Bisexuals – Oppressed And Oppressor

We don’t fit in — either with the gay or with the “straight” (hetero) communities. Both seem to regard us as some kind of freak. It seems as if it’s OK for us to love/fuck either women or men but not both. We know about the oppression of gays from personal experience and then we get into a women’s lib book (especially “Sisterhood is Powerful” — ed. Robin Morgan, Vintage books V-539 — probably the easiest to read and not so likely to bog down a new reader to the subject) and discover (if we don’t already know it) that we, bisexual males, are oppressing our ladies in the same way that society oppresses us/them.

The rest of this article will be written in the first person singular. I’d like to write ‘we’ all the way through, but everybody’s experiences are different (as are their attitudes, degree of gayness, etc, etc.)

My first problem is recognising the degree of my gayness. If I overdo the gayness, I lose my hetero love(s). So I can only come out to a certain degree, and if that certain degree isn’t enough I have to repress all my gayness which leaves me lonelier and angry with myself and with society for creating the situation in which I have to be either one or the other. I want my bread buttered on both sides, but can’t find the butter knife and so I just have bread and man cannot live on bread alone. Sometimes, from the looks I get from both sexes, it seems as if another Hitler movement’s starting. I should describe myself as a fur-coated, nail-varnished “hippie” for want of a better word, especially as somebody yelled ‘Bloody kinky hippie” after me about half an hour ago).

So what can I do? Become a radical gay and fight my oppression whilst at the same time knowing that I too am an oppressor? Everybody must come together – the gay movements (ALL OF THEM), the women’s movement, the black movement, the freak movement. Most of us (the above, not just bisexuals) are seeking reforms, either of laws or of society, and we probably can’t make it on our own. We’ve got to compromise on some things, and yet on others we agree.

Most of us want the removal of all forms of oppression – the break-up of the family, different or no politicians, the removal of the power of the church and less pollution so we can survive to see the things that we’re prepared to fight for.

The problem with revolutionary tracts is that there’s never any solution to the problems that cause the dissent in the first place. What’s the use of bombing buildings that can be used for a better purpose? Why use violence except in self-defence? Why don’t demonstrators prepare themselves for clubs and tear gas? Water cannons and rubber bullets are more difficult to overcome, but everybody can buy crash helmets and army surplus gas masks. I’m not trying to be a leader, or even an active revolutionary (at the moment at least) I just want people to think.

How do I see the future of society? Basically a non-capitalist society, money can be abolished if there is, at first, a system of credit control (people could go mad collecting everything they’ve dreamed of). Money can be done away with later. But all these things are minor compared with the immediate tasks. The actual state of “the nation” can be discussed and formulated at a later date, if and when people get themselves together. I’m neither a politician nor an economist, so there may be people better “qualified” than myself to get this together.

My thoughts at the moment are those of re-education. People must learn not to despise gays. Gays and ‘straights’ need equal opportunities for loving and making love. Both gays and straights must start to accept bisexuals, like me. Everybody has a degree of gayness which they are taught to repress – at least at my school. Active gays, when discovered, were publicly denounced by the boys and occasionally by the teachers. I had my first gay experience at school and because of public opinion have had to repress my gayness for the last nine or ten years. I’ve been shocked when approached by gays in the street, because I’ve repressed my gayness and they haven’t had to.

Ladies must learn that bisexuality is not wrong. There’s nothing bad about it. I had to denounce gays for nine months during one relationship with an American who hated “those queers”. Perhaps you, the readers, despise me for this, perhaps you know what it’s like to tell somebody you fancy that you are gay/bisexual and to be disliked/hated for it.

In my gay moments I must stop thinking of guys as sex objects and in my straight ones I must stop thinking of ladies in the same way. As the Virginia Slims ad in the States might say, “I’ve come a long way”, but I’m not there yet. I need to regard everybody as people. Men women and kids are all equal and vet we’re all taught to discriminate: “A man cannot love another man”, “A woman’s place is in the home”, “Oh, he’s just a kid”. We must stop thinking in terms of sex and age, forget the ads, be ourselves, not what others (society) want us to be.

To reduce this to a personal note, I’d like to see the break-up of the nuclear family and become part of a group one. My idea of perfection is four (at least, but preferably an even number, ie 2, 3 or 4 couples) living together, in an interchangeable bisexual relationship. The problem that I’ve come across in trio group relationships is that one person is liable to feel left out at times and so become jealous. That’s not a good idea, because the jealousy becomes fed back into the group and causes more dissent and hence the jealousy and bad feelings grow.

Before anything can be done to society in general, we shall all have to get our personal lives together. If it means breaking a few laws, that’s our problem. Eventually we’ll have no laws to break. All the repressive laws, church teachings and Mary Whitehouse/Councillor Kidd ideas will be broken. I suggest to all bisexuals that they leave their suburban homes and come out.

We can do something when we’re united. Perhaps you’re afraid that your wives/girl-friends will desert you (or come to that your husbands/boyfriends or any combination of the four). Don’t worry, you can fall in love more freely with others when you don’t need the ties of marriage/domesticity to keep you happy. If every Gay/Woman/Black/Freak went on strike our joint proposals for a new society would have to be listened to. If we all struck, we’d include the army, police and politicians, nothing could stop us being heard.

Perhaps some bisexuals don’t regard themselves as being gay. I know that I do and despite the fact that I don’t fit in with the communities of gays or ‘straights’, I find that I can co-operate with both.

I’m not suggesting a Bisexual Liberation Front, nor just a united Gay Force, I’m saying that all of us who are oppressed (and some of the oppressors, as all males involved in a male/female relationship oppress the females) must unite to get something done.

I’d like to hear from anybody with views on the oppression of bisexuals or getting all groups in favour of restructuring society together, but I can’t promise to write back unless you enclose a stamped addressed envelope (I can barely afford paper and biros) and can’t be prompt in answering if many people write. Let’s all get together and try to do something for once, it’d make a change from sitting on our arses and just talking.

Chris Robbins.
6 Morningside Place, Edinburgh, EH10 5ER

Your Letters

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

Quiet and Concealed

Natal, South Africa,

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on launching your paper. It’s pretty good too!!

It’s great to be in touch with what is happening in the UK. Here in 19th-century South Africa one can feel terribly isolated from all the activity that one feels sure is going on elsewhere: a copy of Gay News seems to bridge the gap somewhat.

Some brief notes on South Africa: we have a largish gay community (among the Whites) organised in each of Durban, Cape Town and especially Johannesburg. In each of these cities there is an exclusively gay night-club and sometimes a bar (non-exclusive). Johannesburg has about three clubs and at least an equal number of bars.

Gay attitudes being essentially S. African attitudes, there is very little racial mixing, any contact is frowned upon. I do not know anything about gay communities (if these exist as such) among any of the black population groups. I have heard that the Indians have a gay club in Natal, but apart from this one could easily believe there to be no black homosexuals in S. Africa!

Gay Liberation — none so far as I know, except for a small group in Durban started recently by a couple of friends and me. So far we’ve had little success. There is too much apathy and fear of coming out, even on the campus.

Police action – although homosexual acts are illegal, the police turn a blind eye on the clubs, at the moment. They don’t like Gay Lib though!

Generally speaking, the South African scene is quiet and concealed. Everyone minds their own business and lives in their own closets. As long as you conform more or less, you’re OK.

Richard Wallace-Tarry

Appalling Bad Taste

London SE15.

Dear Sirs,

I must say I find your picture of Lord Longford and Cliff Richard in the current issue of Gay News in appalling bad taste. Lord Longford is one of the few really good men in public life today, spending much of his time helping drop-outs in all walks of life. Because you disapprove of his investigation into pornography, it is no excuse for slandering him in this way.

The thing that worries me about pornography is the effect on youth. I am not a father but I don’t wish my young nephews to see lurid paperbacks when purchasing their sweets and comics. Nor when answering an ad in your magazine, do I wish to be invited to ‘cum in my pants’ while watching young boys having sex on film. Don’t you think it is wicked that children should be exploited in this way? What sort of lives are they going to lead? Anything that Lord Longford can do to clean up pornography as it affects children is long overdue.

There are many good things in your magazine and also some offensive. With so many representations of the male organ in the current issue I should think even more retailers will refuse to handle it, and I don’t blame them.

H.R.A.

Thanks to Gay News…?

York.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for your paper — it’s saved me from going completely insane. My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years, during which time I found out he was gay.

Together we dragged ourselves off to various doctors and psychiatrists, after which time we were both taking anti-depressants for some time. Phil began to think he was a raving pervert, and I believed it was gay people who were perverting him.

Then Gay News emerged into our lives, and slowly the gap between us narrowed and we began to live again. Only through understanding and respect of each other as people have we managed to denounce the roles that society has given us.

At last Phil can be as gay as he likes, and I’m proud of him for it. After reading some of your articles in GN I’ve cried with guilt to think that a year ago I might have thought like those cops.

With the help of GN and a change of attitudes we now have an extremely happy relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Maybe your paper ought to do an article on bisexuality. One doctor we went to see told us there was no such thing! During one visit, when Phil wasn’t there, he told me that I should find myself a nice straight guy so that I could have children, as that what my aim in life should be, and what was a nice girl like me getting mixed up with a ‘queer’ for.

Well, it’s shit to the lot of them because we’ve proved them wrong, we’re happy. I’d much rather stay with Phil as he’s a beautiful person, than go forth and multiply with any Tom, Dick or Harry for the sake of keeping up with the attitudes of society, ie that gays and straights are two different kinds of species.

Lots of love from a converted straight,

Joan

Safety in the Suburbs

Dearest Pooftahs,

What with all the carry-on, hasslings, arrests, righteous indignation and wrongful suspicions of stolen cameras that has been happening around and about the dear old Coleherne lately, isn’t it about time that someone (could it be me?) tried to bring some little perspective into the matter.

So all right, the pigs persecute us gays on every possible occasion, and most of us have known about it for quite a time. But aren’t we playing rather too obviously into their hands in this particular case.

How many times have you visited the Coleherne at closing time, not merely as a witness to the bullying pig tactics which quite obviously go on, but as an observer of how one particular part of a minority group (ie the gays who use the Coleherne) behave late at night in a high-density living area. OK, I know 11pm isn’t late for some, but some of us are early risers by economic necessity, and the cruising and camping, bitchy fights and lingering farewells often do carry on until much later.

Perhaps if a few of our people were less shrill in their manner and more abstemious with their gin and tonics, the pigs wouldn’t even have an excuse.

Anyway, right on. Gay News, you’re just beginning to let it all hang out!

Love.

J. Porter.

ED. Bring up any little thing you like J.P. and play into anyone’s hand you can get into, but some of us have been frequenting the Coleherne regularly for up to ten years, as customers, and we know the scene. Earls Court is generally a noisy late-living area, especially the Old Brompton Road itself, it’s the police who push people into the back streets, and who are we, or you, to dictate drinking habits to anyone.

Any Offers

Cheshire,

Dear Sir,

I am writing to see if you may be able to help me with my problem.

Since 1940 I have been a confirmed S/M, and my first wife was also, and therefore I had no occasion to look elsewhere to have my bottom smacked or caned or whipped to give me complete sexual satisfaction. But in 1960 I lost my first wife with cancer. In the 18 months which followed I met three men, one a homosexual, in Manchester and he got pleasure out of smacking my bottom for an hour at a time until it was bleeding, and this relationship lasted for three weeks then he disappeared. I found two more but they were only one night stands. Then I remarried and tried to introduce this way to my second wife and found she wouldn’t and couldn’t respond to it, and I have tried to find someone, unknown to my wife, of course, who would smack my bottom but I’ve had no success and I’m very frustrated now. I don’t mind which sex, colour, or nationality as long as I can meet someone, or as many people as possible because I like plenty of it.

So if you could help me at all I would be very grateful. Or course this is all unknown to my wife and there would be hell to pay if she found out, but if I make contact with someone first, arrangements could be made later.

R.B.

ED. If anyone wishes to write to our friend we will pass all letters on to him. Stamped envelope please.

Kiddettes

London WC1

Dear Gay News,

Even if Councillor Kidd appears to be developing an obsession with homosexuals there is no reason why we in turn (as seems to be the case) should develop an obsession with him. There are few people in Scotland who would treat his views with the seriousness of Gay News 7, and still fewer who would go to the trouble of seeking them out — with the possible exception of BBC Scotland looking for a lighter item for its News. Councillor Kidd has been a laughing-stock throughout at least the Lowlands for years; the very mention of his name provokes derision. Homosexuality is only the latest in a very long list of subjects on which he has pronounced with unfailing unintelligence. He is an isolated eccentric even in true-blue Edinburgh: have you thought about how much practical effect his exhortations to the police have had?

You would do better to think more about the support for us that does exist outside the gay community (and finds regular practical expression — witness the Iona Community’s help to SMG) than to build up bogeymen for us to shudder over in private. Do for goodness’ sake cheer up: much of your last issue reads as if it were produced in an office full of inconsolable depressives.

Good wishes anyway.

Graeme Woolaston.

Sickening Treatment

London NW3

Dear Sir,

I was interested to read your Stop Press item on the trouble it the ‘Champion’ on 16th September. As an onlooker that evening, I was sickened by the way the Landlord and police treated the GLF boys who were not in my opinion in ‘drag’. I feel that this word must be defined more precisely before the law is allowed to come down upon it.

I was also shocked by the lack of support from other gays in the bar and I left shortly after the events, determined not to support that pub again. Until the Landlord drew attention to himself and the police arrived I was not even aware of our persecuted comrades.

I am not accustomed to wearing drag but I did not find the clothing in the least offensive and they behaved admirably in the circumstances.

If gay people allow this sort of discrimination without protest, where will it end?

A Teacher

No Chips Please

Birmingham

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, thanks for a newspaper that looks towards the future and not the usual propoganda we read and hear so much about, as though we have a chip on our shoulders about being gay.

We are all human beings with the same feelings towards life as everyone, homosexual or heterosexual and not at all odd, so there is no need for anyone to feel guilty about being gay.

I would like this paper, given time, to be read by heterosexual as well as homosexual. We will eventually get accepted by the general public if we don’t segregate ourselves as though we are different and as if we are all the time hitting out upon the public as though they are always against us. It works both ways, and the sooner we realise this the better our chances for an equal acceptance!

Every Success for your good work,

P. Arthur Miles
Gwen Browne