Please note that any letters received by us at Gay news are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
Abdication of Responsibility
Those of us who can’t really afford a donation can perhaps best answer your appeal for funds by renewing their subscriptions in advance of its due date (as I do herewith). Your proposed republication of The Queen’s Vernacular has given me renewed confidence and interest in you. I was beginning to have my doubts! It has struck me recently that you were failing to live up to your title or your raison d’etre, even in provincial solitude I was aware of items of gay news which I’d have expected you to comment on. May I give you an example?
One of the Sundays recently reported a rumour that the government has relaxed the stringent regulations against sexual deviancy amongst members of the security services. If true, this is an extremely important advance in the campaign that you are supposed to be waging, and one that will make an immense difference to the welfare of a great many people. I’d have expected you to be on to this like a shot, to use every effort to get it confirmed or denied, and to have published at once the result of your investigations.
I myself worked for some years in one of the government organisations to which these regulations apply. Over the years I watched people I knew or felt to be homosexual gradually dwindle into hypocritical tomb-faced prigs, through their willing subservience to a code of behaviour which their own natures recognised as unjust. One of them, after many years of unhappy solitude, finally met and set up house with a well-known local actor. Very shortly afterwards he was dismissed at a day’s notice: after some fifteen years of service, he was stood down on full pay and subsequently transferred to the Post Office. It was all right you see, for him to restrict himself to furtive and unsatisfactory pleasures; he only became a threat to national security when he had the courage to make his homosexuality overt by establishing a happy, loving and stable relationship with another man. He had a nice sense of irony, so no doubt he appreciated to the full the hypocrisy of his treatment
Well, now you know the sort of personal implications that these regulations have hitherto entailed, and why any relaxation of them would be of great interest. For one thing, it would make nonsense of your editorial in No 15: it would imply that public opinion no longer regards homosexuality as something culpable, so that nobody would have reason to prefer blackmail to the threat of disclosure, and that the government has at last acknowledged this improvement in public attitudes.
So to sit back and moan that ‘to us it seems that nothing has changed since 1916’, seems rather an abdication of your responsibilities as ‘Europe’s Biggest, etc. Newspaper’! You are merely fortifying the ghetto mentality that you profess to deplore.
ED: Sure, Pendennis in The Observer ran the story on January 20. But then, so did Gay News in Issue 14 – under the headline Equality for Gay Cops – and that appeared a full fortnight before Pendennis ran his story.
Don’t Be Shy
67 Vere Road,
Glad to see libraries being mentioned in Gay News. I was intending to wait and hear other views before writing, but a few points have arisen in letters from Stuart Woollard and Geoffrey Leight in GN16.
LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE is a magazine for radical librarians which I started at the end of last year, around which is forming a group of like minded people interested in information and library work. Stuart Woollard is very welcome to start a gay group within LFSC, alongside the other area and “subject” groups being formed.
I’m involved in the coming together of the alternative library in several ways. Firstly, I’m looking after the library of the UNDERGROUND PRESS SYNDICATE (Europe). Secondly I’m involved in the project of microfilm alternative publications, which is being undertaken by the Harvester Press of Brighton. LFSC is not actually involved in the microfilming, though I and several other members are working on assembling back issues for filming and indexing (would anyone like to index GAY NEWS and the other gay papers?)
I’m working on the second issue of LFSC at the moment, and will be including a round up of views on gay papers and books in libraries. Public libraries (and university and college libraries for that matter), will only stock papers such as Gay News if enough people ask for them. Don’t be shy, libraries are there to serve you, not to dictate your reading habits. Nuff said…?
Editor, LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Here to Stay
Dear Gay News,
No greater tribute could be paid to Gay News than the increasingly prevalent practice of other gay publications to reprint the information on the gay scene given in your pages. Where they copy you, they are fine. Where they don’t, they produce an array of misinformation, ancient history and unintentional comedy.
No names; it would be cruel. One of them recently gave CHE’s national address as a British Monomark box number, although the Kennedy Street office has been running for nearly two years. Another listed the Club 43 in Manchester as still operative, even though it was closed in September 1970 under the amazingly stupid Manchester bylaw of 1896 which was held to preclude male dancing. The same magazine listed as gay a variety of other non-existent streets and misnamed establishments, in some of which the dominance of heterosexuality is truly frightening. And quite stifling.
Has Gay News anything to fear from its rivals? Don’t be funny. The glossy magazines may print a few more photographs of bare bums and tired organs and congratulate the legal authorities rather more often than Gay News is prone to do (a curious contradiction). But, as the best thing ever to happen to the homophile movement in Britain, Gay News is here to stay. It MUST.
Barrie A. Kenyon
Desperate To Share
I am a former patient from Broadmoor and I am gay. Since leaving there I have been hard pressed to lead a happy life, because of being in Broadmoor very few people want to take me seriously. I travel around a lot and find things to occupy myself. I desperately need to find someone who would come and share my life with me. I am very lonely all the time and am always afraid that I could get desperate or bitter and do something rash or silly.
I know I do not deserve any special attention and if you ignore me I shall not mind too much, for this has become my chief problem. I would like to meet someone who is understanding and willing to be loved in my own fashion, who is kind, but not in the wrong way. I enjoy so many good things, but find I have no-one to share them with. I have been into a lot of strange scenes and lean towards adventurous gay things. I do so because I need things to occupy my mind, to keep my senses alert and I love exploring and finding things out.
… I do not know what response my letter will bring for I have no private fortune, only a modest income and so many hopes for a future that sometimes seems impossibly remote. I am sorry to have troubled you with my cares, as though I were the only troubled gay person in the world, but I have no friends and too many acquaintances. If you can, will you help me? Merely writing to you has been something.
ED: We’ll forward any letters to G G.
Judged By My Peers
Dear Gay News,
It is interesting to see that the old problem is being discussed again: I mean the rights and wrongs of sex-without-love versus sex-with-love. But surely there is no ‘versus’ about it. These things are not opposed to each other; they are the extremes of the same pendulum.
So for example you start by feeling sick with boredom, because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street and have sex. Afterwards you think ‘How awful; never again’. So you swing to the other extreme of the pendulum and you fall in love with another chap and you think, ‘How marvellous’, and then you discover that he wants to love you without sex. And you still think ‘How marvellous’, until you discover that he’s having sex with someone else. So you cry your eyes out, against the wall, because your heart’s broken. And you have a nervous breakdown. And then you recover. And then you start feeling sick with boredom because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street…
And if a policeman walks by, and says, all sardonic. ‘Hullo, hullo, hullo, and may I ask how long this has been going on?’ you can say, politely, ‘you may well ask, officer. It’s been going on for about 7,000 years. Ever since urban civilisation began.’
During these 7,000 years, have any changes taken place? Really the big change has taken place quite recently. The change is that we don’t feel guilty any more. If somebody breaks your heart, you have to bear the pain. But at least you don’t have to bear the pain of guilt as well.
Today, as a matter of fact, the guilt lies on the other side. The guilt lies with Lord Longford and Lord Hailsham and people like that.
How fortunate for you, my lords, that God does not exist. Because, if he existed, do you know what would happen? He would call you up on Judgement Day. He would say to you. ‘Come here Lord Longford. Come her Lord Hailsham. I was hungry and you fed me not. I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. I was in prison arid you visited me not. I was homosexual and I loved you, and you called my love ‘vice’. Depart from me ye cursed, into the lake of eternal fire, which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world…”
Terrible words, my lords. Think them over when you go to pray. And while you are at your prayers, ask God to give you the grace to realise that there is more virtue in a decent homosexual boy’s finger than God can find in your Christian pretensions. More virtue, more courage, more humility, more generosity and more gentleness and more ordinary common-or-garden human love.
Where is vice? Where is viciousness? Who are your murderers? Heterosexuals. Who are your rapists? Heterosexuals. Who are your Hell’s Angels and your muggers? Heterosexuals. Who are your robbers, your bank raiders, your men of violence, aggression and hatred? Heterosexuals all. And the only thing you can do is raise your sanctimonious eyes to heaven and talk about homosexual ‘vice’.
Why? Can it be because, in your warped opinions, no crime is so great as the ‘crime’ of homosexual love?
True viciousness is formed among heterosexuals. Homosexuals, on the whole, are a gentler, sweeter sort. That is the truth my lords. And at the bottom of your cold hearts you know it.
Strength to Strength
Dear Gay News.
I’ve been reading Gay News for a few months now and it goes from strength to strength. It’s a pleasure to see each new issue coming out. knowing there’s going to be over an hour’s good reading. I am especially interested in your reports of continental gay activists, especially as we’re in the Common Market!
Could you have a regular column every week. I believe our French friends are having a far from easy time at the moment. Let’s have more contributions from your readers. You could throw some light on the provincial scene; what it’s like being gay in the Scilly Isles for example! Also the situation in Shepherds Bush, Chelsea etc, and what’s happening in Brixton vis a vis our black brothers. We all read how terrible the percentage of young blacks leaving school is. How is a black gay treated by his school mates etc?
Gay News: Let’s see more and more articles from people of all political shades. Let’s see your circulation mount and mount. Let’s hope you can keep your gay ads, because all in all Gay News is rapidly becoming indispensable.
Philip Van Grondelle
ED: Get writing folks.
Dear Gay News,
The Fellowship of Christ the Liberator (issue 16) may be good for some gay Christians, but it would be far better if they were active members of community churches — not hiding their sexual identity, not being blatantly “chip on the shoulder” but just being honestly gay.
Most priests and ministers welcome the gay, as well as the straight into their churches. If you find one who does not, move on. There are plenty more. By integrating and educating it will be seen by other church goers that gays are good.
Spinning Wheel Mead
Dear Gay News,
Congratulations on Your wonderful paper. I especially like the cover picture. Please let’s have more ‘get together’ pictures.
Is there any chance of becoming larger or even a weekly in the future?
Love, Fortune and Success to you all,