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.

Che Shows The Way

LONDON: Any vicar’s wife who wandered into London’s Conway Hall the other Saturday wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at what she saw as hundreds of homosexuals did their thing — and in public. It was CHE’s autumn fair, and to all intents and purposes it looked like a village fete that had been rained off the cricket square and into the WI Hall.

CHE held the fair to raise money for its London social club — just as any village has a fete to pay for the work on the dry rot in the choirstalls. This autumn fair was a community event, like a village fete. Except for the fact that this was specifically for London’s gay community.

It would have warmed any vicar’s wife to see preserves and cakes on sale, lucky dips, seemly games of chance, though the rummage stall labelled “Drag” might have raised an eyebrow or both.

There may have been a vicar’s wife there, but mainly the people were those one usually gets to see in the gay ghetto. But for the fair they’d all come out, and as a social event it had that to commend it.

But all that, and speculation about vicar’s wives is irrelevant to the fact that CHE’s Autumn Fair raised £1,000 towards the Campaign’s projected gay social centre.

It’s also important to mention that the campaign, often regarded as the most staid and least go-ahead of the gay groups, actually put on the event, raised the money and gave a lot of people a good time, which didn’t just end with the fair but went on into the evening with such treats as No-No-Nanette in one act, conceived by Roger Baker and performed by Roger and the CHE Players, an amorphous bunch, who gave a lot of people an evening of entertainment, which this reporter had to miss so he could retire home with his cold. Pity.

Rough And Tombola

CHE’s Autumn Fair

Autumn is upon us once more, and as I watch the golden brown leaves flutter limply to the ground … you mean this isn’t Readers Digest?? Well, actually I feel as though Autumn has been upon me since last July. However, this is almost all completely beside the point, you see to brighten your autumnal gloom, London CHE groups decided to get together and produce another sparkling fair. Only this time it’s bigger and better and we’re holding it in Autumn, which explains the incredibly stupid content of the first few lines of spiel. Yes, an Autumn fair, and what better way to raise money for the CHE London Club, that we so badly need, than to give people a really good time? Well, that’s what we thought anyway.

You may remember that last year, despite little or no advance planning or publicity, we did much the same thing and managed to raise £300 in just five hours for the club. Now, £1 a minute isn’t bad going by anybody’s standards is it? Unfortunately, London prices being what they are, £300 isn’t going to get us very far, but apart from all this fund-raising bit, we wanted this fair to be an opportunity for all the London groups to involve themselves in what almost everyone agrees to be a worthwhile project. So this year’s preparations started that much earlier, giving us more opportunity to get the goodies together and to pick up the bargains you’ll be finding on our heavily laden stalls. We now have contributions from all our London groups and even one from the Home Counties (Windsor’s Fruit, Flower and Veg Stall).

We hope we’ve learnt from past experience, and although last year’s fair was quite a success it was by no means perfect. So this year, we’ll be aiming to ‘keep the customer satisfied’ by laying on food and hot drinks not to mention somewhere to rest your aching feet and have a chat with your friends.

Our idea is that this fair should be fun for everyone and certainly not just the participants. Of course, with some fund-raising events you can find your hand in your pocket every five minutes, but we know that this fair couldn’t be a success based on the rip-off principle. That’s why you’ll be finding fantastic bargains from 5p to £5.

To give you some idea of what we’ve got in store for you I’ll list out just some of the stalls. We’ve got the New Books stall; Cards and Calendars; Framed Prints; House Plants; For HIM For Christmas, (sorry girls, but nobody put forward a For HER Stall); Homes and Gardens Stall; Pickles and Relishes; Cakes; Bottles; Antiques; Candles(!); White Elephant Stalls; and so it goes on, not to mention Fortune Tellers, Bingo etc, and of course our own pivotal CHE stall where you can find out about us and some of our aims. Then at 7.30 pm we’ve got entertainment lined up for you in the form of our own CHE players who will be presenting three comic one-act plays: ‘Gladys Otherwise’ and ‘One Blast And Have Done’ both by N.F. Simpson and Harold Pinter’s ‘Trouble In The Works’. As well as all this there’ll be a Revue which will present some of our ‘home grown’ talent in glittering style!!

Although we’re hoping that many of our own CHE members will support our venture, it would be a great pity if this turned out to be an ‘in’ thing. We want as many gay people as can make it to come along and, for that matter, anyone else. This is why we’ve tried to keep the entrance price so low (20p for the fair; 30p for the evening entertainment; and a 40p ticket that will get you into both). Then, as a kind of bonus, we’ve numbered each ticket and at 6.00pm there’ll be a draw to see who’s going to win themselves a Mediterranean holiday for two.

So you see we’ve all been quite busy getting what should be something really special together for your delight, and dare I say, titillation, and we hope that you won’t want to miss it. The fair opens at 11.00 in the morning at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 on Saturday 4th November. If you’re going to come by the tube you’ll want the Holburn stop which is on both the Piccadilly and the Central Lines. If you want to try and get tickets in advance send a postal order and a stamped addressed envelope to Charles Micklewright, 46 B Chart field A venue, London SWI5 6HG or you can call in on our CHE London Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street. For my sins I will be ‘on the door’, I hope not literally, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.