Editorial

We live in a democracy. It means we’re free to do and say what we like – and that’s official. But the way society is run might tempt cynics to say that British democracy means we have the right to do and say what the state and certain self-appointed arbiters of behaviour ordain.

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act – which made gay love “legal” – specifically excludes members of the armed forces from equality with other gays, already a minority unequal with “straight” society.

At least the law spells out the ground rules even if they are, undoubtedly, wrong. For instance laws that limit gay sex to those not in the armed forces, over 21 and in two’s, in private are clearly indefensible because they make us unequal with the rest of society.

The main failing of the law, as it stands at present, is that it does not give gays the legal equality, however grudging, that black people must receive.

But far more oppressive than open harassment and legal inequality for blacks and gays alike is the sinister form of silent censorship that Gay News and all the gay organisations experience.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality came up against the Angry Silence twice earlier this year when it was trying to fix the place for its first annual conference. Both Weymouth and Morecambe fought shy of having fairies al the end of the pier.

Recently CHE won a victory by managing to lay a wreath to the Unknown Gay Soldier at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday. When almost any old ex-Servicemen’s Club and association representing those who allow themselves to be ruled by traitors — that is, Rhodesia – are allowed to lay wreaths, the inequality of not allowing the Gay Liberation Front to lay just such a wreath last year shrieks of a society where the homosexual is not equal even with traitors in the view of the elite law-forming body, Parliament.

Gay News has troubles with the Angry Silence in many directions and they have taken a new turn of late.

We’re used to news wholesalers and retailers such as Smiths, Menzies and Selfridges, joining in the elitist freezing out of gays. And you’re used to reading about our distribution problems by now.

The latest bizarre turn in this “free-speech” state is the Evening Standard’s refusal of an advertisement for a sex-education movie quoting Gay News.

The man at the Standard told Cobra Films’ representative that the paper wouldn’t mind running the ad if only they would quote a “respectable film critic, tor instance Alexander Walker”.

Once again the Standard has shown that whilst it will use the word ‘gay’ in headlines to sell the paper, it will not countenance the fact that gays live, are organised and have their own newspaper.

The ad-man at the Standard said that the GN crit of Cobra-1 was “near-pornography”

He is entitled to his views, but the Standard should print views it does not agree with, as the press should leave its columns open to all sectors of society as Charles Wintour, the Standard’s editor says in his recent book on the press.

Indeed, many of us feel that the views put forward as the paper’s official policy – in its leaders — and other right-wing pontifications carried in its pages are pornographic.

Mr Wintour is responsible for all the opinions expressed in the Evening Standard, including the writings of the “respectable” Alexander Walker, who was brought to the Standard by Godfrey Winn who discovered him in Brighton.

Many of the views put forward by the Standard work towards an elitist society and towards eroding free speech so that a schoolteacher may not be gay – and honest – and keep his job (GN11).

They are promoting a society where a lie is preferable to the truth. And that really is pornographic. In strictly legal terms it’s liable to deprave and corrupt the ‘Bristows’ of this world. If that’s democracy at work, no wonder so many of the more radical gays see the fight for gay equality as part of a much bigger and economic change in society.

But we at GN are used to being excluded from the press. Time Out – to whom we are grateful for many things — would not publish our ad which mentioned the personal ads in the back of GN on the advice of their legal eagle.

The silent censorship of the Cobra Films ad by the Evening Standard shows that society is not willing to accept a gay newspaper as a genuine newspaper – and it follows that if Gay News isn’t accepted as a paper by our fellow journalists, no gay can expect to be treated as anything but a curio by Charles Wintour and others like him who affect the way the power-holding elite think – no individual gay or gay organisation.

Here We Are Again

The Gay News Collective has decided to change the format of our Editorial leaders. We all thought that the Editorial should be used in future for serious comments on events in the news relating to gayness and advancements and deteriorations in the present position of homosexuals in society. As the old format of the Editorial was mainly concerned with internal goings-on of the paper and the difficulties and successes we were experiencing, not forgetting our constant appeals for one thing or another, we realised that this would hinder the object of the new style editorial leader.

But we think it is extremely important to communicate to you the ‘life and times’ of Gay News, as we still stand firmly by what we first said in our earlier editions, that this paper belongs to the gay community and not to those who want to preach their own particular political beliefs or for the monetary ambitions of those producing GN. So to carry on keeping you in the know of what’s happening to us and the paper, we will now run this regular column called Here We Are Again. The reason we decided to call it that was because of the number of times that phrase appeared in past editorials. Yes, we know how our writing styles can be shocking but we’re trying to learn and improve. So, despite our sometimes obvious limitations, here we are again.

Christmas Issue

The Christmas issue, even if we say so ourselves, looks as if it will be as good as we had hoped. Definites for that edition to date are a Robin Maugham short story, a feature entitled The Garland Legend which is in keeping with the current nostalgia trend, an intimate interview with pop star Peter Straker, and a very special, hilariously funny, surprise scoop that we’re keeping a secret until the issue is out. Also there will be the ultimate gay game for four players, plus many other novelties and seasonal delights. And of course there will be the latest gay news and all the other regular features and review pages. GN’s size will be at least twenty pages for that issue but it will still only cost you 1Op.

Subscriptions for Gifts

To pay for all the extras of our enlarged Christmas issue, we will be trying very hard to sell as many copies as possible. It will be the only edition in December so we expect you all to buy one, and also copies for friends. It will be extremely naughty of you if you continue sharing one copy between six of you for this special issue.

In this issue you will notice that there is a special subscription form whereby you can take out a sub as a gift for a friend or loved one. And what could be a better present than ten or twenty issues of ‘big GN’. Seriously though, we know a lot of people still don’t get to see us, so why not help to unbiasedly inform them of what’s happening in the gay world. Subs are an important factor in our survival and continued existence, so why not treat yourself to mailed editions of GN for the coming new year even if you don’t feel we are a suitable gift for someone else.

Love and Kisses

We would like to thank all those people who had enough faith in us to renew their ten copy subscriptions. At least 95% of you did and we feel very flattered. This type of confidence in the paper is such an encouraging sign to us, and your continuing support of GN will make it possible for us to endeavour to always be improving and expanding and to eventually start some of the plans we would like to turn into reality. In case your sub is due to expire in the next few weeks, we advise you to renew it soon, as the usual Christmas postal chaos may cause delays. And you wouldn’t want to miss our Christmas special would you?

New Offices

We unfortunately still haven’t been able to find new offices. The present amount of working space is quite a problem and the only way of solving it is by finding larger premises. They must of course be available at a reasonable (cheap) rent. If any of you know of anywhere suitable, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The only major stipulation we need to insist upon is that the offices be situated in central London, ie Fleet Street. Those of you who have visited our present offices will know of the difficulties we are working under, so to you especially, help!

Word Machines

A magic word to use at the moment, which is guaranteed to get hunched shoulders straightening up at a rapid pace and interest beaming from our innocent faces, is ‘typewriter’. The two manual machines that are still operating are slowly giving up the ghost and no amount of coaxing and bribing with new ribbons or machine oil will help restore their lost youth and effectiveness.

Two others have sadly moved up to that great ‘typing pool in the sky’ and with the two we have left threatening to be reunited with them, typewriterwise we are in a sorry state.

After that convincing lead-in, now comes another famous GN appeal. If you have a typewriter you don’t use and would like to see it put to use, we will gladly guarantee that it will be over-worked. Also if any of you want to automate our surroundings, a gift or the paying of rent for an electric model(s) would mean loving smiles and very grateful thanks from all of us.

A Final Word

We have tried to cram as much of everything into this issue. The last one was so filled with news items we had very little room for featurettes and feedback. So we’re making up for it this time. Hope you find many things to your liking and taste. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your paper.

Your Paper And Gay Lib

Gay News is, as has been said many times in the paper, an unaffiliated, independent newspaper, that is open to all forms of opinions and comments. It is not a Gay Liberation Front paper, any more than it is a mouthpiece solely for Campaign for Homosexual Equality, or any of the other active gay organisations operative in Great Britain.

That most certainly does not mean though, that the ideas and aims, as well as reportage of the activities of these organisations, will not appear in our pages. They are welcome to submit copy to us which we will almost certainly print, the same as any other individual is more than welcome to express his/her viewpoints, whether through a letter, an article or by informing us of some news that is relevant to all gays

So we wonder why some members of London Gay Lib find it necessary to be so openly hostile by threatening to ‘take over’ Gay News if we do not print a letter of theirs. GN prints the majority of letters received, and the only time we reject readers/organisations communications is when we have a large number making exactly the same point, or when we can’t read the writing. Other reasons would be when we considered the letter to be racist, slanderous non-factual or unfairly offensive. We do not censor letters and whether the members of the editorial collective agree or disagree with what is being said is immaterial to whether they are reproduced. A quick look at the many letters we have printed in past issues would show that what we are saying is correct.

Why then the hostility from this small group of radicals? Is it because we are not a GLF paper? — for that we most certainly won’t ever be, as we will never be any other organisation’s publication. Is it because GN is critical of some London GLF activities and policies? – possibly, for up until the advent of Gay News no gay organisation received any serious criticism from gay people themselves. Does this mean to say that some London Gay Libbers are so right, so completely pure, that they don’t have to examine their motives, or consider the opinions of others, or even want to be bothered to attempt to communicate their ideas to others who haven’t reached the same advanced state of personal awareness as themselves.

The Gay News Office was invaded just after the publication of our first issue, by a GLF faction calling themselves Radical Feminists (we understand that they are now known as Radical Queens). They objected to us including an article critical of them in the issue we were preparing for publication. After screaming at us for an hour or so, they then disagreed amongst themselves, resulting in extreme boredom for us and a loss of valuable working time. They eventually trooped out, leaving us none the wiser to why they were above or afraid of criticism.

The only point of near communication that we were left to ponder was the slogan ‘Where’s your head at?’ which was frequently bellowed during the incident. This quaint phrase first came into use during the psychedelic boom of 1967, and was subsequently dropped from ‘hip’ language much the same time as ‘flower power’ died.

Does this new takeover threat mean that we will have to endure another hysterical screeching session, or maybe they will go farther and destroy our notes and intended copy, remove our files, damage our typewriters and light fittings and generally behave like a bunch of thugs from the National Front, as they did when invading the Time Out premises a year ago. You can rest assured that nothing more constructive will be coming from them, unless by some sort of miracle they manage to prepare an issue of the paper, which would surely be a one-sided, dogmatic rendering of their own exclusive cant.

The GN collective would of course never allow this to happen, as in the same way we will not allow any form of censorship, whether through intimidation or otherwise. Why can’t these people see that any articles they submit to us will take their place among all the other opinions and criticisms from other organisations.

Is it also necessary for GN street sellers to receive threats such as “What will you do if I rip up your papers?” as happens every so often. On more than one occasion, copies of GN have in fact been destroyed by agitated London Gay Libbers. What is the sense in this, for such action is on a par with book burning.

It is not intended by this piece to attack or even criticise the whole of the Gay Liberation Front movement. Many London members, despite ideological differences with Gay News, manage to maintain a civilised relationship with us, and also do much good and important work for the improvement of the lot of gays generally. Also relations with Gay Lib outside of London couldn’t be better, many of these groups, in fact, sell GN at their meetings and also in their surrounding areas. We have even received generous donations from one or two of these groups.

As we feel that no-one is exempt from constuctive criticism and we will never pander to pressure groups by withholding news, censoring our opinions and editorial comments, or allowing one faction or group to have more of a say or influence than another. The day we did allow this would be the time for us to quit publishing, for it would be betraying the trust people have in us, who rely upon our independent position to inform them factually, unbiasedly and without any preaching or politicising.

In a recent London GLF Diary (Nov 9-18) the embittered faction responsible for that edition suggested that people read such American Gay Lib publications as Gay Sunshine, Gay Liberator, Flaming Faggots as they would ‘prove more palatable than reading Gay News’. Apart from these papers only being available in limited numbers at a few bookshops, the writer(s) of the quoted piece completely fail to explain or communicate their reasons for such criticism. Possibly the truth and realities of matters and events nearer home are unpalatable. Possibly the vacuity of London Gay Lib during the last year is a matter they would rather sweep under the carpet.

We remain the only national fortnightly, independent gay newspaper in this country, and we mean to stay just that. No matter what threats we may recieve.

Gay News Editorial Collective

ED: The complete list of periodicals mentioned in the GLF Diary are as follows: The Body Politic, Lesbian Tide, Flaming Faggots, Gay Sunshine, Fuori and Gay Liberator. We would add to that list The Furies and The Advocate, America’s largest selling gay newspaper. Bookshops in London likely to have a few copies of these papers in stock are Housmans, Agitprop and Compendium.

Editorial

One of the main criticisms we receive of our editorials is that they are usually about the same subject from issue to issue. Whilst we try to avoid being boring, we cannot help but be repetitious. This is because so many of the points continually mentioned are concerned with the livelihood and the expansion of the paper. If we keep on appealing, it’s because we really have to. So next time you realise you are reading something which is more or less the same as words which appeared in a previous issue, please remember that the help we are asking for is really needed and situation mentioned hasn’t improved overnight.

Just for a change though, we would like to include a few other things in this issue’s editorial, that are not directly associated with the internal running or survival or Gay News.

Age Of Consent

Firstly, you may have read that people of eighteen (who can also vote, marry without parental consent, drink alcohol, die for their country, etc) will soon be called to do jury duty. Not all of you may agree with this, but it’s going to happen. We think at GN that it is an important advancement. But what this new social development brings to our minds is the fact that people on reaching the magic age of eighteen can do everything an ‘adult’ can, except in one area. Male homosexuals still cannot choose who they make love to until they are twenty one. And that’s ridiculous. If someone is considered adult enough to condemn or release a defendant accused of a crime – which can range from murder to traffic offences – then surely they must be capable of exploring their own sexuality in whatever direction it takes them.

Surely it is time that this primitive situation was changed once and for all. And we don’t mean just settling for the age of consent being lowered to eighteen. The age should and must be sixteen, as it is with girls – for to settle for anything else would be an admission on our part that homosexuality is something different and strange. No aware homosexual can possibly think that. As we have said before in GN, not to be oneself, whether through self-denial or legal pressures, is what’s queer.

Who’s Doing Anything

Last week we tried to find out who, whether individuals or organisations, was trying to start the moves to alter the existing legislation with regard to the present age of consent. Apart from a few vague answers, we drew a blank. A very discouraging and saddening discovery. We believe that the longer this area of gay oppression remains, then the harder it will become to gain any reform. So if anyone, anywhere, is doing something about gaining the necessary changes, let us know. We will give you all the support and encouragement we can, and you are welcome to use the pages of GN to attract support and interest for your campaign. We realise that such a task is not easy. One has to get the support of many influential and sympathetic people, both in and out of Parliament. A bill has to be prepared, publicity obtained throughout the various mass medias and so on. But this is such an important matter that the amount of work involved will eventually be justified by the success of changing blind, oppressive, ignorant laws. Of course, it will be the generations that follow us who will feel the benefits of any changes, but does this mean that we should not be responsible for contributing to the advancement of society?

Mugging

In most papers recently, the word ‘mugging’ has been appearing more and more frequently. Mugging is a particularly disturbing crime and its apparent rise in notoriety is cause for concern. Even the Duke of Edinburgh has described it as a ‘disease’. But the national press seems to be under the impression that this is a new phenomenon in the world of violent crime. It most certainly isn’t. Gays have been subject to mugging – or queer bashing as it is called when directed against homosexuals (both male and female) – for quite some time. As we all know, gays have been favourite victims for those wishing to use fear and brutality as their means of gaining material rewards. At times this has resulted in death or the sustaining of lifelong injuries. Also, as is more often the case, gays – because of the treatment, lack of sympathy, and half-hearted inquiries they expect from the police – have not reported robberies and violence committed against them, and subsequently we are unaware of exactly how many of these frightening crimes have gone unnoticed and unrecorded.

The exploitation of people through fear is a disgusting, obscene occurrence, and those responsible should feel the full weight of the law for such acts. Human scum such as the Kray brothers and the South London ‘Richardson Gang’ have fortunately been removed from society for some time to come. These other merchants of fear also deserve the same treatment and sentences.

So we see it as a pity when other papers pick up on mugging as if it were something new and tend to turn it into a trendy crime. They ignore or forget that some citizens for many years have been experiencing similar barbaric acts – but called by a different name – and because of social attitudes, the victims have not sought the protection or help of the law.

Gay News will be approaching Scotland Yard on their present attitudes towards homosexual victims of mugging. We hope we will receive the answers that those who live in a supposedly enlightened society will want to hear. We will also examine the attitudes of individual members of the police force and those of local police stations. In due course the results of our enquiries will appear in GN’s pages.

We hopefully expect to hear from you on these subjects. They are important to all of us and your opinions and suggestions are invaluable to both us and the people who read them, whether they are gay or heterosexual, male or female.

Christmas Edition

Please don’t forget that we need your help in getting a really good Christmas issue together. If it is to be a success, we must have your ideas, articles, suggestions, etc. Let’s make it an edition that will be well worth having around over the Christmas holidays. We can do it together.

Personal Ads

Your personal ads keep on flowing in. We seem to print a few more with each new issue. And that’s fine with us. We’re sorry that we sometimes have to slightly amend a few of your ads, but we don’t want to invite legal proceedings against us more than we have to. The Gay News collective isn’t comprised of martyrs, just people who think contact ads are a service that is wanted by some of you. And if you take advantage of this service, good for you and the best of luck and love.

Loneliness and isolation are terrible things to endure, and if we can help remove them from people’s lives, we will. Remember too, your morality is your affair, not ours, not the Director of Public Prosecution’s, nor even The House of Lords’.

Christmas can be a very lonely period, so if you think an appropriate ad in GN may be of use in making sure that you or other gays are not alone in the season of ‘peace and goodwill’ why not send one in. We. suggest our late November issue is the most suitable to use for this purpose, as it gives people time to reply before the Christmas postal rush is on. For that issue please make sure you have your ads to us no later than 21st November. And we on our part will send off replies to your box numbers as speedily as possible.

By the way, Gay News is bought by more people than any other gay publication in this country. As a result your ads are read more than those appearing elsewhere. Don’t forget that we are the only gay publication to come out fortnightly, and a conservative estimate of our readership, as opposed to those who actually buy it, is at least thirty thousand. (This assessment is based on accepted advertising circulation figures.) No wonder some of you receive so many replies to the ads you place.

Editorial

Hi, here we are again with Issue No. 9. This time slightly more on time than No. 8 which was held up for reasons beyond our control. Even beyond the printer’s control, or so he tells us. We apologise to any people who received their copies of the last edition a few days late. Our printer has been duly told off but we suppose even he cannot control exploding machinery and snapping wires. Seriously though, it was just one of those things. At least we haven’t had a strike yet!

No doubt some of you will think we are blowing our own trumpets, but we were rather pleased with GN8. The worth of the content was up to you to judge and pass comment on, but as far as design and presentation went, all credit to our designer and his assistants. And we hope to improve even more, for as we see things, no one can ever stop improving and trying just that little bit harder.

GN8 was ‘16 sexy pages’ and this issue is the same size. We hope to continually produce this number of pages, for we find that we can cover that much more, whether it be articles, news, reviews and the other gayness-essities. But please don’t feel too angry with us if we occasionally drop back to 12 pages. As you might have guessed, now comes the plug for asking for more contributions and suggestions from you. We have enough ideas at present for main features, but news and featurette material is incredibly valuable to us. So keep on sending your ideas and articles in, and not forgetting your letters which are so important to us and interesting to all our readers.

Gay Ads

We are pleased to see that many of you find our personal ad section useful. That’s what it’s supposed to be, as much as anything else. Incidentally, it has come to our notice that Time Out had to reject an ad on the advice of their solicitor and the ‘forceful’ suggestion of W.H. Smiths. The ad offered a flat for ‘two gay mates’. Very obscene and corrupting, don’t you think? We sympathise with Time Out for being so vulnerable to the ‘moral’ whims and bellyaches of a major distributor and wholesaler. At least that publication (even though more expensive than us) has tried to make its ad section available to all, no matter what their sexual preferences. Gay News will of course always accept such ads, no matter what judges, Lords and moral bigots may decide, and that goes too for any possible future distributors.

In the near future we hope to run a feature on exactly what you think about gay ads, contact or otherwise, which we publish despite the ‘illegality’ of our actions. You don’t have to be a radical or a militant to end hypocrisy and sexual discrimination.

Women

The amount of content relating to women readers in Gay News is still pitifully small. If anything, we consider this to be still one of the major faults of the paper. It would be chauvinistic of us to just put into the paper what we men thought should go in for women, and a ‘women’s page’ is most certainly not the solution. So please, sisters, let us have your articles and points of view, and help us to make this paper truly for both sexes. If you are distrustful of our motivations, come and talk to us first or give us a ring.

Transport

Having to distribute Gay News ourselves is at times quite a task and a worry, and there may be one or two of you who could help us out. We desperately need some transport (car, van lorry) once every two weeks. So maybe you have a vehicle you could lend to us. Either you could drive it yourself or lend it to us for a day. We in turn will take the utmost care of your car etc, and will pay for petrol and/or expenses incurred. Alternatively, if any friendly millionaire or equivalent, in a moment of madness, wants to donate a vehicle to Gay News, we certainly won’t say no.

Subscriptions

We sincerely hope you all still find the paper interesting, informative, and dare we hope, amusing and entertaining. To those of you who originally took out a 10 issue subscription, could we remind you that it is almost time to renew your faith in us. Please don’t leave it to the last moment, for it helps keep the paper work down, and, need we say it, we need your continued support and money.

Provincial News

To return to the subject of you supplying us with news and information; you may find that we are somewhat lacking in news content in this issue. More so than some previous editions. A certain amount of news stories, usually the more obvious ones, are gathered by us. But we really need you to send us in anything you hear about, especially from those of you living out of London. At least send us any stories relating to gayness appearing in your local and provincial newspapers.

Please enjoy and be critical of this, our ninth edition. And remember, Gay News is as good as you help make it.

Many thanks to the customer of the Coleherne who gave us a donation on Saturday 7th October. Such acts mean a lot to us.

Mae ‘GAY NEWS’ yn croesawu tanwsgrifwyr cymreig ac y mae ar werth yng nghwmry.
By courtesy of the Welsh Office.

Editorial

05-197208XX 1We said it once. We are saying it again. We are short of money, and we need more. Not to expand the paper. Not to improve it. Just to keep it in existence. And we wouldn’t need to say that if our shops paid us promptly.

Most news is pessimistic — which is pretty well inevitable in the present situation of gay people. We are, after all, a frightened, fighting, persecuted minority, especially at the moment.

But …. where is the optimism, the creative side of gay life? What are we doing that is positive and fun? Not much.

The collective has heard a lot in these past few weeks about why we ought not to have started a gay newspaper, about how we are singling out gay people and setting them apart from everyone else, about how we are publicising the elements of gay life that many of us would like to forget or pretend didn’t exist. We’ve also had favourable comment to far outweigh this. But we feel we ought to make it clear why we disagree with our detractors on this point.

Firstly, The business of creating gay groups, papers, and so forth, serves a very great need. If someone thinks they are the only homosexual in the world, publicly gay things show them that they are not, show them things they can be part of. If someone is in any kind of trouble because they are gay, then that affects all of us, because we are gay too, and “there but for the grace of god go I”. We must be in a position to help one another.

Secondly. The gay scene that does exist is largely created for gay people by non-gay people, who do not understand us and our way of life as well as we do. They are in it because they know that if a place is passable but also gay, it will make them money. Mind you, we are getting more discerning. The Hummabum Club only stayed open a short while – people realised that it was a rip-off operation and weren’t going to fall for it.

But because the places for us to meet are few, and so many of us are isolated from one another because we do not feel able to be what we are openly at all times, we tend to be aggressively single-minded about getting someone home to bed when we do meet en masse. And this leads to the unthinking and inhuman treatment of other people as bed-fodder, judging them solely on the basis of their look and style, not as people.

We don’t like that attitude very much. It’s so much nicer going to bed with people you like, people you know, people you care about – in other words, to have friends you get to bed with now and again.

Thirdly. We believe in honesty. At all times, in all places. It’s incredibly hard. It hurts, especially if you’re not used to it. But it is really worth it. It really is worth the effort. So playing straight is not our game – indeed, we try not to play any games, or if we do, at least be aware of them.

So, at the moment, there is very little of value …. for the simple reason that anything gay people have has been granted or provided after much pressure by the very begrudging majority. A majority that is ignorant of us, doesn’t like us, and doesn’t want us. So we end up with what they think we deserve — and most of it is very dingy and expensive tat. If we really want anything of lasting value, we must create it ourselves; get together and do it. If that means staying an isolated minority for a while, that’s exactly what they want us to be. But it also means that we can show them, prove to them that we can do very well without them thank you, that we don’t need them. That we have every bit as much to offer to the human race as they have, and if they want it, they must come and get it. We here at Gay News don’t want two worlds, gay and non-gay. We want one world for everybody. For all that to happen, they must see us, know us, respect us, and actively want to be part of what we are doing as much as some of us want to be part of what they are doing (and that involves conventional society changing too – we don’t want to be part of it as it stands).

We made our beginning with a newspaper. Others do it in the various movements (though it would help if the movements stopped bitching one another and actually got together to do something). We would hope that the paper will stay out of those inter-movements politics, bridge some of the gaps, and perhaps become a nucleus for the more positive side of gay culture. At the moment we are preoccupied with trying to survive. But what we want to do …… to be really national, with regional offices, to have really much less cramped premises here, to start a counselling service for people in trouble, to run a club. We get letters, lots of them, that show how cut off, how lonely, how tired-of-things-as-they-are people are. We want to do something about it. All of us, all of you.

If we could all get together and do something like that, we could spawn a whole new beginning for straight society as well as for ourselves. It’s a dream. It’s a long way into the future. It could start now. But does anybody care?

Editorial

04-197208XX 02As you will see on page three, Gay News went to the House of Commons to discuss the House of Lords’ decision in the International Times case with MPs and other interested people. Immediately the formal meeting ended, the seated rows broke up into absorbed small groups talking over all the aspects of the subject. These informal discussions went on until closing time in the St. Stephens Tavern, and Gay News talked to everyone. “This”, said the MP who organised the meeting, “is the real value of all these gas-works get-togethers.”

He is right — there was a thousand times more real communication in these informal talks than in the whole ‘get-the-attention-of-the-chairman-if-you-can-game’ we all sat through first. The important question is – why waste time playing these games? Apart from speech-making addicts, professional chairmen, and people who ease their liberal consciences by attending meetings and sitting silent, who really thinks that anything worthwhile is achieved by the submitting-your-question-in-proper-form game, or that old fun-trip, going-through-the-proper-channels?

Gay News tries to play only the minimum number of these games, those essential to getting the paper out – with the bank, for example, and the GPO. (Have you played what-to-do-if-your-telephone-is-being-tapped? Can anyone tell us the rules?) We deal as efficiently as possibly with these conventional business procedures, because the paper must be printed, paid for and distributed, but we waste no time on ‘correct’ business procedures, and even less on ‘correct’ business people, who seem to think it essential that a letter should sit on their desks for weeks before being attended to. Gay News belongs to everyone who reads it and works for it – and we make the decisions.

The point is that we think as individuals, and work as a group, without outside control. This gives us a ready answer to a recent Evening Standard editorial, referring to the printers’ strike (issue July 28): “What is the matter with the newspaper industry? Why was it not only the first but the only industry to shutdown for five days at a time of grave national crisis? Why do so many people who work in this industry – the highest paid in the country – seem to care so little about their work and their role in society that they are ready to withdraw their labour with such apparent indifference to the effects of their actions? … The loss of goodwill to the papers was vast, as advertisers and readers alike were driven to another means of communication.” We know what our work is; we chose it. And our role in society, whatever it is, is not that of a small cog in a large profit-making machine. And that last sentence quoted answers the Standard’s own question: what is wrong with the industry is that the advertisers come first, the money men – before the readers, and way ahead of those who actually do the work, including in most instances the journalists as well as the print workers.

As a fortnightly paper, we were not affected by the strike – (it was nice to see a paper rack in a straight newsagents displaying Gay News prominently, in the space usually occupied by The Times!). We may even have reached a few unsuspecting non-gay people: “Gay News No. 3? I’ll take double this time, love,” said a friendly newsman in High Street Ken. “Sold out the last one – well, people had to read something!” Sales of issue three are already up on the previous two – how long before we can increase our print order? We need more subscribers, more outlets, more workers, and more money, but we’re here, and we’re busy communicating. Every time you buy a copy, every letter and article you send us is part of the individual communication pattern we are building. Everyone we talk to about the gay world, every story we research, is another step towards breaking the barriers which keep gay people in hiding and the rest of the world in ignorance of the truth about homosexuals. It is on this level, with individuals telling it like it is, that progress is being made towards liberation (in the true sense of the word, not just as a slogan).

We know, too, that we must live with the imperfect present situation – one day, we won’t need to find each other through personal ads, but as things are now, this kind of contact is the only way for many gays. This is why we carry small ads, and we shall continue to do so. Another handicap we must fight is the different fears we all have of one kind or another. Some gays cannot tell their families; many fear police harassment, or victimisation at work; the activities of gay libbers who have ‘come out’ scare a lot of people, while those who are ‘out’ face daily hostility from the ignorant and cruel (who are often frightened and unsure of themselves). What we must learn and learn to rely on as a community, is that we have weapons with which to defend ourselves; there are ways of educating ourselves and those who misunderstand us; and, with a lot of help from our friends, the obstacles in our path can be overcome. The success or failure of Gay News depends on the individuals involved in the paper, and we all know it – how about extending this belief in individual responsibility and group co-operation to a few more of the situations we as homosexuals have to face? No one is ever going to find an easy solution to the problems of conditioning and ignorance which we face, and no doctors, or sociologists, or MPs, will ever solve the problems for us. We are the people who know the truth and, difficult though it is, we must make the attempt to communicate it.

Obviously, you can’t do things you are not into, and every individual must decide on his or her own action – but we must work out where we are at, together, and act accordingly if we are to remove the labels put on us by others, and win the freedom to which we are entitled. Perhaps our aim is similar to one stated by Jung: “to bring about a state in which v everyone) begins to experiment with his own nature – a state of fluidity, change and growth, in which there is no longer anything eternally fixed and hopelessly petrified”.