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.

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Scandalous Behaviour

Woodsetts, nr. Worksop,
Notts

Dear Gay News,

I have been going to write to you for some time but have kept putting it off through laziness. What has at last impelled me to shake off my torpor is the appalling and scandalous action of Mr Martin Stafford as reported in Gay News no 11.

As a fellow member of CHE’s Executive Committee, I am well aware of the petulant and selfish attitude that he adopts. But I am horrified that even he could go to the lengths that you have reported. To disagree with your policy of publishing contact ads is one thing; but to go over to the enemy in this way is something that ought not even be considered by someone holding any official position in an organisation such as CHE. I am absolutely sure that the overwhelming majority of CHE members will join with me in condemning such action in the strongest possible terms. I must congratulate Gay News for its objective (even kindly) reporting of the episode. It is time that CHE took some firm action to put Mr Stafford in his place as the squalid little nuisance that he is.

On the same subject, more or less, I find it very sad that so many of our brother and sister homosexuals, while looking for and expecting sympathy and understanding for their own problems find it so difficult to be sympathetic and understanding of those of others. Typical is the letter of VJM of Dublin in GN 11. What is so awful about camping it up in female clothes that a repressed pederast finds so hard to accept?

In the meantime, it’s an ill wind … etc. I have at last got round to telling you what a good job you are doing and sending you the small donation and the cigarette coupons that I have been meaning to do for some time.

With congratulations and all good wisnes tor continued success.

H. E. (Ike) Cowan

Good News, Bad News

London WC1

Dear Friends and Lovers,

Congratulations on what must be the very best issue of Gay News yet (No. 11). What with one of my very favourite people on the cover and that splendid interview with Shuff, I sat transfixed in the laundromat long after my knickers had finished tumbling dry. Mrs Shufflewick is certainly the best drag artist working today, a comedian of genius. The interview proved that the success of such articles (which only come off now and then) lies in asking the right question at the right stage in the conversation. So congratulations to Shuff’s interrogators.

Now the bad news. I felt that Peter Homes’ report of the German gay movie at the NFT was inadequate and rather silly. The event was not, I agree, as important as all that. But it was interesting and both the film and the audience’s reaction had messages for us that deserved a rather more serious discussion than that offered.

Finally, your reporter with a cold who couldn’t stay on for CHE’s evening show after the fair has embarrassed me considerably. I certainly did not conceive the one-act musical that was put on, nor did I take part in it. In fact my only contribution to the evening was to appear in a five-minute sketch. Credit where credit’s due, etc — so thank Rex, Michael, Marie and Gavin for the show.

Lots of love,

Roger Baker

Forced to be Free

National Federation of Homophile Organisations,
65 Shoot-up Hill, London, NW2 3PS

Dear Friends,

I don’t consider myself to be “Britain’s number one homosexual”; I simply told the London Medical Group audience that I had publicly been referred to in that way at another recent meeting, so I had no objection whatever to telling them that I was gay. This was in response to a “come out” challenge to the panel by a gay visitor in the audience. I added that the Chairman had set us an impossible task by asking for a “dispassionate and objective” account of homosexuality, because everybody in the world speaks from his or her own personal subjective sexual viewpoint, and I was no exception. But I hoped that having told them I was gay myself would not preclude my hearers from accepting that what I had to say was the result of knowledge gained through ten years’ professional work and responsible experience of running the Albany Trust. We have to scotch the absurd notion that only the “straight” can speak authoritatively about the “gay” (or vice versa).

This little episode did, however, cause me to reflect about “coming out”. It is good to be able to: but not everyone yet can without running considerable social and professional risks. Isn’t it somewhat unfair for those who are in a more fortunate situation not to recognise this? To taunt a panel of three professional people, only one of whom (myself) was able to publicly lay homosexuality on the line without almost inevitable and immediately damaging repercussions in their own sphere of work, strikes me as oppressive. It’s utterly wrong, of course, that such repercussions should still happen, but until we have all done much more to put society right in this respect, each one of us must surely be left to decide how far, and in what ways, we can come out. I have fought as hard as anyone for gay liberation and other civil rights causes; but I would resent being “forced to be free” a la Rousseau.

What those who still feel bound to remain “in the closet” can do, however, is to make the work of those of us in the various homophile groups and publications more effective by seeing to it that we aren’t starved out of existence. The entire homophile movement is in a state of chronic financial crisis that threatens its continued life. I hope all your readers will carefully consider the urgent needs of the Albany Trust, the NFHO and its member organisations, GLF, Gay News, and the various other homophile publications and see to it that if they can’t yet come out of their closets, they do dig deeper into their pockets so that we can all do more to make 1973 a year that is safer for gay people to come out in.

Love and Peace,

Antony Grey,
Chairman

Slagging Julian

Queenies Castle
Sussex

Dearest Darling Gay News.

Much though I love your newspaper, I have just one teensy-weensy complaint. I refer of course dears, to our little friend Julian Denys Grinspoon. Really, I don’t know why he bothers! He doesn’t give anything worth having; and what a pseud name!

Well really, loves, who wants to know what films are on at our dear old Bio? No one ever goes there for the films, do they? One gets enough carnal knowledge from just sitting there; and as for active participation, well I don’t think I need tell you old queens anything about that! Jules makes such a fuss just because some silly duchess at the cinema wouldn’t give him what he wants. Then he makes a big thing about telling us about all the people he eventually got it from (the programme of course). As if we want to know about his private life anyway.

The double-entendres are just too much personally I don’t like that sort of thing. He’s always doing things behind people’s backs just to get his own way. That sort of thing was illegal you know! So, why do all you lovelies at Gay News waste your space (and time) on him? Anyway, loves, he’s so camp and that’s one thing I cannot stand!

Thanks for your mag.
Lots of love,
A straight reader and friend,

Sebastian

Call to All Gay Sisters

Dear Gay News,

This is really a call to all lady gays. I fervently agree with the letter from Sappho (GN10) and I sing in chorus “where have all the ladies gone?”

I’m sure I am not the only female reading this wonderful newspaper. But the guys rule the waves once again, don’t let them hog all the paper. I know lots about them and have seen plenty of their arses. How about giving me a little of what I want. Let’s have a few of our lady friends saying something about themselves. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a sexy little ladie’s page if we tried hard enough. But there is only you who can bring that about, so write in and say something – anything! Like, where a few of you lovely ladies hang out! I’m a fresher to London and am still looking for lots of friends and a tour around the gay places. So don’t keep your info to yourselves, let’s all know about it. I’m looking for an opening – don’t keep me waiting! Write and tell me, and lots like me I’m sure, where we can meet some of you lovely ladies.

Love to you all,

Lynne

ED: Please get in touch with us Lynne, you forgot to put your name and address on your letter. Without your address we cannot forward any letters to you.

No GLF At CHE

London W6

Dear Collective.

May I bring this information to the attention of your readers. Going down to the CHE London Information Centre to do my lunchtime stint on the rota on Monday, November 6, I was told by the office manager that on the previous Sunday a decision was taken by the London Management Committee of CHE to remove all GLF literature in LIC.

The reason given was that LIC had too much of a left-wing flavour, and that GLF literature was too much in evidence. I observed that other gay literature including one of full frontal nudes was untouched by this censorship.

LIC exists surely to provide first information, on CHE, then information on all other gay organisations regardless of any political, religious or any other basis. I certainly was not aware that GLF dominated the diplay, nor was I conscious of the left-wing flavour of LIC — whatever sinister spectre that term conjures in certain narrow minds. It is sad to see this rage over gay-red-under-the-bed getting the better of some of our brothers and sisters, or is there some deeper motive behind this first move? Whatever the reason I am sure this decision is a bad one and must be resolutely opposed. Group Chairmen, please note.

Teck Ong

Truer Homosexuality

Durham

Dear Gay News,

The article in a recent Gay News about so-called pederasty prompted me to get my thoughts on the subject in order and write this.

Basically I’m bisexual. At the moment I’m more heterosexually than homosexually inclined, but this is more because of ‘supply’ than ‘demand’. As far as the homosexual side of my sexual make-up goes I could be defined as a pederast, because I’m chiefly attracted to guys in an age-range of about 15—22. I doubt whether I could get it on with anyone older than this. I’ve thought about the reasons for my choice, and they’re something like this.

Physically and mentally, I’m a pretty fair balance between masculine and feminine. I’m also 19 (so that makes half my sexual make-up illegal but I don’t care, it’s the law that’s wrong), and I’m attracted to similar people. Maybe this is truer homosexuality than that seen in many couples where the butch/bitch syndrome is their basis. Anyway, there’s an elusive blend of masculine hardness and slimness with feminine softness which really turns me on. Quite a lot of guys in this age-group have it, and so do some women; the only trouble is, all the guys are straight! So I do the next best thing and go with women…

I’ve written mainly about physical characteristics; but before anyone writes a nasty reply, I do take mental characteristics into account, indeed very much so. however I can’t get it on with a guy or chick unless I fancy them. What a hangup!

Chris

Letterette Of The Month

Sidcup, Kent

… Thanks a lot … great reading … love the ads … love it all … Happiness is egg shaped … and so am I.

EL

Gay Movie

46, Cavan Drive, St Albans, Herts.

Dear Gay News,

I am in the process of finishing a gay film ‘Love Of My Own’ and I would like to hear from interested parties, in getting it on celluloid. Script-writers, film-directors with experience, actors, non-actors, and people with finance. This film calls for actresses (not in drag). I would like any gay director of a company to give permission to use the board room, and also anyone with a large house with swimming pool, so come on, let’s really make this film for 1973.

RL

Your Letters continued on page 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.

Liberation Landslide In Debate

Saturday November 11th saw a house packed to the gallery at Newcastle University for what was billed as the “Gay Liberation Debate”, with a local Methodist minister, The Rev. J. M. Furness, proposing that “This House deplores the Emergence of Homosexual Self-Confession and Self-Justification”. Mr Furness who assures us that most of his knowledge of the subject was gained from books borrowed from the library that morning, spent quite a lot of time trying to define who these homosexuals were. And by the time he had excluded you-know-what in public schools, in the armed services and in prison cells, his case that homosexuality was an aberration the flaunting of which struck at the very roots of society began to look a little thin. By the time he reached the responsibilities of older men with families to fight against the corruption of the young, it began to feel a little thin. And when he got to the bit about homosexuals deserving sympathy not condemnation, but that we should, presumably like the people with only one arm to whom he had compared us, be neither seen nor heard, it was clear that his seconder was not going to have an easy task.

After this it seemed a bit unfair on him that Michael Barnes opposing on behalf of Newcastle GLF should start off in a clarion-call voice and style resembling Henry V on the field of Agincourt. He was certainly going to be heard and he made it clear that sympathy was the last thing he had in mind, unless it was sympathy with any homosexual who should be unlucky enough to turn to Mr Furness for advice. Not a beer-glass rattled through his rousing speech and he made sure every member of the audience knew that there was still discrimination against us in law, socially and in our jobs, discrimination which would continue unless gays did come out and fight for the right to live in a way which others regarded as their birthright, fight against inhumanity like that of the Newcastle employer who recently announced that he’d not rest while a “fucking poof’ continued working in his office.

Richard Webster, secretary of Tyneside CHE, seconding for Michael under the Gay Lib banner (who said Brighton is the only place where there’s co-operation?) would have a hard job to knock down Dr A. S. Wigfield, Consultant Venereologist at Newcastle General Hospital, who seconded for the proposition. This wasn’t one of those venereological ogres but someone, evidently nearly as unhappy with the motion as he was with the VD figures, who in a witty speech delighted the audience with some of the best bad puns of a long time and condemned the commercial exploitation of sex in terms with which many gays would be happy to agree.

But it was a pity that his peroration against permissiveness was rather spoilt by a cheerful inability to resist a dig at the idea of gay marriage with the comment that we seemed to be wanting “our bride bartered on both sides”.

Richard was against “permissiveness” as well, but on rather different grounds. What right, he wanted to know, had Society to take upon itself to “permit” fellow human beings to be themselves? If (as he pinned a GLF badge on one side of his nice new suit, and a CHE one on the other) by confessing himself in public he had done something to help just one other gay person to feel proud of himself as a fellow human being, he’d have done something worthwhile. But as for self-justification, that term came from those who believed we had something — the plague? – we needed to justify. He knew he had not.

After which we sat back with bated breath waiting for what the Floor would say. One brave girl made a brief speech in defence of married life, and then… silence. Throughout the evening scarcely anyone had nipped out for a pee, hardly a whisper of disinterest had reached the platform (except while Mr Furness was consulting his borrowed books), yet no one else would speak. Had we all been so brilliant that there was nothing left to say? Had everyone a raging thirst? Could it be that all these liberated students weren’t liberated enough to speak on such a delicate topic? We don’t know. We don’t know either what the voting figures were: there was no point in counting all those hands when they were raised so overwhelmingly against the motion and in our favour.

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.

Preference Or Prejudice

As the perpetrator of the now, it seems, infamous “black young and gay” advertisement (GN4) I can’t let R.L. Stratton-Watt’s Feedback letter in GN9 pass without comment.

Firstly, I would like to appologise to Mr Stratton-Watts and to any other black readers who feel as he does, for any offence caused them by my advertisement. I am well aware of the large sexual and male chauvinist component in racism, as epitomised by the familiar “would you let your daughter marry one?”. I accept that there will be those who will see my advert as perpetuating the black man as sex-object syndrome. Nonetheless, I justify myself on the following grounds.

Mr Stratton-Watts uses the words “prejudice and preference” in the same breath, as if they were synonymous. For me the essence of racialism is discrimination against a disadvantaged group, racially defined. Thus, to advertise for whites only would most certainly be racialist as it would extend the area from which blacks are excluded.

But to maintain the converse would not be true, as it would assume an equality of advantage between black and white, which in our racist society does not exist. To call discrimination in favour of a disadvantaged group “racialism” is to make nonsense of the word. If this seems like splitting hairs, consider this: I am Scottish and Scottish people are in no way discriminated against in Britain today. Would Mr Stratton-Watts have been so outraged if I’d advertised for a fellow Scottish gay?

I also detect in Mr Stratton-Watt’s rather involved argument an idea which appears fairly widespread in the gay movement and in GLF in particular and which seems a hip but direct descendant of medieval body-denial. According to this view, not just prejudice but also sexual preference is unliberated and wrong and one can and should dispense love phyical and spiritual, equally and indiscriminately to all men and women of all ages everywhere.

I cannot accept this neo-Gnosticism which seems to want to spiritualise physical sex out of existence and refuse to acknowledge its less ideal aspects. Male homosexuality is, after all, about cocks and spunk and arseholes as well as love, peace and revolution.

Some of us like black skins, some hairy limbs and chests, some huge cocks, some (like me!) are turned on by all three and more. If we can accept these preferences and integrate them into the rest of our personalities, we shall be able both to love and cherish and respect any guy/girl and thrill to his/her dark skin, leather knickers, green eyeshadow, or whatever makets us horny.

In the integrative process we may also find the compulsive aspect of those preferences diminishes.

It’s when an oppressive, sexist society makes men ashamed of their desires that the desires are split off and disowned and protected onto the minority group of the moment, to whom is attributed remarkable sexual prowess and who are feared as rivals and envied for their forbidden freedom. The prejudiced man hated himself by proxy, and the proxy is too often the gays and the blacks. The person who accepts his or her preferences is free to build constructive relationships with all sorts of people while realising that, quite involuntarily, he or she will be physically aroused more by some than by others.

This letter carries two signatures. The second is that of a wonderful black guy I met as a result of my advertisement. If nobody else got any pleasure out of it, we certainly did!

STOP PRESS: Counter Miss World

LONDON: Gay Liberationists and Women’s Liberation have joined forces in planning a counter-Miss World contest, which is to be held outside the Albert Hall in London.

A spokesman for GLF said the rendezvous for demonstrators against the competition was 7pm December 1, at South Kensington tube station.

As the demonstration will be a mock Miss World competition everyone is invited to wear national costume, bathing suits or the like. Anyway, the demo’s organisers want people to wear something silly

Gays Kept Away From Shoppers

BRIGHTON: The town’s Gay Liberation Front went on the march recently when it held the first Brighton Gay Day — which campaigned specifically for the lowering of the age of gay consent to 16 and equality for homosexuals in society.

It was a start, even if only about 30 gays did come out with their banners for the rerouted march along the seafront and into a shopping precinct.

The marchers handed out leaflets to the public, but the official change-of-mind about letting the gays march through the crowded shopping centre of Brighton and leaving them only the mainly deserted sea shore to parade along, made certain that not too many people would be there to get the message Brighton GLF was trying to hand out.

The official reason for re-routing the march was that the gays’ banners might cause a breach of the peace. Brighton GLF was told of this change-of-heart just a day before the Gay Day was due to take place.

The only incident around the march was abuse thrown at the gays by members of the public. The police moved them on quietly.

GLF At Stoke Newington 8 Trial

Although there is absolutely no connection between the Gay Liberation Front and the activities of the ‘Angry Brigade’, a number of gays from GLF were called to give evidence at the Old Bailey Trial on Thursday 2nd November.

The group of people charged with the ‘Angry Brigade conspiracy’ are popularly known as the ‘Stoke Newington 8’. Among them is Angela Weir, who before her arrest last year was an active member of GLF.

The Gay Lib people were called by Angela’s defence council to give evidence, on oath, to the effect that she was a participant of a GLF demonstration on 19th August, 1971. The prosecution council claim that on that day she was on an ‘Angry Brigade’ expedition to France, which resulted in an illegal explosion in that country.

The prosecution allege that an identity photograph establishes that Angela was a member of the part of ‘AB’ people who supposedly made the cross-channel trip. The GLF people, amongst others, gave evidence to the contrary. In all about fifteen people were alibi witnesses for Angela.

The demonstration on Thursday 19th August, 1971, was held by GLF for two reasons. Partly it was about the misrepresentation of Gay Lib and homosexuality in general by the national press, and also because of the complete press silence on important gay activities. The demo was held in London’s Fleet Street and the surrounding area. A number of newspaper offices were visited. Leaflets were distributed throughout the event.

Most of the GLF witnesses giving evidence stated that they positively remember seeing Angela, accompanied by Sarah Grimes, outside the Sun building in Bouverie Street, just off Fleet Street. Amongst the Gay Libbers verifying this were Michael Lynham, Timothy Bollingbroke and Andrew Lumsden. Sarah Grimes also gave evidence substantiating this claim, as did Denis Lemon (of Gay News), who was at that time involved in GLF.

Other witnesses testified to the fact that they had met Angela in London on the day in question. Amongst those who met her at her flat were GLF member Tony Hallyday, who said on oath that he had spoken and been with Angela in the evening of the 19th August. Tony lived in the same house as Angela.

The prosecution also claims that samples of Angela’s handwriting are the same as written material alleged to be connected with ‘AB’ activities. But the defence’s handwriting expert disagrees with the findings of those stated by the prosecution’s expert in the same field.

The case, where all the defendants are jointly charged with conspiracy to cause illegal explosions and with firearms offences, is not expected to be over until some time in December.

Library Goes Gay

NEWCASTLE: The city’s library service is now subscribing to Gay News and putting it on display — but only at the central library, and only after the paper has been vetted by “a senior librarian”.

This follows Newcastle’s GLF’s repeated demands for the library to stock GN with all its other periodicals and newspapers.

At its city’s libraries group, Councillor Mrs Marion Abrahams said it would “corrupt children” if GN were put on display in an open room.

She said: “Young boys might get hold of it, and it would not be suitable for them.”

Councillor Edward Pugh, the group’s chairman, said: “We have to come to terms with a modern community. It may be a tragic age we are living in, but these are the facts of life.

“We are beginning to pull things out from under the carpet where they were brushed by the Victorians who refused to face them.”

ED: Thanks to Newcastle GLF for the type of guerilla action needed to get people like libraries to stock GN, which is, after all, a serious newspaper.

It’s this sort of repeated request that makes libraries and bookstore owners/managers realise that Gay News is a newspaper as valid as any other. If only more people would work as hard as Newcastle GLF on WH Smiths, John Menzies and Selfridges, all of whom have refused to handle GN, even though they won’t stock GN or wholesale it while carrying the usual newsagent’s rack of soft porn, to give in. This is the sort of way where a newspaper that is already used in sociology courses will be given the shelf-space we think it deserves.