“I BELIEVE THESE LAWS WILL BE CHANGED AND THAT WHEN MY CHILDREN ARE GROWN UP THEY WILL BE AMAZED THAT LAWS OF THIS SORT COULD HAVE EXISTED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 20th CENTURY” – MARQUESS OF QUEENSBURY, HOUSE OF LORDS, MAY 1965. (GRANDSON OF PROSECUTOR OF OSCAR WILDE)
One English doctor told his patient to lie on the couch and loosen his clothing. “Then he passed his hands over me, telling me to think beautiful thoughts and forget my evil actions.” Another English doctor told the patient “to pull up my socks, find myself a nice girl and get married,” while the advice of a third to the patient whom he described to his face as ‘namby pamby’, was to get a piece of paper and draw pictures of nude women.” No wonder the patient thought the doctor was “off his rocker.”
These descriptions, taken from The Other Love, by Harford Montgomery Hyde, first published in 1970 and now republished in paperback by Mayflower books, gives an idea of some of the problems facing us still in 1972. They are taken from The Contemporary Scene, the first chapter in the book, where Mr. Montgomery Hyde gives an idea of the various problems that still exist for the homosexual, even though the law has ostensibly changed; that is of course for those of us living in England or Wales, who are not in Her Majesty’s Forces and are over twenty one. In a recent issue of Gay News this book was described by one of our Scottish gay friends as sadly uncontemporary. This is, I think, a little unfair. Mr. Montgomery Hyde is a writer of some standing whose fight for legal reform, particularly in connection with the abolition of capital punishment and homosexual law reform, has made sure that he is very well informed as to specific cases of ill treatment or discrimination by ‘the law’. The case histories, of people who have written to various organisations for help, all of them sadly depressing, are still with us and just as ‘contemporary’ as they were two years ago.
The greatest criteria for judging this ‘Survey of Homosexuality’, is of course to ask “What or who is it for?”‘
This book is really an amalgam of a whole series of books and reports on the subject, giving information about how the legal restrictions came about and showing us a little of our history which for a long time has been conveniently swept under the carpet.