Your Letters

Worthy of our Cause

London NW5

Dear Gay News,

At last a publication worthy of our cause! Today I purchased my first copy from a news-vendor outside Tottenham Court Road underground station.

I’m both surprised and delighted. Surprised at your very high standard and delighted with the format. Since you’re gonna need all the support you can get I’m not gonna proffer any criticism. That’ll come later – when you’re solvent!

Keep up the good work. I should like to contribute an occasional feature. Without payment of course. I’m a freelance journalist and my work has been published in a variety of magazines.

Please accept my very sincere wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Jack Jacobs

Valuable To The Young

Norwich

Dear Gay News,

I am enclosing a donation to help buttress your collapsing financial structure – and prevent the contents of that egg running out of control.

I for one am most grateful for the birth and continued existence of GN. Most gay publications — the Lunch Togethers, Jeffrey Comes and CHE Ballotins of this world – leave me feeling bloody furious, for one reason or another – usually many. Not so GN. It is handsome to look at, attractive to handle, interesting in content — just like its editorial collective, no doubt. I should be very sad and disillusioned with the gay community (assuming it exists) if GN were allowed to flounder.

My chief concern is that you should remain available especially for the young reader. I often think how valuable a publication of yours would have been to me, twenty-five years ago, when I was a confused and lonely teenager. There was nothing to help/reassure then – there isn’t that much of real value now — for their sake you must go on.

Ray

Penetrating Dark Corners

JCR, University of Southampton

Dear Gay News,

I don’t imagine that you get many letters from ‘straight’ people in appreciation of your entirely gay paper. Nevertheless I think that you are doing a great job in providing this interesting, usually well written, and good humoured magazine for your regular readers. I picked up number 10 by chance in a common room here and once over the shock of seeing what it was, started to read it. Learnt a lot — which perhaps is what a lot of other ‘normal’ people should do — I certainly feel I understand a little more about the gay way of life than I did.

I hope your News will penetrate even darker corners of the heterosexual bigotry — keep up the good work.

From a surprised reader,

S. C. Loder

P.S. Hope I got the terminology right — your jargon is worse than James Burke’s!

Sensationalism or Controversy?

In your comment on the Body Politic affair you rather pompously say: ‘Investigation must be unbiased, rational, and thorough’. In a Utopian society, maybe it would be — but in ours, alas, anything that smacks of sensationalism is seized on and used as the press consider will most impress their readership. Surely the solution is simply not to publish articles like ‘Of Men And █████ Boys’ and indeed not to publish pictures of pretty █████ nude boys like you did in GN14, (any straight person seeing the front cover could only have one opinion about the tastes and desires of gay people).

My other objection was the lack of any reply to the article itself. Whilst I do not deny that an affair with an older male would probably do a boy no harm, and might even do him some good, there are two things worth remembering. Firstly if the affair is discovered and there is an almighty hoo-ha and investigation (which often happens) the experience might well leave a mark on the boy’s mind which would never be erased. Secondly, relations between men and boys can only lead, as far as the man is concerned, to frustration, anxiety, fear, self-doubt, and the danger of punishment. The only sensible advice one could give to a man who loves 14 year old boys etc is to cultivate a liking for older teenagers and men in their twenties. I believe in most cases it can be done.

As to that balls about it enriching both parties and producing tomorrow’s revolutionaries – well!

A boy of 13 who is seduced is just as likely to become a member of the Monday Club, I’d have thought. Must we always make such wild assertions without any evidence?

Yours, looking forward to an Editorial comment on the Body Politic’ affair and perhaps a slightly more balanced article on the subject of boys and men.

TS

ED: The ‘Body Politic Affair’ was controversial, admittedly, to the point of offending certain people, but part of Gay News’ function is to throw open new ideas for discussion and thought.

Tremendously Illegal

Dear Gay News.

Recently you have been talking a lot about pederasty. Well, I’m not sure if I come under that classification, but here are my problems.

I am 17 and I’m normally attracted to boys of roughly 8-18, so therefore any type of sex for me is tremendously illegal. It is very hard for boys and chics like me to make contact. We are always scared of the consequences and are often put in a predicament when older people, understandably, make passes at us. This creates feelings of guilt, anxiety, frustration and fear.

Let me state a personal incident: Some people I knew were squatting in a pre-fab due to be pulled down for a by-pass. One day myself and Sue (a Danish guy chick) were there with a █-████-███ boy who visited the pre-fab often.

The boy told us that he wanted to go to bed with me. After a little questioning we discovered that he knew what he was saying. Sue advised me that I should. But the other squatters came in so all was quiet. While people were there the boy sat in the chairs with me, with his arms around me. He did this for several days and kissed me upon entering and leaving and wanted to hold hands with me in the street (this I banned). I did not have any sex with him because the others promised some nasty happenings if I “Come the queer with any of the kids” this not only upset me but scared me terribly. They all knew I was gay yet this ‘proof’ was too much for them. Later they had the gall to say it was for my own good. They didn’t want to see me in jail.

There must be lots of boys like me who have had and are having similar problems.

This letter may not be much but I hope you’ll think about it.

Anonymous

Tricky Situation

Herts

Dear Gay News,

As a student librarian, I was interested to read your report (GN11) that Newcastle City Library had agreed to subscribe to Gay News, and similarly that Bath Municipal Libraries have refused it (GN 14).

Public Libraries have an essential role to play as agents of communication, and should act, in such a situation, as a counter to the restrictive monopolies of large organisations such as W H Smith.

On these grounds alone there is a strong argument for libraries to stock Gay News (and Sappho) since these are non-party-political, non-religious, and likely to be of help to many people.

The public librarian, however, is in a tricky situation, since he is responsible to a committee of elected councillors, who may shy away from risking complaints from the public which may endanger their political position. (This, I imagine, accounts for the ‘vetting by a senior librarian’ in Newcastle, which no doubt includes censoring the full-frontals which quite frequently appear, often unnecessarily I might add).

The image and aims of libraries are changing, slowly but surely; but we are still a long way behind the USA whose American Library Association now has a ‘Gay Liberation Group’. There is no professional contact between gay librarians in Britain at all.

I would like to hear the views of other gay librarians on these matters.

Stuart Woollard

The Support it Deserves?

Liverpool

Dear Collective,

In GN 14 the matter of money was raised no less than three times — in your Editorial, Peter Jackson’s letter, and Make or Break by Antony Grey.

Your commitment to the homosexual cause is greatly to be admired. Which of us would chuck up better paid jobs to work (very hard I’m sure) for £15 a week and with very little hope of a rise in the foreseeable future?

The financial contribution of the gay world is just not good enough. “Gay News is not out to make a profit, but cannot continue at all without adequate support.” Nice letters aren’t enough, tangible help is needed. I call upon all those that appreciate what Gay News is doing, here and now, to give it the support it deserves.

READERS: Show your appreciation by a little modest self sacrifice. Give 50% of what you spend in a week on smokes and drinks (or equivalent indulgences) to “Gay News”. Send it NOW.

To the collective I say: Put up the price forthwith to 25p — the same as Lunch charges. Quorum is twice that, so it would not be out of the way. Those who made an act of faith by making a years subscription might be asked to pay half the difference on their remaining numbers. I don’t think this would break anyone, and it should not only relieve you of the worry of not knowing where the money for the next edition is coming from, but also ensures that there IS a next edition!

I am sure that readers do not realise the urgency of your (or, one might say, OUR problems) and I write this in the hope, as an ordinary reader only,

I can emphasise the gravity of the situation.

I hope this will result in a flood of contributions!

I enclose my own, based on the above recommendation. Best wishes and good luck.

Joe Scouseland

Not Just Survive

Friend
Broadley Terrace
London W1
01-402 6345

Dear Gay News,

Talking with a group of straight social workers the other day (several of whom were middle-aged) I spoke about the problem of isolation for gay people. The older ones particularly asked how gay people can make contact let alone establish social or love relationships. We then spoke about GN, Lunch and the gay magazines. Their response was “but how do gay people know about them unless they’re already on the scene?” Their reaction was not just curiosity but meant to express sincere concern. I explained the reluctance of booksellers and newsagents to stock gay publications — unless they are purveyors of lucrative hard porn.

It is the isolated and lonely who need contact most and yet it is they whom we are least successful in reaching. That is why GN must not just survive but be much more widely available. Thus I am personally glad that you have decided to ‘tone down’ the contact ads. Though all minorities, however bizarre their tastes may seem to some of us, do need some means of meeting one another, in the present fraught legal situation there seems little alternative but to choose between catering for all needs and just some.

I have, privately to you, expressed my misgivings and concern that GN may be prosecuted for its ads, and thereby deprive gay people everywhere of a vital lifeline. I feel that I should now, publicly, add support to your decision (which will be unpopular in some quarters) and commend its wisdom and farsightedness. Here’s to a circulation of 100,000 in 1973!

Love to you all,

Michael Launder (National Organiser, Friend)

PS: Is your ‘1HL’ postal coding a subtly significant reference by the GPO?

More letters on page 10.

Of Men And Boys

Please see our Project policy on censorship
Many conversations with “liberal” straight people on the subject of homosexuality follow a predictable format. After declaring that they don’t care what we do in bed as long as it doesn’t affect them, they express concern for the plight of children seduced and abused by a large and pathological segment of the homosexual population. Perhaps no other myth concerning homosexuals is so prevalent as this one, and though it has been laid to rest many times in the past, its persistence among otherwise enlightened folk decrees that it be interred once more.

The facts are:

  • Sexual relations between adults and young people seldom involve physical or mental coercion.
  • The incidence of violent seduction is higher among heterosexuals than among homosexuals.

When a child is violently forced into sexual compliance, the crime is one of assault and should be dealt with as such by the law. The sexual element is only of peripheral interest, and should be excluded from legal consideration.

All of this has been said many times, yet the myth persists, partly because most people are incapable of accepting the fact that children are sexual beings. For a variety of reasons, innocence is equated with purity in our culture, and purity with chastity, and it is unavoidable logically that if a child is to be innocent, he must also be chaste. In the world’s most erotophobic culture — ours — sex is still the most persistent example of adult depravity; a concommitant of the fall from innocence and Eden.

I have seen a Mexican peasant grandmother soothe a fretful two year old boy by cooing to him and gently kissing and licking his cock and balls. The room was full of people – there was nothing furtive about her actions, in fact they were scarcely noted by the others. I might add that the boy was soon peacefully asleep.

I ask you to try and imagine a North American mother or babysitter doing the same thing. It is impossible. The woman would be considered depraved beyond redemption.

That the topic of child sexuality arouses such a violent reaction in the straight world is understandable – it is less easy to countenance the attitudes of the gay community. In the pecking order, “chicken hawks” are well near the bottom. They are objects of amusement and contempt, and many more responsible members of the gay community feel the need to apologise for their presence, and to declare that they are an almost nonexistent minority. They fear that the whole movement may be discredited by the actions of these recalcitrant few.

The time has come to face the fact that there is a sizeable minority of gay men who are primarily interested in sexual relationships with adolescents, and that these people, by the mere fact of their sexual preference, are working – albeit often unwittingly – toward some of the ideals of the gay liberation front with regard to the family.

To illustrate my point, let us examine the child in relation to the family as it exists today. The familial power is oppressive and stultifying and based on mutual manipulation. The child is one of the possessions of the parents, a eunuchoid doll that is supposed to attain to sexual awareness at 18, gleefully enduring celibacy thereafter until an appropriate marriage has been consumated. Anything which would free the child from this environment is important. Sex is something that does. A child’s sexual life turns him outward from the family; by its very nature it is exploratory and community oriented, and once begun the child is in the process of leaving home, psychologically at least. The straight world considers us to be dangerous where children are concerned. The irony is that they are right – not to the physical well being of their offspring however, but to the family structure that imprisons them, a structure based in part on the concept of possession. “In some cultures children have only a very vague concept of family relationship, and the rearing of children is something of a communal effort . .. Often in these cultures the concept of motherhood and fatherhood is very vague. These cultures tend also to be very sex-positive in comparison with our culture.” (Wainwright Churchill – Homosexual Behaviour Among Males, Prentice Hall, Inc., Page 306. The italics are mine).

It is easy to see that this article could now move into the area of children’s rights generally, but I shall content myself with saying that if the child is to cease being property, if it is to attain to full civil liberties, if it is to achieve economic independence, if it is to relate meaningfully to society as a whole, then of necessity it must move away from the family unit of the Christian West. Anyone who leads the child into sexual awareness and exploration is helping to do just that.

We feel that one of the most positive aspects of the sexual drive is its variety and unpredictability, and from this point of view it is hypocritical to assume that pedophiles represent a group to which one either does or does not belong. All gay men should face the fact that at some point in their lives they may be captivated by some particularly luminous young man, and they should be prepared to embrace that experience joyfully, confident that the experience is potentially an enriching one for both parties and a step towards a sex-positive culture.

Loving a child and expressing it sexually is revolutionary activity. The activists of tomorrow are more than likely in someone’s arms today.

The above is re-printed from Canada’s ‘The Body Politic’. To them we send our love and thanks. Below follows an article written about the consequences of publishing ‘Of Men And Boys’.

The Body Politic Affair

Please see our Project policy on censorship
The July-August issue of the Body Politic featured an article under the headline “Of Men and Boys” written by Gerald Hannon, the publication of which caused an overnight sensation throughout the gay and straight population of Canada.

The storm started when a Toronto journalist bought a copy of the B.P. on the streets. He noticed the article and did a little checking. The Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT) had received a grant from the Federal Government of Canada to run a drop-in and distress centre for homosexuals in Toronto. The award of this grant under the Opportunities for Youth (OFY) programme was a highly contentious issue. The taxpayer of Canada (excluding homosexual taxpayers, of course) was indignant that his tax dollars should be going to the support of a project for those “lousy fags and queers”.

So it was that a reporter phoned CHAT and asked what association they had with the B.P. He was truthfully informed that CHAT members worked in the editorial collective of the BP and that, since both were gay liberation organisations, they had the same goals. Our reporter friend then called the BP regarding CHAT. He was told much the same thing, that the two groups worked together for the same ends.

Our eager reporter returned to the office and told his editor. The next day subscribers to the Toronto Sun (and other Canadian papers which use the same wire service) were treated to a story of how Federal tax dollars were being used to seduce boys. The editorial quoted at length from the article; however only negative and “horrifying” (to the straight public which cannot fathom the idea of gay love) segments were quoted. I am enclosing the entire original article for you to read, rather than bore you with quotes.

The Canadian public was horrified, the Canadian Government and OFY were embarrassed and the gay community was left with another false blot on its record. The editorial had overlooked a simple journalistic fact. The opinions of a newspaper are traditionally presented on the editorial page with articles being the opinion of the people who write them. The editorial had also reached the totally false conclusion that, since CHAT members worked with the BP, CHAT was automatically funding the BP without determining where the funds for the BP actually came from. Since the Body Politic had stated that they were working toward the common goals of gay liberation along with other gay organisations, the editorial writer had also falsely assumed that seduction of boys must be one of these goals. The editorial and our reporter friend had not bothered checking further to find out whether this was indeed one of the aims of gay liberation.

The BP as a matter of interest has not received a penny, of the grant money as the newspaper is funded by subscriptions and advertising revenues. The people who work on the Body Politic are not paid out of the grant which was given to CHAT. The only things in common are that both are gay liberation organisations demanding equal rights for homosexuals (and thus a threat to the straight status-quo) and that both have some personnel in common.

Gay organisations, like those in the straight community, should not be above investigation. But this investigation must be unbiased, rational and thorough – all the facts must be brought to the surface before editorial comment takes place. We do not need another “Body Politic Affair” – reporting and editorial comment like that which was written harm both the gay scene and gay liberation organisations as well as blemish the reputation of straight journalism.