Your Letters

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

Rallying Point

Dear Gay News,

I saw Gay News on sale at Better Books Charing Cross Road – and my eagerness to find out about you overcame the diffidence/shyness that makes one hesitant at making a purchase which tactically ‘labels’ the purchaser. (Yes I know it’s foolish: why should we be furtive? It is a habit that many of us have grown into in self-defence but or rather thanks to GLF, CHE and publications like yours — it is becoming increasingly unnecessary).

The paper is just what was lacking, a sort of rallying point for all the progressive movements that have sprung up in recent years. Nothing is more encouraging to potential activists than news of what other people are doing. I’m sure you are going to do a great deal of good for the homosexual cause just by existing, for there is a danger of slipping back if the movements become splintered up with too much infighting. This is how ‘they’ have always kept the upper hand, divide and rule. By uniting all the various groups informally, which Gay News does simply by reporting what everyone is doing, we can avert this danger and continue to move forward. You are right to preserve your independence since this way you can be of greatest value to all groups and individuals… may you go from strength to strength.

Not the least pleasurable thing about Gay News is your selling price. For the first time we have a publication that everyone can afford, not just a rip-off ‘bold’ progressive Gay Magazine which just happens to cost 50p (or more) an issue. For far too long, gay people have been exploited by publishers who have artificially inflated prices just to make a quick profit – and this attitude extends to other spheres. Perhaps with your encouragement we can attack this particular injustice too. Readers will I’m sure, respond to your invitation on page ten to write in with comments on goods and services etc. This is a case where unity is strength since gay people are consumers with enormous total purchasing power – and only too eager to go where the best value is to be found.

Let me end with a practical suggestion for those readers like myself who are non-activist but feel they would like to do something tangible for the cause. Campaigning and street selling, etc are for the youngsters, and many of us cannot afford to be over-generous with our money or time. But there is one simple, and inexpensive thing we can do, buy two copies instead of one and leave the extra one on the train or bus or wherever it can do most good. With best wishes to everyone responsible for Gay News which is so beautifully produced in every way. Keep up the good work.

John

Vassall and Parole

Chiswick, London W4.

Dear Gay News,

Having read the letter from Michael, of Bromley, in yesterday’s Gay News, (GN12, page 6) I feel that it is imperative that the misconception raised thereby should be corrected without delay.

A person released on licence by the Secretary of State under Sec 60, Criminal Justice Act 1967 (CJA67) is only subject to supervision under that licence until the actual day upon which he would have normally been due for release from prison had he not been granted parole. After that date he is just as free from restrictions as if he had never been allowed early release on licence. This is an absolute rule (always provided that no further offence has been committed during the parole period); it could not be otherwise: to extend the period of supervision beyond the normal release-date would be to increase the sentence imposed by the judge at the trial. I quote:

“A licence granted to any person under this section shall … remain in force until a date specified in the licence, being …
… the date on which he could have been discharged from prison on remission of part of his sentence under the prison rules …”

CJA67, Sec 60(6) (b)

Therefore Vassall will only be subject to supervision for some TWO years – not eight as suggested – that is until the date upon which his release would have been due in any event.*

If any Gay News readers are troubled with legal problems on which they would like advice, I would be only too glad to anwer any enquiries, which should be sent to me c/o the Gay News Office. When writing, remember the more detail you give the easier it is to give advice. All letters will, of course, be treated in the strictest confidence. Love to all gays – everywhere,

Steve Williams

*Ps: The recently passed CJA72 in no way affects what I’ve said re parole.

Gay Public Relations

London, SW4

Dear GN Collective,

When I first started subscribing to Gay News I was none too sure of my motives. A homosexual newspaper must, by definition, be primarily concerned with sex. I have never bought or subscribed to any other sex-orientated paper or magazine before, so why do I read Gay News? Perhaps more than anything to be reassured that I am not some sort of freak, that, as Lord Arran put it in GN1, we are ‘… just human beings like anyone else.’

The problem is of course that society at large still has difficulty in believing this. Lord Arran suggested that publicity can only do us harm. It can ‘…only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds… But without publicity we simply return to square one – those strange creatures who inhabit a twilight world — a subject best swept under the carpet. We can only become acceptable if we publicise the fact, as often as possible, that we are about as normal as anyone else, and not people to be despised or feared.

Because of our limited acceptability we have practically no access to national newspapers, so the next best thing is our own newspaper. Gay News. We, like other minority groups — Naturists, Esperantists, Radio Hams, Women’s Lib (at least you may have heard of these) – are getting our own nationwide newspapers and journals, as well as clubs and societies for those who need them. Let’s hope Gay News becomes as acceptable and as popular as Hi-fi News, Woman’s Own or Dalton’s Weekly. More popular!

Chris

Correcting False Impressions

Dear Gay News,

In reference to Jakov Geissmann’s report on our recent Jewish national ”Think-In” entitled “Judaism and the Jewish Homosexual”, I became deeply disturbed on his very false impression in the way he described it as 8 hours of “boredom” to the extent that he himself left the meeting in the middle of our principal guest speaker’s talk. In order that your readers should not be misinformed, it’s my duty (as organiser of this think-in) to emphasise the positive structure and climax of this meeting. I have since discussed it with out Jewish group, and we are generally convinced that indeed it was a very successful meeting. Incidentally, no member of the group has ever heard of Jakov Geissmann so I can only presume that he sent in his report purely as an observer. Briefly, please allow me space in your column to inform your readers why we believe it was a success.

(1) Dr. Wendy Greengross in her opening remarks, accepting us as normal and healthy people, being part of society in the same way as heterosexuals.

(2) The vast number of Jewish gays who publicly declared themselves, just like an awareness group, where everybody quite freely spoke about themselves, especially in relationship to their families, followed by a general discussion.

(3) Last, but not least, our principal guest speaker, Dr Alan Unterman PhD, Student Chaplain to Manchester University, and a very humanistic and religious Jew, has made a deep research into the problems facing Jewish gays. Admittedly he quoted the Bible which forbids homosexuality, however he emphasised that according to “Judaism” there are no heterosexuals or homosexuals, basically we are all bi-sexual, although many people would disagree on this fact. He said, that Adam, being the first man was created both male and female, and at the birth of Eve, Adam was split.

He went on to define that “male and female are two halves of one whole”. His talk was obviously followed by a very heated discussion, but I stress at no time did he reject us, on the contrary he constantly accepted us as “normal” people, but insisted that we are all bi-sexual. The session ended with a very moving talk by Antony Grey of the Albany Trust, who throughout his ten years of counselling, mentioned the disturbing number of Jewish gays where marriage and family unity in the Jewish religion was the main problem facing the Jewish Gay. None of these points I’ve mentioned was remarked by Jakov Geissmann. Also since he even left before Antony Grey’s talk, on the contrary, Mr Grey himself said that he found the entire meeting most interesting and constructive and enjoyed every minute of it. In conclusion, due to our questionnaire form. I’ve had a massive response from Jewish gays interested to continue a Jewish group and I shall be pleased to answer anyone who wishes to write to me. Last, but not least, may I take this opportunity in congratulating Gay News . as Britain’s No 1 first class independent gay paper, you are doing a wonderful job and I sincerely hope that eventually your paper will be available over the counter at all national newsagents and bookstalls throughout the country.

Love and Peace,

Simon Benson, Albion Court, 75 Larkhall Rise, London SW4 6HS

Better Understanding

Dear GN,

I welcome the news that GN is branching further afield and featuring items of general interest.

This is a wise decision as it will strengthen the paper and attract heterosexuals to read Gay News, and also make them understand the problems we face and that our views on life are similar to theirs.

This in turn will make for a better understanding in our fight for equal recognition.

Carry on GN, you have my full support.

P Atkins (Miss)

Utterly Amazed

Osterley TW7 4PX
Middlesex.

Dear Gay News,

I have read and enjoyed all the issues of Gay News to date, but I find one startling fact about your ads, and that is that your paper puts an ad in pleading for new premises and has done so for quite a few months now, but to my utter amazement (and no doubt yours) you have had no response whatsoever. Surely there must be property owners in London who could help you out. In fact I would have thought that gay people all over London would wish to help THEIR paper out.

Sadly it is quite obvious to me that whilst it’s okay to read Gay News in private it is too much to help out a damn good paper openly.

Finally I would like to stress that I am in no way connected with Gay News but felt so disgusted with the gay community to which this letter concerns that I felt something should be said publicly on your behalf,

Royston Williams

Lemon Drop Kids

London, N8

Dear Lemon,

When will you realise that throwing shit at Martin Stafford is counter-productive?

I know that Martin is a humourless little twerp who’s dreadfully hung up; but if that’s his kink, let him be.

It’s very wrong of you to think that Martin is alone in his opinions. He isn’t. Throughout the country he has a great deal of support – especially from the more paranoid ghetto queens. But his supporters are by no means confined to that group.

Fresh recruits flock to his counter-revolutionary banner all the time. Some just agree with everything he says: others feel sorry for him (if you’ve ever seen him you’ll know what I mean) and tend to be especially so after the sort of bollocking he got in GN11.

The Martin Staffords of this world have an annoying habit of having the last laugh. This may well not happen with the Martin Stafford, as he does not seem able to laugh.

The only way to get rid of this type of person who constantly tries to betray his own kind is to let him condemn himself with his own (incredibly silly) words. I suggest you forgo the Bitter Lemon and try a bit of arsenic and old lace.

James Knight

ED: Denis Lemon did not write the piece concerning Martin Stafford in GN11, although he does completely condone what was said.

No Drinking

Bedfordshire

Dear Sirs,

I would like to pass a mild comment on the article ‘Lancette’ by a ‘real doctor’, in Gay News No9

The author states that the only reason doctors advise against alcohol is that one is likely to have carefree sex if one is drunk; and that in no way does alcohol affect the treatment being given.

I’m undergoing a course of treatment of pills to clear myself of non-specific urethritis. After having taken them for nearly a week, my symptoms subsided to the extent that I had to look for them. One evening (still taking the pills) I had less than five drinks.

On awakening the next morning, my symptoms had re appeared, and the discharge I was suffering had worsened.

My I suggest to your author that he thinks before quoting age-old cliches, and that he doesn’t include us all in the sexist gay society in London, where sleeping with a man is as common as drinking a glass of water. Sex is, to me, still very beautiful and very personal.

N. Ferguson

Here We Are Again

The Gay News Collective has decided to change the format of our Editorial leaders. We all thought that the Editorial should be used in future for serious comments on events in the news relating to gayness and advancements and deteriorations in the present position of homosexuals in society. As the old format of the Editorial was mainly concerned with internal goings-on of the paper and the difficulties and successes we were experiencing, not forgetting our constant appeals for one thing or another, we realised that this would hinder the object of the new style editorial leader.

But we think it is extremely important to communicate to you the ‘life and times’ of Gay News, as we still stand firmly by what we first said in our earlier editions, that this paper belongs to the gay community and not to those who want to preach their own particular political beliefs or for the monetary ambitions of those producing GN. So to carry on keeping you in the know of what’s happening to us and the paper, we will now run this regular column called Here We Are Again. The reason we decided to call it that was because of the number of times that phrase appeared in past editorials. Yes, we know how our writing styles can be shocking but we’re trying to learn and improve. So, despite our sometimes obvious limitations, here we are again.

Christmas Issue

The Christmas issue, even if we say so ourselves, looks as if it will be as good as we had hoped. Definites for that edition to date are a Robin Maugham short story, a feature entitled The Garland Legend which is in keeping with the current nostalgia trend, an intimate interview with pop star Peter Straker, and a very special, hilariously funny, surprise scoop that we’re keeping a secret until the issue is out. Also there will be the ultimate gay game for four players, plus many other novelties and seasonal delights. And of course there will be the latest gay news and all the other regular features and review pages. GN’s size will be at least twenty pages for that issue but it will still only cost you 1Op.

Subscriptions for Gifts

To pay for all the extras of our enlarged Christmas issue, we will be trying very hard to sell as many copies as possible. It will be the only edition in December so we expect you all to buy one, and also copies for friends. It will be extremely naughty of you if you continue sharing one copy between six of you for this special issue.

In this issue you will notice that there is a special subscription form whereby you can take out a sub as a gift for a friend or loved one. And what could be a better present than ten or twenty issues of ‘big GN’. Seriously though, we know a lot of people still don’t get to see us, so why not help to unbiasedly inform them of what’s happening in the gay world. Subs are an important factor in our survival and continued existence, so why not treat yourself to mailed editions of GN for the coming new year even if you don’t feel we are a suitable gift for someone else.

Love and Kisses

We would like to thank all those people who had enough faith in us to renew their ten copy subscriptions. At least 95% of you did and we feel very flattered. This type of confidence in the paper is such an encouraging sign to us, and your continuing support of GN will make it possible for us to endeavour to always be improving and expanding and to eventually start some of the plans we would like to turn into reality. In case your sub is due to expire in the next few weeks, we advise you to renew it soon, as the usual Christmas postal chaos may cause delays. And you wouldn’t want to miss our Christmas special would you?

New Offices

We unfortunately still haven’t been able to find new offices. The present amount of working space is quite a problem and the only way of solving it is by finding larger premises. They must of course be available at a reasonable (cheap) rent. If any of you know of anywhere suitable, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The only major stipulation we need to insist upon is that the offices be situated in central London, ie Fleet Street. Those of you who have visited our present offices will know of the difficulties we are working under, so to you especially, help!

Word Machines

A magic word to use at the moment, which is guaranteed to get hunched shoulders straightening up at a rapid pace and interest beaming from our innocent faces, is ‘typewriter’. The two manual machines that are still operating are slowly giving up the ghost and no amount of coaxing and bribing with new ribbons or machine oil will help restore their lost youth and effectiveness.

Two others have sadly moved up to that great ‘typing pool in the sky’ and with the two we have left threatening to be reunited with them, typewriterwise we are in a sorry state.

After that convincing lead-in, now comes another famous GN appeal. If you have a typewriter you don’t use and would like to see it put to use, we will gladly guarantee that it will be over-worked. Also if any of you want to automate our surroundings, a gift or the paying of rent for an electric model(s) would mean loving smiles and very grateful thanks from all of us.

A Final Word

We have tried to cram as much of everything into this issue. The last one was so filled with news items we had very little room for featurettes and feedback. So we’re making up for it this time. Hope you find many things to your liking and taste. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your paper.