Preference Or Prejudice

As the perpetrator of the now, it seems, infamous “black young and gay” advertisement (GN4) I can’t let R.L. Stratton-Watt’s Feedback letter in GN9 pass without comment.

Firstly, I would like to appologise to Mr Stratton-Watts and to any other black readers who feel as he does, for any offence caused them by my advertisement. I am well aware of the large sexual and male chauvinist component in racism, as epitomised by the familiar “would you let your daughter marry one?”. I accept that there will be those who will see my advert as perpetuating the black man as sex-object syndrome. Nonetheless, I justify myself on the following grounds.

Mr Stratton-Watts uses the words “prejudice and preference” in the same breath, as if they were synonymous. For me the essence of racialism is discrimination against a disadvantaged group, racially defined. Thus, to advertise for whites only would most certainly be racialist as it would extend the area from which blacks are excluded.

But to maintain the converse would not be true, as it would assume an equality of advantage between black and white, which in our racist society does not exist. To call discrimination in favour of a disadvantaged group “racialism” is to make nonsense of the word. If this seems like splitting hairs, consider this: I am Scottish and Scottish people are in no way discriminated against in Britain today. Would Mr Stratton-Watts have been so outraged if I’d advertised for a fellow Scottish gay?

I also detect in Mr Stratton-Watt’s rather involved argument an idea which appears fairly widespread in the gay movement and in GLF in particular and which seems a hip but direct descendant of medieval body-denial. According to this view, not just prejudice but also sexual preference is unliberated and wrong and one can and should dispense love phyical and spiritual, equally and indiscriminately to all men and women of all ages everywhere.

I cannot accept this neo-Gnosticism which seems to want to spiritualise physical sex out of existence and refuse to acknowledge its less ideal aspects. Male homosexuality is, after all, about cocks and spunk and arseholes as well as love, peace and revolution.

Some of us like black skins, some hairy limbs and chests, some huge cocks, some (like me!) are turned on by all three and more. If we can accept these preferences and integrate them into the rest of our personalities, we shall be able both to love and cherish and respect any guy/girl and thrill to his/her dark skin, leather knickers, green eyeshadow, or whatever makets us horny.

In the integrative process we may also find the compulsive aspect of those preferences diminishes.

It’s when an oppressive, sexist society makes men ashamed of their desires that the desires are split off and disowned and protected onto the minority group of the moment, to whom is attributed remarkable sexual prowess and who are feared as rivals and envied for their forbidden freedom. The prejudiced man hated himself by proxy, and the proxy is too often the gays and the blacks. The person who accepts his or her preferences is free to build constructive relationships with all sorts of people while realising that, quite involuntarily, he or she will be physically aroused more by some than by others.

This letter carries two signatures. The second is that of a wonderful black guy I met as a result of my advertisement. If nobody else got any pleasure out of it, we certainly did!

Editorial

19720914-02So – Gay News arrives at issue seven, not very bloody and definitely unbowed! We’ve achieved an experimental sixteen-page issue, number six, our subscription list is growing everyday, and we are all getting to know each other. In running the day-to-day business of the paper, the collective are obviously together (for better or worse!) but the contact with everyone who writes to us, telephones, calls in at the office, or buys a copy in the pub, is the really vital thing.

We collect plenty of reactions, from “I think you’re the best thing that’s happened on the gay scene for years!” to “I wouldn’t meet you”
wipe my arse with it.” Many people comment favourably on the lay-out and technical presentation of the paper. It is important to be clear and readable, and we want to maintain and improve these qualities, without we hope, becoming dull. Others of you find that we are too political for your taste, or not political enough. We’ve been advised to “Show where you are ideologically, or you will just be a capitalist ally”, but a lot of other people ask for “some dolly pin-ups, and why don’t you have some fantasy fiction?” What a lovely name for ‘wank-stories’.

One subject that arouses a lot of comment is our personal ads column (see ‘Preference or Prejudice’ below). Are we “Asking to be busted”, or “providing a service that people need”? Perhaps both, but the ads do fulfill a need for a lot of individuals, and it is on this level that the subject should be considered. Whether you have been a subscriber since issue one, or think “Gay News does a disservice to all homosexuals by singling us out as Different” you know what it’s like to be lonely, alone temporarily perhaps or isolated over a long period of time. One knows how one feels, and perhaps can sympathise with someone else in a similar situation, but you cannot solve the problem for another individual, and no-one else can find all the answers for you.

We hope that Gay News is aware of the range of individual view-points, and that we give scope for all opinions in our columns. It doesn’t matter whether you are content with a small social circle, happy cruising alone, busy in a CHE or GLF group, or right out there challenging the whole world. If you know where you are, as an individual person, relating to others, and being as honest as you know how to be, then perhaps you’re on the way to becoming a free soul, free of your own self-repression, and so more able to help clear away ignorance and suppressed fear which block society’s view of homosexuals.

Preference or Prejudice

We’ve had a lot of comment about our policy on personal ads, and some people think that we are discriminatory, although we print a warning about possible racist ads. The “Young black gay? Then white wants to meet you” ad has been criticised as being just as prejudiced as one which says “No Coloureds Please” or some similar phrase. We printed the former, we refused the latter.

We feel that the “Young, black gay” ad indicates a preference, just as someone does if they say “I want to meet a rock music freak” or “well-built, bearded men”, which is not the same thing as excluding one specific group. If every ad had to avoid all statements which indicated preference, ads would be both unreadable and pointless.

Some people feel hurt by ads which say “no effeminates” and we have also been accused of age-ism, because readers feel excluded by phrases like ‘young and dolly preferred’. All we can say is that if someone advertises with us, it’s pointless unless they say what kind of person they want to meet, it’s pie in the sky to imagine that everyone can get on with everyone else, and if some of us aren’t young and dolly’ too bad – there’s a lot of things that improve with age!

A Reminder

We are sure that most of you have now realised that Gay News is a completely independent newspaper. But unfortunately some of you are still under the impression that we are connected with one or more of the gay organisations that are operative in this country. We are not.

Gay News is an independent, unaffiliated newspaper for gays of all sexes. We are in no way involved with Gay Liberation Front, Campaign for Homosexual Equality, Scottish Minorities Group, National Federation of Homophile Organisations, or any of the other movements, organisations or associations.

We are, of course, sympathetic to some of the views of these ‘campaigns’ and ‘fronts’ etc., but their doctrines and ideals in no way influence the editorial policy of this paper.

We will print news and run features on what these organisations are up to. But these will take their place alongside what other gay people are doing and are involved in.

Gay News, once again, is an independent newspaper for all gays, and we would consider ourselves a failure if we ever departed from this position.