A Welcome At Challenge

Dear Gay News,

Re your article in GN8 regarding organisations who turn away lonely gay people when approached for information, because they are not members. We at Challenge agree entirely with your article. Several gays have phoned us having arrived from the provinces or abroad and have asked where they can find gay bars, clubs, and saunas. Also where can they meet other gay people since thev feel very lonely.

We are only too pleased to give them any information available, and gladly do what we can to help. We invite them to some of our Challenge meetings and have found that they they have returned many times. They immediately feel at Challenge that they are amongst friends. We make each visitor feel relaxed and encourage people to get to know each other. We have no time for the starchiness and aloofness one finds in most gay clubs and bars.

Challenge now has three groups in London, meeting in Marble Arch, Ealing and Hampstead. We are non-religious or political, but social and charitable. We arrange informal programmes also from time to time we have socials and parties.

I have enclosed a letter from an American who contacted us while in London. He was extremely lonely until he came to Challenge. I am sure our group would appeal to Philip (your letters, last issue), as we are a non-demonstrative group. We advertise on the back page of Gay News each issue.

Carry on the good work, Gay News and thanks again Denis, for coming along to our Hampstead Group to speak and making it such an enjoyable meeting.

Love and peace,

Sidney

Dear Challenge Members„

Please accept my sincere thanks for doing but one thing: existing. Your mere existence was a reassurance to me as a lonely stranger in London and your friendly concern was a joy. I very much enjoyed attending your meeting and social functions. Thank you. I would like to extend personal thanks to: Hugh, Frank, Sid, and Robin for their kind friendliness.

With my sincerest…

ED: Gay News is in no way affiliated with Challenge, although we wish them every success.

Challenge?

04-197208XX 05Challenge was founded in February by five people who felt that there was a need for a group which was neither politically oriented nor ‘over-organised’. We have weekly meetings, of around forty people at present, which usually start with someone giving a talk about something of interest, and continue with a social get-together over drinks. We have a brief manifesto and a good way of showing our intentions would be to quote the first three paragraphs:

The aims of Challenge are to bring about greater social acceptance of homosexuals by means of charitable and social work within the whole community, and to combat the isolation and difficulties, so often experienced by homosexuals, through discussion and mutual help.

Challenge will have no religious leanings or political policy beyond the advocation of equal rights with heterosexuals. Exhibitionism, hostility towards heterosexuals, and the provocative demonstration of affections in public will be avoided.

Challenge will be constructive and positive in order to further, by example, the acceptance of “gay” people amongst the “straight” majority. Advice, and where possible assistance and home visits, will be available to gay people suffering from loneliness, depression or a breakdown of health, and to anyone in despair.

So far we haven’t been as successful as we would wish in promoting the social work aspect but this isn’t through lack of trying.

I would like to point out that we welcome interest from anybody and we will shortly be having branches as our membership looks as if it will increase quite rapidly in the near future. At the moment we meet in a room above a pub in Kilburn and charge 10 pence per person. Perhaps interested people would care to look us up on the back (information) page.

Your Letters Cont.

03-197207XX-09Continued from Page 2

Littlehampton,
Sussex.

Dear Friends,

Why oh why must the minority of gay campaigners always use foul language, clown-tactics and general public rudeness? to put our case (what is our case)? over. We (the majority) don’t want it done this way.

You will find that the majority of gay people argue their way of love with calm, sensible reason. Public bodies, i.e.: Central Government, Local Government. Police and social services etc; would rather listen to sensible suggestions and requests than take heed of ‘Gay-Circus’.

Instead of constantly criticising and giving abuse to Court and Government decisions, no matter how unjust, why not try appeals, reasoned public support.

If law is unjust or a bad one then the public will have it changed, in time. Don’t treat the public as a moronic TV audience, but get about and inform them of the facts, as we see them, ask, politely, for their help. It is amazing how many people, when informed of a wrong, will give help and advice. All it takes is a PLEASE, some thing that seems to be lacking.

Why are the gay organisations segrating us from our fellow man and woman? We’re not zoo specimens, we are ordinary, yes ordinary, humans who want to live life our way, and love our way. Segregation will NOT bring public recognition of our way of life. We MUST mix, we cannot make ourselves into an island.

Why are there not more reports from CHE and CHE groups? Have these groups no Press Officers, or are they just plain lazy? There seems to be too much GLF reporting in Gay News. An organisation that does more harm than good to our campaign, it seems their one aim is to cause trouble. Does GLF now stand for: ‘Get Lost FREEDOM’? I would hate to see Gay News turn into a ‘revolutionary rag’. At the moment this news paper is what is just wanted by the more moderate majority, but please be very careful.

Remember, preach calm, reason and tolerance and we WILL win much much more support. It takes time but then thats life.

Kindest regards
Norman Redman.

 

Monday 10th July.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has sent the following letter to United States senator George McGovern.

Dear Senator McGovern,

We are much encouraged by the pledge you have given to work for full rights for homosexuals. We urge you to resist all pressures to drop this pledge from your programme or to accord it a lower priority.

Homosexuals are discriminated against and oppressed in nearly every country in the world and any action in obtaining full civil rights for homosexuals in any one country contributes to their struggle all over the world. We in Britain have been greatly encouraged by your adoption of our cause. We earnestly hope that at this stage you will not abandon it.

Many of us sincerely hope that you will obtain the Democratic nomination and be elected President of the United States. That you will use the office to liberate social injustices that oppress them.

We wish you well.

 

CHALLENGE
6 Dauphine Court
Spencer Road
Wealdstone
Harrow

17th July, 1972

Dear Gay News.

I was very interested to read in your first issue about the furore which appeared to have developed over GLF’s representation on Jimmy Savile’s Homosexual Speakeasy program, and particularly of Michael Butler’s unfortunate involvement in this seemingly underhand business.

We were pleased to have eight members there and naturally we plugged Challenge. GLF’s only representation, out of their thousands of supporters, were three people who managed to squeeze in because they happened to be involved with Gay News.

At Challenge we were bewildered by Michael Butler’s letter:

“The BBC rang and asked me to find thirty gay people as representatives of as many gay organisations and groups as I know, excepting Gay Lib. They also talked about something called “Challenge” which I assumed to be a Gay Liberation Front venture”.

On March 16 our Secretary sent Michael Butler a letter which stated our aims and intentions very clearly. When he greeted us at the Speakeasy recording he apologised for not replying and for not taking up our invitation to come and speak at one of our meetings, so he knew what Challenge was at that time.

The suggestion that he thought “something called Challenge” was a “Gay Liberation Front venture” might possibly placate GLF by implying that in inviting Challenge he thought he was not really excluding GLF. But if one doesn’t think it right to exclude a group as large as GLF then why on earth have any part in the BBC’s plan to do so?

Love and peace.
Hugh.

 

111a High Road.
Leyton,
LONDON,
E.15 2DF

27th June, 1972.

Dear Sir:

I don’t think I am far wrong in stating that the majority of “straights” think of homosexual’s as half-men, half-women, or men who want to be women, and visa versa.

So what does GLF do? They, above everyone else, confirm the attitude and opinion of the straights by encouraging their members to come to meetings, disco’s, gay-days, and demos, etc, in drag. What for? Only GLF knows.

I was once a regular attendant at most of the London GLF meetings. One in particular was the Disco at the White Lion in Putney. But I was completely shaken, confused and (yes) shocked by what I saw. Boys wearing false-eyelashes and bright red lipstick, some even in complete drag. And men with beards and moustaches wearing women’s dresses and a baloon or pillow up the front to stimulate pregnancy. This was too much for me and I had to get away.

Now let me get one thing clear. I am not anti-transvestite. To each his own, and I would not dream of imposing my own set of morals on anyone. Let everyone do their own thing. I don’t imprison anyone. Because, like the straights, if you imprison others, you also imprison yourself. Nor do I see any harm in a bloke dressed as a bird. It’s not wrong. It’s not right. It just is. But why come to GLF and put back the cause of homosexuals 200 years or more?

We all know that every man has homosexual tendencies. That is no surprise to anyone. But if we, as homosexuals, are to be taken seriously, we have to appeal to the straights latent homosexuality. But if they think that by “coming out” of their plastic shells that they too, will become half-women, half-men, then they will NEVER come out .. and we will never be free to live our lives the way we want to live them in our own natural and beautiful way.

For God’s sake, GLF, wake up! And do what’s right. To help ourselves, we have to help others to understand us. It is just as important to learn what not to do, than what to do.

I think the whole idea of GLF needs to be pulled down and re-shaped. Throw out the pot-smoking freaks who are no help to anyone, let alone themselves, and be a bit more, if I may say so, professional.

So, members of GLF who like coming in drag, the next time there is a public demo, think before you attend it in drag. Ask yourself: “Is this really the way to be accepted? I have no doubt that it ISN’T the way.
With Love and Hope,

Wolf von Jurgen

 

The Family Planning Association.
Margaret Pyke House.
Mortimer Street, London W1A 4QW
12th July, 1972.

Dear Sirs,

I should be grateful if you would let me have a copy of your new publication.

II am especially interested in the article “The Twilight World of the Heterosexual”. (Gay News No.1)

Yours faithfully.
W.G.Smith,
Press Secretary.