One of the main criticisms we receive of our editorials is that they are usually about the same subject from issue to issue. Whilst we try to avoid being boring, we cannot help but be repetitious. This is because so many of the points continually mentioned are concerned with the livelihood and the expansion of the paper. If we keep on appealing, it’s because we really have to. So next time you realise you are reading something which is more or less the same as words which appeared in a previous issue, please remember that the help we are asking for is really needed and situation mentioned hasn’t improved overnight.
Just for a change though, we would like to include a few other things in this issue’s editorial, that are not directly associated with the internal running or survival or Gay News.
Age Of Consent
Firstly, you may have read that people of eighteen (who can also vote, marry without parental consent, drink alcohol, die for their country, etc) will soon be called to do jury duty. Not all of you may agree with this, but it’s going to happen. We think at GN that it is an important advancement. But what this new social development brings to our minds is the fact that people on reaching the magic age of eighteen can do everything an ‘adult’ can, except in one area. Male homosexuals still cannot choose who they make love to until they are twenty one. And that’s ridiculous. If someone is considered adult enough to condemn or release a defendant accused of a crime – which can range from murder to traffic offences – then surely they must be capable of exploring their own sexuality in whatever direction it takes them.
Surely it is time that this primitive situation was changed once and for all. And we don’t mean just settling for the age of consent being lowered to eighteen. The age should and must be sixteen, as it is with girls – for to settle for anything else would be an admission on our part that homosexuality is something different and strange. No aware homosexual can possibly think that. As we have said before in GN, not to be oneself, whether through self-denial or legal pressures, is what’s queer.
Who’s Doing Anything
Last week we tried to find out who, whether individuals or organisations, was trying to start the moves to alter the existing legislation with regard to the present age of consent. Apart from a few vague answers, we drew a blank. A very discouraging and saddening discovery. We believe that the longer this area of gay oppression remains, then the harder it will become to gain any reform. So if anyone, anywhere, is doing something about gaining the necessary changes, let us know. We will give you all the support and encouragement we can, and you are welcome to use the pages of GN to attract support and interest for your campaign. We realise that such a task is not easy. One has to get the support of many influential and sympathetic people, both in and out of Parliament. A bill has to be prepared, publicity obtained throughout the various mass medias and so on. But this is such an important matter that the amount of work involved will eventually be justified by the success of changing blind, oppressive, ignorant laws. Of course, it will be the generations that follow us who will feel the benefits of any changes, but does this mean that we should not be responsible for contributing to the advancement of society?
In most papers recently, the word ‘mugging’ has been appearing more and more frequently. Mugging is a particularly disturbing crime and its apparent rise in notoriety is cause for concern. Even the Duke of Edinburgh has described it as a ‘disease’. But the national press seems to be under the impression that this is a new phenomenon in the world of violent crime. It most certainly isn’t. Gays have been subject to mugging – or queer bashing as it is called when directed against homosexuals (both male and female) – for quite some time. As we all know, gays have been favourite victims for those wishing to use fear and brutality as their means of gaining material rewards. At times this has resulted in death or the sustaining of lifelong injuries. Also, as is more often the case, gays – because of the treatment, lack of sympathy, and half-hearted inquiries they expect from the police – have not reported robberies and violence committed against them, and subsequently we are unaware of exactly how many of these frightening crimes have gone unnoticed and unrecorded.
The exploitation of people through fear is a disgusting, obscene occurrence, and those responsible should feel the full weight of the law for such acts. Human scum such as the Kray brothers and the South London ‘Richardson Gang’ have fortunately been removed from society for some time to come. These other merchants of fear also deserve the same treatment and sentences.
So we see it as a pity when other papers pick up on mugging as if it were something new and tend to turn it into a trendy crime. They ignore or forget that some citizens for many years have been experiencing similar barbaric acts – but called by a different name – and because of social attitudes, the victims have not sought the protection or help of the law.
Gay News will be approaching Scotland Yard on their present attitudes towards homosexual victims of mugging. We hope we will receive the answers that those who live in a supposedly enlightened society will want to hear. We will also examine the attitudes of individual members of the police force and those of local police stations. In due course the results of our enquiries will appear in GN’s pages.
We hopefully expect to hear from you on these subjects. They are important to all of us and your opinions and suggestions are invaluable to both us and the people who read them, whether they are gay or heterosexual, male or female.
Please don’t forget that we need your help in getting a really good Christmas issue together. If it is to be a success, we must have your ideas, articles, suggestions, etc. Let’s make it an edition that will be well worth having around over the Christmas holidays. We can do it together.
Your personal ads keep on flowing in. We seem to print a few more with each new issue. And that’s fine with us. We’re sorry that we sometimes have to slightly amend a few of your ads, but we don’t want to invite legal proceedings against us more than we have to. The Gay News collective isn’t comprised of martyrs, just people who think contact ads are a service that is wanted by some of you. And if you take advantage of this service, good for you and the best of luck and love.
Loneliness and isolation are terrible things to endure, and if we can help remove them from people’s lives, we will. Remember too, your morality is your affair, not ours, not the Director of Public Prosecution’s, nor even The House of Lords’.
Christmas can be a very lonely period, so if you think an appropriate ad in GN may be of use in making sure that you or other gays are not alone in the season of ‘peace and goodwill’ why not send one in. We. suggest our late November issue is the most suitable to use for this purpose, as it gives people time to reply before the Christmas postal rush is on. For that issue please make sure you have your ads to us no later than 21st November. And we on our part will send off replies to your box numbers as speedily as possible.
By the way, Gay News is bought by more people than any other gay publication in this country. As a result your ads are read more than those appearing elsewhere. Don’t forget that we are the only gay publication to come out fortnightly, and a conservative estimate of our readership, as opposed to those who actually buy it, is at least thirty thousand. (This assessment is based on accepted advertising circulation figures.) No wonder some of you receive so many replies to the ads you place.