Here We Are Again

Thanks for welcoming us to the New Year by purchasing our first edition of 1973. Despite the present financial gloom, we are all optimistic about the future, and like Mr Micawber, feel something is bound to turn up.

As we have said in the Editorial, we do need a large amount of money/capital to come into our coffers to guarantee our continued existence, as well as expansion and improvement. But as well as needing cash, other needs are almost as important. These are larger premises, which hopefully will be available in the not too distant future, and also we must have better and more professional organisation and systems of working together within the structure of Gay News itself. And it is up to us, the joint editors and members of the editorial collective to make sure that these things happen. We most certainly are endeavouring to.

New People

On the first of this month we are being joined full-time by Peter Munday, who is now solely responsible for distribution, apart from street selling which is a must for every member of Gay News.

It is extremely important that we do sell more copies of GN, but to do this we have to find more outlets. This is where Peter comes into his own. As well as ascertaining all is running smoothly with our present distribution network, he will, during the coming months, be attempting to make sure Gay News is on sale in many more newsagents, bookshops and street vendors pitches around the country and in London. Also, and probably more significantly, Peter will be trying to arrange that the paper is available in as many gay pubs and clubs throughout Great Britain as possible. Whilst GN is still in its infancy, it seems logical to us that the best place to sell a gay newspaper is in gay places.

So if you can help Peter, please contact him at the Gay News office.

As well as having someone to handle our distribution, we also have been joined by Mike who is looking into the present running systems of GN. We feel many areas leave a lot to be desired and also that we may be wasting much time and energy by using unrealistic and self-defeating methods. So during the month or so Mike is with us he will be examining the complete structure of Gay News and be offering advice on how we can improve or change the present way we work. In addition, he will be organising new ways of handling the administrative side of the paper.

New Years Resolution

During 1972 we felt that there has been far too little co-operation between Gay News and the other gay publications available. Like us, these other papers and magazines are as hard pressed for money and necessary assets. So it seems to us at GN that if we all try a little harder to understand what the others are doing, and worked and exchanged information with one another it would help put an end to that bad feeling that exists between some of us.

All too often, bitchiness, intolerance and non-communication has taken the place of friendliness, awareness and a general interchange of ideas. Unfortunately, this has happened too between Gay News and some of the gay organisations. None of us are going to get anywhere without each other’s help and support, so in 1973 let’s all take a step down from the various pedestals we have placed ouselves on, and be friends, even if we cannot bridge the gap between our ideological differences. Gay News sees no reason why a little more co-operation and love amongst the various gay publications and organisations will result in any of us having to sacrifice our editorial independence or ideological convictions.

By working together we can show the ‘straight’ world more than just the fact that we are no different to them. For we can also let them see the power of togetherness and toleration by a large and varied cross-section of people who by overcoming their differing opinions and committments, can jointly struggle and work for a common cause.

Togetherness and toleration should be the New Years Resolution we should all make and keep through 1973.

Julian

Apart from a brief phone call the other evening, the last we heard of Julian D. Grinspoon was that he had gone off to his beloved Brighton for a quiet but socially busy Christmas. A member of GN did receive a rather vague call from him though last weekend, when, in a lightly breathless manner he said he was thoroughly bored with turkey and that his New Years article would be ‘gay’ ways of making turkey leftovers interesting and appetising. Since then we haven’t heard a word from him, and as turkeys are a fading memory for most of us, it’s probably just as well. Anyway, Julian, we hope, will be back for the next issue. We all love you, dear.

Next Issue

Gay News No 15 will be available from 24th January. Please keep your letters, articles and suggestions coming in. See you all next issue, and hope you enjoy this one.

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?