Your Letters

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

Abdication of Responsibility

Cheltenham

Dear Collective,

Those of us who can’t really afford a donation can perhaps best answer your appeal for funds by renewing their subscriptions in advance of its due date (as I do herewith). Your proposed republication of The Queen’s Vernacular has given me renewed confidence and interest in you. I was beginning to have my doubts! It has struck me recently that you were failing to live up to your title or your raison d’etre, even in provincial solitude I was aware of items of gay news which I’d have expected you to comment on. May I give you an example?

One of the Sundays recently reported a rumour that the government has relaxed the stringent regulations against sexual deviancy amongst members of the security services. If true, this is an extremely important advance in the campaign that you are supposed to be waging, and one that will make an immense difference to the welfare of a great many people. I’d have expected you to be on to this like a shot, to use every effort to get it confirmed or denied, and to have published at once the result of your investigations.

I myself worked for some years in one of the government organisations to which these regulations apply. Over the years I watched people I knew or felt to be homosexual gradually dwindle into hypocritical tomb-faced prigs, through their willing subservience to a code of behaviour which their own natures recognised as unjust. One of them, after many years of unhappy solitude, finally met and set up house with a well-known local actor. Very shortly afterwards he was dismissed at a day’s notice: after some fifteen years of service, he was stood down on full pay and subsequently transferred to the Post Office. It was all right you see, for him to restrict himself to furtive and unsatisfactory pleasures; he only became a threat to national security when he had the courage to make his homosexuality overt by establishing a happy, loving and stable relationship with another man. He had a nice sense of irony, so no doubt he appreciated to the full the hypocrisy of his treatment

Well, now you know the sort of personal implications that these regulations have hitherto entailed, and why any relaxation of them would be of great interest. For one thing, it would make nonsense of your editorial in No 15: it would imply that public opinion no longer regards homosexuality as something culpable, so that nobody would have reason to prefer blackmail to the threat of disclosure, and that the government has at last acknowledged this improvement in public attitudes.

So to sit back and moan that ‘to us it seems that nothing has changed since 1916’, seems rather an abdication of your responsibilities as ‘Europe’s Biggest, etc. Newspaper’! You are merely fortifying the ghetto mentality that you profess to deplore.

David Blount

ED: Sure, Pendennis in The Observer ran the story on January 20. But then, so did Gay News in Issue 14 – under the headline Equality for Gay Cops – and that appeared a full fortnight before Pendennis ran his story.

Don’t Be Shy

67 Vere Road,
Brighton

Dear Friends,

Glad to see libraries being mentioned in Gay News. I was intending to wait and hear other views before writing, but a few points have arisen in letters from Stuart Woollard and Geoffrey Leight in GN16.

LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE is a magazine for radical librarians which I started at the end of last year, around which is forming a group of like minded people interested in information and library work. Stuart Woollard is very welcome to start a gay group within LFSC, alongside the other area and “subject” groups being formed.

I’m involved in the coming together of the alternative library in several ways. Firstly, I’m looking after the library of the UNDERGROUND PRESS SYNDICATE (Europe). Secondly I’m involved in the project of microfilm alternative publications, which is being undertaken by the Harvester Press of Brighton. LFSC is not actually involved in the microfilming, though I and several other members are working on assembling back issues for filming and indexing (would anyone like to index GAY NEWS and the other gay papers?)

I’m working on the second issue of LFSC at the moment, and will be including a round up of views on gay papers and books in libraries. Public libraries (and university and college libraries for that matter), will only stock papers such as Gay News if enough people ask for them. Don’t be shy, libraries are there to serve you, not to dictate your reading habits. Nuff said…?

John Noyce
Editor, LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

Here to Stay

Manchester

Dear Gay News,

No greater tribute could be paid to Gay News than the increasingly prevalent practice of other gay publications to reprint the information on the gay scene given in your pages. Where they copy you, they are fine. Where they don’t, they produce an array of misinformation, ancient history and unintentional comedy.

No names; it would be cruel. One of them recently gave CHE’s national address as a British Monomark box number, although the Kennedy Street office has been running for nearly two years. Another listed the Club 43 in Manchester as still operative, even though it was closed in September 1970 under the amazingly stupid Manchester bylaw of 1896 which was held to preclude male dancing. The same magazine listed as gay a variety of other non-existent streets and misnamed establishments, in some of which the dominance of heterosexuality is truly frightening. And quite stifling.

Has Gay News anything to fear from its rivals? Don’t be funny. The glossy magazines may print a few more photographs of bare bums and tired organs and congratulate the legal authorities rather more often than Gay News is prone to do (a curious contradiction). But, as the best thing ever to happen to the homophile movement in Britain, Gay News is here to stay. It MUST.

Barrie A. Kenyon

Desperate To Share

Cardiff

Dear Friends.

I am a former patient from Broadmoor and I am gay. Since leaving there I have been hard pressed to lead a happy life, because of being in Broadmoor very few people want to take me seriously. I travel around a lot and find things to occupy myself. I desperately need to find someone who would come and share my life with me. I am very lonely all the time and am always afraid that I could get desperate or bitter and do something rash or silly.

I know I do not deserve any special attention and if you ignore me I shall not mind too much, for this has become my chief problem. I would like to meet someone who is understanding and willing to be loved in my own fashion, who is kind, but not in the wrong way. I enjoy so many good things, but find I have no-one to share them with. I have been into a lot of strange scenes and lean towards adventurous gay things. I do so because I need things to occupy my mind, to keep my senses alert and I love exploring and finding things out.

… I do not know what response my letter will bring for I have no private fortune, only a modest income and so many hopes for a future that sometimes seems impossibly remote. I am sorry to have troubled you with my cares, as though I were the only troubled gay person in the world, but I have no friends and too many acquaintances. If you can, will you help me? Merely writing to you has been something.

G G

ED: We’ll forward any letters to G G.

Judged By My Peers

London SW8

Dear Gay News,

It is interesting to see that the old problem is being discussed again: I mean the rights and wrongs of sex-without-love versus sex-with-love. But surely there is no ‘versus’ about it. These things are not opposed to each other; they are the extremes of the same pendulum.

So for example you start by feeling sick with boredom, because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street and have sex. Afterwards you think ‘How awful; never again’. So you swing to the other extreme of the pendulum and you fall in love with another chap and you think, ‘How marvellous’, and then you discover that he wants to love you without sex. And you still think ‘How marvellous’, until you discover that he’s having sex with someone else. So you cry your eyes out, against the wall, because your heart’s broken. And you have a nervous breakdown. And then you recover. And then you start feeling sick with boredom because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street…

And if a policeman walks by, and says, all sardonic. ‘Hullo, hullo, hullo, and may I ask how long this has been going on?’ you can say, politely, ‘you may well ask, officer. It’s been going on for about 7,000 years. Ever since urban civilisation began.’

During these 7,000 years, have any changes taken place? Really the big change has taken place quite recently. The change is that we don’t feel guilty any more. If somebody breaks your heart, you have to bear the pain. But at least you don’t have to bear the pain of guilt as well.

Today, as a matter of fact, the guilt lies on the other side. The guilt lies with Lord Longford and Lord Hailsham and people like that.

How fortunate for you, my lords, that God does not exist. Because, if he existed, do you know what would happen? He would call you up on Judgement Day. He would say to you. ‘Come here Lord Longford. Come her Lord Hailsham. I was hungry and you fed me not. I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. I was in prison arid you visited me not. I was homosexual and I loved you, and you called my love ‘vice’. Depart from me ye cursed, into the lake of eternal fire, which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world…”

Terrible words, my lords. Think them over when you go to pray. And while you are at your prayers, ask God to give you the grace to realise that there is more virtue in a decent homosexual boy’s finger than God can find in your Christian pretensions. More virtue, more courage, more humility, more generosity and more gentleness and more ordinary common-or-garden human love.

Where is vice? Where is viciousness? Who are your murderers? Heterosexuals. Who are your rapists? Heterosexuals. Who are your Hell’s Angels and your muggers? Heterosexuals. Who are your robbers, your bank raiders, your men of violence, aggression and hatred? Heterosexuals all. And the only thing you can do is raise your sanctimonious eyes to heaven and talk about homosexual ‘vice’.

Why? Can it be because, in your warped opinions, no crime is so great as the ‘crime’ of homosexual love?

True viciousness is formed among heterosexuals. Homosexuals, on the whole, are a gentler, sweeter sort. That is the truth my lords. And at the bottom of your cold hearts you know it.

Dai Grove

Strength to Strength

London W6

Dear Gay News.

I’ve been reading Gay News for a few months now and it goes from strength to strength. It’s a pleasure to see each new issue coming out. knowing there’s going to be over an hour’s good reading. I am especially interested in your reports of continental gay activists, especially as we’re in the Common Market!

Could you have a regular column every week. I believe our French friends are having a far from easy time at the moment. Let’s have more contributions from your readers. You could throw some light on the provincial scene; what it’s like being gay in the Scilly Isles for example! Also the situation in Shepherds Bush, Chelsea etc, and what’s happening in Brixton vis a vis our black brothers. We all read how terrible the percentage of young blacks leaving school is. How is a black gay treated by his school mates etc?

Gay News: Let’s see more and more articles from people of all political shades. Let’s see your circulation mount and mount. Let’s hope you can keep your gay ads, because all in all Gay News is rapidly becoming indispensable.

Philip Van Grondelle

ED: Get writing folks.

Honestly Gay

London NW11

Dear Gay News,

The Fellowship of Christ the Liberator (issue 16) may be good for some gay Christians, but it would be far better if they were active members of community churches — not hiding their sexual identity, not being blatantly “chip on the shoulder” but just being honestly gay.

Most priests and ministers welcome the gay, as well as the straight into their churches. If you find one who does not, move on. There are plenty more. By integrating and educating it will be seen by other church goers that gays are good.

Dudley


Spinning Wheel Mead
Harlow  Essex

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on Your wonderful paper. I especially like the cover picture. Please let’s have more ‘get together’ pictures.

Is there any chance of becoming larger or even a weekly in the future?

Love, Fortune and Success to you all,

Alan Stoner

CHE Defies Morecambe – At A Cost

Preparations for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality’s first annual conference are now well underway. And it promoses to be a genuinely exciting and stimulating weekend. For one thing, it has been extremely well and thoroughly thought out — people started working on it more than six months ago. There will be the usual conference platforms — discussion of major papers (already available), talk-ins, brains trusts and, for the evenings, a heady social programme.

The background to the conference exposes a by-now familiar story of petty hypocrisy and back tracking. This time by Morecambe Corporation. Naturally, CHE half-expected a few rejection slips when letters were written to the well-known conference towns. But Morecambe made it clear that it was willing to have the conference there. “Should you decide to visit our resort you may be assured of our every assistance to make your conference a success”, said a letter to CHE last April. And in July the feeling was still good. “I am sure we can be helpful to you to make your conference a success, as we have the necessary facilities here,” gushed the Corporation.

But then, by September, the climate had changed. Suddenly CHE would not be welcome in Morecambe. The application had been rejected because “the conference would be split into small groups and we have not sufficient accommodation of this type” said the town’s Publicity Committee to the Morecambe Guardian. All this after a five-member delegation from CHE had visited the town and been shown the accommodation and conference facilities and agreed they were fine.

Curious mis-statements follow and the upshot was that CHE decided to hell with Morecambe Corporation. They would have the conference there anyway, but by negotiating directly with the owners of the pier to hire the facilities privately. Which means that CHE is footing a bill which the More-Combe Corporation would have met had any other organisation in the entire world sought the hospitality of this Lancashire seaside resort.

And so the Campaign for Homosexual Equality has been forced into a position of blatant inequality. But, instead of creeping away to find somewhere else, CHE is at least defying Morecambe Corporation – even though the gesture badly strains already heavily committed financial resources.

The conference itself will be the first truly national grassroots conference in the history of the Homophile movement. There have been other gay conferences, but small 5nes, consisting usually of authority figures who have, between them tended to decide what should be done for gays, not without experience and not without interest, but without consultation. At this conference, everyone has an equal voice.

The three main papers for discussion are: The law and the homosexual – which deals in considerable detail with this complex and often imperfectly understood area; the future of the homophile movement in Britain – which is certain to create some healthy disagreement; and a paper on gay life-style which asks a few questions that some people may find, perhaps, contentious.

Great emphasis will be placed on discussing the position of gay women regarding gay organisations – by women themselves, of course – and individual members and groups of CHE are already fielding some good motions for discussion.

The registration fee for the conference is 50p, even though the whole event will be more costly to CHE than it need be, and any members of CHE or the Scottish Minorities Group can attend. It is hoped that as many people as possible will make a special effort to go along to Morecambe. The dates are April 6-7-8.

Roger Baker, Press Officer
Campaign for Homosexual Equality

Springtime in Morecambe – it’s conference time! [Photograph: British Tourist Authority]

An Open Letter to the Company of Nine – CHE’s poetry Group

The background to this letter (published below) is as follows. CHE’s successful poetry group, called The Company Of Nine, is producing a volume of its members’ poetry. 30 contributors submitted 104 poems from which 33 were selected, including two by Laurence Collinson. Laurence later received a note from the editor of the volume asking whether Laurence wished to publish under a pseudonym. “So far I have assumed that as this is to be an avowedly CHE publication the poets will wish to have their identities concealed,” wrote the editor. Expressing surprise at this, Laurence received a second letter that included this comment: “Although the booklet is to be a CHE publication, there can be no guarantee that it will be seen only by CHE eyes, which means that for some to be published in it under their own names would not be brave but downright stupid. Second, some of our contributors may wish to avoid publicity through doubts about the worth of their work.”

30 Andrewes House,
Barbican,
London EC2Y 8AX

31 January, 1973.

Dear …,

I was more shocked by your second letter than your first. You give ‘two points to remember’ as reasons that contributors to the CHE poetry anthology might wish to publish under a pseudonym.

(1) The booklet might be seen by other than CHE eyes, and consequently, for some to be published in it under their own names ‘would not be brave, but downright stupid’.

(2) Some contributors may not wish publicity because of ‘doubts about the worth of their work’.

Neither of these reasons seem to me to be rational or valid. Firstly, contributors who wish to remain ‘in the closet’ should not have submitted material to a booklet that is ostensibly part of a CAMPAIGN. (Remember: CHE means Campaign for Homosexual Equality?) There are plenty of ‘straight’ poetry journals wherein one may be published without having to suffer the ordeal of guilt by association; let these courageous poets submit their creations there! Really, what respect must these people have for the Campaign, for themselves, and for their own homosexuality that they, must engage in such self-oppression!

Secondly, writers who doubt the ‘worth of their work’ don’t usually submit that work for publication!

I have decided to protest against this typical CHE furtiveness by (a) withdrawing my poems from this anthology – will you please see that this is done; and (b) publishing this as an open letter in an appropriate journal.

Laurence Collinson

Women Demand Human Rights

LONDON: Militancy isn’t a male prerogative. And women took to the streets in London to demand their rights as Tory MPs talked the Womens Rights Bill into the ground. Next day the CHE women were having their national conference in Manchester.

The Women’s Rights demonstrators were meeting at Caxton Hall and marching on the House of Commons bearing flaming torches.

Women hissed and jeered from the packed galleries of the House of Commons as Martin Maddon, the Tory MP from Hove talked the Bill out.

The Bill, a private member’s Bill (and therefore only discussed on Friday afternoons) has been tabled by Mr Will Hamilton, the Labour MP for Fife. It demands an end to lower wages for women and the introduction of equal opportunity for women in industry.

Women marching from the House of Commons to 10 Downing Street after the Anti Discrimination Bill had been “talked out”. Photographs: Serena Wadham

But it doesn’t go far enough. Mrs Ethel Chipchase, vice-chairman of the Trade Union Congress’s women’s advisory committee complains it’s a bill without teeth.

May Hobbs of the Night Cleanersn Union calling for action at Caxton Hall.

The Bill aims at making it illegal to advertise for an exmployee of either sex, just as it’s illegal now to advertise for someone who is or is not a certain colour.

The Caxton Hall rally supporting the Bill featured May Hobbs of the Night Cleaner’s Union and Audrey Wise, the Labour candidate for Coventry.

May Hobbs said once the Bill finally became law – after Martin Maddon has been persuaded to stop his bloody-minded histrionics – women’s equality will have to go on evolving and not become frozen by the law.

Audrey Wise warned: “Don’t be misled into thinking that equality is an abstraction: we don’t want all the disadvantages men already have.”

Many of the keenest supporters of the Bill went to Manchester the next day for CHE’s conference for gay women.

ED: We tried to get a more exciting picture of the Women’s Rights demonstration, but the clerical staff belonging to NATSOPA, one of the print unions, was on strike, and despite our having ordered a photograph, it couldn’t be printed for us. We’d like to thank Time Out and Angela Phillips, the photographer, for letting us use their picture of the rally.

Refreshing Radicalism

The first National Women’s Conference on Homosexuality was organised by Glenys Parry and Liz Stanley, CHE Executive Committee members at the end of January in Manchester University. Two hundred women of all sexes came from as far afield as Scotland to Southampton, Wales to Whitby and points in between.

The morning was spent in area reports, all of which repeated the depressing lack of women in CHE, GLF and women’s groups. The causes were brooded upon; possible hostility from men … fear of meetings … lack of personal welcome-warmth … fear of being recognised as gay in a small community … partner hunting which, when successful, deprived the group of the pair who settled into a replica of straight marriage.

In the afternoon, we broke up into small groups and tangled with five broad areas:
(1) Problems of married gay and bisexual women; the children of gay parents.
(2) Coming to terms with one’s own homosexuality; relating to each other and gay men; relationships to heterosexuals.
(3) Where gay women can go for help; specific problems relating to the caring professions.
(4) Women’s Lib, Radical Feminism and their relationship to the gay women’s struggle.
(5) The problems of isolated gay women in provincial towns.

Group 1 said: that gay/bisexual wives were stuck with their husbands for financial reasons. The social security alternative was a hand to mouth existence. Bisexuality isn’t the good thing people think it is. One looks into the future … one asks what is going to happen … Am I going one way or the other? Gays should investigate alternative life-styles, such as communes and pool resources of cash and childcare, but lesbians weren’t enough together as a gay movement to make this effective.

Group 2 said: there wasn’t a precise age at which one came to terms with homosexuality. Some never did. The young, particularly, have suicidal tendencies. Some believed that they were physically or mentally maladjusted. All feared mixing with men, whether gay or straight. Mixing in CHE groups would do plenty to resolve this.

Group 3 said: those in the group who had sought help from doctors/priests/psychiatrists had been lucky. All were sympathetic. The group was aware this wasn’t typical. Citizens Advice Bureaux, Samaritans and social services must be informed about local CHE/GLF groups and Friend.

Group 4 said: gay women live in a counter society … live against the grain of society … outside the nuclear family … so are radical. Essential to educate Women’s Lib out of fear of the stereotype aggressive lesbian. Priority action should be taken from the outside on behalf of gay women teachers who had an appalling oppression of job risk, not from pupils, but from their colleagues and superiors. Demand compulsory homosex-education in schools.

Group 5 said: National CHE should put their publicity weight behind local groups to use local radio, TV, papers and posters. Provincial groups had difficulty in keeping together because of wide spread areas. Convenors must be vigilant about continual contact. Pre-meetings contact with a new member should be in pairs. A one-to-one scene caused a shy lesbian to suspect a pick-up.

Whither women and CHE rounded off the session. Those there, were pro-bono CHE, but acknowledged its male image put lesbians off. Until there was an equal number of women to men in CHE, it would be ineffective in representing homosexuals.

Judging by the state of rapport at the end of the session and during the disco, the more National Women’s Conferences the better. This ’ere cockney was much enriched by exposure to out-of-London lesbians. CHE took on a larger dimension of honest-to-guts discussion about the realities to be faced and the resolve to overcome them brought refreshing radicalism to the usual staid stag socialising that bedevils London CHE groups.

NEWSETTES

◉ Public School Meets Gays

BRISTOL: Bristol Gay Awareness took its message to Clifton College, Bristol, recently. After a showing of the Gay Liberation Front movie Come Together, everyone divided up into discussion groups.

Members of the Bristol group felt that the evening was very successful in that they were able to put over the problems faced by gays in society to an understanding audience.

Perhaps other public schools and the gay groups near them, should do the same.

◉ Teacher Cleared

PRESTON: At the Crown Court here a former Southport teacher was found not guilty of ‘indecently assaulting’ a 15-year-old boy pupil.

The judge directed the jury to clear Peter, who now lives in York, of the charge. Peter denied the charge.

◉ Reading Students Back Gays

READING: Students at the university here have passed a motion declaring their support for moves to have gays’ rights discussed at the next conference of the National Union of Students.

This makes the third time that students have tried to get the NUS to take a stand on gay rights. The Reading motion was proposed by Goff Sargent, of Reading Gay Alliance, who was interviewed about this by the Reading Evening Post.

Goff said the NUS represented 24,000 gay students who were isolated and met with discrimination.

He told the Evening Post: ‘“Under the 1967 Sexual Offences Act the age of consent is 21. For heterosexuals it’s 16.

“There should be no discrimination between the ages of consent.”’

He said being gay was like being black.

‘“White people never understand what it is like to be black.” ’

The next NUS conference is on February 24 and students want to hear discussed the need for counselling and befriending gays, the provision of social facilities for gays and the creation of sexual equality. “It is no longer a clandestine activity,” Goff said.

RGA, which started as a student gay group, is now a town-and-university group. There are now more town members than university members.

What problems do Reading’s gays face? Goff said: “There is no great problem of harrassment as they have in London, but there is a general air of hostility, which means that many homosexuals are isolated. It’s the usual syndrome where he can’t mention it to his best friends and parents.”

◉ A Wilder Wiltshire

CHIPPENHAM: A group of gay people is forming in this Wiltshire market town. Initial Contact: Bob Illingsworth, Phone Box (Somerset) 2881. – BGAG.

◉ Stage Bans Gay Ads

LONDON: The Stage, the theatrical newspaper, has refused to carry a travel firm’s advertisement on the grounds that the ads refer specifically to gays.

When Gay News asked The Stage for an explanation, a spokesman for the paper said: “I’m not allowed to comment on this. But we’ve had so many veiled references, you know, that we’ve just had to start cracking down.”

We’ll report further when the managing director explains the Stage’s position of sexual discrimination in its advertisements.

◉ Dilly Goes On Record

LONDON: The Save Piccadilly campaign is giving away a 45 rpm record as part of its propaganda blitz to try to get the Greater London Council to shelve plans which will wipe out humans from London’s largest tourist attraction and gay-cruising spot.

Both sides of the record are written by Mike Klein (music) and Alan Wakeman words). The record, performed by Everyone Involved, a community rock group, is being given away.

If anyone wants a copy of The Circus Keeps On Turning/Motor Car Madness, all they have to do is to go along to The Almost Free Theatre, Rupert Street, London W1 and ask.

Nigel Stewart, Gillian Dickinson, James Asher, Mike Klein and Richard Oscar Lanchester, who make up Everyone Involved, made the record for nothing as their contribution to the Save Piccadilly Campaign.

Co-writer Alan Wakeman was partly responsible for the GLF-supporting record ‘Come Together’ which was given away last year.

About 2,500 copies of the Save Piccadilly record have been pressed.

◉ Northern CHE Gays Evade Subs Payment

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool CHE group has found that less than one-fifth of its 170 members have paid the additional local subscription of £1 over their subscriptions they pay to belong to CHE nationally.

The local sub, the latest Liverpool newsletter says, is to entitle members to go to the group’s meetings at the Archway Club.

Membership of the Archway Club does not entitle people to attend the CHE meetings held there. The club is a new meeting place for the group which finds that some members are put off coming to meetings because they are now held in a gay club

But, the newsletter says, ‘trust us; the Archway is a relaxing, pleasant, safe place to be and especially on our own nights, is reserved exclusively for CHE. And being a club means that you can unwind before the meeting with a drink, and stay on afterwards for a chat or a dance – until 2 am if you wish.’

The group has also negotiated with the club’s management to get cut-price membership of the club for its members. Liverpool CHE members who show their cards can now join the Archway club for £1.50, rather than the standard £2.00 club membership fee.

◉ York Honours Sir John
Photograph: R.I.P. Off

YORK: The university here has granted an honorary degree to Sir John Wolfenden, chairman of the committee which produced the then-daring report on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution.

Sir John, director of the British Museum, is a former vice-chancellor of Reading University.

His committee’s report did much to lower the temperature of opinion against gays in Britain, and thus made the 1967 Sexual Offences Act possible.

The committee was the first serious attempt to study the problems gays face and, whilst its findings may appear dated now, it was seen in its time as a great step forward.

◉ Thanks … But

LONDON: Gay News’ news section depends, to a large extent, on information sent in by local groups. If there’s a heavy bias towards a few groups, it’s because we get information from them, and therefore know what’s happening around Britain. Meanwhile thanks to Bath Gay Awareness, Leeds Gay Lib, Chilterns CHE, Liverpool CHE and Reading Gay Alliance for their newsletters/bulletins/ arrows etc.

If we don’t mention what you’ve been doing, it’s because you haven’t told us. Just type it – double spaced, please – and mail it to the News Deskette at Gay News, address is still 19 London Street, London W2 for now.

Letters Continued

Discrimination in Earls Court

London W8

Dear Editorial Collective,

Readers of GN – more than a few of them — who live in or visit Earls Court may be interested to hear of an odd case of discrimination which I met with at the NSS Newsagents, a few yards to the left as one leaves the underground in Earls Court Road. I wanted to display one of the printed CHE publicity cards on the postcard boards of this always busy shop; many newcomers to London look at these boards, and I hoped that some of them would ask CHE for information and, perhaps, help. As the Manchester address of CHE is the only one on the card, I added the address, phone number and hours open of the London Information Centre.

I handed the card to a girl assistant (who isn’t to blame in all this) who charged me 50p for a week’s ‘showing’ and said the card would appear the next morning. When, late the next afternoon, it still wasn’t up, I asked the same assistant about it, and she said that the manager had refused to display it; the trend of her remarks was that he thought it not respectable and likely to give offence. ‘To whom?’ I wondered. There are usually ads at this shop of the type ‘3rd young man required for gay flat’, and while I entirely support gay flats, I don’t see why, if they can be advertised, a concerned and humane organisation such as CHE can’t. There are always ads of the type, ‘Lovely young model gives French tuition’, ‘Young man seeks part-time work; any position considered’. In other words, prostitutes — but not CHE – can advertise there!

I asked the assistant if I could see the manager. She went away, came back, and told me he was busy. So I said I’d wait. She saw him again and told me that he’d be busy for the next hour; I politely offered to call back in an hour’s time or to make an appointment to see him. This time I was told that he refused to see me at all. Naturally I wanted the manager himself to tell me why the ad was rejected. A male assistant said that the trouble seemed to be that ‘it comes right to the point’ – to which I made the obvious reply that surely this was a very good thing. I suppose ‘the point’ is that the word ‘homosexual’ is actually used: blush, blush.

The crowning absurdity was that, close to the copies of Playboy, Men Only, Mayfair, Cosmopolitan, etc, the shop (partly redeeming itself) was selling Lunch, the CHE-associated magazine. I took a copy from the rack and pointed to the magic words inside the cover.

I might not have written this letter if the manager had agreed to see me, might have tolerated the lack of understanding and the illogicality; but the plain rudeness of his refusal led me to say — very pleasantly – that I’d try to give the matter some publicity, and where better than in this independent paper?

When I asked to have the postcard returned, the staff couldn’t find it. I was given back my 50p, but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t looked to see if the ad was displayed. (I hadn’t left my own address). I don’t wish to be unfair: I expect the manager would have sent the 50p to CHE at 22 Great Windmill Street.

This may be an embarrassing letter if the NSS Newsagents sell Gay News! However, I don’t think they do. I usually buy mine from the news-stands outside Kensington High Street tube and outside The Boltons — to encourage this kind of ‘outlet’; the service is friendly and courteous.

What worries me is that it’s just possible that an unhappy homosexual might have been helped by CHE, and now won’t hear about it.

Peter Rogers

ED: The manager of the NSS Newsagents at Earls Court has always refused to stock Gay News, despite the large amount of requests he receives for it. His manner has always been rude to indifferent to the person approching him. He also has shouted, on at least one occasion “Fucking poof” at a member of the public enquiring whether or not he stocked GN. Please pester him and the staff until the paper is regularly on sale there.


ED. Owing to the extreme shortage of space in this issue, we are unable to publish as many letters as we feel we should. We apologise to those people who have not had their correspondence printed. We will endeavour to include their letters in the next issue.

Information

This corner is realty a long list — of places, people you might like to know about or one day need. We can, of course, only publish the information that is sent in to us.


East London CHE presents a party at the Rehersal Club, 3/4 Archer Street, W1. 8-11pm Tuesday 27th Feb, 1973. Admission 35p inc. refreshments.

Southampton Area: Gay men & women welcome to new group. Details from Ken, Romsey 512959

Bristol Gay Students Society – for all young people, male & female. Regular meetings, social events, guest speakers, theatre visits, awareness groups. Write to Trevor Locke, Gay Students Soc., University of Bristol Union, Queens Road, Bristol BS8 1LN for programme of events. Tel: Bristol 35035.

London GLF Jumble Sale: on Saturday February 24th at 2.30pm at All Saints Hall, Powis Gdns, W11

Campaign for Homosexual Equality London Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street, London W1. Tel: 01-437 7363. Office open daily, noon to 10pm.

CHE All London Political Action Group, 22 Greet Windmill Street, London W1. Telephone: 01-437 7363

Gay group for CHE Conference Ball at Morecambe in April. Tel. Lancaster 2750.

Social group for homosexual men and women meeting in London – weekends in East End, midweek in various small groups. Come and make new friends in congenial surroundings. Wirte for details to SK group, c/o Albany Trust, 32 Shaftesbury Ave, W1.

CHALLENGE is a social group for gay women and men over 21. We have weekly meetings at 3 London branches and would be delighted if you would join us for a drink and a chat. Please telephone any evening between 7 and 11. Dial 567 5085 and the operator will give you the number of the member of the evening. Do call us.

LESBIAN LIBERATION meets Wednesdays 8 pm at the South London Womens Liberation Centre, 14 Radnor Terrace, SW8. (near Vauxhall Tube). ALL WOMEN WELCOME. Telephone 01-622 8405 Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri evenings only.

OXFORD GAY ACTION GROUP. Regular meetings take piece on Sundays at 8pm in the ‘Marlborough Arms’, St Thomas Street, Oxford.

New CHE group forming in Streatham. Contact Ian F. Clayton, 56 Hillbrook Road, SW17.

GAY MARXIST GROUP now forming. Politically committed homosexuals of both sexes welcome. Details 01 794 3368.

SAPPHO meets every first Monday in the month at Euston Tavern, corner Judd Street/Euston Rd, London, NW1, 7.30 pm upstairs room. All women welcome. SAPPHO 30p inc post for single copies from BCM/PETREL, LONDON WC1V 6XX.

Brighton Gay Soc meets weekly. Contact Ray at Brighton 686939.

CHE’s Political Action Group is looking for a group of university/polytechnic students/lecturers interested in conducting a survey among the public into attitudes to homosexuality. The aim of the enquiry is to help shape the future campaigning activities of CHE. Offers of help, suggestions etc should be addressed to: David Hyde, PAG, CHE London Information Centre, 22 Greet Windmill Street, London W1. Tel: 01-437 7363.

GAYSOC: for homosexual men end women in any school or college of London University – undergraduate, postgraduate or staff. Social, political end campaigning activities aimed at creating better conditions for gays within the university – then the world! Write (enclosing SAE please): GAYSOC, ULU, Malet Street, WC1.

Abortion, contraception, entertainment, transport, legal advice, jobs, alternative? Work, food, hitchhiking, cheep furnishings communications, shelter, late night services, accommodation, free services, ad infinitum… Contact: Nutshell Information Service, Phone: Birmingham 779-2483 24 hours every day. (Ask for Nuuhell as we share a line with St Basil’s Centre.)

Homosexual Counselling end Parent’s Enquiry. You or your son, daughter, parent or friend could be homosexual and may need help end understanding. Write for appointment to FRIEND, Centre, Broadley Terrace, London NW1 or telephone 01-402 6345 Mondays to Fridays 7.30 to 9.30 pm.

Leicester Gay Awareness Group ring Leicester 73B832, ask for Clive or John.

Oxford Gay Action Group meets every Sunday at 8 pm in the Marlborough, St Thomas Street. Fortnightly discos from Fri. Jan 5th at the Cape of Good Hope, The Plain, Oxford. Further info – Oxford 45301 between 7 pm end 8 pm.

Warwick Gay Soc has started. Meets every Tuesday 6 pm in the Coffee Bar at the University. Contact Irwin Timms, 60 Russell Terrace, Leamington Spa, or Jill Brown, H44, Rootes Hall.

Stepney: CHE group forming around this area and including the other parts of East London not catered for. For details ring Mike 01-476 7980

Manchester University Homophile Society social events, campaigning – open to all – meets Thursdays, 8pm, meeting room 4, University Union, Oxford Road

CHE Cardiff now meets at Chapter Arts Centre, Market Street, Canton, Cardiff every other Monday. (Nov 20th etc.) Gay News will be on sale.

Woman’s Liberation Workshop, 3 Shavers Place, London W1. Tel: 01-839 3918

LEEDS G.L.F. Joint Office, 153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds.

Fellowship in Christ the Liberator, Communion service 8pm, Sundays, West Kensington. Details: FCL c/o 61 Earls Court Square, London SW5

“Gay Cambridge”, a joint CHE/GLF group covering both the town and university Meets every fortnight, wekkly university term. Contact Bernard Greaves, 29 John Street, Cambridge, phone Cambridge 52661

Streatham area – newly formed CHE group meets regularly. Details: Ian Clayton, 56 Hillbrook Rd, SW17.

YOUNG GAYS meet regularly in London. The CHE Youth Group meets fortnightly around Central London. Details from Mike or Jim at 01-385 7246

READING GAY ALLIANCE regular discos and society counselling, quiet meetings, public meetings, and action. Town and university. SAE for Newssheet: Room 7 30 London Rd, READiNG

Alternative Free Library needs donations of radical/liberated Gay Papers and Magazines. ESPECIALLY Back Issues. Please write Geoffrey Leigh, 30 Woodside, Wimbledon, London SW19 7AW

Harrow Gay Unity. For details phone Janie at 863 1184 or Alex at 864 2291. Meets on Mondays.

Manchester gay women meet on alternative Mondays. Details: Liz Stanley, 061-881 3683.

Jewish Homophile Group welcomes new members of either sex. For further information please write to Timothy Goldard, BM – JHG, WC1 6XX.

Information Sheffield’s Students GaySoc, Students Unions, Western Bank Sheffield 10.

Gay girls meet on alternate Fridays 7—10.30 pm, Blue Anchor Hotel, St Mary’s Street, Cardiff, upstairs room.

Gay brothers who would like to take part in mime of Snow White and Gay Dwarfs (text printed in GN13), phone Julie at 837 7174 or the author at 892 8527. Little rehearsal or acting experience needed.

REACH, a nationwide homophile group of members of the Christian churches, primarily concerned with campaigning within the churches and helping isolated homosexual Christians, Reach, c/o 27 Blackfriars St Manchester.

Wandsworth/Richmond CHE group forming. Incorporating Fulham/Wimbledon and fringe areas. Men AND women. We meet twice a month. Write to Charlie Micklewright, 46b Chartfield Ave, SW15


CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY.

Brighton Reading
Bristol Sheffield
Bath Shropshire
Birmingham South Essex (Basildon)
Blackburn/Burnley South Herts (Watford/
Bolton St Albans)
Bradford Southampton/Bournemouth
Brighton Stoke-on-Trent
Cardiff Swansea/Carmarthen
Cambridge Teeside
Chilterns (Berkhampstead/ Tunbridge Wells
 Amersham) Tyneside
Colchester Leicester
Cornwall North Yorkshire/South
Crouch End Durham
Croydon Windsor/Slough
East Kent (Canterbury) Wirral
Guildford Wolverhampton
Halifax/Huddersfield Wolverhampton & District worker’s group
Ilford York
Leeds PROPOSED GROUPS
Lewisham Devon
Liverpool Blackpool
LONDON Cornwall
Acton/Ealing Stepney
Central Lancaster
Highbury/Islington Enfield
Kensington Barking
Kilburn/Hampstead Preston
Wandsworth/Richmond Taunton
Manchester STUDENT GROUPS
Newport/Cardiff London
Northampton Manchester
Norwich Oxford
Nottingham Kent
Oxford Liverpool
Portsmouth

There is insufficient space to give an address for each CHE group. All CHE groups may be contacted through the national office: 28 Kennedy Street, Manchester M2 4BG. Phone 061-228 1985


GAY LIBERATION FRONT GROUPS

At present there are GLF groups in operation in the following areas

Aberystwyth Essex University Reading
Bath Folkstone Sheffield
Bristol Greenoch Swansea
Bedfordshire Hull Sussex
Birmingham Keele University Brighton
Belfast Lancaster
Cambridge Leicester LONDON
Cheltenham Leeds South London
Canterbury Manchester West London
Cardiff Newcastle East London
Colchester Norwich Camden
Derby Oxford Youth Group
Durham Portsmouth Religious Group
Edinburgh Potteries Women’s Group

London School of Economics GLF

The addresses of these groups may be obtained from the GLF Office at 5 Caledonian Road, London N1. Tube Kings Cross Tel 01-837 7174 Also contact here for other G.L.F. information

GLF Action Group meets Fridays at 7.30 pm at GLF Office 5 Caledonian Road, N1.

Religious Gay Lib Group. meets various Sundays at 2.30 pm Phone 278 1701 for details

South London GLG meets Thursdays at Minet Library, Knatchbull Road, Brixton.

Gay Women s Lib (North London)
Meet at The Crown and Woolpak, 397 St Johns St EC1 (Angel Tube) 8pm on Mondays

West London GLF meets in the Committee Room of Fulham Town Hall, Fulham Broadway on Thursdays at 8pm

South London GLG meets Thursdays at Minet Library, Knatchbull Road, Brixton.

York GLF now forming. Details from Bob Olorenshaw, A 113 Derwent Cottage, University of York, Haslington, York.

Southampton/Bournemouth Admission 15p

Newcastle GLF meets Wednesdays 8 pm at 258 Westgate Road, Newcastle 4.

Bath Gay Awareness Group meets Thursdays 8 pm. Info – from John – Bath 63168 or Hugh – Bath 4738.

Camden GLF meets Thursdays at Forresters Hall, 5 Highgate Road, Kentish Town.

Leeds GLF meets on Fridays at the O.S.A. Lounge in the University Union. Meetings open to all.

TV and TS group meets Tuesdays at All Saints Church Vestry, Clydesdale Road, W11 at 8pm.

East London GLF meets Thursdays at 103 Market Street, East Ham E6 at 8pm.

Sussex GLF meets Tuesdays at 8.15pm upstairs/back bar Stanford Arms, Preston Circus Brighton. Contact Doug Coupe, 40 Ashford Road, Brighton, or phone Ray at 686939

Bristol Gay Awareness Group, c/o Tony, 20D. West Mall, Clifton, Bristol Tel 0272 32669

Essex GLF University, contact Brian Roberts, c/o Student Pidgeon Holes, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester.

Leeds GLF Liberation Office, 153 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2. Tel 0532 39071 ex 57. Meeting every Friday at 7.30pm


SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP

Postal enquiries – SMG, 214 Clyde Street, Glasgow G1 4JZ

For meetings in ABERDEEN and GLASGOW ring John Breslin (041-771 7600)

For meetings in DUNDEE ring Len McIntosh (0382-452433).

For meetings in EDINBURGH ring Mike Coulson (031-225 4395) between 1pm and 10pm any day


Discos

 

DISCO First Sat of each month at the Odd Spot Coffee House & Grill, Sir Simons’ Arcade (Behind T.S B.), Lancaster.  Tel.2760. 11 pm to 4 am. Bring a bottle. Gay News will be on sale.

Father Red Cap, 319 Camberwell Road. SE5. (Camberwell Green)
Upstairs Bar now open 7 nights a week – Tricky Dicky Boys Only Disco now on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Also mixed, Disco on Wednesday and Saturdays. Girls Only Disco on Friday. Gay intimate evening on Mondays. Free Admission Mondays and (for a limited period) Tuesday’s Boys Only Disco.

South London G.L.F. Disco every Monday except first Monday of the month. At The Crypt, St Matthews Church (opposite Town Hall, Brixton BR/Tube. Buses 35, 37, 109,59,2,3. Beer and snadwich bar. Love – Kisses – South London G.L.F.

 

 

 

 

 

Camden G L F weekly disco in the discotheque next to the Bull and Gate Pub (200 yds Kentish Town Stn) every Wednesday from 8pm to 1am

DRAG MOBILE DISCOTHEQUE
Tuesday nights – ROYAL OAK, 62 Glenthorne Road, London W6.
Wednesday nights – THE PONTIFRACT CASTLE, 48 Chapel Street, Edgware Road tube.
Dancing permitted, complete with drag show featuring Mr Jean Fredericks, Peter Martindale and Diamond David.

KINGS ARMS, Liverpool Street, London (corner of Pindar Street). Tube – BR Liverpool Street, buses — 8, 8A, 22, 6, 47, 87. Tricky Dicky show on Saturday nights 8.30 to 11. Admission free.
Saloon bar disco, impersonations etc, gay atmosphere. Gay News is on sale at all Tricky Dicky Discos.

West London GLF present a weekly disco every Tuesday at Fulham Town Hall (opposite stn). 8 pm.

Reading Gay Alliance weekly social Wednesday, disco Saturday, Admission to each 20p (10p students). Both at The Railway Tavern, Stanshawe Road, Reading. No membership.

Sussex G.L.F. Disco every Friday 8-11 pm. at Stanford Arms, Preston Circus. Brighton.
Only 20p

Oxford Gay Action Group: Weekly Disco’s 8pm on Fridays at “The Cape of Good Hope”, The Plain, Oxford.

LONDON GLF DANCE 24th Feb at the University Gymnasium, Gordon St, Euston WC1. 8pm to midnight. Admission 50p. Bar, Groups, including CORK


Drag & Caberet

ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN 372 Kennington Lane, SE 11 (Veuxhall)
Regular Compere – Pat Kelly – with The Keltones.
Thurs (Alt) Mr Tammy or Honey
Friday. Mr Tammy  Monday. Bow
Saturday. Lee Paris. Wednesday. Lee Pans
Sunday (Lunch) Bow  New Act Starting Soon
Sunday (Night) Mr Tammy

ROYAL OAK, 62 Glenthorne Road W6 (Hammersmith). Drag every night. Regular artistes including Mr Jean Fredericks.

ELEPHANT & CASTLE South Lambeth Place, SW8. (Vauxhall) Drag every night except Tuesdays. Regular compere Jackie. Recommended by Gay News for happy and friendly atmosphere.

THE NEW BLACK CAP: 171 Camden High Street. NW1. (Camden Town Tube.
Drag every night with Tony Page.
Mon. – Thurs. – Sat. with Merc Fleming.
Tues. with Sandy Graham.
Wed. with New Dumbelles.
Fri. with Nicky Young.
Sunday (lunch) with Marc Fleming & Mrs Shufflewick.
Sunday (evening) with Perri St Clare or Sandy Graham
Alan McGorrin is Gay News’s super salesmen at The Black Cap. Be nice to him, he works vary hard.

Father Red Cap, 319 Camberwell Road, SE5.
(Camberwell Green).
PALACE OF DRAG – Drag every night.

The following artistes are proud to announce they are appearing at the Father Red Cap; Lee Paris, Tammy, Colin Cordell, Alvis & Odell, Lee Tracy and Len Morton.

THE EAGLE, 15 Clifton Road W9.
Drag – Fri – Sat – Sun.

THE CRICKETERS. Battersea Park Road, SW11.
(BR Battersea Park).
Sun. The Troilettes. Fri. Various Artistes.
Tues. Steel Band. Sat. Singalong & Dancing.
Wed. Various Artistes. Compare/Organist
Thurs Talent Night. Kenneth Mancell.

DORSETT ARMS, Clapham Road, London SW8. Drag 24/1/73. Les Lee King.

WINDSOR CASTLE
309 Harrow Road, W9 (Westbourne Park)
Drag on Wednesday and Sunday (Lunch & Eve)

This is a list of some of the pubs in London that regularly have Drag Acts Information of out of London pubs featuring drag will be added to this list as we receive it. So if your local has something good happening at it, let us know, and that goes for you landlord as well


Gay Pubs

 

 

WILLIAM IV, Heath Street, Hampstead NW3. Hampstead Tube

THE SALISBURY. St Martins Lane. Near to Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square tubes.

THE QUEENS HEAD, Tryon Street, (off Kings Road, London SW3.

THE CHAMPION. Bayswater Road. Nearest tube is Notting Hill Gate

THE BOLTONS and THE COLEHERNE are opposite each other at the junction of Earl’s Court Road and Old Brompton. Earl’s Court Tube

THE SHIP AND WHALE, 2 Gulliver Street, SE16.

THE IMPERIAL, Richmond High Street.

THE GREEN ROOM, The Wheatsheaf, Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush.


Friendly Outlets

GAY NEWS will always be on sale at the following pubs

THE ANCHOR INN (The Viking Club), East Street, Southampton. Saturday nights – Girls only (Ask for Jan).

THE PUBLIC HOUSE, not just another bookshop. 21 Little Preston Street, Brighton. Phone 28357.

LE FAUNE Restaurant, 23 Praed Street, London W2 1NJ. Tel 01-723 5170

SHANE’S CLUB, 1 Broadhurst Gardens, Finchley Road, NW6, always has GN on sale.

THE PAVILION CLUB, 123 Shardlow Road, (A6) Shardlow, Derbys. Tel Shardiow 581. Open Wed Fri Sat & Sun from 8.00pm

THE ROBERT BURNS, 9 South Front, Southampton ‘The small pub with a BIG welcome:- Doris & Dennis’.

THE GREEN MAN, The Place, Winchester, Hants. Your Host – David M. Powrie.

ROKOKO CLUB, Roker, Sunderland. GN on sale there every Saturday.

PRINCESS ROYAL, 172 Wellingborough Road, Northampton. Your Hosts — Pern and Vim.

THE NIGHTINGALE CLUB, 50 Camp Hill, Birmingham 12 (021-772 2665) sell Gay News.

The Paint Box Club, 29 Foley St, W1, Drag & Disco Mon-Sat.

Moulin Rouge, 72 Worral Rd, Clifton, Bristol.

Gay News wishes to thank the management and staff at the COLEHERNE, and the BOLTONS (at Earls Court) and the CHAMPION (at Notting Hill Gate) for their help in letting us sell Gay News in their establishments. Gay News will regularly be on sale in these three pubs in West London.

Gay News thanks RODDY and ERIC of the MASQUERADE — the paper is always available at the door. Masquerade Club, 310 Earls Court Road,

Thanks to all at the QUEENS HEAD, Chelsea, for letting us regularly sell Gay News there.

The DisKOtheaue (D O K), 2a Lowndes Court, London W1 (off Carnaby Street) regularly has Gay News on sale. Thanks

The Father Red Cap. Boys Only, Girls Only and Mixed Disco’s. Gay News is always on sale.

Valentine’s – Georges Club (off Gay Street), Beth. Gay News is always on sale.

Thanks to DON JOHN,S, one of the North’s foremost Gay Clubs, for selling Gay News.

Thanks to the REGENCY (opposite Theatre Royal), Bath,.Gay News is always sold there by Bath Gay Awareness group

Tim will always sell you GN at the Elephant & Castle and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern at Vauxhall.

A very special thanks to Bill and Mike at the UNICORN BOOKSHOP, 50 Gloucester Road, Brighton. Tel: 682307.

BRISTOW’S PAPERBACKS, 4 Bridewell Alley. Norwich. Tel: 29535. A ‘goodie’ of a shop.

NEWSETTES

Irish Help

DUBLIN: Gays who want to talk about ‘their problem’ in an informal, understanding and ‘constructive’ atmosphere are invited to contact the Legion of Mary in Dublin.

The legion which has been running its gay-help group for about five years, says the majority of those it’s helped have found it useful.

It stresses that the group is non-denominational and that all problems are treated in confidence.

The contact number for the Legion is (01) 776083, any evening between 8pm and 10pm.

Poison Ivy

MORECAMBE: The Morecambe Visitor, the weekly paper that’s biting its editorial fingernails and waiting for the CHE conference, ran an amazing letter from the Rev Frank Ockenden.

The Rev Frank quoth: “Homosexuality, like prostitution, is a moral disease, which society may at best only contain, but for its good must endeavour to prevent or cure.

“To condemn the practice does not necessarily imply the condemnation of its victims. Being Holy, God condemns all sin, and has said so, but being also Love, He has provided salvation from it in his Son Jesus Christ. This includes all homosexuals, and makes irrelevant any campaign for equality.”

Then in slammed the Corrs of Lancaster, lambasting the Rev Frank, who (incidentally) lives at Ivy Cottage, Arkhole, for would-be correspondents.

The Corrs – Bill and his wife Anna – blasted away in fine style: “Since the majority of people in this country are no longer practicing Christians the advice of the Rev Ockenden and his fellow minsters of religion would be heeded only by those who share their respective faiths.

“Homosexuality ought to rank equal in the eyes of the law with heterosexuality so far as age of consent, marriage and so on are concerned.

“At the moment homosexual men (the law does not recognise that female homosexuality exists, oddly enough) exist in a legal minefield.

“Naturally all that this would mean is that the gap between the law of the land and Mr Ockenden’s theology would be at liberty to denounce homosexuality as a sin to anyone prepared to pay any attention.”

The Rev Frank is a loner in the realms of backwoods revivalism. His Arkholme Evangelical Church broke away from the Lancaster Methodist Circuit about two years ago, because the Lancaster Methodists were having dealings with members of other churches.

Since then the Rev Frank has been wearing the top dog-collar at Arkholme and master-minding Munich style rallies of revivalist religion. Even the Rev Ian Paisley chickened out of one invite the Martin Luther of Poison Ivy Cottage sent him.

John Pointless Ross

LONDON: The Evening News’ man-for-all-occasions, John Pointer Ross, managed to get a swipe at gays into his January 19 column for the more boring of London’s evening papers.

Along with Ross’ ‘thoughts’ on crime and punishment, drug-addiction, a farm-worker from Brighton who has sired 17 children and the price of beef – Ross was never the first with an idea – we got this gem: “CHE, in case you didn’t know, stands for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

“They wanted to hold a conference for their members. The usual resorts where conferences are normally held have turned them down.

“The homosexuals seem surprised. Are you?”

But the Fleet Street hacks don’t all think the same way. Readers may remember Des Wilson as the man who cared about the homeless. Now he’s returned to his first love, journalism.

From his perch on top of his regular column in The Observer, Des Wilson observed: “Weymouth and other seaside towns (including, I gather, Morecambe) have certainly shown why a Campaign for Homosexual Equality is needed. The ignorance and prejudice reflected in some towns’ responses have been incredible.”

Normal Homosexuals

From the tons of newsprint produced every day we present this excerpt from the Evening Post (Luton):

Question: Can you be a homosexual and still be normal in other ways?

Answer: Most certainly. But that’s not to say that all homosexuals are otherwise normal.

The same applies, of course, to those who favour the opposite sex.

Chaplain Charged

LEEDS: The Church of England chaplain at Wakefield prison was released on bail by Leeds magistrates after he had appeared before them charged with ‘indecently assaulting’ a policeman in a public lavatory.

The Rev George who is said to have assaulted PC Gordon in a cottage in Marsh Lane, Leeds, was remanded on £25 bail. The police did not object.

He will appear before the magistrates again on March 6.

Towards A Gay Culture

SO… we have come out from under our stones. Some of us are now satisfied with what we are. Others of us still feel the urge to push the gay movement forward – but in what direction? At this moment in time, two approaches dominate.

The first, deriving partly out of the liberal-reformist elements of GLF, and the activist elements of CHE, focusses on the issues of civil rights. Not one of the minimal demands of the GLF Manifesto has yet been realised. It is obvious that where we do not simply fake them, as when we ignore the antiquated age of consent, and thumb our noses at the law, then a lot of work has got to go on pursuading those who make the laws and determine the policies that derive from them, to take gay people seriously into account. This needs to go on at all levels of society.

The second, deriving mainly out of the more radical elements of GLF, focusses on what we can call ‘the politics of experience’ as they are manifested in the interpersonal relations of a small group. The importance of the latest edition of Come Together (no 14) is that there is here a serious attempt to report on a sustained effort to explore in actual behaviour some of the further-reaching conclusions of the Manifesto. But this is an introverted trend. It moves further and further away from what most gay people – most people, even – are willing to attempt.

The demands it makes lead almost necessarily to a total exclusion of other concerns which, while not bearing in any sense on gay liberation, have their own importance for those involved in them.

The significance of these trends must not be minimised, either by invidious comparison of one from the standpoint of the other, or by a cynical debunking, from the sidelines, which may give the illusion of being above any shit-work, but serves in the main to demonstrate a crass and insensitive complacency

These two categories correspond more or less to two of the three categories outlined by Jeff Weeks in his article on the GLF movement some weeks ago (GN6). His third category, Gay Socialism, has yet to make itself felt, even though it transcends both the others, as far as he is concerned. The people who could be to us what Juliet Mitchell and Shulameth Firestone are to the Women’s Movement are around – we can only suggest they get on with the job of providing us with our own definitive texts.

But what Jeff Weeks’ analysis missed is another trend which has yet to be named. This is a broad trend which shows itself in the accumulating written week-to-week, month-to-month experience of an increasing number of people who neither identify nor wish to identify with any of the particular dominant strands that can be discerned in the gay movement. It is beginning to fill the great vacuum between the limiting rip-off porn, and the limiting technicalese of certain professions which do well out of calling us deviant, examples of it are the less specifically committed articles to be found in back numbers of Come Together, in Gay News as a whole, and in Lunch.

They document the immediate past and the ongoing present. They represent a self-pronounced perspective on ourselves which does not so much seek identity, as assumes it. We no longer have to preface what we say with any remarks of justification addressed to some named or nameless majority. This in itself is an immense step forward.

But all of these journals tend to evoke a sense of transitoriness. The necessary brevity of each item in their contents is a major factor, flashes of occasional insight incapable of being transformed into sustained exploration.

Interestingly enough, there are stirrings elsewhere, that seem to be a response to recent changes in the gay sense of self. Over Christmas I came across and read a book by Dirk Vanden (‘All Is Well’ Olympia Press), a self-confessed gay-pulp author, which seems to be a prelude to what is to come.

‘All Is Well’ is basically concerned with the progression of one man from a state of extreme sexual repression to a form of liberation. The first state has introduced tremendous mental blocks which effectively divide the man’s consciousness into two parts. The first rigidly defines the limits of his sexual-emotional life – even his masturbatory fantasies are confined to memories of sex with his estranged wife. His relations with his son are distant and authoritarian.

On the other hand, a frustrated unconscious side begins to emerge from the first page in the form of apparently external threats to the man’s life-style – poison pen notes, later combined with pornographic photographs and actual threats on his life. Certain key events lead to an integration of these two partial personalities. The puritan Robert fuses with the immature sexually destructive Bobby to become the liberated Bob.

Vanden’s idea of liberation leaves a great deal to be desired. It is a variation on the theme of prick-power, coupled with a curiously amorphous mysticism which envelopes the final pages. The latter can be criticised both for its failure to recognise a continuing context of oppression – all is not well, insofar as this is ignored, and its lack of general viability. Finally the book is a very patchy literary product.

But what is important is the altogether positive stance it ends on. Contrast this with the end of ‘The Boys In The Band’, for example, where the principal character sidles off to early morning mass. Nemesis, in the form of the knowledge that deep down he is not ‘glad to be gay’, has caught up with him, and he makes appropriate reparation. Vanden’s character is moving onward when the book ends.

There needs to be more, and better examples of this longer-term stuff, since it so effectively extends the difference already demonstrated by current short-term journalism between what we thought we were, and what we think we can be.

If the work is a play, there can be interesting side-effects. Bruce Bayley recently wrote and directed a play at Kingston Polytechnic which deals in a surrealist manner with gay issues. From his account of the difficulties of production and their gradual resolution, it is quite clear that there were valuable outcomes before the first night. The very act of needing to play roles which went against cast-members’ assumptions of personhood and sexuality proved a useful consciousness-raising experience for them.

Vanden’s book and Bayley’s play provide just two examples of where energies can be usefully directed. Both are additions to the developing gay sense of self. It seems to me that we need to aim consciously at creating a gay culture which not only differentiates and sensitises our responsiveness to what we are and can become, but also augments straightforward political statements and activities.

A contemporary gay culture also needs to discover and understand its roots. Most of us know nothing of homophile movements in the past or their articulate representatives. In the present, extensive critiques of the treatment of homosexuality by writers, filmmakers etc, just do not exist. We need to start up historical and cultural studies of this kind. We need to find whatever there is to find, and make it readily available.

In practical terms, this would be possible in very small groups – the current standard unit of the gay movement.

University gay groups at a loss what to do might consider these suggestions seriously. They have the access to materials, and, at least in principle, the time to pass them on. But for other groups there are other sources of information – the local library used effectively can be one of them. Finally, no group whatever its size or location has a monopoly on creative skills, though making a film is obviously a highly specialist activity.

Every movement in the past – and Black Liberation is a recent example – has recognised the need to create and elaborate an authentic culture where only distortion and/or ignorance has prevailed before. It is needed as a primary basis for a real and continuing awareness among members of that movement. It is this superordinate task which defines the essential unity of the gay movement, whatever internal differences of opinion may exist. Recognising this as a conscious aim will make us generally more positive towards, though not necessarily less critical of, those activities or ideas which we would not carry out or hold ourselves. It will redefine the apparently divisive tendencies that seem to be generated as different paths taken in essentially the same direction.