Old Myths & Prejudices

19720914-04In the Daily Express, on Tuesday Sth September, in an article entitled ‘No Colour in this Garden’, the critic, Ian Christie, fell foul of the old trap of calling homosexuals ‘unnatural’.

His exact words, used while reviewing the play, ‘The Garden’ (at Hampstead Theatre Club), were: ‘The householder (John Paul) is a chap on the brink of old age who is having a homosexual affair with his gardener. The revelation of this unnatural liaison causes grave disquiet to everyone else present on stage.”

Oh, come on Ian Christie, why don’t you look and think a little deeper before perpetuating such myths in your writing? You, being a critic, certainly should have the insight to know better.

Once and for all, to the majority of homosexuals, their sexual preferences are most definitely not ‘unnatural’; to be unnatural would be to deny what they are, no matter what a heterosexually dominated society may think.

The ‘grave disquiet’ from the characters in the play is most possibly due to their own limitations in coming to terms with what well over 4 million people find a perfectly reasonable state of being.

If only writers and critics would realise the damage they cause through forever passing on these old myths and prejudices. In a supposedly enlightened culture, isn’t it ridiculous that such non-understanding and ignorance should be perpetuated?

Just think for a moment the effect words like ‘unnatural’ have on young gays of both sexes, who may be in the middle of coming to terms with themselves and their sexual motivations, in a society that is all too often hostile to any form of behaviour that does not strictly conform to the accepted norm.

I of course know that nothing is going to change overnight, not after so many years of intolerance and persecution, but it would help the struggle of homosexuals everywhere if people in the various forms of media would try and be a little more aware.

I have very scantily touched on this subject of the misinterpretation of gays. In a future issue, I and Gay News hope to inform you considerably more on this unpleasant, continuing situation, with suggestions too of what we can do about it. We will carry on criticising and attacking, in the strongest possible ways, writers such as Ian Christie, for the grave errors they commit towards a sizable minority of the population, who have very little means of answering back.

Bye-bye Weymouth!

Hullo Morecambe!

19720901-03
MANCHESTER: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality has had to move its first conference next year from Weymouth to Morecambe, because the Dorset resort’s council has reversed a decision it made in July to allow CHE to hold its conference at the Pavilion.

CHE finally got the cold shoulder from Weymouth on August 17 when the council decided by 24 votes to 14 to reject the decision of its entertainments committee to invite the conference to the town after a storm of protest in both the national and the local press.

The Dorset Echo shrilled: “Between 300 and 500 homosexuals will hold a conference in Weymouth next April.

“Their applicaiton was granted yesterday despite angry protests from the Town Council.”

Leading the opposition former mayor, Ald. Wilfred Ward, who thought the idea “a disgusting lead” to give to the town.

He said; “Just how can we get in this town in order to raise money? Are we going to stoop to just anything? We seem to want to get our money without taking into regard any standing of the town.”

Coun. John Knight agreed. He said: “This will bring in a lot of morbid sightseers who will want to see a crowd of queers.”

The Daily Mirror got in on the act, too. On July 21 the paper joined the protesting chorus.

Coun. Clifford Chalker said: “We will be having a conference of prostitutes next.”

Not all Weymouth’s councillors share Mr Chalker’s prehensile views. Ald. Sidney Porter said: “We have no right to stop a bona fide conference. We wouldn’t stop one on grounds of race or creed.”

The Mirror’s bedfellow, The Sunday People joined in the finger-pointing campaign to kill the conference.

Voice of the People, the new-style, old-morality comment column lashed out saying: “Something very queer, but very understandable is going on at the seaside town of Weymouth.

“The queer thing is that some councillors are up in arms over the decision of the entertainments committee to act as hosts to the annual conference of a perfectly legal body.

“The uproar is understandable. Because the body is the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

“Legal though homosexual acts now are between consenting adults in private, there is strong public distaste for those who engage in them . . .

“If the citizens do let the homosexuals in there is one way that they can dissociate themselves from their guests.

BY CUTTING OUT THE OFFICIAL SHERRY PARTY AND DANCE AT WHICH CONFERENCE DELEGATES ARE USUALLY WELCOMED!” – their boldface.

The Sunday People showed that there’s more than one way to go about queer-bashing and the challenge was taken up by the people of Weymouth.

The paper showed the way to get the boot in to a lot of the good people of sunny Wevmouth.

Mrs H. A. O’Neill wrote to the Echo saying: “I am far from being prudish, unenlightened I or unwordly, but I feel the citizens of Weymouth must band together to have this degrading decision rescinded.”

Despite Mrs O’Neill’s reminder to councillors that it was the citizens of Weymouth who put them on the council, the entertainments committee wouldn’t go back on its word to CHE, and its report to the council said that it (the committee) consider that this conference might lead to better understanding of the problems which face what is understood to be a fairly large number of people, without at the same time, involvement in an extension of licence that would be unacceptable to them.

“The campaign is supported by a large number of highly distinguished and responsible persons prominent in Church and State, who have given it their approval.”

Despite that the council meeting that looked at the entertainment committee’s decision to let CHE have the Pavilion decided that it was not going to risk having 300 to 500 gays in their happy seaside resort.

The Town Clerk, Mr Edward Jones would tell Gay News only that the council had debated this for about an hour and a half. Weymouth Council would make no comment on the reasons for their decision to go back on the entertainment committee’s decision.

As for CHE, Weymouth’s hostility hasn’t upset the Manchester organisation’s hierarchy a bit. A spokesman said: “Weymouth was just one of the resorts we’d approached. We’ve now fixed it all up for Morecambe.”

Presumably the people of Morecambe are more broadminded than A. W. Delacour, of Wyke Cottage, Weymouth, who wrote to the Echo saying: “For the very small minority of our population genuinely trapped psychologically in the homosexual stage of development, one must feel the greatest compassion.

“But the current intellectual cult of defending any sort of aberration or perversion in personal relationships in the name of freedom needs to be challenged and attacked by all who subscribe to the Christian concept of human dignity. There is nothing new about sexual or homosexual licence. What went on in Sodom and Gomorrah 4,000 years ago or in the Roman Empire in the days of St. Paul, is known to everyone.

“Many people in Weymouth must surely beappalled by the insensitivity of certain of their elected representatives in agreeing to receive the conference of the Campaign for Homosexual Inequality (whatever that means!)” – Mr Delacour s cock-up.

Mr Delacour was not available to comment to Gay News on his views on gayness, but we compliment him on this letter and on his error in CHE’s title.

The Scotsman And The Minister

03-197207XX-04Extracts from letters written to “The Scotsman” after the I.T. decision and subsequent furore by Rev. Malcolm H. MacRae, West Free Manse, 21 Mount Vernon Avenue. Coatbridge. Together with our reactions.

“… it is impossible for the homosexual to find real happiness while following his inclinations in a heterosexual society.”

“There is no such thing as a heterosexual society. There is such a thing as a heterosexually dominated society. Homosexuals have always existed, even in the animal world, and always will. They have greatly contributed to all known western societies.”

“Physiologically and psychologically his behaviour is so unnatural that it is doubtful if even in a homosexual preserve … a satisfying way of life could be achieved. I would have thought, then, that the most compassionate and considerate approach would be to do everything possible to restore normal sexual behaviour to the homosexual. Phychiatry can do much to help in this respect.”

Nothing a human being is capable of doing is unnatural — is it natural to refrain from all kinds of sexual activity until one is given legal sanction to indulge? Likewise it is not ‘abnormal’ to be homosexual – what is ‘normal’, if anything is, is to be simply and freely sexual. Psychiatry cannot change one’s sexual orientation, even with aversion therapy. It can create even more acute depression, even more self repression.

“The homosexual finds himself impelled to behave in a way to which, in certain respects, like the behaviour of violent criminals and some classes of mental patient. In these cases it is argued that these people are either unfit to look after themselves or so violent they must have their freedom restricted.”

The Rev. MacRae resembles a mental patient far more than any gay person I have yet met, if his letters are anything to go by. Is he suggesting that we ought to have our freedom restricted or that we are unfit to look after ourselves?

“. . the law must take cognisance of the attack that homosexuality comprises on the institution of marriage and on the accepted moral standards of our society. The law must also be aware of the possibility of the spread of homosexuality, which, in the past, has been very much to the detriment of great civilisations.”

Is he suggesting that this is a great civilisation? Does he know we lost the Empire? The ‘accepted moral standards’ of this and most other western countries are in themselves an attack on humanity, freedom and life and deserve to be attacked in their turn.

“. . . but what is the value of a cure if the individual does not wish to be cured, and how will the individual ever wish a cure as long as the law is lax and society accomodating?”

Just how unpleasant would he make those laws and that society?

“Is he aware of how International Communism views the moral laxity which has overtaken the West?”

Is he aware of how International Communism treats homosexuals. Much as he would like to treat us.

“The grace of God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and because of this delivers even the smug and self-righteous from their equally heinous sins.”

I hope you are talking about yourself there, Rev..

Youths went Queer Bashing

01-197205XX 3It’s still happening. Punch ball ‘poofs’ – deflating prancing ‘queens’ with sheath knives. It’s only ‘one of them’ so what’s so had about “conspiring together to cause grievous bodily harm to persons unknown”. And especially to 30 year old Patrick Dobson who was beaten about the head with a “lump of wood” whilst being stabbed.

Seven 14 to 16 year old youths, products of a world when childish illusions disappear quickly, were charged at Brighton juvenile court with murderously assaulting this latest victim.

Patrick was yet another casualty of the constant practice of ‘queer bashing’. This sort of action by silly little boys and their contemporaries is very hard to take and more so because there is very little that gays, let alone the judicial authorities, can do about it. Or so it seems.

Obviously, probation and borstals are not the answer. For the magistrates they are the punishments to be dealt out to the few who get caught. What then is the answer to this particularly distressing subject? And remember, all male homosexuals are vulnerable to being confronted by a troop of ‘queer bashers’.

There is no immediate solution. But wouldn’t a possible beginning to finding one be a more thorough investigation into the reasons why such events take place? Isn’t part of the answer in the whole way homosexuality, amongst other things, is ‘treated’ by the police, the courts, the medical profession, the education system, to name just a few of the institutions that make up our society. Doctors receive usually half an hour’s instruction on how to ‘deal’ with ‘sexual deviants’; the police’s attitude towards gays is as misinformed as most heterosexuals; ‘queers’ to the courts are just another nuisance like traffic offenders; and where, except in the most progressive schools, is

subject of homosexuality discussed or examined?

Patrick, hopefully, will receiver from his injuries and return to living with no serious mark on his personality. But we’ll probably never know. One can be certain though that this assault will not be the last. We will read about another such incident fairly soon in another paper, and maybe the victim won’t be so lucky, like Michael de Gruchy. Or maybe fate will be even more vicious as in the case of the gay on Wimbledon Common who fought back against the torments and threats of a police officer and another man, who along with their wives, had a distorted idea of after-eleven-o’clock-closing-time-fun. But that time the tables were turned and the gay stupidly lost control, which ended with the manslaughter of the off-duty-out-of-uniform police officer.

We gays must fight back against the violent pressures put upon us by society, of course without the weapons sometimes used against us, but with justified anger at society’s failure, up to now, to deal with and protect us from such atrocities as ‘queer bashing’.