Integroup.
IAN C. DUNCAN,
Chairman, Scottish Minorities Group.
BRENDA GODFREY,
Chairman, New Group, Manchester.
ALLAN HORSFALL,
Chairman, Campaign for Homosexual Equality,
SHARON M. MURRAY, North Eastern Women’s Group,
65 Shoot-up Hill, NW2
June 19.

The Scotsman, 21st June, 1972

PUBLIC MORALS

214 Clyde Street. Glasgow,
June 16, 1972.

Sir, – The decision by the House of Lords on Wednesday, 14th June, that the publishers of “It” had been rightly convicted on a charge of conspiring to corrupt public morals by inserting “gay” advertisements in the magazine, cannot be allowed to pass by without comment.

That conspiracy to corrupt public morals was a crime known to the law of England, was decided by the House of Lords in the “Ladies Directory Cae” in 1962. This decision adversely affected the defences provided by Section 2(4) of the Obscene Publications Act, 1959 where the essence of the offence was “tendency to deprave and corrupt” The Solicitor-General assured the House of Commons on 3rd June 1964 that “a conspiracy to corrupt public morals would not be charged so as to circumvent the statutory defence in Section 4,” but no effective action was ever taken by Parliament to draw the legal professions notice to this directive.

In the “It” case, it is important to remember that the prosecution made no point whatsoever that males under 21 would likely to reply to the advertisements.

The appellants argued that because homosexual acts between mades in private were now lawful by the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (both parties being over 21), it could not therefore be the law that other persons were guilty of an offence if they merely put in touch two males who would, perhaps, indulge in perfectly lawful activity. This argument was dismissed by their Lordships, who, in a very narrow reading of the 1967 Act, said that if people chose to corrupt themselves in that way it was their affair and the law would not interfere, but no licence was given to others to encourage the practice.

The effect of this deliverance must be gloomy news indeed for all those who hoped for more understanding towards the many problems which millions of homosexual men and women have to face. How are like-minded men and women to meet in a lawful manner? No other minority group in Britain is today discriminated against in such a total way. The decision must adversely affect the gradual improvements being won by such organisations as the Scottish Minorities Group who over the past two or three years have been talking with the caring professions and encouraging new thinking towards counselling homosexuals. What now happens when a doctor, a clergyman, a social worker or a lawyer introduces two isolated men with the express aim of bringing about a happy and creative union? We are told that the law is being broken. It is a fallacy that homosexuals usually wish to meet for the purposes of having sexual intercourse. A principal aim of the SMG is to organise social occasions where homosexuals can meet, and thus banish the foul atmosphere of the public bath and the public lavatory.

And in doing just this, SMG has been highly successful. ls this useful activity now to be viewed with opprobrium?

Neither the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, nor the 1967 Sexual Offences Act apply to Scotland. However, we are assured that “in practice the law in enforced in Scotland in much the same way as it is in England” (Civil Liberty – The NCCL Guide, p. 293). The effect of the House of Lords’ decision is to throw

P.T.O.