The Four Minute Kiss

Photograph: David Hart

LONDON: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality held a promising sounding conference on New Ghettoes for Old, with Lord Arran, Maureen Duffy, Brian McGee and Chad Varah speaking on sexual liberty and the struggle for it.

Lord Arran let on that he was in touch with higher spirits, who, like him, didn’t like the idea of gays kissing in public.

Brian McGee and Maureen Duffy dealt eloquently and informatively on the problems of Gay Liberation for men and women respectively.

Chad Varah said he found it difficult to accept modern ideas of sexual relationships and liberation that belonged, perhaps, he said, to another age.

The possible high-spot was an unplanned speech by a demonstrator in women’s clothes, who used the microphone loudspeaker system in the Conway Hall to tell the audience that sexual liberation could only be achieved after the destruction of capitalist ideals.

For this he got an earful of abuse from Ian Harvey, the meeting’s chairman and enthusiastic applause from the audience. After his speech the radical demonstrator left the stage and kissed a GLF member for four minutes.

Arrant Nonsense

I am writing in outrage at the recent item from the “Evening News”. It appeared in the column of the (?noble) Lord Arran.

I have in my time read a not inconsiderable amount of material concerning “our” world and could fairly say that this particular jeremiad on the emergence of the gay scene is only describable as ArranT (sic) nonsense.

For years gay people have been harried and hassled; in the past by blackmailers, and currently by certain elements in the police.

As regards the latter, of course, the practice of entrapment (inducing someone to commit an unlawful act, and then arresting him for it) is far less rampant in the UK than elsewhere (viz. USA). It’s just unfortunate that certain cottages in London seem presently to be the nightly haunt of those fuzz who delight in ‘nicking’ gays.

THE EDITOR of a “gay” magazine sends me a copy. He says rather pathetically “I don’t expect you will approve.” I don’t. But you could say it was all my fault.

One nostalgic piece from an elderly gentleman is revealing. He writes “We ... looked forward to the day we would be legal just like the Jews await the Messiah”

“Now it is all legal, gay plays, gay films, gay Lib. I sometimes wonder are we really any better off? Perhaps it is just distance lending enchantment, but those were the days my friends ...” 

This bears out what people have told me that some of the homosexuals used positively to enjoy the risks. Some perhaps, certainly not all.

However, to return to my original theme, the noble Lord seeks to condemn – in just a few scanty paragraphs – the fact that gays are coming out, and not skulking furtively in the shadows of a limited number of “gay bars” He wonders if we are really better off in these times of gay plays, films, etc. Well, why should an individual not be liberated? Just because I prefer to go to bed with a boy rather than a girl, why should that make me — or any of us – unacceptable to society at large?

Arran quotes the reaction of an “elderly gentleman”; is this really valid in regard to the gay scene as a whole today? There always have been, and will be, closet queens: if they choose to be so that is up to them.

The article concludes by stating yet again that old, old (oh, so very old) chestnut about some gays “used positively to enjoy the risks” (ie prior to the 1967 Act).

Apart from a very minor few masochistic types who thrive vicariously on possible danger, such a statement is lamentable only by its crass stupidity. Not only that, it also displays a fundamental lack of knowledge of how most gays think, of how they wish to be integrated into society and not treated as outcasts or different.

Take two boys walking down the street holding hands. OK, I know not everyone wants to do this. But even so, one has always at the back of one’s mind the thought of reactions.

I am in the process of producing a detailed study on the “International Times” case, which I hope to present to “Gay News” when it has been completed and considered by a barrister.

Just one little quote relating to my comments re holding hands (which apply equally to kissing or any displays of affection) arising out of my researches into the I.T. case. In a House of Commons debate on 2nd August, 1972, on the subject of the I.T. prosecution, Mr William Hamling who had raised the matter, quoted (*) from the book by Lord Devlin ‘The Enforcement of Morals’ as follows:-

“If. . . two men were to be similarly charged with flaunting their relationship in public, a jury might be expected … to convict.”

I can only conclude by saying that, according to legal advice which I have very recently received, the above quotation still applies today, here and now, 1967 Act notwithstanding.

Let us try to do something to alter this unhealthy state of affairs.

Love to all – gay IS good,

Stevie Williams

(*) Hansard (Commons) Vol. 842: No 170, at c. 922

The Other Love

Continued from front page

19720914-06This book, like Mr. Montgomery Hyde’s books about Wilde, is really a plea for tolerance from the rest of society towards a group of people who really need no more help from society than for it to realise that we are human beings with a great capacity for love and happiness which is so often stifled by fear; their fear, and its result in us. This study deals with the repression throughout history of this social group through ignorance, stupidity and fear. Because of the Puritan strain in our society they try to make us feel guilty, even now, about the freedom to love. Bernard Shaw said of Oscar Wilde that at the time of his trials he pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the ‘offences’ of which he was accused because he did not feel ‘guilty.’

19720914-07The historical survey covers a range from Saxon times virtually to the present day but deals unfortunately with men only. Apparently women are more difficult to obtain information about. The three really important events were the changes of the law; that of Henry VIII’s time when in 1533 he made ‘the detestable and abominable Vice of Buggery committed with mankind or beast’ a felony and so punishable by death and forfeit of property. This law continued in force until 1861 when the abolition of the death penalty for ‘offences against the person’, was commuted to penal servitude for life or any term not less than ten years at the discretion of the court. This, plus the additional clause in the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, was in force until its repeal in 1967.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act was really a mistake. It was originally concerned with the protection of young girls against juvenile prostitution and white slavery, its principal aim being to raise the ‘age of consent’ from thirteen years of age to sixteen. It was during the committee stage, ‘taken late at night on August 6th, 1885’, that the amendment clause was inserted by Henry Labouchere, a Liberal-Radical M.P.

ANY MALE PERSON WHO, IN PUBLIC OR PRIVATE, COMMITS, OR IS A PARTY TO THE COMMISSION OF, OR PROCURES OR ATTEMPTS TO PROCURE THE COMMISSION BY ANY MALE PERSON OF, ANY ACT OF GROSS INDECENCY WITH ANOTHER MALE PERSON, SHALL BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOUR, AND BEING CONVICTED THEREOF, SHALL BE LIABLE, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE COURT, TO BE IMPRISONED FOR ANY TERM NOT EXCEEDING ONE YEAR WITH OR WITHOUT HARD LABOUR.

The Attorney-General, Sir Henry James, amended the original penalty to two years as a maximum penalty and as soon as the Royal Assent had been given there began a spate of correspondence in the newspapers; both legal and lay,… a learned Recorder dubbed it ‘The Blackmailer’s Charter’, and an eminent Q.C. prophesying that ‘juries would refuse to convict where the alleged acts were in private and not visible to any member of the public’.

‘On the other hand, those interested in the welfare of young girls welcomed the act so warmly (and indeed it was an excellent Act apart from section II), and it was so clearly impossible to do anything except let the law take its course, that after a few weeks the clamour died down and the public interest became centred upon some more savoury topic.’

So wrote Sir Travers Humphreys in 1948, one of the junior counsel during the trials of Oscar Wilde.

The new act was used extensively during the 82 years of its life, but apart from the Wilde trials which set several legal precedents and were until 1948 surrounded by an aura of mystery to all but the collector of rare books or privately printed editions, the period which I find the most intriguing is that of the early fifties, which some of us will remember slightly, but whose intrigues and scandals meant very little more than salacious newspaper reading.

It was in March 1951 that the drive against homosexuals became really intensified. This was due to the defection of the two British diplomats, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, to the Soviet Union. Maclean had been serving in a senior position in the British Embassy in Washington and is believed to have been blackmailed by Burgess and ‘Kim’ Philby – both Burgess and Maclean being homosexual, into handing over ‘top-secret’ information, to which he had access from American sources, to the Russians.

The Americans, apparently very concerned over Maclean’s sudden disappearance with Burgess, which had resulted from a ‘tip-off’ from Philby. They approached the British to weed out any of the known homosexuals from Government Service as bad security risks, as was being done also in the States. Macarthyism was ‘in full-swing’ over there too. The British campaign reached its height in the latter part of ‘53 and early ‘54, getting a good boost from the New Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Nott-Bower, who swore he would ‘rip the cover off all London’s filth spots’, according to one report. In October 1953 it was reported the Home Office had instructed the police to institute ‘a new drive against male vice.’

The new Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, (later Lord Kilmuir), had this to say in December 1953;

Homosexuals in general, are exhibitionists and pjoselytizers, (i.e. makers of converts!) and a danger to others, especially the young. So long as I hold the office of Home Secretary, I shall give no countenance to the view that they should not be prevented from being such a danger.

In the months that followed, many young men were trapped by the use of AGENTS PROVACATEURS. Peter Wildeblood in his excellent book, Against the Law, quoted here, witnessed two in action:

One night, when I had been working late at the office, I was walking along the Brompton Road towards my flat. Outside a closed public-house in a side turning I noticed two men loitering. A man aged about seventy, with white hair, walked past them and went into a lavatory at the side of the public-house. He was followed in by the younger of the two men. Almost immediately there was a sound of scuffling and shouting, and the older of the two men whom I had first noticed also ran into the lavatory. He and his companion dragged the old man out, each holding him by an arm. He was struggling and crying.

My first thought was that they must be local ‘roughs’ who were trying to rob the old man, so I went towards them and shouted at them to let him go, or I would call the police. The younger one said: ‘We are Police Officers.’ A woman who had joined us on the street corner asked what the old man had done, and was told that he had been ‘making a nuisance of himself’, He had now begun to struggle violently, and the two detectives pushed him up against the railings of the Cancer Hospital, outside which we were standing. His head became wedged between two iron spikes, and he started to scream. The detectives asked if one of us would ring up Chelsea Police Station and ask for a van to be sent: ‘Just tell them we’re at the top of Dovehouse Street, they’ll know what It’s about!’

The woman said: ‘You can do your own dirty work, damn you.’ It seemed to me, however, that the old man might be seriously injured if he continued to struggle, so I went into a telephone box a few yards away, telephoned the police station and spoke to the duty sergeant. He was evidently expecting a message, because the van arrived almost immediately. The old man, who by this time was lying on the pavement in a pool of blood, was picked up and taken away …

Of all the many cases which came before the courts, none caused as much stir as that involving Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. Others involved were his cousin, Michael Pitt-Rivers, a film director, Kenneth Hume and Peter Wildeblood, at that time diplomatic correspondent for the Daily Mail.

Lord Montagu and Kenneth Hume appeared before Winchester Assizes on December 1953, accused of indecently assaulting two boy scouts (employed at his stately home as guides) who had gone with him and Hume to look for a camera he’d left at his beachhut. While there they had a bathe. He reported the loss of his camera to the police and while they were questioning the two boys they elicited an accusation of indecent assault from the two men.

While ‘enquiries were going on’ and rumours were making social life difficult for him, and particularly his sister, about to get married, Montagu went away to France and then to America. As soon as he heard there was a warrant out for his arrest he flew home, surrendering himself and his passport to the authorities. This proved to be an unwise move.

The prosecution sought to prove that instead of flying direct from Paris to New York on September 25th, as he swore in his evidence he had done, he had returned to England for a brief visit of a couple of days and had flown to America from England on September 25th. In support of this the prosecution pointed to an entry in his passport which seemed to indicate that he had been stamped out of Boulogne by the French Passport authorities on September 23rd. Montagu vigorously denied this, saying that he had not been in Boulogne for several years, and on examining the passport the judge pronounced that the date had been altered, the figure ‘5’ having been apparently changed from ‘4’.

Montagu was acquitted on the serious charge of committing an unnatural offence but on the lesser charge of indecent assault the jury disagreed and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided that he should be tried again.

Three weeks later the arrests of Pitt-Rivers and Wildeblood took place, the police searching their premises without warrants. They were charged with several specific indecency charges and of ‘conspiring’ with Montagu to commit them. This was highly prejudicial to Montagu’s pending second trial. This practice had been severely condemned by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1948, when Mr. Justice Humphreys had remarked:

– if the law of criminal conspiracy is to be invoked, then each count of the indictment should be framed so as to enable the jury to put their fingers on the specific point of the conspiracy as to which they are satisfied that the particular defendant is proved to have been implicated and to convict him of that offence only. It is an essential feature of the criminal law that the accused person should be able to tell from the indictment the precise nature of the charge or charges against him so as to be in a position to put forward his defence and to direct his evidence to meet them.

Wildeblood and Pitt-Rivers were specifically accused of offences with two R.A.F. men, Edward McNally and John Reynolds, again at the beach-hut near Beaulieu, and at the Pitt-Rivers estate in Dorset. Wildeblood, his friend McNally and Reynolds, used the hut for a holiday in 1952 and on their First night, Montagu gave a party to welcome them

It was a small party, consisting of Montagu and some friends he had brought down who were at a house party at Beaulieu. It was this that the Press built up into a Bacchanalian orgy while reporting the trial.

Montagu, Pitt-Rivers and Wildeblood were tried together at Winchester Assizes in March 1954. The charges in respect of the boy scouts .. were not included in the indictment, since neither Pitt-Rivers not Wildeblood had nay-thing to do with these .. The principal witnesses against the defendants were the two airmen, both of whom had been thoroughly intimidated:

It also came out that Reynolds was interrogated by the police for a total of eighteen hours and that McNally had been persuaded to ‘confess’ on being told that Reynolds had already ‘squealed’ … ‘The fact that neither of them was charged with any offence’, Wildeblood afterwards wrote, ‘proves, I think, conclusively that the Crown in this case was not even concerned with the administration of the law as it stood. It was simply out to put Montagu behind bars.’

It did, Pitt-Rivers and Wildeblood got 18 months, Montagu 12.

Some good came out of this, however. One thing was Wildebloods own book which I have been forced to read again after reviewing this book; a very powerful evication of the period: the other was that the Sunday Times devoted its leading article in the next issue after the conviction at Winchester entitled Law and Hypocrisy. This was followed by an equally powerful article in the New Statesman on The Police and the Montagu Case. These were not before the Church had put in a plea for the reform of the law, even when the charges were still pending at Winchester – a blow for the police. This had come from The Church of England Council for Moral Welfare.

The Government eventually bowed to the storm of criticism. Just a month after the Montagu trial the Home Secretary, along with the Secretary of State for Scotland, agreed to the appointment of a Departmental Committee to examine and report on the law of homosexual offences and the ‘parallel’ problem of the law relating to prostitution!

Questions in Parliament seem to have given Conservative peers virtual heart attacks. In the House of Lords, Earl Winterton, then in his seventies, after apologising for bringing forward ‘this nauseating subject’ castigated the Church of England for publishing the report of its Moral Welfare Council and praised the police for their recent actions, barking back to Wilde: ‘It may well be said that the Oscar Wilde case was a moral purge, and it may be that certain recent cases will have the same effect. If this be so, the whispering campaign against the police, which is going on very strongly, and sometimes in circles which ought to know better, should cease..’

The struggle was carried on by a number of people who met incredible opposition on all sides. In their speeches at the time they said things which are now liable to strike us quite amusing or amaze us with their naivete. But the most important thing to remember is that they were fighting for our future dignity. Even so I still can’t help smiling when I read phrases like:

‘These people are self-eliminating. They do not breed. They do very little harm if left to themselves .. ’ (‘makes us sound like rabbits.’) On the other hand we had remarks like this from Field-Marshall Montgomery of Alamein:

To condone unnatural offences in male persons over 21, or indeed in male persons of any age, seems to me to be utterly wrong .. – My main reason is that a weakening of the law will strike a blow at all those devoted people who are working to improve the moral fibre of the youth of this country. And heaven knows, it wants improving! Lord Kilmuir spoke of ‘the proselytisation which goes out from sodomitic societies and buggery clubs which everyone knows extsts,’ while Goddard expressed the conviction that if Arran’s Bill were passed it would be ‘a charter for these bugger’s clubs, ‘and they would consequently be able to spring up all over the place.’

Apparently no evidence could be discovered to prove the two distinguished lawyer’s statements about the existence of the bugger’s clubs, and when invited by the Homosexual Law Reform Society, ‘declined or were unable to do so.

The Departmental Committee, known as the Wolfenden Committee eventually produced its report in 1957 and although the Conservative Government of the time showed some reluctance to implement its suggestions, a prominent Labour front-bencher, Lord Pakenham (now Earl of Longford), spoke in favour in the House of Lords.

Things were still moving too slowly and so in 1958 the Homosexual Law Reform Society was formed with many famous supporters. Th They sent a letter to The Times in March, with about thirty well known signatures. More letters followed. However the Government still continued to take its time. Eventually, over a year after its publication after some prodding at the beginning of the session, the Government put down a motion in the Commons ‘that this House takes note of the Report,’ an ineffective and inconclusive motion expressly designed to avoid a vote.

In 1960 the Society held a meeting at The Caxton Hall in Westminster. Shortly before it, Mr. Butler, The Home Secretary received a deputation from the Society and informed its members that, since:

‘the public had not shown its feelings in the matter,’ it would be premature for the Government to introduce legislation.

Matters were further complicated by another spate of ‘spy cases’; the Vassall affair in 1962 seemed to be the culmination of them which had included Gordon Lonsdale and the Profumo affair. At the end of this period Mr. Macmillan resigned. He was succeeded by his Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas Home; He saw ‘no reason to think there had been a significant change in the balance of opinion since that time (the motion was heavily defeated in a debate in 1960), and I know that the Home Secretary, who has been keeping the matter under view, agrees with me.’

Further interruptions included the General Election when Labour was returned with a majority of five. We all know that it was not until July 27th 1967 that the Sexual Offences Act received the Royal Assent.

In moving that ‘this Bill do now pass’, Lord Arran said:

When we first debated these affairs – and how long ago it seems! – I said that your Lordships had it in your power to remove fear from the hearts of men. This you have done. It was this House that gave the lead. Because of the Bill now to be enacted, perhaps a million human beings will be able to live in greater peace. I find this an awesome and marvellous thing … My Lords, Mr. Wilde was right: the road has been long and the martyrdoms many, monstrous and bloody. Today, please God! sees the end of that road.

Mr. Montgomery Hyde’s book is a good account of the years leading up to the passing of the Act in 1967 and the years immediately following but I would now like to see a sequel dealing with our hopes for the future and the way these achieved. Many older homosexuals think that now the law has changed they do not need any thing further. They are free to live together as they choose, so long as they are over 21 etc., and can do so now without fear of summary arrest and search without warrant. But it is very important that the element who are dedicated to general liberation should agitate for those who are to come later. There is certainly nothing to be complacent about. We are bound to be unpopular. Oscar Wilde, writing quite some time before his trial had this to say:

Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community and sow the seeds of discontent among them. That is why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilisation.

This book is about an advance towards civilisation. We have come a long way since the | days of the capital offence but we have a long way still to go.

Mrs Gayle’s Diary

03-197207XX-09Goals for Gays: if I were asked to select the one most conspicuously missing from the current scene, I’d plump for Credibility. New gay groupings and ‘gay leaders’ mushroom these days who takes them seriously? How seriously do they take themselves? Occasionally, all too painfully so. But humourless solipsism (or ego-tripping run riot) isn’t any substitute for a cool, realistic look at where we are in mid-1972 and where we should be travelling to.

In the past decade and a half, life has improved for gay people, though by no means far enough. In the middle 1950s homosexuality was a taboo subject, save for court reports usually in the more lurid ‘Sundays’ with such typical headings as “Scoutmaster gaoled for serious offences”, or “‘You Are Filthy Beasts’ Judge tells men”. Since then, we’ve advanced, via the tepid 1967 “two-consenting-adults-in-private” law, from the hush-hush criminal bracket to ‘underprivileged minority’ status; a situation still legally and socially quite inadequate but giving real scope, at last, for some solid self-help. Which is what “the homophile movement” is about. The movement, inevitably, is a mosaic, a spectrum: not a monolith. To progress it must, surely, work as a coalition in which every element, from ‘radicals’ to ‘fabians’, does its own thing in its own style and reserves most (hopefully all) of its powder and shot for the anti-gay instead of sniping at other gays.

For what are the facts? The facts are that we are still a generally disregarded, disliked and misrepresented minority whose prime need is for increased public comprehension and awareness of what not merely ‘gayness’ but warm, responsive human living is all about. For such a mammoth task (which amounts to the reeducation of a whole generation) we are lacking in resources, manpower and. to some extent, the necessary self-insight. To succeed, we have to make universal sisterly and brotherly love the prime principle of our gay politics as well as of our gay living. As a friend who’s done some hard and courageous work for our cause in Northern Ireland said after hearing the Jimmy Saville “Speakeasy” programme, “All that talk about better social acceptance sounds fine, but when, oh when, are we going to start treating each other better? That’s where it all begins . . . One youngster I know is currently very depressed by the values he feels expected to adopt from people, even of about his own age, on recently encountering the gay scene a sort of environmental pollution.” Or as another fledgling put it on contrasting his ideals with the meat market, “If you can’t beat them join them” – and promptly did. There’s food for thought here.

But even when we’re not being our own worst enemies, we have some pretty complacent friends as anyone who watched the recent BBC2 “Measures of Conscience” series must have concluded. What was remarkable about this lengthily researched exploration into the roles of Parliament and pressure groups in achieving the death penalty, abortion, homosexual and other reforms of the latter 1960s was the politicians’ obvious sense of high adventurousness at having dared to tackle such “unpopular” subjects and their seemingly universal lack of recognition that anything further remains to be done. In the final programme that white hope of all small liberals, Roy Jenkins, seemed to feel that about the right balance between the claims of personal freedom and state-enforced morality had now been struck and was apparently oblivious to the remaining inequalities in the laws affecting gay people. (It was of course the same Roy Jenkins who in a 1960 Commons debate said: “I wish that people would not speak as though one were representing a pressure lobby of homosexuals. In considering this question, I am not concerned only with what homosexuals want or even primarily with what they want (boldface mine) I am concerned with what I think is a reasonable law for a civilised country.”) And the by now well-known Arran-Abse duo reeked of its usual paternalism in the earlier programme on the ‘Wolfenden’ reform. What is simply astonishing about the whole operation is that none of its political protagonists seem even in retrospect to have considered the propriety of legislating for a substantial minority of three or four million people without contemplating the desirability, let alone the necessity, of endeavouring to obtain some representative views from homosexuals as such. Would they have dared to treat issues of racial discrimination similarly?

Speaking of Lord Arran and Mr. Abse, one wonders whether either of them will care to expound to readers of GAY NEWS the precise grounds for their vehement opposition to the notion of social clubs run by gay people for gay people (and, of course their straight friends) on non-exploitative lines? Anyone who remembers the flurry of protest which the mere mention of COC brought forth after law reform from both its sponsors might conclude that they regard ‘club’ as a four-letter word. Or maybe they think ghettos are created by those who are pushed into them? Would the exclusive establishments to which they belong welcome (or elect) self-proclaimed homosexuals?

The most effective way to eliminate ghettos, of course, is to break down the thought-barriers erected by the prejudiced or unthinking majority. If there were no exclusively heterosexual life-style and culture, there would be no need for anyone to think in terms of gay counter-culture. Which reminds me: some people do play this game to excessive lengths. I was once entertaining an acquaintance to a – so far as I was concerned – totally unerotic tete-a-tete. I put on the first record which happened to come to hand; the Max Bruch G Minor violin concerto, if I recollect aright. Immediately his eyes lit up with anticipation. “Ah!” he said, “you’re playing homosexual music”.

Your Letters

01-197205XX 5Dear Gay News,

Absolutely delighted to hear about Gay News! Please find enclosed subscription for 10 issues and accept all my good wishes for the success of the paper.

I haven’t much news to give you at the moment, none worth printing anyway as I am at present trying to get the group organised. Things are a bit quiet in this “respectable” seaside town and any leafletting, campaigning, etc., has to be done by myself at the moment, if you’ll forgive the cliche it’s like trying to swim through porridge!! To give you an example of the social atmosphere you might be interested to know that when the local Odeon showed “Sunday Bloody Sunday” there were loud gasps when Murray Head went to bed with Peter Finch, about half a dozen people walked out! Incredible, isn’t it’?

I intend to make enquiries at the library this weekend as to their stocks of books regarding homosexuality and whether I can put some leaflets and a CHE poster on their noticeboard keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway, if I do have any interesting news you can be sure I will send it on for your consideration, in the meanwhile good luck to Gay News.

Love, Brian Hart.
Folkstone

 

Dear Gay News,

Sorry! I do not really feel like helping with Gay News. I do agree that “it is high time that we had reliable and entertaining news and information for the four million or so homosexuals in this country”. But I do think that it is high time that such information, news, etc., was part of the ordinary press.

Yours sincerely, Tim Beaumont
(Lord Beaumont of Whitley)

 

Dear Gay News,

Just to wish you luck with Gay News and share the tension for new ventures. So I enclose a Sappho magazine and wondered if we could have an exchange deal. What I mean is instead of subscribing to each other just send our copies to each other.

Please let me know if you think this is an idea worth following.

Yours sincerely, Mrs. Jacqueline Forster
Editor

 

Dear Friends,

………………….We wish you every success with the Herculean task you have set yourselves.

Willy Snippe
Foreign Committee of C.O.C.

 

Dear Mr. Seligman,

Thank you for your letter. But I cannot honestly say that I like the idea of Gay News. I am against making homosexuals into a group on their own. The whole point is that they are just human beings like anyone else, and to as it went publicise them can do them no good and can in certain circumstances do them harm.

You must realise, as I am sure you do, that there is still a strong prejudice – and indeed always will be – against the homosexual, and to try and make something special out of them can only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds which persist.

Do not please regard this as in any way a hostile letter. If I were hostile towards homosexuals I would not have introduced my bill. It is just that I am not in agreement with you over the tactics required to improve their sociological and spiritual position.

Sincerely,
Arran

We may not have much in Hemel Hempstead folks, but we’ve got a real live earl!

Earl of Arran of the Evening News