Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Whoops!

4, Hamilton Close,
London NW8

Dear Sir,

Just to let you know, as calmly and sweetly as the situation permits, that the beautiful back photo on p7 of GN 10 is by me, repeat me. It is nothing to do with the journal called GAY TIMES, to which it is acknowledged, except insofar as they have printed it once, without bothering to acknowledge it at all.

The model, being well over 21, when this picture was taken, will no doubt be having the last laugh when he sees it used as an illustration on this particular subject!

Yours faithfully,

Karry Knight

Feminism is a Drag

Co Dublin,
Ireland.

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed my renewed subscription to Gay News.

I think it is a super production, but I sometimes get very depressed when I read all about the persecutions, prosecutions and the drag scene. The latter is stupidly too feminine for my liking and spoils the true concept of a homosexual.

In GN8 you had a short article on pederasts. Well, I’m afraid I’m one and as someone said in your paper, I must have a very sick mind. Maybe I have, but I have never approached or molested a child in my life, nor do I intend to. It’s far too dangerous to do and would spoil that child’s future. I reckon my mind isn’t as sick as those that dress up as women and those that act and address each other in female terms. They just cannot appreciate the male form.

For some years now I have adored, from a distance. boys of the ages 12 to 16 years. I think their faces, in most cases, are the prettiest of any human, their build just perfect. To me the body of a man is revolting and I would rather die than share a bed with one and likewise the thought of buggery is nauseating. My dream would be in the position of being able to kiss a boy from head to toe and no more.

I have never met a homosexual person in my life. Maybe because I don’t look for one. I have read many books and magazines which I often find revolting, but sometimes get satisfaction in seeing magazines of nude boys. I have never seen a real live body of a nude boy since I was a kid myself. I would really give anything, and I mean this, to see one and be with one. I have often felt like advertising, but realised it would be stupid because of the law.

It is terribly frustrating to look at a boy and not be able to touch him even though you don’t intend him any harm…

It is the first time I have ever written to a paper or a magazine. Gay News is the most advanced paper I have come across and I sincerely wish you continued success and safety.

Yours sincerely,

VJM

Beware Of Longford

Dear Gay News,

I was so enraged to see that letter in GN9 by HRA (whoever the hell he is) condemning the picture of Longford and Cliff Richard that I felt compelled to write. I reject any notion that it was in “appalling bad taste”. I found it was very funny, and it made my day. Thank God someone has got a sense of humour.

I must admit that Lord Longford has always been a source of amusement to me, but that hit the bull. If it was mocking, then it was justified. If HRA is offended by the sight of a prick, then I feel sorry for him, he’s missing out on a hell of a lot!

Going back to Lord Longford as a person, it must be admitted that he indeed has a social conscience, but his idea of ‘helping’ is ludicrous, and even frightening. All that he believes in centres around sex, pornography etc; he seems to have it on the brain (which sounds bloody uncomfortable to me). People associate him with pornography, because every time we hear about him he rattles on about it. True, he might ‘help’ drop-outs, but then I could give you a list as long as your… no, longer, of people who devote their whole life to helping in the true sense of the word.

In case anybody did not realise, Lord Longford is officially a nothing. Despite the title and the fact that he can gas away in the House of Lords, he is only one person, and represents nobody – as an MP does. He is a member of a chamber that is not elected, therefore undemocratic, and unrepresentative. He is one of the many one-time officials that are put out to grass in the Lords. He has the advantage of assuming importance so that the Government could well take notice of his monstrous report.

For anyone who knows what freedom of expression is, beware, because if Longford gets his way, you’ll lose what you’re just getting.

Although it is only one little aspect of the subject, if Oz offends someone, don’t read it. If Oh! Calcutta! depraves, don’t look at it. And if the children are going to be corrupted, the goddamn parents can make sure that they only see what’s OK till they’re old enough to judge. After all, nothing will survive unless there is the demand.

Sorry this letter is so long and rambling, but let me end on a serious note. Well done to all the collective, you’re doing a great job. I’d send some money, but I’m out of a job and I’m broke; never mind, it’s the thought that counts.

Adrian.

How To Sell More GN

Dear Gay News,

One way to encourage more people to read GN (re: editorial in GN9) is for regular readers never to throw away a copy. Every copy can be left in a public place, trains and buses being the most convenient, rather than the dustbin.

Now that the paper is well-established, borough librarians could be expected to consider requests for the paper in public libraries; or is that asking too much?

JE

ED: The best way to get Gay News into public libraries is for GN readers to demand that their librarians order it and put it on display.

CHE And Tight Foreskins

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I have recently been reading your paper which I find very interesting. There are two points from recent issues about which I would like to comment:

Firstly, someone seems to think that membership of CHE is limited to those over 21. This is not the case, though a particular local group may, if it so wishes, restrict its membership in this way. (Leeds does NOT).

Secondly, the tight foreskin problem. As an (ex) fellow sufferer, I read about this with real feeling. I suggest that unless the problem is quite exceptional the easiest and most natural method is best (I detest surgery). The method is to use a dropper with olive oil on it, drop into the problem area and very gently ease it to and fro. If this is done two or three times a week, for a month or so, you will soon find it can be pushed right back, washed, and the hood slid back with just a touch of oil for lubrication. The worst is then over, an occasional working to and fro and all will be fine (it was with me anyhow). This method was recommended by a doctor.

All good wishes.

Henry Giles Leeds Chairman, CHE

Shoddy Performance

London W8

Dear Sir,

David Lutyens’s review of my book One In Twenty in GN8 is incompetent and absurd; he cannot have actually read the book at all. He says I deplore the fact that there are no serious homosexuals. But I do no such thing – on the contrary in Chapter Four I devote a whole page to listing homosexuals of genius, including nearly all those Mr Lutyens mentions himself, plus a great many more. In fact all that he fulminates against me for not mentioning, I do, and discuss at length: that every woman has a masculine side and every man a feminine side; that homosexuality is found in primitive as well as advanced cultures and so on.

He does not tell your readers who publishes the book (Seeker and Warburg), nor how much it costs (£1.50). He discusses it as if it were a new book, when in fact it was published six years ago, when homosexual acts between adult males were still crimes and the whole social atmosphere surrounding the subject was quite different from today. He misspells my name throughout the review. In fact, he gets everything wrong. What a shoddy performance!

Bryan Magee

ED: If any other reader would care to review One In Twenty, we will gladly print it.

Your Letters continued on page 6.

Quaking In Our Platform Boots

J. Martin Stafford B.A. — the Enoch Powell of CHE — has struck again, though whether his efforts will produce a resounding silence or a mighty reverberation remains to be seen. For J. Martin Stafford B.A., a member of the present Executive Committee of CHE has, we understand, sent a personal letter to Lord Longford and the Director of Public Prosecutions suggesting they initiate action against Gay News.

This information was received in the Gay News office with wonder and amazement. For a start everyone immediately put their clothes on again. The lusty Julian decided to cut the Biograph for the afternoon and to take his knitting into St James Park instead. Our David Bowie LPs were flown at half mast and we ensured that all Warhol movies being shown that evening were halted for two minutes of silence. “With friends like that who needs enemies?” simmered Timeless Maureen the resident rad fem and “Who is J. Martin Stafford B.A. anyway?” cried Denis, rapidly covering his tattoos with Max Factor foundation (peach).

J. Martin Stafford B.A., who has been 23, is one of the best-known leaders of the homophile community. He lives in a modest bachelor flat on Manchester’s less than smart periphery and his low standard of living is fully compensated for by his High Moral Tone. Mr Stafford’s greatest friend is the Scottish historian and philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) who has had a seminal effect on Mr Stafford, notably in his lavish use of commas, colons and semi-colons. Hume has also trained Mr Stafford to perfect a prose style of some grandeur and resonance and this 18th century pastiche quite often obscures the extreme poverty of thought and stunted imagination in the words themselves. Mr Hume was unavailable for comment when we rang him at his remote Scottish manse, but the housekeeper confirmed that Mr Stafford’s favourite meal consists of undercooked tea and overcooked omelettes.

It is J. Martin Stafford’s personal mission to impose his own moral views on every homosexual in the entire world. “I entertain a very marked preference for personal relationships of a relatively stable nature, in which the parties are activated by more than a desire to satisfy their sexual appetites”, he pontificates. “Some would have us believe that all moral values have been imposed on us by the artifice of unscrupulous priests and ruthless politicians”, adds the 2’6″ guru.

J. Martin Stafford has had an interesting career in CHE. He joined the organisation five years ago after being counselled by the Albany Trust, and overnight became Hon. Treasurer of the Committee. At first he was a ruthless opponent of any sort or democratisation of the organisation. People would travel miles to witness the little fellow stamping his feet and spitting at Committee meetings when the concept of a constitution came up. However, he changed his mind when he discovered that the growing organisation was not attracting the radical, political element he so fears.

He discovered that his reactionary views and High Moral Tone were finding favour with many members and he was promptly and properly elected onto the re-formed Executive Committee by a substantial majority.

“Philosophical training has rendered my position more reflective”, is the way in which he expresses his opportunism.

Nevertheless, mough now democratically elected to the EC, J. Martin Stafford B.A. made it his business to oppose every decision and, when out-voted, to try devious methods of bringing his colleagues into disrepute. On one celebrated occasion, furious that the EC had unanimously (apart from him) agreed to ask Kenneth Tynan to be a vice-president of CHE, J. Martin Stafford B.A. called a meeting of the existing vice-president himself in an attempt to persuade them to override this decision. He declined an invitation from the rest of the EC for his resignation, but ceased to be treasurer.

“My own experience,” he says, “leads me to conclude that most people are quite happy to accept homosexuals who subscribe to the same basic standards of public decency and personal responsibility as everyone else at least professes.”

One of his hobbies is writing letters to people in which he slanders his colleagues.

“Homosexuals whose public behaviour is offensive or whose private behaviour is irresponsible will always be regarded with aversion and disgust,” he writes. And the man who is trying to get Gay News prosecuted says: “It is not their homosexuality which renders them objectionable, but the grossness of their conduct and the inhumanity of their disposition.”

Bona News Service

NOTE: all the quotes in this article are taken from a paper called ‘Can CHE be morally neutral?’ by J. Martin Stafford B.A., with additional material by David Hume.

Longford Withdraws

LONDON: Lord Longford, the self-appointed arbiter of Britain’s morals and his publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, have issued a statement admitting that at least one section of the Longford Committee’s report on pornography was inaccurate.

Longford and Hodder Paperbacks had been challenged by Derek Hill, the founder of the controversial New Cinema Club, which has always tried to erode absurd obscenity laws, that a ‘quote’ from Mr Hill in the Longford report was a fabrication. Now they have admitted it.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Longford Study Group on Pornography and Hodder Paperbacks: “In the Longford Report published last month, Derek Hill was stated to have told the study group on pornography that to ,afford to show experimental minority interest films and to insist on the principle that cuts are unacceptable … he was forced to offset losses on an audience of, perhaps 50 to 150 people, by also putting on sexploitation films which would attract perhaps 5,000 and … most of the national critics.’

“In fact Mr Derek Hill has never described any films presented by the New Cinema Club as ‘sexploitation’ films, as Lord Longford on behalf of the Study Group and Hodder Paperbacks, the publishers of the report, are glad to acknowledge. They accept that the Club does not select films to offset losses and that Mr Derek Hill did not make the statement attributed to him.”

That may be just one small part of the report; but how much would Longford and Hodder have to withdraw if everyone misquoted by the official report were to take the same stand as Derek Hill? Makes you wonder who you can trust these days.

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Quiet and Concealed

Natal, South Africa,

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on launching your paper. It’s pretty good too!!

It’s great to be in touch with what is happening in the UK. Here in 19th-century South Africa one can feel terribly isolated from all the activity that one feels sure is going on elsewhere: a copy of Gay News seems to bridge the gap somewhat.

Some brief notes on South Africa: we have a largish gay community (among the Whites) organised in each of Durban, Cape Town and especially Johannesburg. In each of these cities there is an exclusively gay night-club and sometimes a bar (non-exclusive). Johannesburg has about three clubs and at least an equal number of bars.

Gay attitudes being essentially S. African attitudes, there is very little racial mixing, any contact is frowned upon. I do not know anything about gay communities (if these exist as such) among any of the black population groups. I have heard that the Indians have a gay club in Natal, but apart from this one could easily believe there to be no black homosexuals in S. Africa!

Gay Liberation — none so far as I know, except for a small group in Durban started recently by a couple of friends and me. So far we’ve had little success. There is too much apathy and fear of coming out, even on the campus.

Police action – although homosexual acts are illegal, the police turn a blind eye on the clubs, at the moment. They don’t like Gay Lib though!

Generally speaking, the South African scene is quiet and concealed. Everyone minds their own business and lives in their own closets. As long as you conform more or less, you’re OK.

Richard Wallace-Tarry

Appalling Bad Taste

London SE15.

Dear Sirs,

I must say I find your picture of Lord Longford and Cliff Richard in the current issue of Gay News in appalling bad taste. Lord Longford is one of the few really good men in public life today, spending much of his time helping drop-outs in all walks of life. Because you disapprove of his investigation into pornography, it is no excuse for slandering him in this way.

The thing that worries me about pornography is the effect on youth. I am not a father but I don’t wish my young nephews to see lurid paperbacks when purchasing their sweets and comics. Nor when answering an ad in your magazine, do I wish to be invited to ‘cum in my pants’ while watching young boys having sex on film. Don’t you think it is wicked that children should be exploited in this way? What sort of lives are they going to lead? Anything that Lord Longford can do to clean up pornography as it affects children is long overdue.

There are many good things in your magazine and also some offensive. With so many representations of the male organ in the current issue I should think even more retailers will refuse to handle it, and I don’t blame them.

H.R.A.

Thanks to Gay News…?

York.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for your paper — it’s saved me from going completely insane. My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years, during which time I found out he was gay.

Together we dragged ourselves off to various doctors and psychiatrists, after which time we were both taking anti-depressants for some time. Phil began to think he was a raving pervert, and I believed it was gay people who were perverting him.

Then Gay News emerged into our lives, and slowly the gap between us narrowed and we began to live again. Only through understanding and respect of each other as people have we managed to denounce the roles that society has given us.

At last Phil can be as gay as he likes, and I’m proud of him for it. After reading some of your articles in GN I’ve cried with guilt to think that a year ago I might have thought like those cops.

With the help of GN and a change of attitudes we now have an extremely happy relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Maybe your paper ought to do an article on bisexuality. One doctor we went to see told us there was no such thing! During one visit, when Phil wasn’t there, he told me that I should find myself a nice straight guy so that I could have children, as that what my aim in life should be, and what was a nice girl like me getting mixed up with a ‘queer’ for.

Well, it’s shit to the lot of them because we’ve proved them wrong, we’re happy. I’d much rather stay with Phil as he’s a beautiful person, than go forth and multiply with any Tom, Dick or Harry for the sake of keeping up with the attitudes of society, ie that gays and straights are two different kinds of species.

Lots of love from a converted straight,

Joan

Safety in the Suburbs

Dearest Pooftahs,

What with all the carry-on, hasslings, arrests, righteous indignation and wrongful suspicions of stolen cameras that has been happening around and about the dear old Coleherne lately, isn’t it about time that someone (could it be me?) tried to bring some little perspective into the matter.

So all right, the pigs persecute us gays on every possible occasion, and most of us have known about it for quite a time. But aren’t we playing rather too obviously into their hands in this particular case.

How many times have you visited the Coleherne at closing time, not merely as a witness to the bullying pig tactics which quite obviously go on, but as an observer of how one particular part of a minority group (ie the gays who use the Coleherne) behave late at night in a high-density living area. OK, I know 11pm isn’t late for some, but some of us are early risers by economic necessity, and the cruising and camping, bitchy fights and lingering farewells often do carry on until much later.

Perhaps if a few of our people were less shrill in their manner and more abstemious with their gin and tonics, the pigs wouldn’t even have an excuse.

Anyway, right on. Gay News, you’re just beginning to let it all hang out!

Love.

J. Porter.

ED. Bring up any little thing you like J.P. and play into anyone’s hand you can get into, but some of us have been frequenting the Coleherne regularly for up to ten years, as customers, and we know the scene. Earls Court is generally a noisy late-living area, especially the Old Brompton Road itself, it’s the police who push people into the back streets, and who are we, or you, to dictate drinking habits to anyone.

Any Offers

Cheshire,

Dear Sir,

I am writing to see if you may be able to help me with my problem.

Since 1940 I have been a confirmed S/M, and my first wife was also, and therefore I had no occasion to look elsewhere to have my bottom smacked or caned or whipped to give me complete sexual satisfaction. But in 1960 I lost my first wife with cancer. In the 18 months which followed I met three men, one a homosexual, in Manchester and he got pleasure out of smacking my bottom for an hour at a time until it was bleeding, and this relationship lasted for three weeks then he disappeared. I found two more but they were only one night stands. Then I remarried and tried to introduce this way to my second wife and found she wouldn’t and couldn’t respond to it, and I have tried to find someone, unknown to my wife, of course, who would smack my bottom but I’ve had no success and I’m very frustrated now. I don’t mind which sex, colour, or nationality as long as I can meet someone, or as many people as possible because I like plenty of it.

So if you could help me at all I would be very grateful. Or course this is all unknown to my wife and there would be hell to pay if she found out, but if I make contact with someone first, arrangements could be made later.

R.B.

ED. If anyone wishes to write to our friend we will pass all letters on to him. Stamped envelope please.

Kiddettes

London WC1

Dear Gay News,

Even if Councillor Kidd appears to be developing an obsession with homosexuals there is no reason why we in turn (as seems to be the case) should develop an obsession with him. There are few people in Scotland who would treat his views with the seriousness of Gay News 7, and still fewer who would go to the trouble of seeking them out — with the possible exception of BBC Scotland looking for a lighter item for its News. Councillor Kidd has been a laughing-stock throughout at least the Lowlands for years; the very mention of his name provokes derision. Homosexuality is only the latest in a very long list of subjects on which he has pronounced with unfailing unintelligence. He is an isolated eccentric even in true-blue Edinburgh: have you thought about how much practical effect his exhortations to the police have had?

You would do better to think more about the support for us that does exist outside the gay community (and finds regular practical expression — witness the Iona Community’s help to SMG) than to build up bogeymen for us to shudder over in private. Do for goodness’ sake cheer up: much of your last issue reads as if it were produced in an office full of inconsolable depressives.

Good wishes anyway.

Graeme Woolaston.

Sickening Treatment

London NW3

Dear Sir,

I was interested to read your Stop Press item on the trouble it the ‘Champion’ on 16th September. As an onlooker that evening, I was sickened by the way the Landlord and police treated the GLF boys who were not in my opinion in ‘drag’. I feel that this word must be defined more precisely before the law is allowed to come down upon it.

I was also shocked by the lack of support from other gays in the bar and I left shortly after the events, determined not to support that pub again. Until the Landlord drew attention to himself and the police arrived I was not even aware of our persecuted comrades.

I am not accustomed to wearing drag but I did not find the clothing in the least offensive and they behaved admirably in the circumstances.

If gay people allow this sort of discrimination without protest, where will it end?

A Teacher

No Chips Please

Birmingham

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, thanks for a newspaper that looks towards the future and not the usual propoganda we read and hear so much about, as though we have a chip on our shoulders about being gay.

We are all human beings with the same feelings towards life as everyone, homosexual or heterosexual and not at all odd, so there is no need for anyone to feel guilty about being gay.

I would like this paper, given time, to be read by heterosexual as well as homosexual. We will eventually get accepted by the general public if we don’t segregate ourselves as though we are different and as if we are all the time hitting out upon the public as though they are always against us. It works both ways, and the sooner we realise this the better our chances for an equal acceptance!

Every Success for your good work,

P. Arthur Miles
Gwen Browne

Don’t Jail Lord Porn Pleads Brigid

LONDON: Author Brigid Brophy believes that Lord Longford and his team who produced the recent ‘investigation’ into pornography should be allowed to roam freely, she told a meeting of the National Secular Society on October 3.

The meeting in the Conway Hall was called The Longford Threat to Freedom.

Miss Brophy said that the secular society and the Longford porn-busters differed in their attitudes to offensive literature.

She said: “I do not believe that the mere fact that a book offends me is sufficient reason to punish its authors, to suppress the book and to deprive my fellow citizens, all 55m of them, of the right to choose for themselves whether to read a book or avoid it.

“Although it admits that, on the evidence, pornography causes no social harm, The Longford Report feels entitled to over-ride the evidence. One of its pretexts for doing so is its assertion that pornography is addictive. My own guess (which is just as much a guess as the Longford Committee’s, the difference being that mine is a guess, not a special revalation) is that for every person who becomes addicted, there are two who, having satisfied their curiosity and found that pornography does them no large harm and no large good either, move on to types of books and films that are less repetitive and predictable.

“Most people in this country know from their own observation that there is great danger of addiction, especially in the case of young people, to whom we have a special responsibility, if a person starts collecting stamps. Chess is even more notoriously addictive.

“Either the Longford Committee doesn’t in fact believe its own argument or it is grossly irresponsible in not specifically proposing to ban either chess or stamp-collecting.”

She said that the book that, to her, did most to “outrage contemporary standards of humanity accepted by the public at large” was the Origin of the Species, Darwin’s theory of the evolution of humans from monkeys.

Miss Brophy said: “The Longford legislation would have forbidden Darwin to plead that his work was for the public good and would have suppressed the book. Moreover, the book would still not be published now, because not having been available in the meantime, it wouldn’t have been able to persuade the public to adjust their standards of outrage in the light of reason.

“Most original thought and much original art proceeds by outraging previously accepted standards. The Longford legislation would wipe out our cultural future – and much of the past, whose works are often outrageous by present-day standards.

“The Longford legislation is a prescription for replacing the permissive society by a stagnant society. A society that is not free to be outraged is not free to change.”

Mr Gerald Sanctuary, the sex-educationalist, told the meeting: “I hold no brief for pornography. It is a symptom of society’s sexual sickness. This sickness will not be cured by telling people not to be sick; prevention – through education – is the only answer. We need a shield, not a sword.

“It is time we made a serious national attempt in this country to bring about an era of sexual sanity. Let us do so by applying such knowledge and skills as we possess to the problem of sex education. The obvious authority to do this is the Health Education Council, a body ideally suited for the purpose and already deeply concerned with the subject.

“To rely on voluntary advisory councils or viewer’s or listeners’ associations to provide guidelines will be to put prejudice and ignorance where knowledge and science should be.

“Has it occurred to no-one that, by educating the children of today we are educating the parents of tomorrow? How else can we break the vicious circle under which sexuality is viewed by successive generations as something indecent?

“Why do you think there is such an enormous market for pornography in Great Britain, Germany and the United States? Because it is we Angles and Saxons who have most tended to equate sexuality with sinful ness and dirt.”

Lord Porn Lashes Back

Pornography, Obscenity and Gays

19721001-01The law as it stands makes certain kinds of published material ‘obscene’, and therefore illegal, if, in the opinion of the jury, that material tends to ‘deprave and corrupt’ the people who might read it or see it.

There has been considerable dissention, not least in legal circles, over what depravity and corruption is, and how its effects can be measured. I would contend that propaganda which, in order to make a case for certain views, distorts what truth it sees where it does not ignore it outright, which would contain and condemn sexual expression within confines pleasing only to its authors, which seeks, in effect, to pervert natural, free and honest human sexuality in literature, art, the cinema into the narrow confines of heterosexual marriage only, is pornographic within that definition.

19721001-03The Longford Report on Pornography is just such a book. Although the enquiry was a totally independent one (ie set up by individuals not a government body), it has received assistance from government sources and has been aided (for which thanks are offered) by the police.

As regards gays, the book is a total distortion of the truth and perpetuates all the myths about us, despite evidence from CHE in the person of lan Harvey. The only suggestion offered as regards gays is that, if we are prepared to seek it out, we ought to be allowed our wank literature. We are one more ‘perversion’ along with prostitution, bestiality pederasty, sado-masochism, though none of these are explored, but accepted as such. Likewise, the terms ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ pepper the book without any exploration of their meaning or implication. They are taken to mean heterosexual intercourse within marriage and chastity before (despite the fact that more than one ‘witness’ underscores the impossibility of this).

The inquisitors themselves clearly state the propoganda intention of the inquiry, and therefore the book.

HOW FAR CAN WE GO ?

“These were the terms of reference of the committee: ‘to see what means of tackling the problem of Pornography would command general support’.” In short, they accepted the existence of a problem and the ‘need’ to do something about it. Their only concern was ‘how far can we go and get away with it.’ (my quotes). That alone destroys any confidence one might have had in any conclusion they might produce. This is not a serious enquiry into porif and its effects – it is a political exercise by a minority in an attempt to impose their views on the majority, and should be read as such. As should Mein Kampf, and Das Kapital. This is the Festival of Lighters handbook.

“Hard pornography is intended to appeal to the person who wishes to go well beyond simply acquiring some erotic literature. It builds its own market by appealing quite unashamedly to various groups of inadequate of sexually maladjusted people.” That, among others, is us, of course.

As regards children, they accept the common attitude that a child’s introduction to sex is the prerogative of the parent. They know, but hardly take account of, the refusal or reluctance of most parents to undertake this duty. They nowhere mention the obvious point that a child ought not to need ‘introduction’ to sex, but that it ought to be an open and freely stated part of his/her life from birth onwards. On the contrary, they seem to want to keep the child unaware of any sexual relationship between his/her parents, until the child becomes disturbed enough about his/her developing sexuality to want to ask about it. They stress sex as essentially a private and family matter, not a subject for public discussion or display. They want parents to have the right to keep the child in ignorance by withdrawing them from sex-education lessons.

Great play is made at one point of the fact that the BBC sex education series gave no stress to moral standards, to the point that the pregnant woman in the film wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.

In short, they want the right to pervert, repress, and distort a child to suit their politics. They would destroy a child’s right to freedom, development and love.

Their definition of pornography is wider than most of us would accept. They see no value or service in magazines such as Forum, since these do not moralise as they would. They see ‘sex-aids as a further ‘corruption’. They see the whole field of sexual education and pornography as an addiction, leading happily married men and women (who defines their happiness?) to experiment with other forms of sexual activity which, without porn, they might have remained ignorant of. They see it as ‘perverting’ children away from ‘normal’ (ie hetero/married) sex to experiment with ‘perversions’. They ignore the diversity and richness of the human-sexual spectrum, and would repress and confine human development.

Despite the confusion in the evidence, and the examples of the American report and the Danish experiment, they cannot accept that pornography can suffer from over-exposure, and that it might in the process do some good. They point out that, since pornography is ‘bad’ (which they have failed to prove), it must have a bad effect.

After all, they say, who can argue that what people see and read does not affect them? Why else, they ask, do advertisers spend millions of pounds on television time and display space? Why do parents and the state spend so much to educate a child? Because all these have an effect.

Firstly, as I have noted, they have failed to prove any conclusive effect one way or other in the majority of cases.

Secondly, advertising is designed to persuade – porn, along with other kinds of depiction, merely shows. Of course literature has an effect – there would be no point in writing it otherwise. But if a display of pornographic material affects someone (ie arouses them), that arousal or offence is their reaction, it comes from them, not the porn. It does not create that person’s sexuality, simply exposes it.

As a second line of defence. they point out that even the people who deny the corrupting effect of pornography agree with the sanctions preventing the ridicule and abuse of coloured people, so doesn’t that prove ‘an effect’? They ignore the fact that such sanctions exist to prevent damaging lies from creating a damaging effect on the way people live together. Do they regard the depicted sex-act as a lie? Even if a woman wears a wedding ring?

Perhaps the nastiest and most unreasonable part of a thoroughly nasty and unreasonable book is the attack that Malcolm Muggeridge, disguised as the Sub-Committee on Broadcasting, perpetrates upon the BBC. The report itself, in other sections (notably Frank Gillard’s refutation of the Sub-Committee report) shows up the lack of investigation, thought or concern for truth of Mr Muggeridge, so I do not propose even to discuss these lies. Unfortunately, they are well-phrased;

“‘Family viewing’ (the practice of placing more adult programmes after 9pm), therefore, like family planning, more aptly describes a
process which is destructive of family life.” Need I say more?

The result of this superficial and prejudiced ‘enquiry’ is a proposed Bill to change the law on obscene publications. These changes would appear to have been discussed with the police beforehand.

A publication (or programme, or film) would become obscene if “its effect, taken as a whole, is to outrage contemporary standards of decency or humanity accepted by the public at large.” In other words, once more publishers will not be able to discover whether they are breaking the law or not until the jury decides. Thus the police will have an even freer hand to close things they do not like. To them, the existence of a gay newspaper could be an outrage.

It would remove the defence of literary merit or public good – on the grounds that if it is well written it must be more effectively corrupting!

It would increase the penalties for everything.

If it ever became law it would be an artistic disaster.

I note with apprehension that shortly after the publication of this report the police chose to raid the least offensive of porn – the Paul Raymond magazines.

The only thing I can say in conclusion is that the report continually equates porn with Nazi anti-semitic propoganda. I would have thought that this report itself was open to a not unsimilar charge. More than that it is not necessary to say.

The Other Side

The ABZ of Pornography. Edited by Richard Michael, with illustrations by John Kent (creator of ‘Varoomshka’). Published by Panther, 50p.

The first comment I have to make about this book is that it is 10p cheaper than Lord Longford’s thick and wearisome Porn Report. Secondly it’s a good deal more informative about what is said to be pornographic and obscene than Lord L’s effort and is considerably less biased, which is another merit it has over its rival.

Whilst the official Report waffles on endlessly, this book tells you ‘Everything you wanted to know about pornography (but were scared to ask)’, to quote the blurb from the back cover. And writers and editor attempt to shed a little light on this sensitive subject in the only rational way possible – with a little humour. At the same time it answers a lot of questions put by those of you who have been wondering what all the fuss has recently been about, and also provides some historical facts about porn and its rise to fame as the present day moralists need for salvation ‘red herring’.

If the whole overblown issue of porn and its corrupting consequences hasn’t bored you to death yet, and you want the facts without an imposed halo on them, I thoroughly recommend this literary venture that tries to set the record straight without all the righteousness and ‘doom is at hand’ theatricals.

By the way, did you know that Kinsey found ‘one male in twelve seems to have used an animal for sexual gratification at some time…’

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.