Dear Brothers and Sisters,
WHY I AM OPPOSED TO WEARING FROCKS AS A POLITICAL ACT
The argument used by the “Frock Brigade” for wearing drag is that it challenges male privilege and is therefore aiding the liberation of women in our society. I wonder what privileges they are referring to? Neither men nor women in general have any privileges. The majority of “privileged” men have to work hard at monotonous jobs for low pay and have generally unsatisfying existences. It is not by men that women are oppressed, but by the System which oppresses both men and women. Men are often the unwitting agents of women’s oppression. The working man dissatisfied with the conditions of his work will vent his frustration on his wife When he comes home.
Hence it is a question of changing the system by which women are oppressed, that is by being given the opportunity to explore ways of relating other than the restrictive monogamous heterosexual relationships based on mutual tolerance rather than mutual love.
As a political act within GLF it is very damaging as the majority of gay people do not, cannot, and do not wish to identify with men wearing frocks. If a man WANTS to wear drag, that is a perfectly valid reason for wearing it, but it is folly to think of it as a POLITICAL act. It re inforces a stereotype image of gay people which can have a shattering effect on gay people who still feel ashamed or guilty about being homosexual, making it more difficult for them to accept themselves. The Frock Brigade (I do not use the term Radical Feminist as they are neither radical nor feminist.) should realise the amount of harm they are doing to the gay movement and, more importantly, how much unhappiness they must be causing to thousands of gays who become alienated by their tactics.
Apparently, as the Spare Rib incident would indicate, the Frock Brigade will only accept women’s liberation on their terms i.e. on men’s terms. If that isn’t patronising, I wonder what is. How can these men (even though they pretend they are not men) be aware of what being a woman is like, of producing and caring for children and of being brought up from infancy as a woman.
As a LIBERATION movement, let us not forget that liberation is about people. Let us not forget the people we’re trying to liberate.
Dear Gay News,
Piggery alas at yet another cottage. On August 16 at Strawberry Vale cottage, Finchley, on the North Circular Road near the A 1000 intersection. I arrived to find a cute looking fuzz in fetchingly butch mufti – leather jacket and lovely black hair and moustache – taking down the particulars of several gay brothers whilst a colleague with an alsation dog looked on.
In early May the same cottage was invaded by-two Security Express guards, again complete with alsations. Whether the London Borough of Barnet had hired them for this purpose or they decided just to have a little go at any fucking poufs they might find whilst passing I can’t say, but clearly this is a terrifying precedent.
Love and strength, Jim Scott
Upper Richmond Road,
The negative comments in your column about Biograph Review are somewhat misleading.
Reviewing in national dailies has become a specialised art, obscurity is deliberate, and the writing seems purposely directed towards the comprehension of an elite few, not the total readership.
Biograph Review is informative without being stuffy. It is written in an extremely individual style. No profession lends itself to individuality more than journalism.
It is youthful. There is a two-fold place in modern journalism for youthfulness: first; to atone for past prejudice against young writers as “immature” second; because, as even the establishment has come to realise – youth has something to say.
The art of the critic is not easily attained.
George Copeland’s letter (Gay News No. 4) illustrates that. Especially if one aspires to the ponderous, overwritten, heavy material so often enountered.
Julian Grinspoon’s column easily achieves what it proposes – communication. It radiates friendship.
At his trial, Oscar Wilde was asked if the conversation of one of his young men friends was “literary”?
“No. On the contrary,” replied Mr. Wilde, “quite simple and easily understood.”
Fred G. Green
ex: Arts Committee
Gay Activists Alliance-New York
This is a letter sent to OZ magazine in reply to Felix Dennis’s criticisms of the Biograph Review. Julian says “right on and all that sort of thing” to Fred, and “hard sucks” to Felix.
Barons Court W 14
Notwithstanding the paranoia with which Bob Mellors consistently gives ‘sisters’ priority over ‘brothers’, there is much in his letter (GN no 4) to commend. At one point he might almost have been quoting me. I have always longed to be regarded as a sex object. Even when I was a pretty young chick (and I can substantiate that claim with documentary evidence) I was singularly lacking in that animal magnetism which attracts other gay guys into bed. Admittedly, over the years, this has been compensated for by a series of prolonged and searching relationships culminating in an ecstatic and richly rewarding love affair I had with a young man I met through the columns of IT (vide my “Sunday Times” letter reprinted in GN 3), but this doesn’t alter the fact that I am, and always have been, welcomed with something less than warmth on the sex conveyor belt that your eighteen-year-old writes about with such (feigned?) boredom.
This brings up the whole question of sex-appeal and psycho-sexual empathy in the gay world. Even in maturity, if I might euphemise middle-age as such, I am not a bad proposition. My teeth and legs are good, my sexual appetite voracious, and I give as good as I get. My IQ is not quite up to Bobby Fischer’s but my field of reference is much wider and I am not a nonentity having a certain recognition in my own field. My kinks are such that they give as much pleasure,to their recipient as they do to me. Above all, I am interested in the people I go to bed with. Yet all my life, these desperate months between affairs have been spent fruitlessly in pursuit of sex partners, whilst other people with no overt sexual appeal that I can recognise, seem to exert an effortless attraction for other gays. It is definitely not, as Bob suggests, a question of youth and beauty.
It is a much more elusive quality that I find impossible to analyse, or even to detect. How I envy those guys who wearily, and quite sincerely, sigh “Jesus, I must have a night off, for once.” This constant rejection has a debilitating effect on one’s psychological resilience and one’s sexual competence, which in turn are mutually demoralising.
I sometimes wonder what I am doing, helping the gay reform movement, be it in the press, on the box, or simply in my everyday affairs. It is many years since I gave up my hang ups about my homosexuality and my friends and associates accept me on my own terms, and I do not differentiate between my straight and gay friends. Nor have I cultivated, nor been able to cultivate, an exclusively gay circle. Perhaps the reason for my exclusion is my lack of exclusivity. I find bilateral society attitudes are still, and regrettably, very much the norm in gay circles. How often is one asked to parties with the qualification that one must not camp because it will be ‘straight’ or ‘mixed’ or introduced to someone with a whispered warning that ‘he is not queer?’ I have never subscribed to these partisan attitudes. Does this make me undesirable? Or is there some intuitively perceived aspect of my sexual quirks that people find distasteful? Or is it simply my profile?
Is there anyone else as gorgeous as me who is equally underdesired? If so, could we between us, discover what the psycho-sexual barriers are? Failing that could we not by-pass the A & B jet set, the Coleherne Miss World contest, the GLF chauvinists, the CHE mums, the Holland Walk perambulating circumnavigators, and get on with the fucking?
Sororally yours (if I might redress Bob’s balance)
P.S. I Love Grinspoon.
Monday Market St
Dear Gay News,
I am donating £1 to your Good Gay News magazine. I hope that many many people will come to read it and that many of us Gay lonely people may find that they have many friends.
Love and Peace
to all Gay Brothers and Sisters
I am writing to tell you, how I enjoy your paper, or should I say our paper, I got the first issue from the Colherne, and really enjoyed it, I then tried to get the second copy by doing a rather unsuccessful tour of the newsagents, W.H. Smiths, Menzies, etc. Although I had little joy in obtaining a copy, it was compensated for by seeing the faces of some of the newsagents when asked for it. And when they said ‘no’, the mouthful they got from me, it was very amusing, I heard one ‘straight’ remark as I left the shop – “Fucking Poof” – I haven’t been called that in ages, I felt quite nostalgic.
Anyway I got number two in the end from Virgin Records, long may their ‘Y’ fronts not hamper them.
My third copy was obtained from the ‘Boltons’ (outside — I’m not too keen on the interior) whilst mincing along one night.
I am pleased to say issue no. 3 is great, I really enjoyed reading it in bed the other night, although my old man wasn’t so happy, he had other plans for the night. I think no. 2 was a low, keep on having highs like no. 3, power to your elbows duckies.
Why not a column on make-up and beauty and clothes. Heaven knows there is so much crap on the market we need a good guide to colourful make-up and good bright clothes.
Please print my little ad as I can’t afford the rent for much longer. If you do print this letter, then anyone is welcome to my place for a chat and a little wine.
Will send you a subscription when I get someone to share my place.
Dear Gay News,
Readers who use the contacting facilities of Clapham Common may care to note the following experience of mine.
Recently I went to the Common and there met a seemingly rather pleasant man and agreed to return to his flat. On leaving the Common I saw it was very late, so decided to defer the pleasure to a weekend. Whereupon my companion became threatening, demanding money and my wristwatch. Largely to avoid drawing attention I got rid of him by giving him a small amount of money I had with me.
Next day I took legal advice, which was that the police, though they might prosecute me, most certainly would take no steps whatever to pursue my assailant – my best course was to try to raise a stink.
So I wrote to that noble custodian of the British liberal conscience, ‘The Observer’, then running a service of leading articles on public confidence in the police. Back came the reply that the matter was of interest to only a minority of readers (this from a paper that purports to care about minorities), that to criticise the police on the basis of a solicitor’s experience was ‘unfair’, and that although ‘The Observer’ had (of course) no sympathy with queer bashing, anyone trolling Clapham Common really 2 was asking for it.
So Gay News readers, should any of you ever be tempted to take a late-night constitutional in Clapham’s perfumed groves, watch out, there’s a thug about. He’s about 35, 5’9″ and fairly stocky with medium length dark wiry hair, receding slightly over somewhat lined features. Scottish, probably from Dundee, but now believed to reside in Clapham. On first impression he is a decent working-class bloke. He’s not, and if you meet him, avoid him and tell your friends to do likewise.
Love and strength,
James J Scott
Would Charles G. Brown, who had a letter of his published in Gay News No. 5, please contact us. Thanks.