NEWSETTES

FRIEND Now in Seven Cities

LONDON: FRIEND,the homosexual counselling service now has branches in seven cities throughout the country. At the January conference, the sub-committee approved new branches in Brighton, Cambridge, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff. Plans for a Croydon branch are in hand and details will be available shortly. All FRIEND Branches are able to call on the specialist advice of professional consultants, and there is a befriending service extending over the whole of the UK. For further details contact 01-402 6345, Mondays to Fridays, between 7.30 and 9.30pm.

[Photograph: R.I.Poff]
Outspoken Reactionary Dies

EDINBURGH: Tubby, ultra reactionary. Councillor Kidd of Edinburgh has died of “exhaustion”. He was sixty four, and famous for his pronouncements on everything from fat bus conductors to filthy queers (GN5, 7 etc). He also had a particular dislike for strip clubs and go-go dancers, and once travelled to Glasgow to protest about the opening of a sex supermarket there.

He said “My big mouth is necessary if this country is to remain sane.”

Record Breaking Success

LONDON: The ‘Masked Valentine’s Disco’ held on Saturday 17th February at the Euston Tavern in Judd Street, was a record breaking success. The happy crowd of just over two hundred gay women and men, all intent on having a really great evening, surpassed all previous attendance figures for similar disco’s arranged in the past by Sappho.

Sappho are planning to hold a further social event in the near future. It will probably be called the ‘Queen Of The May’ disco. Sappho is the monthly gay women’s magazine edited by Jackie Forster, which also holds regular meetings at the Euston Tavern (see information page for details). All women are most welcome to attend these gatherings.

Brutal Cottage Murder

ELLESEMERE PORT: A middle aged photographer, Leonard Bestwick, who was stabbed through the heart with a butcher’s knife in a public lavatory and savagely beaten with a claw hammer, managed to run for 100 yards before collapsing and dying. A 16-year-old youth pleaded not guilty to the murder.

It was stated that the youth was the ringleader and that together with a 22-year-old friend known as Scotch Al, decided to rob someone, preferably homosexual, with violence; the idea being that he was less likely to report the crime. The case continues.

Clap Wrists, Here Comes Chelsea.

LONDON: Venereal diseases in Kensington and Chelsea are on the rise – 60 per cent in three years – and a massive campaign is being launched by that Borough aimed especially at the 15- to 30-year-old age groups. Posters, teach-ins, and stickers for phone kiosks will be used in an effort to stamp out VD.

Reason for the massive increases – 13,500 in 1971 – were blamed by the Royal Borough’s Medical Officer Of Health, Dr D J Sheerboom, to the number of “speudo-artists or drifters” living in the area. “We have reason to believe that due to artistic temperaments in the borough, there is a high emphasis in sexual activities. This has not been stressed enough in the past as a cause for these sexually transmitted diseases.” Two new VD clinics were opened in the area last November to cope with the dramatic increase in cases.

Why Gay Lib?

ABERDEEN: Gay lovers in this ‘granite city’ (an oil boom town nowadays) were given a St Valentine’s Day pick-me-up when Ian Dunn spoke about homosexual love and the law in the Students Union on February 14. 550 students and public crowded in to listen and take part in the debate, ‘Why Gay Lib?’ which was organised by the University’s Debating Society. The Chaplaincy, the Student Councelling Service, and the Police were sharply criticised for their negative attitudes towards Aberdeen’s estimated 8,000 gays. The SRC has passed a motion in support of gay people and will call upon the National Union of Students to prioritise a Gay Rights motion for the Exeter conference.

Sapphonic Success

Sappho had a ball on Saturday! Sounds like a line from a dirty song, but actually it describes the party organised by Sappho magazine at the Marquis of Cornwallis pub in Coram St on Oct 8.

There was a friendly disco, superb hot food in generous helpings, an efficient bar service, a prize treasure hunt over a map of Lesbos (where else?) and a happy, dancing crowd of Sappho subscribers from all over Britain, with a sprinkling of friends from CHE. It was the most relaxed crowd of gays I’ve seen for a long time, and the intrepid male Gay News reporter who went with me agreed: “It’s good to get away from staring lines of men clutching their drinks and watching each other” he opined.

Earlier in the evening Maureen Duffy read some of her poems, which we missed. As latecomers we were not allowed in for fear of disturbing the reading. Who would attempt to argue with the divine Jackie Forster, guardian of the peace, but two small doubts – do poetry and a dancing-and-drinking evening mix, and might I have fled the pub if I’d mustered the courage to arrive alone, and then been asked to wait downstairs in the pub for half an hour?

This is in no way a detraction from the success of the evening, well deserved by all the Sapphos involved – when’s the next one?

S.J.P

ED: See the details of Sappho meetings and magazine subscription on the information page.

Gay Corner

Members of Campaign for Homosexual Equality stood up to be counted for the second time at London’s Speakers’ Corner on Sunday August 13.

05-197208xx-3Even though the five speakers took just under an hour to outline the main points of the gay-oppression struggle, CHE managed to gather a good crowd of some 300 or 400. And, better still, the speakers held that crowd despite the heckling from both sympathisers and opponents of homosexual equality.

The most striking thing about the meeting was the fact that there just weren’t many interruptions, as well as one of the speakers being unexpected.

A guy called Bill stood up. He’d never heard of CHE or GLF, but he way gay and proud of it. He wanted the people to know that. He thought homosexuality and intelligence were interlinked. “Many of the most intelligent people in history were gay”, he said.

One of the best speakers was Jacquie Forster. She stood up and said: “You’re looking at a roaring lesbian.” Then she pleased for people to drop labelling everyone else. “We lesbians aren’t trying to get into your wife’s knickers all the time.”

Jackie was a forceful speaker and she got a lot of laughs, which helped offset the rather earnest tone of the rest of the meeting.

But even if there are some criticisms you can make of the CHE meeting, one thing’s for sure – it took a lot of guts to stand up there and say “I’m gay and I’m proud.”

Your Letters

02-197206XX 8ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.


BCM/PETREL
London WC1.
24th June 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Yesterday I was able to by Gay News AT LAST. It was worth waiting for. The look of it is very professional and the content positive and provocative. Long may you continue and prosper.

Re your Speak-Easy spat. Sappho was invited too and I was the ‘wise child’ who asked the producer if he was gay. For someone who is forty plus I found this an excuse for an elegant ego-trip! We were under the impression as the recording was being held in the National Youth Clubs Centre we would have had the stimulating experience of discussing homosexuality with young people. To discover that the audience for the programme was also the tight little group of homosexuals representing various gay organisations was a big sell and the closet atmosphere of the ‘studio’ did not enhance the occasion. This was no jault of the gays present but the responsibility of those organising the programme. To segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals is absolutely against the aims and objects of Sappho. However we stayed because the opportunity for peak time programming for homosexuals is non-existant. Hearing the programme afterwards certainly made it worthwhile because we sounded like a large audience as well as sounding off. Sappho has made a large number of new contacts, who were despairing and isolated. I must take issue with Doug Pollard glossing over the GLF scene on the previous Speakeasy programme about homosexuality. GLF were totally disruptive – or I should say one or two individual members of GLF were – to the exclusion of other gays getting a word in. I admire so much that GLF does and contribute to many of their actions and am present at their demonstrations, but I despair of those individuals whos turn up at events organised by others than GLF is quite understandable and was caused by rogue members of GLF themselves.

Thank you for advertising Sappho on your back information page. May I point out that we are a magazine not a paper. We also hold meetings every first Monday in the month at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm Upstairs room, Great Russell Street, London WC1 and all women are welcome to hear speakers. discuss the magazine and air their own views. The price for individual copies has gone up to .25p plus postage, but the subscriptions remain the same, £1.50 for 6 months, £3.00 for 12 months including postage.

Love and peace
Jackie Forster
Editor of SAPPHO

 

Birmingham.
23rd June, 1972.

Dear Gay News Staff & Friends,
Your newspaper gave me delightful reading, as it was in good taste and good sense.

It is a welcome newspaper, as in todays society a needed source.

All the best of luck in the future.

Mis P.A…………

 

London N.W.3.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Thank you for the letter and please pass on my thanks to all the staff of Gay News. I bought a copy yesterday and read it through twice and enjoyed it immensely. I intend to send you my subscription at the end of the week, to make sure (in a little way) that Gay News carries on.

It is very good that Gay People, like myself, have now got their own paper. Cheers.

Love Nick C…………

P.S. Liked the ads.

 

London W.2.
20th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I have frequently wondered about Gay News, because as a ‘local’ I often pass 19 London St. and now the Evening Standard has confirmed my suspicions. I am delighted! I should be pleased to hear about your activities and I should also like to become an immediate subscriber to Gay News.

Ian M…………

 

Middlesex.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I was rather touched by your letter to the editor of the ‘Evening Standard’, in which you aptly referred to ‘Lords in Clash on Gay Advert’, and wish to take out a personal advertisement in Gay News, but I am rather haunted and terrified if possible blackmail, Is there any way to eliminate the risk if blackmail in this respect?

Also, I would very much like to obtain a copy of your latest edition of Gay News, and would be very grateful for any help you may render in this respect.

S.A…………

 

Sussex.
23rd June, 1972

Dear All at G.N.,
Have just received my first copy of Gay News. I found it very interesting with varied reading for all.

How about a monthly crossword? And might I suggest that you write to all or some of the County Councils and see if they will take out subscriptions for their library reading rooms, and so put G.N. along-side the national papers etc.? I will be contacting my local council to see if we can put it in our library, and will send you their reply.

Look forward to number two, keep up the GOOD work. Will also send you a donation in due course.

Norman R………………

 

There was no address,
and we couldn’t read
the postmark.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Boys,
I am very disappointed with Gay News, and before you can expect to build up a ‘readership’ you’ll have to not only improve your articles, but also employ an on-the-ball proof reader.

The quality of the paper is good, and I have no doubt that everyone worked extremely hard – but such co-operation and talent (?) you must be capable of doing better.

Look forward to issue no.2 before subscribing.

Yours etc.
Paul X.

P.S. Incidentally – should any of your readers be holidaying in Marbella (Spain) there are two bars worth visiting – Cozzi’s International and El Boccacio.