I’m not typical

Tests For Lesbians-How Do You Tell?

05-197208xx-5“Dr. A.J. Eisinger and colleagues from London hospitals, London University, and Dundee University….set out to discover whether female homosexuals were different from heterosexual women…..they compared forty-two lesbians, all members of a lesbian organisation who volunteered to help in the study, with a control group of mothers of the same age”.

Apart from the implied assumption that lesbians are not sometimes mothers too, this seems a ridiculously small sample. Could not this diverse group of researchers have rustled up more subjects, with all the resources of London and Dundee at their disposal (especially all those gorgeous nurses)? And, surely, if all the gay girls had come far enough out to join a specifically lesbian organisation, they would not react ‘typically’ to a personality test. A minority within a minority is a dangerous choice for scientific research of this kind.

“No differences were found in the age of menarche between lesbians and the control group, nor were there any hormonal differences. It was also found that the secondary sexual characteristics, for example lack of facial hair in women, were normal for all the lesbians, and no differences were found in the external genitalia.”

What did the good doctors expect? Perhaps to find a clitoris long enough to be capable of fucking, as beloved by the Victorian porn-writers, on every gay girl! It’s a relief to know we aren’t recognisable, anyway, isn’t it girls? After all, the Nazis had measurement tests to determine who was Aryan and who a Jew, once upon a time.

“Measurements of body size did show the lesbians to be greater in stature and shoulder width than the control group, but Dr. Eisinger and his colleagues did not consider that difference to be significant”.

Thanks! I’ll stop my diet at once!

“Tests for masculinity revealed a difference between lesbians and the control group of 1.4 units, the lesbians being more masculine; but again, that is not a significant finding, as the normal difference between an average man and an average woman is 14 units. The differences in the investigation, however, disappeared when the larger size of the lesbians was taken into consideration”.

Wonder what these tests were? Saliva sampling, like those victimised athletes, I suppose — or was it downing pints, driving a three ton truck, and selecting a suit and tie? With most people’s preconceived ideas about lesbians, it could happen – almost.

“As a result of the tests, Dr Eisinger and his team conclude that there is no such thing as a typical lesbian physique”.

Something one look inside the Gateways (suitable disguised in drag, of course) would have told them — and they would have had a bigger sample, instantly!

“The only significant difference in the physical appearance of the lesbians was that they all looked much older than their age, sometimes strikingly so”.

“Poor things!” commented the gay guy who passed this report to Gay News. It seems to be the gay men who are preoccupied with the youth-and-beauty criteria, not the women, in general. Anyway, how the fuck do you scientifically determine how someone “looks older than their age”?

“Having failed to find any significant physical differences, (they) then gave the lesbians two personality tests, one of which measured anxiety, restlessness, tension and vulnerability to stress, and the other measured impulsiveness, sociability, empathy and gregariousness.

“In the first test, for neuroticism, the lesbians achieved a much higher score than normal, whereas for the second, extraversion, test, they scored significantly less than normal. That showed that the lesbians were prone to anxiety and nervousness, and had obsessive tendencies.”

Some tests! They certainly tell a lot, don’t they? They sound as omniscient as I Q tests were once believed to be – and just as suspect.

I suspect all such research, especially when the word ‘normal’ is used as above, but I do see a need for honest and thorough research into sexuality as a whole, considering the whole spectrum and relating to all sexes. As a small and lighthearted contribution, what about a Gay News poll on experiences and attitudes? any opinions and suggestions as to approach welcome . . . . . .

Little Gay School Book?

04-197208XX 04On 24 June, young gays from the whole country converged on the plush Central Collegiate Building of University College, London, for another Young Gay Conference. Despite a noticeably poor attendance from certain groups invited, the conference began by discussing critically action taken since the last meeting.

Distinct concern was shown at the complete lack of support from any of the many headmasters contacted over the schools campaign, and other methods were considered including the compilation of a “school’s kit”, which would contain tape-recordings and literature, and could be used by teachers.

The recently formed London University Homophile Society, GAYSOC, by whose ingenity the conference room was procured, announced definite success with the university’s medical staff, as did the representative from Bath University. Kent representatives, however, were somewhat depressed at their university’s reaction, and their numbers remain minimal. Attempts had been made to enliven various “straight” discos on London and provincial campuses, with some success.

The London CHE Youth Group expressed surprise at the somewhat conciliatory attitudes of the London University Christian Union, whom they have recently met. Hugh Farlie (Bath) considered that diehard Christians were a definite source of prejudice. A possible solution was iterated by Gough Sergeant (Reading) when he suggested that a letter of St. Paul to the CHE might be found, so throwing the Biblical fundamentalists into confusion!

Tony Ryde questioned the setting up of exclusive university groups, and others thought that some students might consider that such societies would be of a transient nature only and so be reluctant to commit themselves. Advertising of such groups was also considered, and it was concluded that this should not be of a too aggressive variety.

In the second half the suggestion for a “schools kit” was reiterated, and the preliminaries towards the publishing of a LITTLE GAY SCHOOL BOOK were discussed. It was also suggested that in the case of a stubborn headmaster, the appropriate parents association might be contacted.

In universities, it was agreed that more co-operation was necessary between gay and straight students. The more introverted students must also be encouraged to “come-out”.

Dr Reuben’s book was again unanimously condemned, and further action to restrict its distribution by local bookshops was agreed upon.

A member of the ‘SAMARITANS’ who attended suggested that local homosexual organisations should achieve greater co-ordination with regional Samaritan directors, so the relevant homosexual cases could be forwarded.

In conclusion, the whole meeting expressed a desire to ensure closer contact with the CHE, GLF and GAYSOC groups present. This wish was followed by an expression of overall satisfaction at the conference, and further liaisons were arranged; for instance, over combined
activities in UK universities’ “freshers’ weeks” next October.

Thanks were extended to CHE London Youth Group, to GAYSOC and also to the conference Chairman, Robert Maynard, who showed obvious prowess in fulfilling his task.

London University Gays

02-197206XX 4CHE and GLF have got together at London University to found a Homophile Society – GAYSOC. So far it has been an object-lesson in co-operation between the two organisations. If nothing else, GAYSOC will be the front behind which gay students of all different persuasions can come together officially, both to speak as a gay voice in student and University affairs where this is needed, and to provide social facilities for themselves similar to those abundantly available for straights. It will also be a means of action.

At our first meeting we necessarily concerned ourselves with organisation and business, but things really livened up at our second meeting. For this we had as guest speaker the noted aversion-therapist Dr. Bancroft of Oxford University. He was not surprisingly, strongly attacked, and though very little constructive dialogue emerged, at least the important issues were aired, and we had a chance to hear the therapist’s justification of his job.

Direct action was taken within three weeks of our starting when almost twenty GAYSOC members turned up at a straight University disco. We were seemingly regarded with amusement or indifference until about an hour from the end when two members were told to leave – “so that the boys and girls can have the last half hour to themselves”; The source of the trouble, apparently, was a number of women (who had got in free) who seemed to regard themselves as having been insulted. No men had complained. We solved this problem by gathering together quickly in a group and making it clear that we were not going to be forced to leave. After the failure of their strong-arm tactics, further intimidation by officials of the disco took the form of herding us into one corner of the dance floor and telling us not to break the law. We ignored this, and they retaliated by playing no slow records from then on. We all left when we felt like it. Next day a notice was placed prominently in the building explaining our case. We regard this whole affair as a significant success; hopefully we may have opened the eyes of a few straights, and it certainly helped to build up a feeling of solidarity between our members. Similar activities are planned for next term.

Our contact address is: GAYSOC. University of London Union, Malet Street, London, W.C.1.

Robert Maynard