Your Letters

05-197208XX 1Cliftonville
Margate
Kent

Dear Friends,

Having lived in the borough of Margate for a year and a half, I am finding it not as dead as I at first thought. Gay people are gradually turning up here and there, and trying to form some sort of social get together. It is always a slow process, as people still seem to like the ‘exciting’ cottage pick-up rather than respectable social introductions. Love is a very beautiful thing, if used properly and wisely.

As a yogi priest or monk, I have found out a lot about life in my thirty-nine years in this period of my full spiritual development. Gay people can love God without any feeling of guilt, as long as they are true to their nature, sincere and loyal, and steer away from man-made religions and all the unhappiness and guilt they have caused.

My personal advice to gay people is to form loyal balanced friendships with as many people as possible, with or without sexual love. To keep healthy trim bodies as far as possible, and to love God through nature and peace.

Clive


Reading Gay Alliance
Room 7
30 London Road
Reading, Berks.

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, many congratulations on the launching and production of this much-needed paper. We in R.G.A. are much impressed by what you have so far produced and wish you all success for many editions to come.

Reading Gay Alliance is a group of gay people formed to promote the interests of homosexuals in our area. We are an umbrella organisation consisting of CHE and GLF members, both men and women, including people who do not belong to any existing established group.

Fortnightly we publish a newsletter for all interested parties, called Gay Arrow, and this, and any other information about us, can be obtained by writing to the above address.

Yours very sincerely

Reading Gay Alliance.


Pittville Circus,
Cheltenham.

Dear Collective,

Some random thoughts about you, provoked by No. 3. First, thank you for existing. The personal ad column alone should have demonstrated to the MPs you visited that you perform a valuable social function. With a background much like that of ‘Neville Gadd’, I too wondered what I was letting myself in for. I have so far only found one item offensive, and that was the advertisement for the Maltese meat market in No. 3. If the law ever descends on you, it will have been provoked not surely by your ads (though they may provide the legal pretext) but by the degrading tone of letters such as this. I wonder if others thought it inappropriate for what aspires to be a national newspaper?

I appreciate that as a collective your right hand may not know what its left hand is doing, but I wish one of them could spare the time for a bit of proofreading! If I lived in London. I’d come and do the job for you free. It’s a shock to see Samaritans’ spelt ‘Samaratians’ in a headline! Accuracy of detail is, I’m afraid, an essential element in the confidence one puts in a newspaper.

It would help if you mentioned whether answers to ads have to be individually stamped one might want to answer two at once or enclose one in a letter to you, and presumably you forward them under separate cover.

Some of your statements I find very baffling. How could Doug Pollard find ‘unpleasant and unnecessary moral attitudes’ in that valuable article on VD? It would need an advanced case of persecution mania to discover any moral attitude whatever in that clinically dispassionate prose. Let’s have more of it!

Finally. ‘Neville Gadd’ is missing a lot in life, I fear, through his preoccupation with the ‘age barrier’ whatever that is. The fact is surely that the number of years one has lived hat precious little to do with one’s value and charm as a human being. Different aspects of the human entity age at different rates, some people improve physically as they mature; some seem to grow younger with age. I know of one 44″-chested butch of 50 who is twice the man he was as a sallow short-sighted priggish bookworm of 25. I wonder whom of the two Neville would prefer?

David Blount


Campaign for Homosexual Equality,
28 Kennedy Street,
Manchester.

Dear Mr. N

Thank you for your letter received the other day with regard to “Gay News”. I am sorry that you did not like this publication but would point out that it is an independent newspaper and in no way a CHE enterprise. I am, therefore sending your letter on to “Gay News” for them to deal with.

Yours sincerely.
Paul Temperton
General Secretary.

London, N.4.

Dear Sir,

I am a member of CHE and belong to Group 12 London. Last Thursday evening I bought a copy of a paper called Gay News no. 3. Well of all silly papers I ever read.

On page 3 there is a small advert about “Danger Police at Work” in toilets. Does this mean all other toilets are safe?

On page 8 there is an article on V.D., which does not give one much confidence about going to be treated. In 30 years of going to be treated never has anyone ever said anything to me. Also on page 8 the Samaritans comes in for a bash Where does one go for advice? Can you suggest?

On page 7 there is an article on the “Biograph”. So gay so wonderful. But no mention of the people who get a good bashing there.

Also on page 7 there is an article on the CHE correspondence column being used for procuring sex. Does this mean that CHE will help a person if letters are opened by Police?

I would go on if this fell into the hands of a young person it would do damage. For instance the address of two cottages to add to list. I never knew that cottages were gay in Battersea Park.

I though that CHE was to bring people’s mind above cottage level.

If anyone wanted to prove that homosexuals are dirty and depraved here is the very paper.

Yours with Disgust.

B.N


London S.E.11.

Dear Gay News.

I have just read your first issue and would like to reply to Lord Arran’s comments.

Whilst he expresses concern for our “sociological and spiritual position” he fails to see why we need our own newspapers.

Homosexuals are a part of the community but within this we are a distinct social group, whose existence society would suppress. The images of ourselves with which we live are those fostered by heterosexuals and it is a lack of a common Gay identity, and the resultant isolation which has led to the personal problems of so many homosexuals.

Straight people have the security of an established culture with which to re-act. and if we are to develop fully as individuals we must assert our own cultural identity at every opportunity.

It is for this reason that your paper is of importance to us all.

T. Howard.


“POSSE”
16, St. Saviourgate
York

Dear Gay News.

The paper seems to be going quite well; we’ve sold all bar one or two of No. 3. and people are coming back to pick up copies of Nos. 1 and 2. It’s a pity but we’re not making contact with many of the people who’re buying the paper (even though Arthur and I look anything but straight goodness knows), lots of people flash past and pick one up embarrassedly like buying Durex in the Chemists. Still, maybe time will tell.

WOOF (of Posse)


Knightsbridge,
London. S.W.1.

Dear Gay News,

I would like to congratulate you on getting a gay paper published for the benefit of gay people and after reading the first issue (I missed the second one being abroad on holiday) I feel that it is something that has long been needed. I only hope that you do not fold up like so many other mags have done in the past, i.e., Jeremey, Spartacus etc.

The price is reasonable, the cost of the ads are not excessive and the news items and features appear to be very good and easy reading. The main thing is that your paper is a means of being in touch with other gay people which can’t be bad and can only bring relief and relaxation with the possibility of meeting others like one self.

You may possibly be able to give an answer or advice to the following query.

I have been told by lots of acquaintances that quite a lot of youngsters prefer older men for company, but whilst I am not senile! (just over 40) I have tried unsuccessfully by means of ads, visits to pubs (which I am not very fond of) joining CHE, rather boring at times, without success. I wouldn’t say I was ugly but as far as I can see most youngsters prefer people their own age or thereabouts and I am not blaming them, however unfortunately I am one of the gays who are much happier in young peoples company, providing they are genuine and not making it obvious that they are tolerating one for their generosity or what they can get out of them.

Anyway it is nice to be able to put on paper ones’ thoughts and if I can be of any help in running your paper, (not selling I’m afraid), I will be only too pleased to do so in an administrative capacity, home typing etc.

I only hope I have not bored you with my letter or offended anyone and would like to wish you all the success with Gay News and hope it continues to be published and gets better as time goes on.

Charles G. Brown

If any reader wishes to contact the writer of the above letter, please send your letter care of Gay News and we will forward it on to him.


Gateshead,
Co. Durham.

Dear Gay News,

You are doing an absolutely splendid job which I would have though to be economically impossible and almost as impossible to get out a gay paper that’s representative and not dominated by one particular line.

I only hope you get the support you deserve — I’ll certainly do my best to get other people to buy it.

Richard Webster


Coleraine,
Co. Derry.
Northern Ireland

Dear Gay News.

With Ulster’s other troubles always in the headlines. who thinks of the plight of the province’s gay population?

First, the law. Under Northern Irish law, we are allowed to breath – as long as it’s in private, with consenting oxygen molecules over the age of twenty-one.

The first convenor of the now dead Belfast C.H.E. group wrote to the last two prime ministers, and received similar answers, to the effect that legal reform didn’t seem really necessary, as the old law wasn’t used very much, and anyway there didn’t appear to be any real demand for reform.

That about sums up the official attitude. The attitude of the general public is about the same as in England – the working class don’t give a monkey’s either way. the middle class are against any change in a nice system that suits them. How does one convince them that a bad. stupid law should be scrapped, rather than kept as a curiosity?

There is also the lack of facilities to consider.

Belfast has one (yes. I said one!) gay bar. There were two others about fifty-fifty, gay and straight, but they are suffering from a slight case of bomb damage at the moment. For the wanderer benighted in the backwoods, the last resort (only fucking resort!) is the lounge of the Royal Avenue Hotel.

Queen’s (?) University has a flourishing G.L.F. group – address on the back page. Drop in on them if you’re passing through, they’ll be glad to see you.

And if you’re unlucky enough to be passing through Coleraine (The wages of sin is death!) and if you’re male and under thirty, well I’m sure Gay News would let you have my address.

Also, if any reader is starting his or her studies at the New University of Ulster at Coleraine, and is interested in forming a group in this area. I would be thoroughly delighted to hear from him or her, or them.

Dear Gay News, please get my name right this time! Your last misprint, for some reason, caused extreme mirth to a straight friend – odd how one misplaced ‘u’ can have that effect.

Sam Frizzell, jnr.

Where is CHE?

04-197208XX 08One thing is abundantly clear: The Campaign for Homosexual Equality in London holds a strong appeal for an amazing variety of people, from the teenager to the GOAP. This has posed problems-of direction, action, administration. The only thing all our members have absolutely in common is that they are gay or bisexual. Attitudes become polarized quickly and harden. Dialogue is abrasive but continual.

Membership increases steadily. Word-of-mouth information spreads rapidly demolishing the idea that Che is some kind of a cloak and dagger operation which gained ground in some touchy quarters. I wore my Che badge at the St. Pancras GLF dance and was subjected to all kinds of unsolicited abuse from total strangers. But Che has absolutely got to offer a homc-if you like-to everyone. A sense of oppression is not confined to the articulate young. The older, inhibited, repressed or just downright shy gay is conscious of taking a tremendous step in joining.

THE GROUPS

These are the very root of the organisation, the essential framework within which anything and everything is possible At the moment there are 11 groups based in central London with others in Croydon (very flourishing, active and successful), Lewisham. Windsor, Essex, Kent, Brighton, Reading, the Chilterns, St. Albans and Ilford. Local community groups are established in Kensington, Highbury and Islington, Kilburn and Ealing.

Each group has a minimum of 30 members. They meet once a month which is any member’s minimal committment. Some meet fortnightly, some every week. Each group evolves its own characteristic; some are rather inclined to social-type meetings, others prefer discussion and debates. Others are making definite progress towards liaison and meetings with representatives of other bodies. Any Che member can go to any meeting. Very involved people can generally make a meeting of some sort every night.

Groups set up their own social activities-parties, picnics, rallies, theatres, cinemas-anything to provide a useful and pleasant social scene for people who are a bit lonely and cut off.

YOUTH GROUP

This is the central-London group for students and young people; it is large, expanding, coherent. Runs a remarkably well-balanced programme meaning some two or three meetings a week. The programme runs on (a) meetings that could be called educational-i.e. visits from psychologists, doctors, boss-figures who talk, debate and get harassed in turn; (b) purely social activity, (c) activist events leafletting etc. The establishment of Gaysoc at London University has meant a lot of campus infiltration, notable invasion of ‘straight’ discos etc.

A move to approach the headmasters of 200 schools asking for permission to address senior pupils on homosexuality is under way.

EVENTS

The virtually limitless energy of a great many members is being harnessed into fund-raising activities which produces a full calendar of events ranging from dances and discos to bazaars and boat trips. Sub-groups concerned with drama, poetry, music and photography are under way. One of the main aims of Che nationally is to provide decent social meeting places for gays and it now seems likely that the first permanent club will be in London, providing facilities for meetings, rest, research, the lot. No one imagines it will happen overnight and everyone realises that only we can do it-no one else is going to help us. Hence the fundraising events which serve a twin purpose of raising cash and providing amusing evenings.

WORKING PARTIES

Several working parties are in operation, open to all members.

1. Social Responsibilities

Designed to look at social problems which impinge upon the homosexual community and affect all facets of life. To do research into the causes and effects of legislation and to assess the public’s image of the homophile with a view to improving it.

2. Gay Liaison

Making contact with all homophile organisations throughout the world. Much reciprocal membership with gay clubs etc. abroad now established.

3. Speakers

People willing to go out and talk to other organisations-like Rotary Clubs. Women’s Institutes. Parent-Teachers etc.-about being gay. Most invitations so far from Young Liberals. Friends, Young Conservatives, Mental Health Associations. But it all helps.

4. Religious

People with a deep religious or spiritual experience, plus those concerned with the churches of all denominations and their attitudes to homosexuality.

5. Friend

Perhaps the most important, significant and successful venture in Che so far. Essentially a befriending service, set up by Michael Launder in co-operations with the Rev. Michael Butler who is the Deputy Director of the Samaritans. Premises for individual interviews and group work on two nights a week have been secured. Friend is advertised to new enquiries to Che and response is channelled to existing regional branches-Manchester, the trans-Pennines, Cambridge, Liverpool and Leeds. The rest to the London headquarters. About IS new enquiries arrive each week in this way. Later Friend will be in operation five nights a week, and it is expected that within a year a national network will be established enabling Friend to be advertised to the general public. Apart from

the obvious service of help on an immediate basis. Friend is keeping a record of its progress so that eventually an analysis of the type of problems dealt with will be regularly available to professional bodies and the press.

6. Lunch

This is the London-based magazine produced by Che members. It is not representative of official policy at local or national level. Intended primarily as a communications sheet, it remains the only regular magazine with a reliable diary of all gay events-Che, GLF,

SMG and others, London and national. Developing into a vivacious platform for all sorts of ideas and views. Lots of contributions needed from everyone, everywhere. Six issues, post paid, cost £1.50 from 23 Avon Court, Keswick Road, London SW1$ 2JU. 32 pages, pictures, news, letters, etc.

WOMEN

Implicit in the above notes is that Che involves gay women just as much as gay men. The name of the organisation has meant that initially it appealed to men. But the intake of women is now regular and growing. There is no group exclusive to women, they belong to groups along with the men.

WHERE IS CHE?

Che began in 1964, but it was only after the passing of the Sexual Offences Act that it was able to expand properly. Its history is now a matter of history. But the result is that its headquarters are in Manchester. Nationally we have almost 3,000 members-and these are members who have paid a £1.50 annual sub. to the organisation. Money used for our office and paid staff, for producing the monthly bulletin for members, for producing pamphlets, leaflets, stickers, posters, to help start new Che groups all over the country which are sometimes an alternative but mostly the only scene for gay people. We are often accused of being over-structured. This is simply the outsider’s confusion. Che runs remarkably smoothly considering the number of people involved and the almost limitless range of responsibilities we have undertaken. Until we have acquired permanent premises in London, enquiries must be routed through Manchester. So write direct to the General Secretary, Paul Temperton, 28 Kennedy Street, Manchester, M2 4BG (061-228 1985). Or to Roger Baker. Flat F, 23/24 Great James Street, London, WC1N 3ES.