Tyneside CHE

05-197208xx-323 members and guests came to the first meeting of Tyneside CHF which was held in Jesmond on Tuesday, July 25th, among them members of the North Yorkshire/South Durham and Nottingham groups, and of GLF, as well as others of us whose first experience it was of a gathering of this kind. Our Convenor, David, at once demonstrated his talent for creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere by faultlessly introducing every one of us by name to the last arrivals, and Derek, who had very kindly given us his hospitality, helped to make us feel very much at home by producing coffee at just the right moment before the talking started.

David, introducing the meeting, kept up the informality by suggesting that we first get to know each other and our thoughts about the Group before getting down to the business of constitutions, committees and subscriptions at a later date. Any fears that we might turn out to be a tongue-tied lot were quickly dispelled, and some pretty lively discussion took, place on the balance we should keep between carrying out the campaigning and educational objects of CHE and the fulfilling of social needs. Most of us seemed to agree that there need be no clash between the two, and that as well as furthering in every way we could the aims of the Campaign, we should also make our Group a socially attractive one (which it looks like being anyway), with special emphasis on helping those who have been victims of social isolation. David undertook to discover our “hidden talents“in the form of a questionaire.

On the subject of meeting-places, most people thought Newcastle would generally be the most convenient centre, but that we should aim to vary our surroundings at the homes of members who were able to offer hospitality. For the more organised monthly occasion, the possibility of our being able to use a private room at the Percy Arms would be investigated, also the Quakers’ Hall, and David mentioned that there was a chance of his being able to negotiate the use of other licensed premises where we could meet in privacy. Inevitably no one evening in the week would be equally convenient for us all and, though on Tuesday the Tuesdayites were in the majority, we would see how the evening could best be varied. Meetings with guest speakers from a distance might need to be on Fridays, and we resolved to invite as our first guest to speak National Executive member Ike Cowen, legal adviser to CHF, whose recent talk in Durham had been enjoyed enough for those who had heard him there to want to hear him speak again. We hope he will be able to come up towards the end of September.

Michael suggested the very valuable possibility of our being able to make eventual use of office facilities which GLF are hoping to acquire in Newcastle, and our thanks are due to Ken who is giving up his time and facilities for the duplication of material like this, and also to Alan who has offered the same essential service.

There was such a generous response to David’s request for offers of transport that there will be no difficulty over arranging a ferry service from Newcastle for anyone who needs it to our next meeting at David’s at North Shields on August 8th. An equally generous response to the plate which was passed around to cover immediate expenses raised £2.54 and since Derek absolutely refused to allow us to reimburse him we actually start with something in the kitty.

I think we all found it was a most encouraging beginning. Tyneside may have been the last major region to form a Group, but from Tuesday’s experience it looks as if our late starter may well surprise some of its elders.

Gay Corner

Members of Campaign for Homosexual Equality stood up to be counted for the second time at London’s Speakers’ Corner on Sunday August 13.

05-197208xx-3Even though the five speakers took just under an hour to outline the main points of the gay-oppression struggle, CHE managed to gather a good crowd of some 300 or 400. And, better still, the speakers held that crowd despite the heckling from both sympathisers and opponents of homosexual equality.

The most striking thing about the meeting was the fact that there just weren’t many interruptions, as well as one of the speakers being unexpected.

A guy called Bill stood up. He’d never heard of CHE or GLF, but he way gay and proud of it. He wanted the people to know that. He thought homosexuality and intelligence were interlinked. “Many of the most intelligent people in history were gay”, he said.

One of the best speakers was Jacquie Forster. She stood up and said: “You’re looking at a roaring lesbian.” Then she pleased for people to drop labelling everyone else. “We lesbians aren’t trying to get into your wife’s knickers all the time.”

Jackie was a forceful speaker and she got a lot of laughs, which helped offset the rather earnest tone of the rest of the meeting.

But even if there are some criticisms you can make of the CHE meeting, one thing’s for sure – it took a lot of guts to stand up there and say “I’m gay and I’m proud.”

A Thoroughly Responsible Paper

05-197208xx-4The freedom of the British press is something we have all learned to value. Usually this is understood to mean that our newspapers are not controlled or censored by the government, the state, the police or the army. Publish and be damned is still a good slogan.

However, this freedom is also assumed to mean that individuals and groups of individuals have the right to reply to attacks made upon them by individual newspapers. Quite often this right is freely given. You will find in general that all contentious topics are given a pretty free airing from both sides, whether it is scientology in dispute or Sir Basil Spence’s erection.

A significant exception was made recently though by The Sunday Telegraph. On Sunday, June 2Sth the following item appeared in that paper’s column of pungent tit-bits called To the Point; —

Gent’s Directory

LEAVING aside any dispute about the power of judges to make what is in effect new law, there will be general satisfaction that they have declared to be illegal any advertisement designed to put homosexuals in contact with one another.

It has now become clear that the concept of privacy enshrined in the Wolfenden Act should have applied, not only to homosexual practices as such, but to anything likely to encourage them. The Act was intended to protect an unfortunate minority from persecution, but not to empower them to spread their deviant ideas in society at large.

Presumably no one would dispute the S. Telegraph’s right to express such an opinion. Some people might question the use of emotive language – eg. ‘unfortunate’, ‘empower’ and ‘deviant ideas’, not to mention the use of ‘their’ with its establishment of a ‘them’ and ‘us’ division.

Quite naturally though the paragraphs upset a great many homosexual men and women. And several immediately wrote to the newspaper.

Dear Sir,

I would like to take issue with you, as no doubt others of your readers have done, over last week’s article entitled ‘Gents’ Directory’.

You leave aside the question of whether it is right that the judiciary should usurp the legislature’s function by effectively making laws to cover what a few unelected judges consider to be Parliament’s omission. I have not seen in your columns an equal lack of concern at, for example, left wing youth groups which similarly by-pass the established democratic channels from time to time.

You assert that the denial of advertising rights to homosexuals will meet with general satisfaction. Among the one in twenty homosexuals who read and write for the Sunday Telegraph? Among those who believe in one law for all citizens and abhor discrimination against minorities? Among those concerned at the isolation and despair often faced by homosexuals denied the opportunity for social contact and fulfilling relationships because you do not like them?

You claim that the Sexual Offences Act intended to protect homosexuals from persecution. The Act indeed allowed consenting adult male homosexuals a limited freedom at law. But society persistently denies homosexuals the opportunity to exercise that limited freedom. You justify this with the emotive concept of homosexuals ‘spreading their deviant ideas in society at large!’ We do this, apparently, by seeking to contact other homosexuals via advertisements, just as heterosexuals freely do, on a much larger scale. And if they feel the need, in an entirely heterosexually orientated society, how much more so must we!

The outcry against this social persecution has only just begun. We are comforted by the knowledge that, although this is and must be our battle, we are not alone.

Tony Ryde, (Vice Chairman Campaign for Homosexual Equality) 28 Kennedy St., Manchester.

Dear Sir,

Your editorial comment on homosexuals (Gent’s Directory, last Sunday) has brought considerable and unnecessary distress to a great many people. The note is based on the misconception (which a little unbiased research would have swiftly corrected) that homosexuality is infectious. When a homosexual advertises for companionship then only another homosexual is interested. Society at large remains unaffected.

Surely you would agree that one’s sexuality can hardly be dismissed as a mere idea, but is an inescapable fact of one’s personality.

What you refer to as the “spread (of) deviant ideas” is the simple assertion that the homosexual man and woman have a human right to exist in equality with our heterosexual brothers and sisters. A society which happily accepts our contribution to its economy (mostly greater than that of married people) yet continues to condemn us to a crippling emotional isolation might itself be judged deviant.

Roger Baker
Press Officer: CHE 28 Kennedy St.
Manchester.

Dear Sir,

I was dismayed to read your editorial “Gents Directory”.

To many heterosexual adults, the subject of homosexuality appears to be aligned with pornography, bestiality and intentions to deprave. Anyone admitting to being a homosexual is branded as unclean and considered fair sport for either mental or physical punishment.

This is manifestly unjust. It is surely the case that homosexuals are by accident of birth made what they are. How many of your readers would endorse your condemnation if it were directed at another branch of society different from the norm of which there are so many tragic examples.

I do not agree with the aims of the Gay Liberation Front and others which appear to show the homosexual as superior to his brethren but I am sure that the majority of this section of the population merely want to be accepted for what they are and have the equal rights to which we subscribe in every other walk of life.

In the present isolated environment that has been forced on them, why should we even now deny them the right to try and establish contact with each other? Your own endorsement sir, of the recent Court ruling aggravates the present bigotry and further delays the coming of a free and well adjusted society.

Anonymous

Dear Sir,

I read with astonishment your editorial ‘Gents’ Directory’. I can only hope that your extremely distasteful and hostile remarks stem from a complete ignorance of the nature and effect of homosexuality, rather than a wilful desire to inflict suffering by perpetuating wicked myths.

I and my colleagues, who include doctors, surgeons and priests, have daily brought home to us the misery and unhappiness of that minority whom you gratuitously describe as ‘unfortunate’. Our clients problems are not caused by their homosexuality but by the very attitudes within society towards homosexuals as examplified by your editorial.

If, as a responsible, opinion forming member of that society, you should wish to discover the truth, I and my colleagues would welcome the opportunity to inform you of our work. If, however, your prejudice will not permit you to take up our offer, then I hope your conscience will restrain you from publishing such ill-informed editorials in the future.

Michael Launder
(National Organiser)
Friend,
Broadley Terrace,
London.N.W.1.

These are clearly sensible, reasoned letters, hardly the work of maniacs or cranks. But of course, none were published. Instead, Brian Roberts the 68-year-old editor of the Sunday Telegraph took what seems to be the unusual step of replying personally to his correspondents.

Sunday Telegraph
Fleet Street,
London.E.C.4.
Tel: 01-353 4242

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of June 28.

There is nothing in our editorial which I wish to withdraw. It did not attack the protection afforded to homosexuals by the Act. In rightly supporting the recent Court ruling against advertising, it took into account that there must be many what I might call “borderline ” homosexuals whose often courageous resistance to homosexual practices should not be undermined by such proselytising. Tolerance is one thing, encouragement another.

B.R. Roberts
Editor

One could, of course, go on for several paragraphs about the implications and — perhaps more important – assumptions of Mr. Roberts’ letter. Tony Ryde, in fact, did reply, as follows: —

Dear Mr. Roberts,

Thank you for acknowledging my letter. I did not ask you to withdraw any part of your editorial but rather to recognise that there are other views, equally strongly felt and perhaps as widely supported. Perhaps you intend to publish such an alternative view this Sunday since presumably the Letters Column in the Sunday Telegraph, as is generally the case, doesn’t have to reflect the Editor’s personal opinion.

I recognise that your editorial did not attack the protection which the 1967 act affords to homosexuals (so long as they are over 21 and live in England); I do not think I suggested it did. Rather I pointed to the social persecution which continues unabated and is reflected by your own views, albeit in the guise of protecting borderline cases from temptation.

Of course there are borderline cases on both sides. If I, being predominantly homosexual am tempted to heterosexual practices neither I, not I think you, will applaud as courageous any resistance I might offer. The morality or immorality, surely, depends not on the act but on the spirit. For you, as for the proponents of the 1967 Act, homosexuality is to be considered as intrinsically evil or sick. Whereas CHE, together with all homosexuals campaigning for full civil rights argues that truly fulfilling, responsible relationships have nothing to do with hetero- or homosexuality per se, but with people and personal values. The borderline homosexual therefore has an equal chance of, and right to, meaningful homosexual relationship as to a meaningful heterosexual one.

In any case you cannot contend that homosexual advertisements appeal primarily to ‘borderline cases’ and you will admit I think I that trying, I believe misguidedly, to protect them you are denying a far greater number of confirmed homosexuals the opportunity to I make contact with other confirmed homosexuals in the hope of relieving their loneliness and establishing mutually rewarding relationships.

If CHE proselytises it is for this freedom which should be an unassailable right; so long as it is denied to us tolerance is pure fantasy.

Tony Ryde

What is disturbing about the whole episode is The Sunday Telegraph’s inability to admit another point of view — and a point of view backed with rather more experience of the real situation that the author of the original article.

RADIO GAY

05-197208xx-8The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has been given two hours of air space on Radio London. On August 30 it will take over the regular Wednesday evening programme, Platform, which gives minority and pressure groups a chance to sound off about their aims and objects and particular points of view.

Though the programme will clearly act as a recruiting opportunity for Che, it does have much wider reverberations and will cover most aspects of the homophile situation. In particular special attention will be paid to the age of consent, the implications of the IT judgement and the extraordinary situation of the female homosexual and the bi-sexual. Real people will spell it out and there will be several authoritative voices in the studio including representatives of the Gay News collective.

Platform is one of those programmes during which listeners are invited to telephone questions in as the discussion continues. This is a vital part of the programme and it is hoped that gay people throughout London will gather round their VHF wavebands and phone in. August 30th. 8.15 pm. The studio telephone number will be given regularly during the course of the programme.

Information

05-197208xx-11This corner is really a long list – of places, people you might like to know about or one day need. We can only, of course, publish the information that comes to us.


 

OPPIDAN – ADVISES AND BEFRIENDS
It hopes to have an introduction and accommodation service eventually. Write to Box No 99 (do Gay News) or ring: (01) 769 7965 anytime.

LESBIAN LIBERATION.
Meetings Wednesday 8.00pm, at the South London Women’s Liberation Centre, 14 Radnor Terrace, SW8. All women welcome.

CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY is urgently seeking office premises in or near Central London, preferably with telephone already installed. 300 square feet approx, required. CHE would be happy to share with another organisation if necessary If you have, or know of, a place vacant, write to : Derek Brookfield, 7 Bruton Grove, Crouch End, London N8 9EX.

New CHE group at BARKING, c/0 George Jordan, 39a Mansfield Road. Ilford Tel 554 3337.

‘CHALLENGE’ is a London based homosexual group (recently heard on ‘Speakeasy ) that meets each week for a drink and a chat – why don’t you join us? Ring Martin at 427 8175 or Sid at 328 4647.

“Gay Cambridge”, a joint CHE/GLF group covering both the town and university. Meets every fortnight, wekkly in university term. Contact Bernard Greaves, 29 John Street, Cambridge, phone Cambridge 52661 or Pat Jones, 48 Milton Road, Cambridge, phone 55772.

Putney/Wimbledon/Richmond CHE group forming. Men AND Women. We plan to meet at least once a month. Write: Fred Green, 368 Upper Richmond Road. Putney SW15 2TU.

Gay Unity, Harrow. For details phone Jamie at 863 1184 or Alex at 422 7890 Meets on Mondays

Newcastle GLF Dance August 25 at Sallyport Tower. Licensed bar until midnight. Group, Disco and possibly a lightshow Tickets are 35p., available from all members of Newcastle GLF.

GAYSOC For London University students. Meets regularly in term Send s.a.e. to Gaysoc. ULU, Malet Street. London WC1.

FRIEND is the advisory and befriending service of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality Call (Monday and Friday 7.30 to 9.30 pm) or write to Friend, Centre. Broadley Terrace. London NW1.

CHE. An All London Political Action Group is in the process of formation. Will anyone who wants further information on this campaigning group write to: Derek Brookfield, 7 Britton Grove, Crouch End, London N8 9EX.

Women’s Disco Benefit in solidarity with The Fakenham v Brannon Women. On Friday 1st September at Sols Arms. Hampstead Road. London (Warren St. Tube). Admission only 10p + collection. Bar — Bookstall – Film. Organised by Gay Socialist Women’s Group.

Sussex G.L.F. Disco every Friday 8-11pm at Stanford Arms, Preston Circus, Brighton. Only 15p.

Sappho meets every first Monday in the month, at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm. upstairs room. Great Russell Street. London WC1. All women are welcome. Sappho magazine is available at 2Sp for single copies, plus postage,(Subs rates are unchanged) from Sappho Publications Ltd., BCM/Petrel, London WC1.

Women’s Liberation Workshop – 22 Great Windmill Street. London W1. Tel: 437 6118.


CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY

Cambridge
Chilterns (Berkhampstead South Essex (Basildon)
/Amersham) South Herts (Watford/St Albans)
Colchester Southampton/Bournemouth
Crouch End Stoke-on-Trent
Croydon Swansea/Carmarthen
East Kent (Canterbury) Teeside
Guildford Tunbridge Wells
Halifax/Huddersfield. Tyneside
Ilford Windsor
Leeds Wirral
Lewisham Wolverhampton
Liverpool Wolverhampton & District worker’s group
LONDON STUDENT GROUPS
Acton/Ealing London
Central Manchester
Highbury/Islington Oxford
Kilburn Kent
Manchester Liverpool
Newport/Cardiff PROPOSED GROUPS
Northampton Devon
Oxford Leicester
Portsmouth Enfield
Reading Barking
Sheffield Preston
Shropshire Taunton

Many local group organisers are wary of having their names and addresses publicised, so for the time being please contact all CHE groups via the national office: 28 KENNEDY STREET. MANCHESTER 2. Telephone 061-228 1985

GAY LIBERATION FRONT GROUPS

At present there ere GLF groups in operation in the following areas:

Aberystwth Essex University Reading
Bath Folkstone Sheffield
Bristol Greenoch Swansea
Brent Guernsey Sussex
Bedfordshire Higham Ferrers
Birmingham Hull LONDON
Belfast Keele University South London
Bradford Lancaster West London
Cambridge Leicester East London
Cheltenham Leeds Notting Hill
Canterbury Manchester Hackney
Cardiff Newcastle Youth Group
Colchester Norwich Religious Group
Derby Oxford Women’s Group
Durham Portsmouth
Edinburgh Potteries

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

Gay Women’s Liberation Group, Contact Gillian 837 4502. Meets Wednesdays 7.30pm.

G.L.F. Youth and Education Group meets on Mondays. Phone 837 7174 for details.

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

West London G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 8 00pm upstairs at the ‘White Lion’ pub. Putney High Street, just south of Putney Bridge Tube Putney Bridge. Buses 14.22.30.86.85A. 93. 220 and Green Line 718. BR Putney. Disco there every Wednesday.

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

Reading Gay Alliance. Room 7, 30 London Road, Reading

Bath Gay Awareness Group. Contact Richard or Teresa at Bath 29437.

Bristol Gay Awareness Group, c/o Tony, 200. West Mall. Clifton. Brrstol. Tel: 0272 32669

Leicester Gay Awareness Group, Contact John Page, 126 Nansen Road. Leicester LE5 5NJ. Phone Leicester 738832

Leads GLF, Liberation Office. 153 Wood-House Lane. Leeds 2. Tel: 0532-39071 Ex 57. Meetings every Friday at 7.30pm at the Liberation Office.

SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP

EDINBURGH, from 7.45pm to 9.00pm on Mondays. m the basement of 23 George Square. Check with Mike Coulson at 031-225 4395 between 1.OOpm and 10.00pm. Women’s Group at 7.30pm Saturdays from 9 30pm to 12.30 pm, coffee/food/dance at the same address.

During August and first half of September, 23 George Square is closed. Check with Mike Coulson.

GLASGOW,meetings every Tuesday at 8.00pm at 8 Dunearn Street. Glasgow C4. Women’s Group at 184 Swinton Road, at 8.00pm. Third Friday of every month at 214 Clyde Street (library of community house) invited speakers, from 8pm.

DUNDEE, every Friday at Dundee University Chaplaincy. Social. Details from 041-771 7600.

ABERDEEN. Weekly social meetings. Details from 041-771 7600


Discos

KINGS ARMS. Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pinder Street) Tube/BR Liverpool Street.
Dicks Inn, Gay Disco every Monday
Compere Tricky Dicky.

THE ARABIAN. Cambridge Heath Road, London. (corner of Bishops Way) Tube Bethnal Green/Bus 277. Dicks Inn, Gay Disco – closed for the Summer. Re-opens early October.

THE FATHER RED CAP Boys Only, Girls Only, and Mixed Disco’s.

KINGS ARMS, Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pindar Street)
Tube/BR Liverpool Street. Buses 8,8A,22,6, 47,97.
Tricky Dicky Show on Saturday Nights. 8.30-11 00. Admission Free. Saloon Bar Disco. Impersonations etc. Gay Atmosphere.


Drag

THE CRICKETERS, Battersea Park Road, SW11.
(BR Battersea Park).

Sun. The Trollettes. Fri. Various Artistes.
Tues. Steel Band. Say. Singalong & Dancing.
Wed. Various Artistes. Compere/Organist
Thurs. Talent Night. Kenneth Mancell.

THE DORSET ARMS, 124 Clapham Road, SW4 (Oval Tube)

Tuesdays. Michael and Bow. Thursdays. Michael.
Sundays. Michael and Bow.

THE NEW BLACK CAP 171 Camden High Street, NW1 (Camden Town Tube) Drag Every Night.
Featured artists include Mark Fleming, Bow, Mrs Shufflewick, Jean Fredericks, New Dumbells, Sandy Graham, Chris Kay.

Alan McGorrin is Gay News’s super salesman at The Black Cap. Be nice to him, he works very hard for us.

 

ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN.
372 Kennington Lane, SE11. (Vauxhall).

Thursday (Alt.) Mr.Tammy or Lee Paris with Lettuce.
Friday. Mr.Tammy. Monday. Bow.
Saturday. Lee Paris. Wednesday. Lee Paris.
Sunday. (Lunch) Bow. New Act Starting Soon.
Sunday. (Night) Mr.Tammy.

ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road, W6 (Hammersmith). Drag every night except Tuesday.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE’. South Lambeth Place. SW8 (Vauxhall). Every nght except Tuesday.
Friday Mark Fleming

OXFORD TAVERN 256 Kentish Town Road. NW5 (Kentish Town) Drag on Tues. Wed. and Thurs.
Resident host Perri St Clair.

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

THE BELL. Pentonville Road, N1 (Kings Cross).
Every Alt. Friday. Derek Rees. – Sandy Roy

THE BUSH HOTEL. 2, Goldhawk Road, W.12. (Goldhawk Road). Every Thursday.

THE ALEXANDRA
Alexandra Road, St.John.s Wood, NW8
Wednesday’s Mr Angel. Friday’s Derek Rees.

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 landlords as well.


GAY NEWS will always be on sale at the following pubs:

MARSH HOTEL (Mike & Eileen) Canute Road, Southampton.
Semi Gay. Disco every Thursday night. Also: THE ANCHOR (Pat & Geoff) East Street, Southampton. Gay girls and boys. Disco every Fri & Sat

MARIO’S CLUB, Stenford Street, off Castlegate, Nottingham.

Nottingham – Roebuck, Mansfield Road, room upstairs

THE PLOUGH, Great Munden Herts. A.10 thru’ Ware (Herts), signpost on left to The Mundens. At the end of side road turn right – pub is on right. About 3 miles off the A.10


Postage costs are very high, so when you write to us, could you please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for the reply – if you want a reply, that is.

The Unconventional Wisdom

04-197208XX 04Dr John Loraine has recently published a book entitled “The Death of To-morrow”. It caused considerable excitement in that it has a foreword by the Duke of Edinburgh which could be taken as condoning the view expressed by the author that “unless reproductive activities are controlled there can be no future for mankind”. This relates directly to family planning and, by implication, to abortion. In the chapter of the book which deals with the subject and which is headed “Reproduction and the Conventional Wisdom” Dr Loraine also touches on homosexuality although very briefly. He states: “For homosexuality in men and women the conventional wisdom has no truck”. This is somewhat sweeping generalisation although it can be said to be true of a high percentage of public opinion. He is, of course, a Scot working in Edinburgh and the Sexual Offences Act does not run in Scotland. That is something which ought to be put right and it is reasonable to ask what Dr Loraine and others are going to do about it in the light of his fears about reproductive activities. The one thing that homosexuals cannot be accused of, even by the most prejudiced and uninformed of their critics, is increasing the population by over-production.

Dr Loraine asserts that “the monolithic pose of the conventional wisdom with respect to homosexuality will not endure indefinitely. The obsolescency of the approach will eventually become self-evident…”. Here again the relevant word is eventually – when is that to be? Dr Loraine indicates that he is not prepared to predict when he declares “It is evident that a fog of bigotry and prejudice surrounds adult homosexuality. What period of time must elapse before the winds of change finally disperse it?” But winds of change do not blow of their own accord: they have to be stirred up.

In this context it is worth remembering that the Wolfenden Report was published in 1957. That part of it which concerned prostitution was accepted without delay : the part dealing with homosexuality did not receive legislative approval until 1967. Ten years is a long time even in the life of politics. Even then it was left to the back-benchers to initiate that legislation. The Conservatives, on the advice of the late Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe ‘the hammer of homosexuals’ and later of R.A. Butler, expressed the view that public opinion was not ripe for such a change. The Socialists expressed no opinion but were prepared to allow time for the Bill. It is, let it be affirmed, the function of politicians and particularly governments, to guide public opinion and not to be guided by it. And, in this direction, there is still work to be done.

For those who took the trouble to study it the Wolfenden Report effectively destroyed the popular misconception that all homosexuals were, to put it crudely “queers” and “pansies” who tended to model themselves on Oscar Wilde and to dress and behave in an effeminate manner. Society was made to realise that many of the people whom it regarded as ‘regular guys’ in the office, commuting, in the golf club, in the pub, at football matches and who even played games, were addicted to homosexual practices or were complete homosexuals. It also realised that its children could be either homosexual or bi-sexual; which for most parents was a nasty shock.

Opposition to changing the law centred around the declared menace to the health of society, the damaging effect on family life and the suggestion that men who indulged in homosexual practices would instinctively thereafter turn their attention to boys. It was all summed up under the umbrella title of undermining the moral fibre of the nation. After hearing all the evidence the Wolfenden Committee rightly rejected all these arguments and went so far as to say “We have had no reasons shown to us that lead us to believe that homosexual behaviour between males inflicts any greater damage on family life than adultery, fornication and lesbian behaviour”. This led them, amongst other things, to recommend that it should cease to be classified as a criminal offence.

But although the law has been changed, the position of the homosexual, after five years, has not changed commensurately in society. There is still ostracism, harassment, oppression and consequent repression. Beyond the political sphere education in its fullest form is the key to reform. The Wolfenden Committee indicated the true nature of homosexuality and expressed its views as to what should be the position of the homosexual in society. Although these were ultimately accepted by Parliament they have not been reflected in the attitudes of a great many parents nor by the majority of educationalists. Until this state of affairs is rectified there will continue to be hostility and indifference on the one hand and guilt-complex and depression on the other. Education never ceases in life but for some, so far as sex is concerned, it never seems to begin. Consequently fathers feel that it is an attribute unworthy of their progeny and an insult to themselves. Mothers take it as a contribution against their own sex and resent it. There is none of the sympathy nor the affection which is given to mongols and to children who are mentally or physically handicapped. All this is alarming because it illustrates the magnitude of the problems which confront those who want to put matters right and it also explains why society, from a basis of ignorance and prejudice, is still reluctant to accept the homosexual as a first-class citizen.

Sexually we are what we are. How we behave sexually depends to a large extent on upbringing, environment, and our own capacity to exercise self-discipline. Being treated initially as people whose parents are ashamed of them and subsequently as social outcasts is the surest way of increasing the problems of homosexuals and tends to reduce their usefulness to society and, in many cases, induces an unjustified inferiority complex and a sense of hostility to others.

It is time for parents and teachers to face up to realities. Homosexuals are not perverts they are simply different. And there is nothing wrong in being different. Society through its leaders must accept this. The politicians must continue to rectify the position first of all by changing the age of consent which at 21 is absurd. Scotland and Northern Ireland must be brought into line with the rest of the country. The exclusion of the Armed Forces and Merchant Navy from the terms of the Sexual Offences Act must cease. In addition a clear directive must be given to the police with regard to the intentions of that Act. The religious leaders must accept the fact that homosexuality is not a sin and act accordingly towards the homosexual members of their congregations. The Medical profession must carry out the recommendations of Wolfenden that they should study homosexuality more deeply and instruct medical students with regard to it. C.H.E. and G.L.F. must pursue these objectives and seek to influence public opinion in order that they may be achieved.

This is the unconventional wisdom which must prevail over the conventional wisdom which is prejudiced stupidity. To-day there are two societies – the heterosexual in the majority and the homosexual which is in the minority. The time has come to end this divisiveness so that the homosexual element can play its proper part in the daily ordering of things. It is not a question of adjusting the attitudes of two societies but of creating one society.

Little Gay School Book?

04-197208XX 04On 24 June, young gays from the whole country converged on the plush Central Collegiate Building of University College, London, for another Young Gay Conference. Despite a noticeably poor attendance from certain groups invited, the conference began by discussing critically action taken since the last meeting.

Distinct concern was shown at the complete lack of support from any of the many headmasters contacted over the schools campaign, and other methods were considered including the compilation of a “school’s kit”, which would contain tape-recordings and literature, and could be used by teachers.

The recently formed London University Homophile Society, GAYSOC, by whose ingenity the conference room was procured, announced definite success with the university’s medical staff, as did the representative from Bath University. Kent representatives, however, were somewhat depressed at their university’s reaction, and their numbers remain minimal. Attempts had been made to enliven various “straight” discos on London and provincial campuses, with some success.

The London CHE Youth Group expressed surprise at the somewhat conciliatory attitudes of the London University Christian Union, whom they have recently met. Hugh Farlie (Bath) considered that diehard Christians were a definite source of prejudice. A possible solution was iterated by Gough Sergeant (Reading) when he suggested that a letter of St. Paul to the CHE might be found, so throwing the Biblical fundamentalists into confusion!

Tony Ryde questioned the setting up of exclusive university groups, and others thought that some students might consider that such societies would be of a transient nature only and so be reluctant to commit themselves. Advertising of such groups was also considered, and it was concluded that this should not be of a too aggressive variety.

In the second half the suggestion for a “schools kit” was reiterated, and the preliminaries towards the publishing of a LITTLE GAY SCHOOL BOOK were discussed. It was also suggested that in the case of a stubborn headmaster, the appropriate parents association might be contacted.

In universities, it was agreed that more co-operation was necessary between gay and straight students. The more introverted students must also be encouraged to “come-out”.

Dr Reuben’s book was again unanimously condemned, and further action to restrict its distribution by local bookshops was agreed upon.

A member of the ‘SAMARITANS’ who attended suggested that local homosexual organisations should achieve greater co-ordination with regional Samaritan directors, so the relevant homosexual cases could be forwarded.

In conclusion, the whole meeting expressed a desire to ensure closer contact with the CHE, GLF and GAYSOC groups present. This wish was followed by an expression of overall satisfaction at the conference, and further liaisons were arranged; for instance, over combined
activities in UK universities’ “freshers’ weeks” next October.

Thanks were extended to CHE London Youth Group, to GAYSOC and also to the conference Chairman, Robert Maynard, who showed obvious prowess in fulfilling his task.

Where is CHE?

04-197208XX 08One thing is abundantly clear: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality in London holds a strong appeal for an amazing variety of people, from the teenager to the GOAP. This has posed problems-of direction, action, administration. The only thing all our members have absolutely in common is that they are gay or bisexual. Attitudes become polarized quickly and harden. Dialogue is abrasive but continual.

Membership increases steadily. Word-of-mouth information spreads rapidly demolishing the idea that Che is some kind of a cloak and dagger operation which gained ground in some touchy quarters. I wore my Che badge at the St. Pancras GLF dance and was subjected to all kinds of unsolicited abuse from total strangers. But Che has absolutely got to offer a homc-if you like-to everyone. A sense of oppression is not confined to the articulate young. The older, inhibited, repressed or just downright shy gay is conscious of taking a tremendous step in joining.

THE GROUPS

These are the very root of the organisation, the essential framework within which anything and everything is possible At the moment there are 11 groups based in central London with others in Croydon (very flourishing, active and successful), Lewisham. Windsor, Essex, Kent, Brighton, Reading, the Chilterns, St. Albans and Ilford. Local community groups are established in Kensington, Highbury and Islington, Kilburn and Ealing.

Each group has a minimum of 30 members. They meet once a month which is any member’s minimal committment. Some meet fortnightly, some every week. Each group evolves its own characteristic; some are rather inclined to social-type meetings, others prefer discussion and debates. Others are making definite progress towards liaison and meetings with representatives of other bodies. Any Che member can go to any meeting. Very involved people can generally make a meeting of some sort every night.

Groups set up their own social activities-parties, picnics, rallies, theatres, cinemas-anything to provide a useful and pleasant social scene for people who are a bit lonely and cut off.

YOUTH GROUP

This is the central-London group for students and young people; it is large, expanding, coherent. Runs a remarkably well-balanced programme meaning some two or three meetings a week. The programme runs on (a) meetings that could be called educational-i.e. visits from psychologists, doctors, boss-figures who talk, debate and get harassed in turn; (b) purely social activity, (c) activist events leafletting etc. The establishment of Gaysoc at London University has meant a lot of campus infiltration, notable invasion of ‘straight’ discos etc.

A move to approach the headmasters of 200 schools asking for permission to address senior pupils on homosexuality is under way.

EVENTS

The virtually limitless energy of a great many members is being harnessed into fund-raising activities which produces a full calendar of events ranging from dances and discos to bazaars and boat trips. Sub-groups concerned with drama, poetry, music and photography are under way. One of the main aims of Che nationally is to provide decent social meeting places for gays and it now seems likely that the first permanent club will be in London, providing facilities for meetings, rest, research, the lot. No one imagines it will happen overnight and everyone realises that only we can do it-no one else is going to help us. Hence the fundraising events which serve a twin purpose of raising cash and providing amusing evenings.

WORKING PARTIES

Several working parties are in operation, open to all members.

1. Social Responsibilities

Designed to look at social problems which impinge upon the homosexual community and affect all facets of life. To do research into the causes and effects of legislation and to assess the public’s image of the homophile with a view to improving it.

2. Gay Liaison

Making contact with all homophile organisations throughout the world. Much reciprocal membership with gay clubs etc. abroad now established.

3. Speakers

People willing to go out and talk to other organisations-like Rotary Clubs. Women’s Institutes. Parent-Teachers etc.-about being gay. Most invitations so far from Young Liberals. Friends, Young Conservatives, Mental Health Associations. But it all helps.

4. Religious

People with a deep religious or spiritual experience, plus those concerned with the churches of all denominations and their attitudes to homosexuality.

5. Friend

Perhaps the most important, significant and successful venture in Che so far. Essentially a befriending service, set up by Michael Launder in co-operations with the Rev. Michael Butler who is the Deputy Director of the Samaritans. Premises for individual interviews and group work on two nights a week have been secured. Friend is advertised to new enquiries to Che and response is channelled to existing regional branches-Manchester, the trans-Pennines, Cambridge, Liverpool and Leeds. The rest to the London headquarters. About IS new enquiries arrive each week in this way. Later Friend will be in operation five nights a week, and it is expected that within a year a national network will be established enabling Friend to be advertised to the general public. Apart from

the obvious service of help on an immediate basis. Friend is keeping a record of its progress so that eventually an analysis of the type of problems dealt with will be regularly available to professional bodies and the press.

6. Lunch

This is the London-based magazine produced by Che members. It is not representative of official policy at local or national level. Intended primarily as a communications sheet, it remains the only regular magazine with a reliable diary of all gay events-Che, GLF,

SMG and others, London and national. Developing into a vivacious platform for all sorts of ideas and views. Lots of contributions needed from everyone, everywhere. Six issues, post paid, cost £1.50 from 23 Avon Court, Keswick Road, London SW1$ 2JU. 32 pages, pictures, news, letters, etc.

WOMEN

Implicit in the above notes is that Che involves gay women just as much as gay men. The name of the organisation has meant that initially it appealed to men. But the intake of women is now regular and growing. There is no group exclusive to women, they belong to groups along with the men.

WHERE IS CHE?

Che began in 1964, but it was only after the passing of the Sexual Offences Act that it was able to expand properly. Its history is now a matter of history. But the result is that its headquarters are in Manchester. Nationally we have almost 3,000 members-and these are members who have paid a £1.50 annual sub. to the organisation. Money used for our office and paid staff, for producing the monthly bulletin for members, for producing pamphlets, leaflets, stickers, posters, to help start new Che groups all over the country which are sometimes an alternative but mostly the only scene for gay people. We are often accused of being over-structured. This is simply the outsider’s confusion. Che runs remarkably smoothly considering the number of people involved and the almost limitless range of responsibilities we have undertaken. Until we have acquired permanent premises in London, enquiries must be routed through Manchester. So write direct to the General Secretary, Paul Temperton, 28 Kennedy Street, Manchester, M2 4BG (061-228 1985). Or to Roger Baker. Flat F, 23/24 Great James Street, London, WC1N 3ES.

Information

04-197208XX 12This corner is really a long list – of places, eople you might like to know about or one day need. We can only, of course, publish the information that comes to us. There’s a limit to what we can find out for ourselves, and too many pubs, clubs, movement offices and so on for us to visit. So – if there’s something we should know about, then you should ALL know about it. If your favourite pub or local gay group isn’t mentioned, write and tell us where it is and so forth. You can see from the listings themselves the sort of thing we think is of use and interest. These aren’t ads – we print all information free. The page is all yours!


Sussex GLF Summer Dance on Saturday 26th August, 8 12pm. at Co-op Hall. London Road. Brighton. Live Groups/Disco. Admission only 50p. Crash pads available.

GAYSOC. For London University students. Meets regularly in term. Send s.a.e. to Gaysoc, ULU, Malet Street, London WC1.

OPPIDAN – ADVISES AND BEFRIENDS
It hopes to have an introduction and accommodation service eventually. Write to Box No 99 (do Gay News) or ring: (01) 769 7965 anytime.

LESBIAN LIBERATION.
Meetings Wednesday 8.00pm, at the South London Women’s Liberation Centre, 14 Radnor Terrace, SW8. All women welcome.

‘CHALLENGE’ is a London based homosexual group (recently heard on ‘Speakeasy ) that meets each week for a drink and a chat – why don’t you join us? Ring Martin at 427 8175 or Sid at 328 4647.

Meetings Fridays 6.00pm. Gays interested in classical music, theatre, discussions on homosexuality and society. Starting Friday 28 July. Telephone 01-450 4318.

GAY UNITY, Harrow. For details phone Jamie at 863 1184 or Alex at 422 7890 Meets on Mondays

New CHE group at BARKING, c/0 George Jordan, 39a Mansfield Road. Ilford Tel 554 3337.

CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY is urgently seeking office premises in or near Central London, preferably with telephone already installed. 300 square feet approx, required. CHE would be happy to share with another organisation if necessary If you have, or know of, a place vacant, write to : Derek Brookfield, 7 Bruton Grove, Crouch End, London N8 9EX.

FRIEND is the advisory and befriending service of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality Call (Mon

Friend, Centre. Broadley Terrace. London NW1.

CHE. An All London Political Action Group is in the process of formation. Will anyone who wants further information on this campaigning group write to: Derek Brookfield, 7 Britton Grove, Crouch End, London N8 9EX.

Women’s Disco Benefit in solidarity with The Fakenham v Brannon Women. On Friday 1st September at Sols Arms. Hampstead Road. London (Warren St. Tube). Admission only lOp + collection. Bar — Bookstall – Film. Organised by Gay Socialist Women’s Group.

Sussex G.L.F. Disco every Friday 8-11pm at Stanford Arms, Preston Circus, Brighton. Only 15p.

Sappho meets every first Monday in the month, at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm. upstairs room. Great Russell Street. London WC1. All women are welcome. Sappho magazine is available at 2Sp for single copies, plus postage,(Subs rates are unchanged) from Sappho Publications Ltd., BCM/Petrel, London WC1.

Women’s Liberation Workshop – 22 Great Windmill Street. London W1. Tel: 437 6118.


CAMPAIGN FOR HOMOSEXUAL EQUALITY

Bournemouth. Swansea/Carmarthen.
Birmingham. Teeside.
Blackburn/Burnley. Windsor/Reading.
Brighton. Wirral.
Bristol. Wolverhampton.
Cambridge. Shropshire.
Chesham/Amersham. Tunbridge Wells.
Croydon. Tyneside.
East Kent/West Kent. Stoke on Trent.
Guildford. Crouch End, N8.
Halifax/Huddersfield. PROPOSED GROUPS:
Ilford. Devon.
Leeds. Bath.
Lewisham. Cornwall.
Liverpool. Taunton.
London: Central-Kensington, Highbury/Isligton, Ealing/Acton, and Kilburn. Leicester.
York.
Bradford.
Watford/St.Albans
Manchester. Southampton
Newport/Cardiff. STUDENT GROUPS:
Northampton. Liverpool.
Norwich. Manchester.
Nottingham. London.
Oxford. Oxford.
Sheffield. Reading.
Basildon. Kent.

Many local group organisers are wary of having their anmes and addresses publicised, so for the time being please contact all CHE groups via the national office: 28 KENNEDY STREET. MANCHESTER 2. Telephone 061-228 1985

GAY LIBERATION FRONT GROUPS

At present there ere GLF groups in operation in the following areas:

Aberystwth Essex University Reading
Bath Folkstone Sheffield
Bristol Greenoch Swansea
Brent Guernsey Sussex
Bedfordshire Higham Ferrers
Birmingham Hull LONDON
Belfast Keele University South London
Bradford Lancaster West London
Cambridge Leicester East London
Cheltenham Leeds Notting Hill
Canterbury Manchester Hackney
Cardiff Newcastle Youth Group
Colchester Norwich Religious Group
Derby Oxford Women’s Group
Durham Portsmouth
Edinburgh Potteries

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

Gay Women’s Liberation Group, Contact Gillian 837 4502. Meets Wednesdays 7.30pm.

G.L.F. Youth and Education Group meets on Mondays. Phone 837 7174 for details.

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

West London G.L.F. meets every Thursday at 8 00pm upstairs at the ‘White Lion’ pub.

Putney High Street, just south of Putney Bridge Tube Putney Bridge. Buses 14.22.30.86.85A. 93. 220 and Green Line 718. BR Putney. Disco there every Wednesday.

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

Reading Gay Alliance. Room 7, 30 London Road, Reading

Bath Gay Awareness Group. Contact Richard or Teresa at Bath 29437.

Bristol Gay Awareness Group, c/o Tony, 200. West Mall. Clifton. Brrstol. Tel: 0272 32669

Leicester Gay Awareness Group, Contact John Page, 126 Nansen Road. Leicester LE5 5NJ. Phone Leicester 738832

Leads GLF, Liberation Office. 153 Wood-House Lane. Leeds 2. Tel: 0532-39071 Ex 57. Meets every Friday 7.30pm at O.S.A. Lounge, University Union, Ring Phil 0532 782270 for details.

SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP

EDINBURGH, from 7.45pm to 9.00pm on Mondays. m the basement of 23 George Square. Check with Mike Coulson at 031-225 4395 between 1.OOpm and 10.00pm. Women’s Group at 7.30pm Saturdays from 9 30pm to 12.30 pm, coffer food/dance at the same address.

GLASGOW,meetings every Tuesday at 8.00p at 8 Dunearn Street. Glasgow C4. Women’s Group at 184 Swinton Road, at 8.00pm. Third Friday of every month at 214 Clyde Street (library of community house) invited speakers, from 8pm.

DUNDEE, every Friday at Dundee University Chaplaincy Social. Details from 041-771 7600.

ABERDEEN. Weekly social meetings. Details from 041-771 7600


Drag

THE CRICKETERS, Battersea Park Road, SW11.
(BR Battersea Park).

Sun. The Trollettes. Fri. Various Artistes.
Tues. Steel Band. Say. Singalong & Dancing.
Wed. Various Artistes. Compere/Organist
Thurs. Talent Night. Kenneth Mancell.

THE DORSET ARMS, 124 Clapham Road, SW4 (Oval Tube)

Tuesdays. Michael and Bow. Thursdays. Michael.
Sundays. Michael and Bow.

THE GREEN MAN 383Euston Road., NW1.
(Great Portland Street).
Drag Every Night Downstairs. Supper Licence to Midnight Small Enhance Fee after 11pm
Friday. Tony Page and Norman Cabel.

THE NEW BLACK CAP 171 Camden High Street, NW1 (Camden Town Tube) Drag Every Night.
Featured artists include Mark Fleming, Bow, Mrs Shufflewick, Jean Fredericks, New Dumbells, Sandy Graham, Chris Kay.

THE FATHER RED CAP 319 Camberwell Road, SE5. (Camberwell Green)
Featured Artists include Lee Paris and Lettuce, Michael and Bow, Sandy Graham
On other nights there are Boys Only, Girls Only, and Mixed Disco’s.

ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN.
372 Kennington Lane, SE11. (Vauxhall).

Thursday (Alt.) Mr.Tammy or Lee Paris with Lettuce.
Friday. Mr.Tammy. Monday. Bow.
Saturday. Lee Paris. Wednesday. Lee Paris.
Sunday. (Lunch) Bow. New Act Starting Soon.
Sunday. (Night) Mr.Tammy.

ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road, W6 (Hammersmith). Drag every night except Tuesday.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE’. South Lambeth Place. SW8 (Vauxhall). Every nght except Tuesday.
Friday Mark Fleming

OXFORD TAVERN 256 Kentish Town Road. NW5 (Kentish Town) Drag on Tues. Wed. and Thurs.
Resident host Perri St Clair.

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

THE BELL. Pentonville Road, N1 (Kings Cross).
Every Alt. Friday. Derek Rees. – Sandy Roy

THE BUSH HOTEL. 2, Goldhawk Road, W.12. (Goldhawk Road). Every Thursday.

THE ALEXANDRA
Alexandra Road, St.John.s Wood, NW8
Wednesday’s Mr Angel. Friday’s Derek Rees.

UNION TAVERN. 146 Camberwell Road, SE5 (Oval). Drag on Wednesday. Thursday and Sunday.

KINGS ARMS. Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pinder Street) Tube/BR Liverpool Street.
Dicks Inn, Gay Disco every Monday
Compere Tricky Dicky.

THE ARABIAN. Cambridge Heath Road, London. (corner of Bishops Way) Tube Bethnal Green/Bus 277. Dicks Inn, Gay Disco – closed for the Summer. Re-opens early October.

KINGS ARMS, Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pindar Street)
Tube/BR Liverpool Street. Buses 8,8A,22,6, 47,97.
Tricky Dicky Show on Saturday Nights. 8.30-11 00. Admission Free. Saloon Bar Disco. Impersonations etc. Gay Atmosphere.

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 landlords as well.


Nottingham – Roebuck, Mansfield Road, room upstairs & Mario’s Club, Stanford St off Castlegate.

GAY NEWS will always be on sale at the following pubs:

MARSH HOTEL (Mike & Eileen) Canute Road, Southampton.
Semi Gay. Disco every Thursday night. Also: THE ANCHOR (Pat & Geoff) East Street, Southampton. Gay girls and boys. Disco every Fri & Sat

THE ANCHOR (Pat & Geoff) East Street, Southampton, Gay girls and boys. Disco every Fri & Sat

MARIO’S CLUB, Stenford Street, off Castlegate, Nottingham.


BELFAST

I don’t know if it would be of interest to your readers, but it is a curious fact that, in spite of being in the thick of the “riot area”, the older-established of Belfast’s two gay bars has never, to date, been bombed, raided or threatened by any faction. Nice to know somebody loves us. S.Fruizzell.


Postage costs are very high, so when you write to us, could you please enclose a stamped addressed envelope for the reply – if you want a reply, that is.

Platform Wreathed With Flowers

03-197207XX-03Che’s all-London Congress could, depending on your standpoint, be regarded as a success. Quite a few ideas were aired, there was none of the tension that has sometimes characterized previous mass meetings. The platform had been wreathed with flowers. Maybe thats why. About 200 people turned up and sat in grave rows in the Holborn Assembly Rooms. Gavin chaired alone, deciding (rightly) we could do without a line of glum celebrities flanking him.

Most of the time was spent discussing the Che club. The establishment of a nation-wide series of non-profit making, well equipped clubs for homosexual men and women is one of Che’s prime aims. It looks as though it is up to London Che to do it being bigger and therefore richer (though not necessarily wiser) than the provincial groups.

The treasurer told us early that the Building Fund now stood at £449.96. A great deal of discussion ensued about priorities – that is, should this club start right off as a sort of C.O.C. enterprise, or was the acquisition of a small permanent office more important just now? David Bell claimed that the Che club would “be the one thing that Che is known for the world over”. Gavin decided it was not very rewarding to look to Europe where things were different and had been so for some lime.

A few lone voices expressed doubt about the wisdom of apparently competing with existing gay clubs, and someone else told us to avoid the church hall syndrome since members wouldn’t come to meetings.

However, this wasn’t exactly supported as the entire meeting heavily agreed that they would attend Che meetings no matter where they were held. The temperature rose just before half time when one guy, obviously cheesed off with the debating stood up and threw a 50p piece on the floor and bullied everyone to do the same. His idea was action now and to hell with the chat. His enthusiasm was partly infectious as that little episode added an instant £70.86 to the Building Fund.

There was some inconclusive chat about Che’s central London groups and the growing number of local ones. We heard that gramophone enthusiasts, poetry-lovers, drama-buffs, car rally maniacs, musical souls, sporting types were now being catered for by a series of groups set up to pursue these hobbies. There was to be a choir as well, and a sports club. And a dining club.

The assembly was intended to provide an opportunity for members to sound off about Che, to criticize and make suggestions. So the larger part of time was spent, inevitably, on internal topics. But the meeting was opened and closed by discussion of more general and more relevant topic. Immediately the dynamic Jacquie Forster of Sappho harrangued the meeting about male-domination of Che. “Do you spend any time at all thinking about Lesbians?” she cried, “equality must mean more girls in Che”. And we agreed. There was, she added, no evidence of any campaigning activities. And why not? The IT case was touched upon, but briefly with a reminder that a great many people had written letters to all sorts of publications and indeed, that week Che had scored highly with letters published.

Altogether the meeting produced a tremendous feeling of unity, enthusiasm and confidence that in London Che is doing the right thing and beginning to do it rather well.