Something Nasty In The Non-Fiction

LONDON: It’s hardly surprising that the majority of libraries in Great Britain refuse to carry gay newspapers or magazines when you consider the sort of bigoted attitude that emerged in a letter to the Librarians’ Association Record in the latter part of last year.

John Noyce, who writes a column on magazines librarians might be interested in, for another paper, the Assistant Librarian, innocently said: “As usual, the British alternative press papers seem to be following their American counterparts. The general papers are in difficulties – Seven Days and Ink gone, Frendz and IT are in financial troubles – but the sectional papers grow ever more numerous.”

Then he listed Spare Rib, and Gay News, along with GIN, Lunch, SMG News, Arena Three and Sappho.

Little did he know there was something pretty vicious waiting in the non-fiction section. A librarian wrote in to say: “In the August issue of Assistant Librarian, a contributor lists for our special benefit or enlightenment (I’m nor sure which) an extraordinary catalogue of recent outlandish periodicals, the very latest from the front line of the sexual revolution, suitable, perhaps, for educated perverts and emancipated Bohemians, as well as Lesbian librarians with doubts about their masculinity, and, of course, any pouffes-in-boots and beyond-the-fringe eccentrics floating around the outer reaches of cosmopolitan professional librarianship, but to the membership at large, of no use, one would have thought, whatsoever, unless, in the present phase of cultural pollution, we are to be credited with the same tastes.” And so he goes on. And on. Quoting George Bernard Shaw and T S Eliot. He’s read them!

With a wonderful old-fashioned hatred like that, a man could get a job with the Festival of Light.

Gay Deceivers

I’ll take peoples’ prejudices – up to a point, because of my own. A healthy prejudice is as integral to character as kindness. What I WON’T take is the furred mind of the holy heterosexual pontificating virtuously without being aware of his own pernicious immorality of the double standard society. THE OBSERVER – that great platform of Liberal philosophy will not ‘accommodate’ a classified ad for Sappho Magazine. THE SUNDAY TIMES – that trendy sparkling weekly won’t print the word ‘gay’ in the classified ad column to describe Sappho magazine. So single shot men write for a copy imagining it to be a pix magazine. The women we wish to subscribe ignore the ad for the same reason

THE STAGE AND TELEVISION TODAY refused our ad as the managing director Frank Comerford explains: ‘We receive quite a number of requests to include advertisements for publications with a pornographic content or inviting indiscriminate social introductions. It is true that many respectable papers do have a more permissive policy but we take the view that these advertisements do not enhance our paper. We cannot be involved in too much detailed argument as to the content of individual publications that come within a broad description of homosexual magazines. I know that you have a more serious purpose and that it is not your policy to include pornographic material, but I am afraid that insertion of any copy which might be useful to you would make it much more difficult for us to sustain our policy and involve us in arguments out of all proportion to the value of the advertising…’

LET’S LOOK AT THE ADS THE STAGE WILL PRINT:

WANTED Topless Go-Go dancers, striptease artists. Top rates.

Actress/Dancer required for Broadway and Road show in America. Very good figure to appear semi-nude.

ASTOR CLUB, Berkeley Square. All types of acts required. Striptease, Belly dancers.

Topless Go-Gos if you want extra work with hotel and travel paid

Respectable young ladies as dancing partners. No previous experience necessary … and so on and so on …

A well-sustained policy of indiscriminate social introductions would you say?

Fully clothed lesbians advertising a non-prurient magazine are filthy. Nude boobs, belly buttons and bottoms servicing jaded late-night society in the crudest manner imaginable is clean living. The most vicious in their self-righteousness is a particular type of female het. One example is in an Adoption Society. She used the most unchristian language at the mere IDEA of female homosexuals adopting children.

Another owns Bensons Newsagent in Crawford Street, London. In front of her mother, her husband and several customers she flew into a foaming fit about Sappho magazine without even opening it. “Filthy … it’s dirt … disgusting people get out of my shop …” which was stuffed with distorted boobs, belly buttons and bottoms . . Come again, Comerford:

‘On the more general point you asked for a responsible attitude and I feel that there is more than one way to demonstrate this. The problem of homosexuals are reflected in much theatrical material with which we are concerned and I think you would be hard put to detect any bias or unwillingness to deal with these matters in so far as they are relevant.’

I fail to see the relevance of straight actors playing gays for public entertainment compared with the REALITY OF LIVING LESBIANS which is not reflected in any responsible way by society.

Responsible attitudes are demonstrated every which way in the prevailing double standard morality by the peddling of pornography (including homosexuality) for a heterosexual market to the exclusion of non-prurient homosexual publications.

Porno comes from the Greek meaning harlot. Pornocracy means dominant influence of harlots, especially in government in Rome in the tenth century. Today the pornocracy of the presstocracy is only too evident.

Sapphonic Success

Sappho had a ball on Saturday! Sounds like a line from a dirty song, but actually it describes the party organised by Sappho magazine at the Marquis of Cornwallis pub in Coram St on Oct 8.

There was a friendly disco, superb hot food in generous helpings, an efficient bar service, a prize treasure hunt over a map of Lesbos (where else?) and a happy, dancing crowd of Sappho subscribers from all over Britain, with a sprinkling of friends from CHE. It was the most relaxed crowd of gays I’ve seen for a long time, and the intrepid male Gay News reporter who went with me agreed: “It’s good to get away from staring lines of men clutching their drinks and watching each other” he opined.

Earlier in the evening Maureen Duffy read some of her poems, which we missed. As latecomers we were not allowed in for fear of disturbing the reading. Who would attempt to argue with the divine Jackie Forster, guardian of the peace, but two small doubts – do poetry and a dancing-and-drinking evening mix, and might I have fled the pub if I’d mustered the courage to arrive alone, and then been asked to wait downstairs in the pub for half an hour?

This is in no way a detraction from the success of the evening, well deserved by all the Sapphos involved – when’s the next one?

S.J.P

ED: See the details of Sappho meetings and magazine subscription on the information page.

Platform Wreathed With Flowers

03-197207XX-03Che’s all-London Congress could, depending on your standpoint, be regarded as a success. Quite a few ideas were aired, there was none of the tension that has sometimes characterized previous mass meetings. The platform had been wreathed with flowers. Maybe thats why. About 200 people turned up and sat in grave rows in the Holborn Assembly Rooms. Gavin chaired alone, deciding (rightly) we could do without a line of glum celebrities flanking him.

Most of the time was spent discussing the Che club. The establishment of a nation-wide series of non-profit making, well equipped clubs for homosexual men and women is one of Che’s prime aims. It looks as though it is up to London Che to do it being bigger and therefore richer (though not necessarily wiser) than the provincial groups.

The treasurer told us early that the Building Fund now stood at £449.96. A great deal of discussion ensued about priorities – that is, should this club start right off as a sort of C.O.C. enterprise, or was the acquisition of a small permanent office more important just now? David Bell claimed that the Che club would “be the one thing that Che is known for the world over”. Gavin decided it was not very rewarding to look to Europe where things were different and had been so for some lime.

A few lone voices expressed doubt about the wisdom of apparently competing with existing gay clubs, and someone else told us to avoid the church hall syndrome since members wouldn’t come to meetings.

However, this wasn’t exactly supported as the entire meeting heavily agreed that they would attend Che meetings no matter where they were held. The temperature rose just before half time when one guy, obviously cheesed off with the debating stood up and threw a 50p piece on the floor and bullied everyone to do the same. His idea was action now and to hell with the chat. His enthusiasm was partly infectious as that little episode added an instant £70.86 to the Building Fund.

There was some inconclusive chat about Che’s central London groups and the growing number of local ones. We heard that gramophone enthusiasts, poetry-lovers, drama-buffs, car rally maniacs, musical souls, sporting types were now being catered for by a series of groups set up to pursue these hobbies. There was to be a choir as well, and a sports club. And a dining club.

The assembly was intended to provide an opportunity for members to sound off about Che, to criticize and make suggestions. So the larger part of time was spent, inevitably, on internal topics. But the meeting was opened and closed by discussion of more general and more relevant topic. Immediately the dynamic Jacquie Forster of Sappho harrangued the meeting about male-domination of Che. “Do you spend any time at all thinking about Lesbians?” she cried, “equality must mean more girls in Che”. And we agreed. There was, she added, no evidence of any campaigning activities. And why not? The IT case was touched upon, but briefly with a reminder that a great many people had written letters to all sorts of publications and indeed, that week Che had scored highly with letters published.

Altogether the meeting produced a tremendous feeling of unity, enthusiasm and confidence that in London Che is doing the right thing and beginning to do it rather well.

Your Letters

02-197206XX 8ALL LETTERS RECEIVED BY GAY NEWS ARE LIABLE TO BE PUBLISHED UNLESS YOU STATE OTHERWISE.


BCM/PETREL
London WC1.
24th June 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Yesterday I was able to by Gay News AT LAST. It was worth waiting for. The look of it is very professional and the content positive and provocative. Long may you continue and prosper.

Re your Speak-Easy spat. Sappho was invited too and I was the ‘wise child’ who asked the producer if he was gay. For someone who is forty plus I found this an excuse for an elegant ego-trip! We were under the impression as the recording was being held in the National Youth Clubs Centre we would have had the stimulating experience of discussing homosexuality with young people. To discover that the audience for the programme was also the tight little group of homosexuals representing various gay organisations was a big sell and the closet atmosphere of the ‘studio’ did not enhance the occasion. This was no jault of the gays present but the responsibility of those organising the programme. To segregate homosexuals from heterosexuals is absolutely against the aims and objects of Sappho. However we stayed because the opportunity for peak time programming for homosexuals is non-existant. Hearing the programme afterwards certainly made it worthwhile because we sounded like a large audience as well as sounding off. Sappho has made a large number of new contacts, who were despairing and isolated. I must take issue with Doug Pollard glossing over the GLF scene on the previous Speakeasy programme about homosexuality. GLF were totally disruptive – or I should say one or two individual members of GLF were – to the exclusion of other gays getting a word in. I admire so much that GLF does and contribute to many of their actions and am present at their demonstrations, but I despair of those individuals whos turn up at events organised by others than GLF is quite understandable and was caused by rogue members of GLF themselves.

Thank you for advertising Sappho on your back information page. May I point out that we are a magazine not a paper. We also hold meetings every first Monday in the month at the Museum Tavern 7.30pm Upstairs room, Great Russell Street, London WC1 and all women are welcome to hear speakers. discuss the magazine and air their own views. The price for individual copies has gone up to .25p plus postage, but the subscriptions remain the same, £1.50 for 6 months, £3.00 for 12 months including postage.

Love and peace
Jackie Forster
Editor of SAPPHO

 

Birmingham.
23rd June, 1972.

Dear Gay News Staff & Friends,
Your newspaper gave me delightful reading, as it was in good taste and good sense.

It is a welcome newspaper, as in todays society a needed source.

All the best of luck in the future.

Mis P.A…………

 

London N.W.3.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
Thank you for the letter and please pass on my thanks to all the staff of Gay News. I bought a copy yesterday and read it through twice and enjoyed it immensely. I intend to send you my subscription at the end of the week, to make sure (in a little way) that Gay News carries on.

It is very good that Gay People, like myself, have now got their own paper. Cheers.

Love Nick C…………

P.S. Liked the ads.

 

London W.2.
20th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I have frequently wondered about Gay News, because as a ‘local’ I often pass 19 London St. and now the Evening Standard has confirmed my suspicions. I am delighted! I should be pleased to hear about your activities and I should also like to become an immediate subscriber to Gay News.

Ian M…………

 

Middlesex.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Gay News,
I was rather touched by your letter to the editor of the ‘Evening Standard’, in which you aptly referred to ‘Lords in Clash on Gay Advert’, and wish to take out a personal advertisement in Gay News, but I am rather haunted and terrified if possible blackmail, Is there any way to eliminate the risk if blackmail in this respect?

Also, I would very much like to obtain a copy of your latest edition of Gay News, and would be very grateful for any help you may render in this respect.

S.A…………

 

Sussex.
23rd June, 1972

Dear All at G.N.,
Have just received my first copy of Gay News. I found it very interesting with varied reading for all.

How about a monthly crossword? And might I suggest that you write to all or some of the County Councils and see if they will take out subscriptions for their library reading rooms, and so put G.N. along-side the national papers etc.? I will be contacting my local council to see if we can put it in our library, and will send you their reply.

Look forward to number two, keep up the GOOD work. Will also send you a donation in due course.

Norman R………………

 

There was no address,
and we couldn’t read
the postmark.
27th June, 1972.

Dear Boys,
I am very disappointed with Gay News, and before you can expect to build up a ‘readership’ you’ll have to not only improve your articles, but also employ an on-the-ball proof reader.

The quality of the paper is good, and I have no doubt that everyone worked extremely hard – but such co-operation and talent (?) you must be capable of doing better.

Look forward to issue no.2 before subscribing.

Yours etc.
Paul X.

P.S. Incidentally – should any of your readers be holidaying in Marbella (Spain) there are two bars worth visiting – Cozzi’s International and El Boccacio.

 

Other Gay Papers

02-197206XX 11

  • GAY INTERNATIONAL NEWS.
    An international forum from Gay Liberation Front. Price 5p. (8p by post). Monthly. Available direct from GLF (London), 5 Caledonian Road, London N.1. Tel: 01-837 7174
  • LUNCH.
    An independant magazine, edited by members of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Price 20p (25p in shops or by post). Monthly. Available direct from Lunch Magazine, 23 Avon Court, Keswick Road, London SW15 2JU.
  • COME TOGETHER.
    The mouth piece of Gay Liberation Front. Price 5p (8p by post). Out ever four to six weeks. Available direct from G.L.F. (London), 5 Calendonian Road, London N.1. Tel: 01-837 7174.
  • SMG NEWS’.
    Monthly newsletter from Scottish Minorities Group. Free, but send S.A.E. Available direct from S.M.G., 214 Clyde Street, Glasgow G1 4JZ
  • ARENA THREE.
    Published under licence from Esme Langley. A gay womens’ magazine. Price 25p. Monthly. Available direct from Majorie Bryanton, BCM/Sea Horse, London W.C.1. Tel: 01-734 5588
  • SAPPHPO.
    An independent gay womens’ magazine. 25p. Monthly. Available direct from Sappho, Publications Ltd., BCM/Petrel, London W.C.1.

Your Letters

01-197205XX 5Dear Gay News,

Absolutely delighted to hear about Gay News! Please find enclosed subscription for 10 issues and accept all my good wishes for the success of the paper.

I haven’t much news to give you at the moment, none worth printing anyway as I am at present trying to get the group organised. Things are a bit quiet in this “respectable” seaside town and any leafletting, campaigning, etc., has to be done by myself at the moment, if you’ll forgive the cliche it’s like trying to swim through porridge!! To give you an example of the social atmosphere you might be interested to know that when the local Odeon showed “Sunday Bloody Sunday” there were loud gasps when Murray Head went to bed with Peter Finch, about half a dozen people walked out! Incredible, isn’t it’?

I intend to make enquiries at the library this weekend as to their stocks of books regarding homosexuality and whether I can put some leaflets and a CHE poster on their noticeboard keep your fingers crossed!

Anyway, if I do have any interesting news you can be sure I will send it on for your consideration, in the meanwhile good luck to Gay News.

Love, Brian Hart.
Folkstone

 

Dear Gay News,

Sorry! I do not really feel like helping with Gay News. I do agree that “it is high time that we had reliable and entertaining news and information for the four million or so homosexuals in this country”. But I do think that it is high time that such information, news, etc., was part of the ordinary press.

Yours sincerely, Tim Beaumont
(Lord Beaumont of Whitley)

 

Dear Gay News,

Just to wish you luck with Gay News and share the tension for new ventures. So I enclose a Sappho magazine and wondered if we could have an exchange deal. What I mean is instead of subscribing to each other just send our copies to each other.

Please let me know if you think this is an idea worth following.

Yours sincerely, Mrs. Jacqueline Forster
Editor

 

Dear Friends,

………………….We wish you every success with the Herculean task you have set yourselves.

Willy Snippe
Foreign Committee of C.O.C.

 

Dear Mr. Seligman,

Thank you for your letter. But I cannot honestly say that I like the idea of Gay News. I am against making homosexuals into a group on their own. The whole point is that they are just human beings like anyone else, and to as it went publicise them can do them no good and can in certain circumstances do them harm.

You must realise, as I am sure you do, that there is still a strong prejudice – and indeed always will be – against the homosexual, and to try and make something special out of them can only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds which persist.

Do not please regard this as in any way a hostile letter. If I were hostile towards homosexuals I would not have introduced my bill. It is just that I am not in agreement with you over the tactics required to improve their sociological and spiritual position.

Sincerely,
Arran

We may not have much in Hemel Hempstead folks, but we’ve got a real live earl!

Earl of Arran of the Evening News

Other Gay Papers

01-197205XX 11

  • GAY INTERNATIONAL NEWS.
    An international forum from Gay Liberation Front. Price 5p. (8p by post). Monthly. Available direct from GLF (London), 5 Caledonian Road, London N.1. Tel: 01-837 7174
  • LUNCH.
    Journal of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Price 10p. Monthly. Available direct from Lunch, 25 Upper Montagu Street, London W1H 1RQ.
  • COME TOGETHER.
    The mouth piece of Gay Liberation Front. Price 5p (8p by post). Out ever four to six weeks. Available direct from G.L.F. (London), 5 Calendonian Road, London N.1. Tel: 01-837 7174.
  • SMG NEWS’.
    Monthly newsletter from Scottish Minorities Group. Free, but send S.A.E. Available direct from S.M.G., 214 Clyde Street, Glasgow G1 4JZ
  • ARENA THREE.
    Published under licence from Esme Langley. A gay womens’ magazine. Price 25p. Monthly. Available direct from Majorie Bryanton, BCM/Sea Horse, London W.C.1. Tel: 01-734 5588
  • SAPPHO.
    An independent gay womens’ paper. 20p. Monthly. Available direct from Sappho, Publications Ltd., BCM/Petrel, London W.C.1.