Editorial

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?

Mugging

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.

Christmas Edition

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.

Personal Ads

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.

Queers – ‘I’ve Done What I’ve Wanted With Them’

Brutalising, Punching, Kicking and Stabbing

An ex-queer basher, Paul, talks to Angus Suttie, David Seligman, Jeffrey Weeks and Micky Burbage.

Paul is in his late teens and has lately come to live in North London because there is no work in the large Scottish town where he comes from.

DAVID. At some time in your life, Paul, you were what is known as a queer basher. What did you used to do?

PAUL. I think in Scotland as compared to London there is a great difference in gay people, because in England they can bring themselves out a bit, more than they can in Scotland where they hide and are afraid to use any ways in life. Whereas a girl and a guy can kiss in the street, a homosexual can’t even make love in back yards or … If a cop caught you he’d love it, do you automatically or beat you up. When I was about fifteen I was what you call a queer basher. This is all made up of a bad person really, so what we used to do was use every form of violence, and the reason I’m telling you this is because now I’m living in London I believe that you have the right, as lesbians have, and because I want to help Gay News. The way I’m telling this may shock, but I think it’s my right, my prerogative to use this and let them know how I felt, how I hated them. There are a lot of different gay people in Scotland, and the reason Scotland is so bad for queer bashing is that they have no idea who’s gay (ie homosexual as opposed to pederast – ed.) so they have to confront somebody.

DAVID. Why do they feel they have to confront gay people rather than other groups of people?

PAUL. I chose queer bashing because a lot of them used young people, even kids, and this certain time I was talking to this homosexual person and he followed me, teased me. He tried, you could use the word rape. Well, I had a knife and he had a belt, so I used the knife and he used the belt. This was a violent gay person though, and what I’m trying to say is that there’s different people. There’s either gentle people, as the gay people I’m sitting here talking to at the moment, or there’s perverted homosexuals as well. I don’t know what the word is. They chase after, I don’t know if you could use the word homosexual, they chase after little children.

DAVID. They’re pederasts.

PAUL. It’s complicated you know. People think they are queer. That’s the word they use in Scotland. It’s a horrible word, but that’s the word they use, so I think that there’s different people. Maybe they know that there is a homosexual that is gentle, but they don’t seem to know that there‘s another homosexual, he’s got to hunt for them as a lover. And that’s why there’s queer bashing in Scotland. I’ve had plenty of opportunities with them, brutalising, punching or kicking or stabbing, or doing what I wanted with them.

DAVID. When you were queer bashing, what did you feel?

PAUL. That’s a thing I’m trying to get to know myself. I think it was like a trend, you know.

DAVID. You felt you had to do it because your mates did it?

PAUL. More so that I’d been pissed about by a lot of them. So I sort of hunted them. When I passed by them, they knew I’d beat them up in the streets. They can’t go to the cops. Well, they could, but they’d only charge them with something else.

DAVID. What do you think about the police attitude to gay people?

PAUL. The police are horrible people in Scotland as far as I’m concerned. I mean this is only my view. Some Scotsmen say they’re the salt of the earth or something like that; but they seem to think because they’ve got a uniform on they can knock the fuck out of you at any time.

DAVID. Have you ever been beaten up by police?

PAUL. Hundreds of times. I’ve got scars to prove it.

DAVID. When was it, after they arrested you?

PAUL. I’ll tell you. When I was in Scotland I was drunk and my brother was fighting, gang fighting. I ran to get hold of him to bring him home. Cops came and my brother swam the canal, and I couldn’t swim so I had to face them. Well, I put my hands out, so as to say, ‘Okay, I’m caught’, you know. They got their batons and they went for me. Well I lifted a stick. I thought fair enough, but my sister came running down the hill shouting ‘Leave him alone, leave him alone, leave him alone’, and this cop turned round and said, ‘Do you want it and all, you wee cow’. Well that just set me off and I hit him with the stick over the head and I got 60 days for it – imprisonment in the Young Offenders Street Institution.

DAVID. People in London don’t realise that there’s a completely different set of laws in Scotland. You can go to prison there for quite minor offences can’t you?

PAUL. Oh fuck! Different, they’re a lot

Continued on page 8

An Interview With An Ex-Queer-Basher

Continued from front page

different, David; they’re that stronger. I’ve known guys who have smashed a window by accident, and the cops have gone after them and they’ve gone to Borstal the next day. I’ve seen the way the police in Scotland have treated homosexuals. Life is hell, but there’s a lot of gentleness as well.

DAVID. You were telling me the other night about when you were in Borstal, about the way in which the warders used to tease you with cigarettes.

PAUL. Yeah, they done that as well. Monday morning, nobody’s got cigarettes, you know, and I got fed up with it. I just grabbed a fag and crumpled it. I crumpled his fag and he took us down the stairs and punched us violently. I’ve found if you face up to these people, they’re fuckers, they’re not worth it. If I put it this way, I believe that people like that go into an institution to fuck up young people, batter them every day, because they had a hard time of it when they were young. I think that’s a good explanation. And it’s the same with these cops. They’ve got a uniform. They think they’ve got the authority, ‘I’ve got a badge, it says 456 I can knock the fuck out of you’.

DAVID. Why do you think they need to do that?

PAUL. Why? Power! They have no power in their own self in civilian clothes, so they have to have it in this uniform. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde, they’re so fucking coward of their wives at home, they put on a uniform, they go out, Hyde the monster – you know. That’s exactly what it is. The fucking horns grow when they walk out the door with that uniform on. It’s the same here as well, and I think they arrest people just to get promotion, because if they bust gay people it’s a big thing. So they become sergeants at a desk and have a cushy number all their life. I think that if the people had a people’s law and a people’s government it would be a better country to live in. In other words: Fuck Edward Heath, fuck Harold Wilson, fuck all politics. Just have a union, a people. Just get them to understand that you are gay and there’s fuck-all you can do about it. Churchill was the worst swine of the lot. That ‘Young Winston’ is a load of bull, fucking rubbish. In 1926 he just shot people in the streets for having a general strike. If I wrote a book, I’d write a book for the working class to understand. I’d write it word by word in my own meaning. There are too many words they don’t want you to understand, so they put a big fucking word there. They’re trying to bend people s minds so they’ll go straight, no more unions, nothing. If you want to go to the Tories, you’ll go there. If you want to go to Labour you’ll go there. But behind the Tories there’s always the Unions. I’d go straight to the Unions for the people. I mean that Vic Feather is half mad, half brainy sort of thing. He doesn’t know what he is and he’s a Union man, and that GPO man as well, Tom Jackson. He said: Go on strike, GPO, go on strike’ but that cunt’s got a fucking Phantom 5 out there waiting for him, with a crest and a chauffeur, and those people have got to suffer on what they’ve fucking saved up

JEFFREY. Have you ever found other guys attractive?

PAUL. Aye, I’ve told you that, there’s bisexual in everybody definitely, but I’m heterosexual and that’s the way I like it, that’s the way I’ve developed. You’ve developed differently you know, and it’ll probably sound funny to people to think of a guy being in bed with another guy. I believe in God, and I believe he made you all homosexual to make a change in the world, because if everyone was the same it would be a horrible place to live. There’s got to be an individuality in sex and work and play, you know.

JEFFREY. You’ve never made any moves though. You’ve never felt you could go to bed with another guy?

PAUL. I tell you Jeff, it’s a complicated thing to be a heterosexual and have feelings for a guy, you know what I mean? I believe man is here to fuck women, not just as fucking you know. I think Womens Lib talks a lot of rubbish at times, that’s being honest with you. ***** says that I was just a prick, that men were just pricks, and I got upset with her because men have got feelings as well, and she doesn’t want you to help her. She wants independence for herself, but she couldn’t even open a window. I knew she couldn’t and I just put my hand up like that, click, and the window was open, and I was showing my superiority. That’s true. Man is stronger than Woman. Man is superior in all things. They’re the breadwinners for the house.

JEFFREY. Maybe that’s forced on them.

PAUL. Oh aye, it’s forced on me. It’ll be forced on me when I’m married. I can’t just lie there and say: ‘Fuck you hen, you get up and go to work. I’ll stay in today’. I think this should be a mediocre thing like. I stay in bed one morning, doing the housekeeping, because I can cook, and then she stays in and I go to work.

ANGUS. What would your attitude to us be if you were still in Scotland?

PAUL. I’d have put you through a window. No, I don’t know what I’d have done. I never really spoke to a homosexual in Scotland, to be friends with.

DAVID. Why do you think your attitude to homosexuals has suddenly changed?

PAUL. Because you’re all nice guys. The first time I found out you were gay I was really surprised, just surprised and you’ve got to make way for people.

JEFFREY. Do you feel out of place in a room full of gay people, like the night you came round for dinner?

PAUL. Do I fuck! I like you all. Why do you think I come in sometimes, I think you were pleased at my coming and sitting and talking. I was stoned as well. I enjoyed myself. I’d never had a quiet evening like that. Parties in Scotland, it’s a fucking battle in the house. It doesn’t seem to happen down here. They don’t have drugs at parties in Scotland.

JEFFREY. What would you do if you went back to Scotland and met some of your queer bashing friends?

PAUL. Well to tell you the truth Jeff, when I’ve been home I’ve had nothing to do with them, because I was near enough a sadist. I liked to beat people up. But the atmosphere down here has changed me. Scottish people are bad tempered for a start, we’re pushed out, we don’t count and there’s no work in Scotland. There are street gangs because there’s nothing else to do, there are no clubs.

DAVID. Do you think the Scottish people are going to do something about their conditions, like they’ve done in Northern Ireland, or do they just accept it?

PAUL. Well it’s going to happen sooner or later, because we’re being exploited. There’s going to be a civil war, because Scotland’s deprived of every means of work. What’s a working man got? He’s got 5 hours of free time perhaps. Up at 6 in the morning, start work at 8 o’ clock, and you get the same fucking bus every night, and the same people are on that bus. At the end of the day I want to kick the fuck out of something kick the bus or rip the seats.

MICKY. What would have happened to a boy at your school who was gay?

PAUL. I’d have thrown him over the wall, leave him for the dogs. That’s honest to God. I think if I was gay I’d learn to defend myself for a start. When I was about 15 I went to live in **** there was a gang there, feuds. I decided to be like the Jones’ you know … I was at this place **** and I got the bus home. There was this guy who was gay, and he was saying, ‘Do you want a sweet?’ Come with me and have a good time sort of thing. I had this pen-knife in my pocket, and if you’ve got fear in you, your hands sweat and holds on to it.

DAVID. Why did he frighten you so much?

PAUL. Because the guy persevered. He wouldn’t fuck off. When I got off the bus he followed me in the dark, and he stood with his penis at me. Well I was old enough to understand, so I pulled my knife at him. He was about 24, 25. Young, well dressed, good looking guy. I just pulled the knife out and fucking used it on him. I ran away. I was terrified. I knew I’d hurt that guy, but I think he would have harmed me a lot … fucked my life up, I might have been frightened to have sex with a woman.

DAVID. You don’t think you could have been happy as a gay person?

PAUL. I couldn’t have faced it – in Scotland especially. There’s a gay scene in Scotland but it’s a very CIA sort of thing. If a cop finds out you re gay and you’ve got a gay community like a pub, he’ll fucking wreck it, and you too. A lot of Scottish people would accept it, but I’m talking about my side, the working class. My brother would do me in, but my other 2 brothers, if they knew I was talking to you they’d tell me to fuck on do it. I think my old man is like me. He accepts things, he never says to me ‘fucking queers’. I get on fucking horrible with my father though. I’m his number one son sort of thing. He’s afraid of me you know. I used to see him beating up my mother and spending the money. We’d be starving. She’d have to get credit in the shops to live, and work for a pittance to pay it off.

JEFFREY. Is it only because we act fairly straight that you can accept us? Would you feel embarrassed with someone who was obviously gay, feminine looking or wearing a GLF badge?

PAUL. I wouldn’t be embarrassed. I’d get used ot it. I’d make myself get used to it.

JEFFREY. You don’t ever think you’ll sleep with a guy and have sex?

PAUL. No, but I suppose I’ve got feelings for guys as well as women. Everyone has times when they’re bisexual. They must have, because I think you can get bored with a woman. I’m only generalising it.

JEFFREY. What would happen if you got married and had kids. What would you say to them about gay people and sex?

PAUL. I’d wait until they were old enough and I’d tell them. I’ve got a friend in London and his kid’s only 2 and he made him stand there and watch his mother having the baby and explained it to him, which I think is fucking amazing, and she was breast-feeding in front of me. I think that’s nice, freedom of the body.

DAVID. What would you do if you had three sons, and one of them was 16 and came to you and said he was gay?

PAUL. I’d say ‘You think about it and tell me again, and if you are gay that’s the way it is’. I think I would accept it because I wouldn’t talk to you if I couldn’t accept one of my sons being gay. When I was younger I had a relation. It was my uncle’s father and he was bi-sexual. He had a beautiful wife, lovely daughters and good looking sons, and maybe he was not bi-sexual when he got married. Young people turn older bi-sexuals on, you know, but as far as he got was opening my zip and pulling my penis. I couldn’t put myself to the point of going to bed with him. I was younger then, thirteen.

MICKY. You enjoyed it as far as it went?

PAUL. As far as it went.

DAVID. Is there something you’d particularly like to say to end the interview?

PAUL. That if you were liberated and the people were liberated from society as it is now, it would be a better world.

Increasing Violence Against Gays

“What Are We Going To Do About It?”

03-197207XX-04Gay Lib hold regular dances in London, and most of them nowadays are at Fulham Town Hall. They are openly advertised and open to all and this combination of factors has led to troubles which may mean the end of dances at Fulham.

The trouble has been caused by local louts who seem to think that queer-bashing and baiting is a fun way to round off an evening out. At the last two dances there have been bunches of them hanging around outside, especially towards the end of the dance and attempts have been made to dissuade them from causing trouble, but without success. In part this would seem to be a result of the tacit support they receive from the local police.

One guy in drag is standing at the entrance to the hall when some of these kids come by and start to make fun of him. “You a fellah? Show us your cock then!” So, entering into the spirit of things, he does. They then try to start a fight because he flashed his cock in front of ‘their’ girls (jealous, perhaps?).

Later on, same evening. Two guys leave hand in hand. From across the road a group jeers and one or two of them throw things. It looks as if they might attack. So our intrepid twosome take the offensive, and chase them off, brandishing milk bottles. As the group disappears, they turn back and head for the station, returning the bottles to their crate. Very shortly after this, they are arrested by the ever-vigilant local constabulary for possessing offensive weapons.

Meanwhile, on the station platform, another guy has been attacked by a different group of boys.

The following week the attitude of the police becomes clearer. Once again there are groups of little ‘toughs’ hanging round outside the hall. With the previous weekly incidents in mind, someone calls the police to move them away. A squad car, complete with uniformed inspector, arrives and shoos them away. They then park discreetly nearby. Three guys leave for the station, and as they cross the road, the gang reappears. Two run, one of them decides to make a stand; he receives one severely blacked eye, and a cut needing four stitches just under the other. One of the gang has a sleeve torn from his coat, another, a lapel. At this late stage, the same squad car reappears, and the gang hastily departs. The police display their usual zeal in pursuing the formalities but do not pursue the gang. “Oh, it’s another gay dance – we always have trouble at these gay dances” . . . . . . and asking the guy who has blood mining down his face “It’ll have to be a clearer description than that!” They are about to leave when the opportunity for the clearest description possible arises – the gang reappears. They are pointed out to the police, who question them, but let them go. “They say they just off a bus.” – in spite of their clearly damaged clothing. The police then leave, and our friend goes to hospital to have his face stitched.

In order to make sure the coast is clear, someone takes a walk to make sure the gang has gone. They haven’t gone very far they – and apparently laughing and joking with the policemen. In anger he shouts out to the effect that ‘these pigs are supposed to protect people, and here they are having a laugh with the ones who caused all the trouble’. In a flash he is surrounded by policemen, and arrested for insulting behaviour and breach of the peace – surrounded by so many policemen that they can’t all fit into the squad car, and some of them are detailed to hoof it back to the station.

So that leads on to a few questions. To the police – “Who’s side are you on?” And to the gay community generally – “What are we going to do about it?”

Youths went Queer Bashing

01-197205XX 3It’s still happening. Punch ball ‘poofs’ – deflating prancing ‘queens’ with sheath knives. It’s only ‘one of them’ so what’s so had about “conspiring together to cause grievous bodily harm to persons unknown”. And especially to 30 year old Patrick Dobson who was beaten about the head with a “lump of wood” whilst being stabbed.

Seven 14 to 16 year old youths, products of a world when childish illusions disappear quickly, were charged at Brighton juvenile court with murderously assaulting this latest victim.

Patrick was yet another casualty of the constant practice of ‘queer bashing’. This sort of action by silly little boys and their contemporaries is very hard to take and more so because there is very little that gays, let alone the judicial authorities, can do about it. Or so it seems.

Obviously, probation and borstals are not the answer. For the magistrates they are the punishments to be dealt out to the few who get caught. What then is the answer to this particularly distressing subject? And remember, all male homosexuals are vulnerable to being confronted by a troop of ‘queer bashers’.

There is no immediate solution. But wouldn’t a possible beginning to finding one be a more thorough investigation into the reasons why such events take place? Isn’t part of the answer in the whole way homosexuality, amongst other things, is ‘treated’ by the police, the courts, the medical profession, the education system, to name just a few of the institutions that make up our society. Doctors receive usually half an hour’s instruction on how to ‘deal’ with ‘sexual deviants’; the police’s attitude towards gays is as misinformed as most heterosexuals; ‘queers’ to the courts are just another nuisance like traffic offenders; and where, except in the most progressive schools, is

subject of homosexuality discussed or examined?

Patrick, hopefully, will receiver from his injuries and return to living with no serious mark on his personality. But we’ll probably never know. One can be certain though that this assault will not be the last. We will read about another such incident fairly soon in another paper, and maybe the victim won’t be so lucky, like Michael de Gruchy. Or maybe fate will be even more vicious as in the case of the gay on Wimbledon Common who fought back against the torments and threats of a police officer and another man, who along with their wives, had a distorted idea of after-eleven-o’clock-closing-time-fun. But that time the tables were turned and the gay stupidly lost control, which ended with the manslaughter of the off-duty-out-of-uniform police officer.

We gays must fight back against the violent pressures put upon us by society, of course without the weapons sometimes used against us, but with justified anger at society’s failure, up to now, to deal with and protect us from such atrocities as ‘queer bashing’.