Your Letters

Worthy of our Cause

London NW5

Dear Gay News,

At last a publication worthy of our cause! Today I purchased my first copy from a news-vendor outside Tottenham Court Road underground station.

I’m both surprised and delighted. Surprised at your very high standard and delighted with the format. Since you’re gonna need all the support you can get I’m not gonna proffer any criticism. That’ll come later – when you’re solvent!

Keep up the good work. I should like to contribute an occasional feature. Without payment of course. I’m a freelance journalist and my work has been published in a variety of magazines.

Please accept my very sincere wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Jack Jacobs

Valuable To The Young


Dear Gay News,

I am enclosing a donation to help buttress your collapsing financial structure – and prevent the contents of that egg running out of control.

I for one am most grateful for the birth and continued existence of GN. Most gay publications — the Lunch Togethers, Jeffrey Comes and CHE Ballotins of this world – leave me feeling bloody furious, for one reason or another – usually many. Not so GN. It is handsome to look at, attractive to handle, interesting in content — just like its editorial collective, no doubt. I should be very sad and disillusioned with the gay community (assuming it exists) if GN were allowed to flounder.

My chief concern is that you should remain available especially for the young reader. I often think how valuable a publication of yours would have been to me, twenty-five years ago, when I was a confused and lonely teenager. There was nothing to help/reassure then – there isn’t that much of real value now — for their sake you must go on.


Penetrating Dark Corners

JCR, University of Southampton

Dear Gay News,

I don’t imagine that you get many letters from ‘straight’ people in appreciation of your entirely gay paper. Nevertheless I think that you are doing a great job in providing this interesting, usually well written, and good humoured magazine for your regular readers. I picked up number 10 by chance in a common room here and once over the shock of seeing what it was, started to read it. Learnt a lot — which perhaps is what a lot of other ‘normal’ people should do — I certainly feel I understand a little more about the gay way of life than I did.

I hope your News will penetrate even darker corners of the heterosexual bigotry — keep up the good work.

From a surprised reader,

S. C. Loder

P.S. Hope I got the terminology right — your jargon is worse than James Burke’s!

Sensationalism or Controversy?

In your comment on the Body Politic affair you rather pompously say: ‘Investigation must be unbiased, rational, and thorough’. In a Utopian society, maybe it would be — but in ours, alas, anything that smacks of sensationalism is seized on and used as the press consider will most impress their readership. Surely the solution is simply not to publish articles like ‘Of Men And █████ Boys’ and indeed not to publish pictures of pretty █████ nude boys like you did in GN14, (any straight person seeing the front cover could only have one opinion about the tastes and desires of gay people).

My other objection was the lack of any reply to the article itself. Whilst I do not deny that an affair with an older male would probably do a boy no harm, and might even do him some good, there are two things worth remembering. Firstly if the affair is discovered and there is an almighty hoo-ha and investigation (which often happens) the experience might well leave a mark on the boy’s mind which would never be erased. Secondly, relations between men and boys can only lead, as far as the man is concerned, to frustration, anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and the danger of punishment. The only sensible advice one could give to a man who loves 14 year old boys etc is to cultivate a liking for older teenagers and men in their twenties. I believe in most cases it can be done.

As to that balls about it enriching both parties and producing tomorrow’s revolutionaries – well!

A boy of 13 who is seduced is just as likely to become a member of the Monday Club, I’d have thought. Must we always make such wild assertions without any evidence?

Yours, looking forward to an Editorial comment on the Body Politic’ affair and perhaps a slightly more balanced article on the subject of boys and men.


ED: The ‘Body Politic Affair’ was controversial, admittedly, to the point of offending certain people, but part of Gay News’ function is to throw open new ideas for discussion and thought.

Tremendously Illegal

Dear Gay News.

Recently you have been talking a lot about pederasty. Well, I’m not sure if I come under that classification, but here are my problems.

I am 17 and I’m normally attracted to boys of roughly 8-18, so therefore any type of sex for me is tremendously illegal. It is very hard for boys and chics like me to make contact. We are always scared of the consequences and are often put in a predicament when older people, understandably, make passes at us. This creates feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Let me state a personal incident: Some people I knew were squatting in a pre-fab due to be pulled down for a by-pass. One day myself and Sue (a Danish guy chick) were there with a █-████-███ boy who visited the pre-fab often.

The boy told us that he wanted to go to bed with me. After a little questioning we discovered that he knew what he was saying. Sue advised me that I should. But the other squatters came in so all was quiet. While people were there the boy sat in the chairs with me, with his arms around me. He did this for several days and kissed me upon entering and leaving and wanted to hold hands with me in the street (this I banned). I did not have any sex with him because the others promised some nasty happenings if I “Come the queer with any of the kids” this not only upset me but scared me terribly. They all knew I was gay yet this ‘proof’ was too much for them. Later they had the gall to say it was for my own good. They didn’t want to see me in jail.

There must be lots of boys like me who have had and are having similar problems.

This letter may not be much but I hope you’ll think about it.


Tricky Situation


Dear Gay News,

As a student librarian, I was interested to read your report (GN11) that Newcastle City Library had agreed to subscribe to Gay News, and similarly that Bath Municipal Libraries have refused it (GN 14).

Public Libraries have an essential role to play as agents of communication, and should act, in such a situation, as a counter to the restrictive monopolies of large organisations such as W H Smith.

On these grounds alone there is a strong argument for libraries to stock Gay News (and Sappho) since these are non-party-political, non-religious, and likely to be of help to many people.

The public librarian, however, is in a tricky situation, since he is responsible to a committee of elected councillors, who may shy away from risking complaints from the public which may endanger their political position. (This, I imagine, accounts for the ‘vetting by a senior librarian’ in Newcastle, which no doubt includes censoring the full-frontals which quite frequently appear, often unnecessarily I might add).

The image and aims of libraries are changing, slowly but surely; but we are still a long way behind the USA whose American Library Association now has a ‘Gay Liberation Group’. There is no professional contact between gay librarians in Britain at all.

I would like to hear the views of other gay librarians on these matters.

Stuart Woollard

The Support it Deserves?


Dear Collective,

In GN 14 the matter of money was raised no less than three times — in your Editorial, Peter Jackson’s letter, and Make or Break by Antony Grey.

Your commitment to the homosexual cause is greatly to be admired. Which of us would chuck up better paid jobs to work (very hard I’m sure) for £15 a week and with very little hope of a rise in the foreseeable future?

The financial contribution of the gay world is just not good enough. “Gay News is not out to make a profit, but cannot continue at all without adequate support.” Nice letters aren’t enough, tangible help is needed. I call upon all those that appreciate what Gay News is doing, here and now, to give it the support it deserves.

READERS: Show your appreciation by a little modest self sacrifice. Give 50% of what you spend in a week on smokes and drinks (or equivalent indulgences) to “Gay News”. Send it NOW.

To the collective I say: Put up the price forthwith to 25p — the same as Lunch charges. Quorum is twice that, so it would not be out of the way. Those who made an act of faith by making a years subscription might be asked to pay half the difference on their remaining numbers. I don’t think this would break anyone, and it should not only relieve you of the worry of not knowing where the money for the next edition is coming from, but also ensures that there IS a next edition!

I am sure that readers do not realise the urgency of your (or, one might say, OUR problems) and I write this in the hope, as an ordinary reader only,

I can emphasise the gravity of the situation.

I hope this will result in a flood of contributions!

I enclose my own, based on the above recommendation. Best wishes and good luck.

Joe Scouseland

Not Just Survive

Broadley Terrace
London W1
01-402 6345

Dear Gay News,

Talking with a group of straight social workers the other day (several of whom were middle-aged) I spoke about the problem of isolation for gay people. The older ones particularly asked how gay people can make contact let alone establish social or love relationships. We then spoke about GN, Lunch and the gay magazines. Their response was “but how do gay people know about them unless they’re already on the scene?” Their reaction was not just curiosity but meant to express sincere concern. I explained the reluctance of booksellers and newsagents to stock gay publications — unless they are purveyors of lucrative hard porn.

It is the isolated and lonely who need contact most and yet it is they whom we are least successful in reaching. That is why GN must not just survive but be much more widely available. Thus I am personally glad that you have decided to ‘tone down’ the contact ads. Though all minorities, however bizarre their tastes may seem to some of us, do need some means of meeting one another, in the present fraught legal situation there seems little alternative but to choose between catering for all needs and just some.

I have, privately to you, expressed my misgivings and concern that GN may be prosecuted for its ads, and thereby deprive gay people everywhere of a vital lifeline. I feel that I should now, publicly, add support to your decision (which will be unpopular in some quarters) and commend its wisdom and farsightedness. Here’s to a circulation of 100,000 in 1973!

Love to you all,

Michael Launder (National Organiser, Friend)

PS: Is your ‘1HL’ postal coding a subtly significant reference by the GPO?

More letters on page 10.

Sam Faces Spite On Coucil

DURHAM: The city’s councillors are being asked to buy Gay News for the Durham public libraries. But the application may be turned down by councillors who dislike the city’s Gay Lib councillor Sam Green.

Sam told Gay News that the Durham Librarian would have to refer any application for spending the municipal cash on Gay News to the Libraries Committee.

He said: “It might even be agreed to, as it is not the full council, on which I am, and where there is a lot of personal animosity towards me – but some of them might try and make political capital out of it.”

Sam became Durham’s first Liberal councillor last year after ousting the sitting councillor in Crossgate ward – after 18 years on the council. In his campaign he made a point of telling his electors he was gay (GN8).

He will be standing for the district and county elections this spring.

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.

Littlehampton Urban District Council

04-197208XX 09Dear Mr. Redman,

I have received your letter of the 27th. June last, enclosing the publication you mention, and note your request that a free subscription of the same be sent to the Library for inclusion on the public reading table.

The Committee are, however, of opinion that it would not be suitable and therefore prefer not to accept your offer.

Yours sincerely,

Clerk of the Council

This letter is the reply from the Littlehampton Council with reference to having Gay News at the local library.

This decision was reached by the Library Sub-Committee of the Foreshore and Recreational Committee.

The committee members who gave this decision were: Councillors Mr J. A. Collis, (Con), Mr L. Hutchings, (Con), and Mr R.A. Tilbury, (Lab).

I am now in the process of submiting a request to the County Library Committee at Chichester. Will keep you informed.

A further request has also gone to the same Committee at Arundel. Sussex. (Home of the Earl Marshal of England. Duke of Norfolk!)