Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.
May I address, through your correspondence columns, an open letter to people who place contact ads in Gay News?
To fail to reply to a personal letter is always churlish; to indulge in this kind of rudeness from the sheltered anonymity of a box-number is also cowardly; but to treat with such craven discourtesy one who has taken the trouble to answer your advertisement and has gone so far as to give you his address or telephone number, in an attempt as sincere as your own to find a friend through the columns of Gay News, is something worse than either rudeness or cowardice — it is callous.
Most of us who read this paper have experienced in one form or another the callous treatment of the gay minority by the straight majority; most of us have suffered from it to some extent and have felt it harsh and unjust. Now if we are to bring about a change in the attitude of the majority, should we not begin by treating one another as gently and thoughtfully as we can?
The Gay News collective takes an obvious risk in running the ‘illegal page’ to fulfill a social need; similar, though slighter risks are taken by those who answer your contact ad. So however little you may fancy some of the people who write to you, it would be kind to remember that they are responding to the same need as your own, and to treat them not as objects to be selected or discarded on a supermarket shelf, but as people who are as human, fallible and vulnerable as yourself.
That being said, I feel our thanks are due to Gay News collective for applying themselves with sustained courage and imagination to the creation of a paper which was badly needed and has certainly become our life-line to many isolated and despairing gays.
Why Take Risks?
May I be allowed space in the correspondence featured in your very excellent periodical on intolerance in the ‘gay’ world?
Surely the majority of gay people have witnessed if not personally experienced, so many examples of intolerance that the very thought of such a ‘closed mind’ attitude is abhorrent to them.
Let us recognise, once and for all, the great differences in personality and outlook that exists in the gay world itself.
On the other hand, males, like myself, and there are a great many, who worship anything truly masculine, whether they are ‘butch’ or ‘fem’, to put it very crudely, themselves, people who find it difficult to understand how a male can be attracted to another male dressed as a female, and who consider the ageing ‘drag queen’ to be the most pitiful and repulsive sight imaginable.
On the other hand, the ‘way out’ Gay Lib type delighting in feminine dress and acting the supreme extrovert, just as sincere and profound in their beliefs, but many, many worlds apart. The great tragedy to me is that, after so much progress has been made in presenting the case of the homosexual, this is being jeopardised by the latter section expecting too much too soon.
Surely it is obvious that apart from officialdom and the ‘powers that be’ the general public, whilst being more tolerant than ever before, is not yet prepared to accept the extrovert ‘gay’.
Let us agree to consolidate our position and by keeping a sense of proportion the hoped for amend ments in the law of the land will I feel sure, take place very soon.
No doubt, in time, the extremist will even be accepted, but this will not be achieved by taking any short cuts.
For this reason only, I regret the decision of Gay News to continue printing contact ads for males in complete contravention of the law of the land at the present time. The paper is a valuable link in the fight for recognition of our little section of the community. Why take the risk of its being suppressed as so many less valuable gay mags have been?
Finally, a personal plea to fellow ‘gays’. Can we not divorce the gay scene entirely from feminine culture? After all the vast majority of true transvestites insist they are completely hetero, and there is so much attractive and varied in male dress these days, that it is not really necessary.
ED: We at Gay News consider that while so many gay men and women are isolated and lonely, it is important to offer them some means of communication with other gays. Thus the personal ads.
No Prizes Yet
Dear Gay News,
1973! A new year so a new symbol! Who won the competition for our new front page logo?
Unfortunately I am not talented enough to think up a new symbol for you, but what about those Gay News readers who did manage to put pen to paper with an idea.
Even if there was not a knock out winner, at least announce one from those that did have a go. They at least deserve that for trying.
A happy gay 1973!
L. C. K
ED: Only two people did “have a go”.
Not Only But Also
I was sorry to see in your Christmas edition (for which, by the way, many congratulations) only one letter regarding your proposed editorial policy of ceasing to report exclusively gay news, does this mean that your readers are indifferent to the contents of the paper?
Or was mine not the only objection you suppressed?
Perhaps my concluding remarks were not to your taste, regarding the actions of certain GLF radicals. If so, I can sympathise with you and realise your difficulty in trying to satisfy all factions within your pages, but nevertheless, I adamantly oppose your decision and can only reiterate my feeling that it is not unreasonable to expect to read gay news in a newspaper called Gay News.
T. R. Blackburn
ED: Gay News will occasionally feature news and features which are not directly concerned with gayness, such as articles on law, cookery, nostalgia, etc.
No Hostility, Only Liberation
Dear Gay News,
Recently I went to a club in Earls Court with a gay friend of mine. Being a somewhat ‘liberated’ woman, I have often questioned my own sexuality and society’s repressive attitudes towards sexuality in general, so I have wanted to go to a gay club for some time. But I was still filled with certain fears and fantasies left by things I’ve read or heard about these clubs. I was wrong. Luckily I didn’t go with an attitude of sociological observation, but on an evening when Peter and I had been gloriously eating and drinking and just wanted to dance. We had a great time and these impressions organised themselves in my head afterwards.
First I had been afraid that I would experience a feeling of rejection and/or hostility. I feared a ‘what the hell are you doing here’ response or a sense of my own awkwardness, in being out of place. No such problem. I felt no hostility whatsoever from the men. In fact, I felt a greater sense of liberation in my dancing. The music was fantastic and I enjoyed moving my body with a new spontaneity, knowing I wasn’t going to be seen just as a sex object and knowing that I wasn’t going to trap myself with any seductive games. I knew the men who did watch me dance were admiring my form of movement and not thinking they could screw me.
Second I had feared that I might feel sexually rejected watching men relate only to each other. Wrong again. I equally enjoyed watching them dance for the beauty of their movement without seeing them only as sex objects. The guys were really physically attractive, but I didn’t have to want to screw them to appreciate their maleness.
Third, I had been afraid of the competitive tense atmosphere I might find. I didn’t find any. Sure, there were people standing around waiting to meet someone, but there seemed to be a give and take of dance partners without the intense isolation you sometimes find in heterosexual clubs. It was difficult to talk to people because of the loud pulse of music, but that is a natural problem. Several guys who knew my friend came up to talk to us, not snubbing because he was with a woman. The feeling was relaxed.
This was just one experience with one club, but it was a very positive one that I’d like to share with the people who are always criticising, and I’d like to thank the gay society for giving me a new perspective of life.
Liaison and Toleration
Dear Gay News,
Thanks a million for GN 12, which I would like to remind my fellow readers, is available at the CHE London Information Centre.
Among the letters in this issue is one headed ‘No GLF at CHE’. I share Teck Ong’s opposition to the removal of GLF literature from the centre, but would like to get a few facts straight.
The London Information Centre costs a lot of money to run. But, like Gay News, it is there, and please God it will stay there. What money is provided comes from members of CHE. Some members of London CHE rightly or wrongly felt that undue space was given to Gay Lib Literature and that this might have an adverse affect on what is the primary function of LIC, to recruit and maintain membership. Before you scream, don’t forget that it’s the members that pay the rent.
GLF literature was never in fact removed from LIC. Taken off display — yes, but it was still available. Remember there are a lot of people that could do much good for (and be done much good by) an organisation like CHE, but who would be frightened away for good if they saw in CHE’s London office a surfeit of Gay Lib Badges, Manifestoes and the like.
Now, though, GLF literature is back on display alongside literature of other gay organisations — and commercial ventures. Certainly it hasn’t got pride of place, but neither has CHE’s in Caledonian Road.
I am glad it’s back. I hope now we shall see a continued liaison and communication between GLF and CHE. Surely we can tolerate each other — there are too many against us already. Finally I would like to ask CHE in future to get things right first time, fight for the right to love, but please, please, please don’t forget to use it.
Racist Despite Rationalisation
Dear Gay News,
By definition and operation, discrimination favouring a disadvantaged minority racially defined, is racist no matter how well Jim Scott (GN12) rationalises it. It’s a commonplace, flabby, liberal concept that originates from a subjective and erroneous view that the values of the host community have a higher intrinsic quality than those of the minority group, and that the minority therefore aspires to them. Such a belief allows the possibility of avoiding the more serious and difficult problem of creating a truly multiracial society. The confusion in the liberal arises from a failure to distinguish between intrinsic qualities and social values. Its most obvious contemporary manifestation in capitalist society is the growth of a black bourgeoisie. Our failure to acknowledge the existence and the necessary of distinctive cultural patterns, which this concept of multiracialism through ‘positive legislation’ encourages, will exacerbate the problem and delay the desired non-discriminatory society we should all look forward to.
Racism has assisted in the process of alienating man from man (and woman from woman), begun by the concept of property in alienating man from his labour. In its evolution the demands of the market have desocialised human beings and transformed them into genital oriented, desexualised caricatures of the original. In white society it gave birth to the still prevalent view that black people — the blacker and the more negroid the better – are supremely endowed and sexually more virile. In this atmosphere, it is possible to identify racism as just another form of sexual desire; it makes feasible use of ethnic characteristics as objects of sexual stimulation. It is the basis of a confused rationalism like Jim Scott’s, that assesses one’s colour black, white, yellow or red, as simply another sexual attribute in common with big cocks, opulent arses, hairy bodies, etc, etc. He extends this insult to equating a cultural origin with leather knickers or whatever makes us horny. By implication our black brothers and sisters are of i no greater value than horse-whips or worn underwear that some of us need to turn on. While I wish Jim and his new friend lots of love, peace, happiness and fucking, I think he should ask himself if his desire for a black body originates from a white guilt complex that needs to purge itself of a traditional racism.