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.

I’m No Pervert

All I want is sympathy, because I am no longer a filthy pervert, after a lifetime of fervent dedication and grinding.

On June 10th last I left the Picador Club in Manchester and en route to my bus-stop, called into the cottage on High St. The place was not empty, neither was it interesting, so after a slash I left by the back exit. Once outside I was approached by a dirty looking dosser who asked if I could suggest anywhere for him to spend the night.

As I am in Manchester GLF and was wearing my badge openly, I could hardly refuse to help him crash somewhere. So off we went, me making sure he wasn’t a mugger or some odious being and him making the odd grunt.

Having decided to try the trusty and lovely Steve as a possible solution, I changed direction to go towards his place. After about half-an hour I wanted to piss again, so I nipped under a bridge near the Union Hotel. In midstream I was grabbed and told that two pigs (the speaker being one of them) had followed me for thirty minutes from High St cottage.

They trumped up a charge of gross indecency even though the dosser was some 70ft away from me (can you imagine the kind of cock he must have had?)

At Bootle St the usual insults were hurled – I had annoyed them by refusing to go to the police station until one of them threatened to “throw me in the fuckin’ canal”. I was called a poof, a pervert and homo etc, all of which I am – I do them exceedingly well.

One of the pigs was so resentful of my obvious talent and ability that he said he’d like “to cut the bollocks off all queers”. The dosser was found guilty, in the station, of having the same surname as one of the arresting pigs – so he was duly smashed about the head.

I was told that my GLF badge, manifesto and some leaflets would be sufficient to convict me. The dosser was told that he didn’t have a chance because of previous convictions (all 19 of them for het sexual offences). All a load of crap, obviously, as was the statement that if this nasty pig (a mere constable) opposed my application for bail I wouldn’t get it.

“Plead guilty” they said, “get it over with cheaply and discreetly and with no chance of remand in custody” – so the dosser did and was remanded at Risley for two weeks for probation reports.

I pleaded not guilty and after several appearances before magistrates eventually reached the Crown Court. The jury couldn’t reach a majority verdict – in my opinion because the judge’s summing-up was slightly biased against me.

Re-trial four weeks later in two sessions: prosecution on Friday, me (starring) the following Monday. I said I was gay and had a previous conviction for soliciting and that I was in and supported actively GLF.

The prosecution asked me if I knew High St cottage was a homosexual lavatory. I explained that a lavatory has no sexuality, het or homo, and the judge told the prosecution how to say what he had intended “was it frequented by homosexuals”.

I told him that all gays use lavatories. After stressing that the facts as stated by me were contradictory to those alleged by the pigs, the prosecution said “so in fact these policemen have told the court a pack of lies?” I said that I agreed entirely.

In summing up the Judge (Steele) said “Let’s get down to brass tacks – the policemen allege that the defendant was tossing off another man and the defendant says how could he when he and the other man were some considerable distance apart.”

The Judge also gave a brief resume of the history of the law regarding gays, with particular reference to the barbarity of some aspects and sent the jury out. Fifteen minutes later the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty and I was discharged.

One gay voice has destroyed the grunting of two pigs – so we are getting somewhere. So all gays, “Fight hard enough and you will win”:

Many thanks and much love to the lovely gays who gave me moral support, brandies and rigs throughout, and to the two navvies from the public gallery for the congratulatory slap on the back.

John Probert

ED: While the term ‘pigs’ used in this news item is not necessarily the terminology which would be used by the GN collective, it is the policy of the paper to reproduce worthy articles as we receive them. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate John Probert on the outcome of his court experiences and to further commend him for taking the course of action he took, as all too often gays take the easy and faint-hearted way out.

Mental Check For Gay

JERSEY: Assistant magistrate Sir Graeme Finlay sent a gay for a ‘medical check’ after he had refused to stop interrupting the police case against him, calling the case a “bloody farce”

Twenty-nine year-old David, of Oxford, and another man, Edward, were charged with ‘gross indecency’ after police had arrested them in the island’s Weighbridge cottage.

Det Sergeant D. M. Watkins told the court that he and another policeman were on duty on the cottage roof keeping an eye on gay activity under them. When the sergeant reached the bit of his evidence saying that David and Edward went into the cottage, David shouted what the local press described as a ‘four-letter word’ to describe the ‘evidence’.

The Assistant Magistrate told David to shut up and control himself. But David shouted: “This is a load of rubbish. It’s a bloody farce.” and Sir Graeme walked out of the court in disgust, while David was removed to the cells.

The detective tried to chat David into apologising for his behaviour, but he stood his ground and refused.

When Sir Graeme deigned to return to the courtroom, he said he wasn’t prepared to go on with the case “under these circumstances.” Then David was brought back into the dock and stood there with his hands in his pockets. Sir Graeme said he was going to order a medical report to be made on David because he didn’t know whether he was fit to plead, David just shook his head and grinned.

When David and Edward were remanded until the next hearing, Edward was given £20 bail and David was remanded in custody.

Your Letters Cont.

Intrigued

Manchester M20 9DT

Gentlemen,

Your initial issue was sent to me by courtesy of the SMG. After contemplating your style and format, decided that a subscription for 20 issues would at least be an encouragement. Very promptly issues 2 to 7 arrived. I spent an exhausting evening catching up, somewhat mentally indigestible. Today number 8 arrived. Thank you for expertise, and the underlying instinct of not wishing to sermonise. Every issue has been an improvement on its predecessor. Even those bachelors have been spelt correctly; there must be a reason why the ‘t’ appears in so many gay journals.

The published letters intrigue me as also does your warning to letter writers, surely you don’t mean it? I have a sneaking suspicion that journalists write their own letters: At least you admit to asking, loaded questions to the BBC – considering the present climate of opinion, I think that you got a very fair reply — but surely First Class Philip, who says he is fed up at his classification. Maybe it’s all that ‘fucking’ that labels him. For surely we are classified by others, not ourselves, we just present the evidence, for the writing on the tags. Basically I think I know what he means, or rather implies. After some 30 years’ knowledge of myself as a homosexual, am not over concerned how I am labelled. If the GLF wish to lighten up the darkness, limp wristing it down the Dilly, with a Lily, so what? One does not have to join in. Frankly I rather enjoy the occasions. The audience are often as not more amusing than the play. We are classed, labelled, tagged, call it what you will, by the company we keep. Surely our First Class Male has heard of CHE.

Have been collecting, and subscribing to all types of gay literature and journals for many years. Am currently in the process of comprising a thesis on ‘gay publishing’ past, present and future. It will no doubt give my foundation heart failure, let’s hope the examiners take it home to bed. I’ll get that Ph.D. Cast that couch aside.

Your collective collation full of candour and camp, compels me to enclose a cheque for £5. Better than wasting it on the local rent.

Just for interest’s sake, notice that you have advertised GIN and JEFFERY, no response from them so far. I sent them P.O.’s not wishing to add to my Bank Manager’s heart failure. Way of all flesh no doubt. Quorum seem to be quivering, maybe it’s that man at the G.P.O.

Lots of luck – but does Mr J.D. Blount exist? Your cullusive collective.

With apologies for the alliteration and the typescript. Must find myself an au pair boy who can type.

Richard Spenceley

ED: The letters printed in GN are, of course, all received from readers. Thanks for your donation, Richard, it’s now safely in our vaults.

Our Wonderful Policemen

Surbiton,
Surrey.

Dear Gay News,

In many gay’ publications, including Gay News, one reads with monotonous regularity complaints and stories of allegations against the police concerning their actions and manner towards gay people.

In GN9 there was an article called Spying in Cubicles. The writer complained of police action against him. I would like to ask him what does he think should happen? I am sure he must be fully aware that such actions to which he admits can only lead to arrest, prosecution and punishment. So if he wishes to engage in such pastimes in public places instead of in private places, he should take his punishment and learn from it and not try to cast blame on the police for doing their duty. He also states that there were no children about that afternoon, but I am sure he must now be aware that a young child could have walked in, if he was not so aware before.

I would also state that I have used both gay pubs in Earls Court and many others, and have seen police move people on outside the Coleherne, but it has been when the footway has been completely obstructed and passers-by have been forced to push through a crowd or walk in the roadway. Their manner (the police) I have found to be polite and justifiable.

The number of times I have been stopped while trolling by the police, I have again found them polite and courteous. Perhaps if one takes a reasonable manner with the police they in turn will take a reasonable line with us. At least, that is my opinion, after many encounters.

I would further state that I am not a police officer nor in any way connected with the police.

Yours faithfully.

S. J. Gardner

Women in the Background

Caerphilly,
Glam,
Wales

Dear Sir,

I agree women do tend to remain in the background a lot more than our brothers, there are many reasons for this.

In the provinces, clubs are few and far between, and many of us don’t care for group activities. In fact, I feel there are still many who do not know these groups exist. I myself, until recently, didn’t know CHE or Gay Lib existed, until I heard Speakeasy on the radio (GN1). There’s one exception, of course, some knew they were gay very early, but not all of us realised we were gay until we were married with children, then what could we do? A divorce, perhaps. That’s not always easy when children are involved. And, admit it, who wants to know you when you’ve got ties? Do we have to wait maybe years, before we can start to live, too. Or will someone, somewhere, realise our need, too, and give us a chance to meet discreetly, not in clubs or bars, but with others like us who need to be discreet.

Women have their cross to bear, too. It may be legal for us, but a great many of us must keep in the background, behind closed doors, because we were not lucky enough to realise we were gay. It’s not only single people who are gay, there’s thousands of us. married with families, and remember there are still a great many who are still in the dark concerning gay magazines, papers, etc. Another way must soon be found if we are to bring a ray of light into these lives.

So, if there is any reader living in the Cardiff area, who would be interested in coming along to a coffee evening, to meet others to talk, relax, or any reader anywhere who would like to write to me, there will always be a friendly ear, and a reply.

Please write to Mrs. D. Higuera, 2 Haldane Court, Lansbury Park, Caerphilly, Glam, South Wales.

D. Higuera (Mrs)

Strange Customs

Dear Collective,

Until I read the letter from HRA of London in GN9 referring to the reply he received to an ad published in a previous issue, I had no idea that it was possible to obtain such material for less than the exorbitant sums charged in the back rooms of Soho bookshops.

I immediately despatched postal orders in many directions to see whether any of them solicited a similar reply. Unfortunately, my letter to Lux Publications in Amsterdam solicited only a note from HM Customs and Excise informing me that I had contravened the Exchange Control Act of 1947 and that my postal order had been seized. This was not what I had been expecting, nor could it be described as an acceptable substitute. I was, therefore, dismayed. And not a little curious to know how they knew there was a PO in the letter. Would it be cynical to suggest that perhaps they have a list of continental magazine publishers (and, by extension, a record of those who write to them?)

If any other readers have had a similar problem, they might like to know that the solution (at least to the financial aspect) is an International Money Order, which, unfortunately, costs 40p as opposed to 2½p for a postal order. The extra expense, however, would safeguard against the interception of mail on grounds of Exchange Control infringement — ie they’d have to find another reason if they really wanted to stop a letter. It would also avoid the disquieting situation of knowing one’s private correspondence is filed in HM vaults (under G for you-know-wot, perhaps).

Incidentally, if someone at HMC&E has been compiling a little list, if he cares to return my postal order I’d gladly send him a photo to file with my name and address.

JT

Ad To Your Pleasure

Dear Sir,

May I thank you so much for such quick replies to my advert in GN9. I have now replied to all concerned, but feel that if it had not been for you, I don’t know what I’d have done. Keep up the good work.

May God bless all gays, Graham

Harrow Is Hard

HARROW: The Harrow area has one of the highest rates of convictions of gays of any courts of London, claimed a priest who runs a group that aims to integrate the gays and heterosexuals as a “social experiment”.

The Rev Keith Gilley, who’s the Unitarian minister of Golders Green was talking about what goes on at Golder’s Green’s Integroup group to the Harrow Humanist Society.

Reiernng to discrimination against gays he said Harrow had one of the highest rates of homosexual convictions of any part of London. “In the year up to last February there were about 200 convictions in Harrow for homosexual behaviour,” he said. “The person convicted usually receives heavy fines, and worse, a mention in the local newspaper.”

Mr Gilley condemned the police for using spy holes in two cottages in Harrow and added that policemen in “camp” clothing were put on duty outside cottages.

He said “Integroup is a society meeting to promote better understanding of human relationships, both within the group and among the general public, an even balance of men and women is maintained, although no-one is asked to state their preference.

“As far as we know, human sexuality has always been extremely variable. The situation at the moment is one of non-knowledge.”

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News
unless you state otherwise.

Not All Cock-Happy

Finchley

Dear Gay News,

Philip’s letter (GN8) on those bloody mincing unwashed queens greatly cheered me.

These people seem to delight in offending people generally and do nothing but harm to the homosexual cause.

It has been largely due to these gyrating freaks that we have so long been regarded as peculiar in every way.

I, like Philip, am gay and proud of it, but for the greater part of every day, live what I regard as a normal existence.

My main objection to the so-called liberation groups is that they seem to be obsessed with the sexual side of life and create the public image that we are all sexual perverts.

Their time would be better spent, and our cause better served, if they’d stop flaunting their ‘differences’ and merge with society generally like other minorities such as redheads, lefthanders and the Lord Longfords of this world.

I would be glad to hear from other like-thinking ‘friends’ to see if there is anything we can do to redress the balance and bring reasoned pressure to bear on the powers that be to let us live the lives we have a right to.

Let’s set up a force that will show people we are not all exhibitionists or cock-happy.

J. B. Marr
6 Stanhope Avenue
Finchley N3 3LX


Lurking in Public

Cheltenham.

Dear Gay News,

It may interest your readers to know that the following is happening in this borough.

In a certain public convenience a ‘member of the general public’ is to be found, apparently waiting his turn to go into the cubicle. At the first sign of anything even remotely sexual, he becomes abusive and nips upstairs to fetch a waiting constable.

At this point the culprit (or victim, depending on one’s point of view) is ‘invited’ into the nearest police station. Depending on whether the culprit is a big fish or a little fish he is now subjected to ‘heavy patronage’ before being allowed to go free, or hauled before the magistrates court and charged with insulting behaviour to a member of the general public.

The prosecuting officer makes no attempt to put this ‘member of the general public’ on view in the court.

So my friends, beware of that lurking ‘member of the general public’ is the moral of this letter.

It appears we are still the most persecuted minority in this country.

J.A.


Screaming Queens

London EC13

Dear Gay News,

This is just to tell Phillip (GN8) how much I sympathise with him about the screaming queens giving a totally false picture of gays in general. There is, in fact, all the difference in the world between them and us, since they want men because they fantasise themselves as women, and are thus pseudo-heterosexuals, while a true homosexual wants his or her own sex because that’s the way he/she is, and a good way it is to be, too.

Surely CHE is the organisation he is looking for: if he finds it a bit too sedate, he could liven it up. It is dedicated to the acceptance of homos into society, and he sounds just the sort of person it needs.

Michael Harth


Personal Ads Discrimination

Dear Gay News,

Replying to your invitation to comment on letters about the small ads (Gay News No 7) of course there is something wrong with stating a preference for a “hairy homo Hindu”. It would be racialist and discriminatory.

But it would be inconsistent to refuse to print it, because, as your correspondent points out, most of the ads are equally discriminatory. On the other hand it is certainly expedient to refuse ads that are clearly a front for prostitution and expediency justifies the refusal.

Almost all the discrimination expressed by advertisers is irrational, especially when relating to physical qualities. It is a platitude that race and colour are irrelevant to a person’s character, and they are equally neutral in regard to beauty.

Preference for an oriental, for instance, would only make sense if the person concerned was indoctrinated with the Thoughts of Mao tse-Tung, thus affecting his or her outlook on life. People cannot be judged by whether their credentials match up to advertised criteria which merely limit the field. But the small ads are as entertaining as the editorial pages, and at least one, from John Hiscock, is puzzlingly obscure. Is it just a vague (and costly) expression of goodwill to all readers7

J.E.


Gay Ads Vanish

Teddington.

Dear Gay News.

As a regular reader of the musical weekly ‘Melody Maker’ I noticed over the past year an increasing amount of gay ads appearing in the personal column. One could find at least a dozen ads in each edition then suddenly — no gay ads at all!

Obviously pressure has been brought to bear — but from where? Was it internal or external and why?

As the Melody Maker has a circulation of several hundred thousand, mostly young people, I think it vital that the matter is investigated.

A. Dickenson


Success Makes Enemies??

Campaign for Homosexual Equality,
Manchester Student Group,
c/o The Treasurer,
81 Egerton Rd.,
Manchester 14.

Dear Gay News,

I suppose CHE has been too successful not to have made some enemies. It seems from the misleading propaganda in issue 8 that Gay News wants to be one of them.

Peter Kelsey states that CHE members must be over 21. This is untrue. I joined at 20, and am treasurer of one of CHE’s groups for students and young people which play a big part in the organisation. Why did your editorial comment not correct this?

In Doug Pollard’s snide review of CHE’s Radio London programme he declares that marriage can’t work for anyone. This is dictatorial. People, gay or het, should be free to try stable relationships if they want to.

Denis Lemon states that CHE ‘is very much against cottaging’. Yet on the same page is an article by Bernard Greaves, member of CHE’s Executive Committee, about his Campaign against police harassment of cottagers. CHE has also issued a card advising people on their rights if arrested while cottaging.

Lemon also complains that the CHE national office did not supply information about gay rendezvous in Norwich to a telephone enquirer. If he had bothered to find out CHE’s version of the incident he would have found that such information is just not kept in the office. The enquirer could easily have joined CHE’s local group there if he had really wanted to.

Despite its length, I hope you will print this letter to set the record straight and to show that you are not hopelessly biased.

best wishes,

R. J Elbert

ED: As Gay News does not pretend to be the organ of any movement or party, its columns are open to anyone who wants to write for it (including you,R. J. Elbert).

So the opinions expressed in articles, which we do our best to check out, are those of the people whose name appears in the by-line on that article. If you think there is any anti-CHE bias in Gay News we’d like to point out that the Campaign for Homosexual Equality cannot even be bothered to send us a copy of its regular bulletin. Also, you seem to be under the illusion that we are biased against your organisation, in the same way that some members of the Gay Liberation Front tell us that we are towards their movement.

We remain the only unaligned gay information paper in Britain. And CHE, like everyone else, is welcome to use our columns.


Our Failure?

Dear Friends,

…I think Gay News is the best paper on the market at the moment, it’s straight to the point. Only one complaint though – there isn’t enough in it about Lesbians, or if you would prefer female gays.

Love, peace, freedom,
and happiness to all gays.

Betty

ED: We know that this is our outstanding failure so far, but sisters, we need your help if this situation is to change.


The Other Ads

Mountain Ash,
Glamorgan

Dear Gay News,

I am very glad to see we at last have a newspaper of our own, not just another pin-up mag. I appeal to all gays and liberal minded people to support it in any way they can, by advertising, not just personal ads. By using it to Buy / Sell. Houses / Flats / cars / any new or secondhand goods, and by using the employment section. Also by recommending it, and by giving it to all your gay friends.

Roger E Hawkins

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Secret Dossier On Gay Teachers

The police have openly admitted keeping secret dossiers on schoolteachers whose private lives they think to be ‘corrupt’. And they are angry that they cannot act against these teachers.

In a recent issue of The Police Review, the semi-official organ of Britain’s policemen, the magazine complained that police involved in this private-lives work did not have enough legal protection.

The magazine said: “It may be that the information – in police possession – would not support a prosecution; it may not even relate to a chargeable offence, or it may be a matter of strong suspicion without proof.

“In one force, a schoolteacher was seen frequently loitering near public toilets and another was known to have a private library of obscene books.”

What the big-brother cops do usually is to report on this sort of nasty habit to the education authority that employs the teacher only if he (the teacher) commits a criminal offence.

What they don’t like is the fact that if the reports were made without a prosecution the teachers could sue the public eyes for libel.

The magazine adds on the cottaging teacher and the one who had a library of wank-material: “As there was no prosecution in either case, one presumes that the (education) authority remains unaware and the teachers continue to be in charge of young people.”

The Police Review stretches its moral tests to take in foster parents, adoptive parents and medical staff.

But in a rare flash of fairness The Police Review says it isn’t fair to wreck someone’s career by whispering in his employers’ ear. That, the magazine says, would be “contrary to natural justice.”

Instead what the police would like to do, it says, is to take the ‘deviant’ public employee aside and make him an offer he can’t refuse, so he either changes his behaviour or resigns.

Somehow the magazine has forgotten entirely the old forgotten rule of British justice that you’re not guilty until proved so.

Spying In Cubicles

I feel I must write to warn any readers who use the cottage on Wandsworth Common, to take care, as this place is under constant surveillance by the police.

A few weeks ago I was there and I noticed two men going in and out. I followed a boy in and stood next to him. The two men were still in and out, and I presumed they were gay as they were obviously trying to attract attention. They eventually went into the two cubicles behind the stalls. As it was quiet and no one else about, the boy and I started masturbating each other. After a few minutes both men came out of the cubicles and said they were police officers, and charged us both with gross indecency.

We were hustled into the police Rover between policemen, and had a motor cycle escort to the police station even crossing the red traffic lights, this made me feel a real criminal, I can tell you!

After taking particulars, we were moralised on our behaviour in public places. About how they had had complaints, and especially young children who might go into the toilet. I don’t know who complained, as there were hardly any people about that afternoon, and I didn’t see one child. We were also asked if we had ever considered having treatment, as if we had a disease. Shades of ‘Clockwork Orange’!

We both appeared before the SW Magistrates Court. I was fined £100, and given a three year prison sentence (suspended) and again moralised by the magistrate about our behaviour in public places, frequented by good, normal upstanding citizens.

This sentence has really upset me, and goes to show how banal the present law is, and an utter waste of police time and public money in trying to get a conviction of an unsuspecting gay, when they should be out looking for genuine crime and criminals.

As I am not sufficiently liberated, I must withold my name and address. Lots of love to all, especially Julian, and thanks for a marvellous paper.

Cottaging

Reprinted, with thanks, from Gay Arrow, Reading Gay Alliance’s Newssheet.

Bernard Greaves of Gay Cambridge made something of a name for himself when he took on both the police and the town council in the local paper, exposing their dubious attempts to catch homosexuals ‘at it’ in the cottages (public conveniences).

Since his campaign, council workers have filled in police spy holes.

The incident has given Bernard a greater understanding of ‘cottaging’ as a phenomenon. Now he writes controversially on his findings in a special article for Gay Arrow.

Police harrassment and entrapment of homosexuals in public lavatories appears to be getting more frequent. Or it may be that as the gay community becomes more organised through bodies such as CHE and GLF, and as communications improve, we are merely becoming more aware of it.

When I encountered this kind of police activity in Cambridge about eighteen months ago I was so outraged by the blatant intrusion into the privacy of people, all people not just gay people, using the toilets that I felt compelled to expose the methods of the police, and bring their activities in this field to an end.

It was only later, particularly when I began to be accused of “defending cottaging” that I began to appreciate some of the more general issues raised.

People cottage for a variety of different reasons. The most obvious is that it is the only means they have of meeting other men for sex. So long as homosexuals are oppressed by society and remain hidden this will continue. It is also anonymous and therefore, in spite of the risks, is regarded as safe. Unlike a gay club or bar there is always a perfectly legitimate excuse for one’s presence to satisfy acquaintances met by chance. Some men travel 30 or more miles by car to cottage to increase their feeling of safety and in the hope that if they are arrested the case will not be reported in their local papers. These people are often utterly respectable with good jobs, wives and children. They have a lot to lose, and this seems to them the safest way of satisfying their homosexual desires.


Other Reasons

But there are other reasons for cottaging too. For some the risk, the dangers, and the semi-public setting enhance their sexual excitement. For some cottaging has become an engrained behaviour pattern in which the ritual behaviour routines and the stench of stale urine have by long association become a trigger to sexual arousal. Many of these people are regular cottagers turning up night after night and whose consequent knowledge of one another has led to the development of a friendly social atmosphere.

No Commitment

In sexual terms these variations have one thing in common. The encounters are casual, anonymous and involve no emotional commitment. It is sex without affection, and without the responsibilities of a lasting relationship. On these grounds it is often condemned, in my view quite wrongly. For it fulfills deep-seated needs that are not going to be eradicated by the emancipation of homosexuals. Cottaging is too complex to be dismissed with simplistic moral judgements.

It needs a deeper understanding as a phenomenon and a more humble sympathy with those who practice it. Whatever the homosexual’s role in society, it will not disappear. Some men will always find the sight of another’s penis arousing.

Rule Britannia

19720914-05The Cottage, Regents Park

My Lords,

You have made a notable contribution to the moral health of your countries. “International News” is ever so national.

Gazing out of my cottage the other day, I saw what I took to be a painted harlot approaching the cottage. But something was dangling from her, something suspiciously like a truncheon.

I removed myself with deftness via the opposite end of the cottage only to see another painted human. Also, his Inspector had not inspected him. His glossy hair was depressed in a positive circle, indicating years of helmet-wearing. No need to look at his feet. The painted harlot now leered bewitchingly from the cottage enticing me to return. “No,” I said in my innocence: “Flirt with the one inside there.”

A voice, high and lacking resonance, surprised me as it whispered in my ear: “Take care, they’re cops, ducks. It’s the newest police game. You don’t have to do anything. Just be in there and two cops will swear your life away.”

“You know them?” I asked. “You can’t know all of them” the high-pitched whisper replied. “But what if I want to piss?” I asked.

“Makes no difference, ducks,” he answered with manly confidence: “You can’t have an honest piss anywhere. It’s government policy, police policy, House of Lords policy. That’s why so many people have made the atavistic plunge back over time and are pissing in the streets. I mean, like, it’s a bit stiff, twenty-five pounds a squirt. Even women don’t pay a penny now. So it’s full drag, burst your bleedin’ bladder, or piss in the street. But they do say the rear offside wheel of something is legal. Why, there’s a police car standing unattended over there.”

My kind friend went on the path of duty.

Your lordships will be delighted to know that the tiled palaces will continue to remain sterile and constantly, frequently, frequented only by those overstretched coppers – now painted.

Do take care how you pass this round, even in the Lords Cottage. A bit of ermine may well conceal a copper. Other devices are misleading. One is actually a truncheon.

Rule Britannia, Love and kisses,
Lu-Lu

To Their Noble Lordships

  • Reed
  • Morris of Borth-y-Gest
  • Diplock
  • Simon of Gladale
  • Kilbrandon