These Are A Few Of My Favourites Lies

LONDON: After the first two defendants in the Champion “drag-bust” case lost out to the authorities in early November (GN10) in an explosive atmosphere after the magistrate had cleared the public gallery, a new magistrate was fielded to hear the cases against the other three gays arrested at Notting Hill’s Champion pub.

But this new magistrate found all three guilty as charged, despite confused police evidence. As he said in his preamble to announcing that he thought they were all guilty: “The question is whether I can be sure that the police officer was telling the truth, or whether I should belive the defence evidence.”

So, deciding that it was more likely that the policeman had told the truth, he found Douglas McDougal guilty of obstructing the highway outside the Champion late on October 24 (reported in GN7), Richard Chappie and Peter Borne both guilty of obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty.

Certainly the magistrate gave the impression that their guilt was not “beyond all reasonable doubt” – the classic formula for a verdict to be arrived at — as far as he was concerned and it came as something of a shock after his “liberal” overture when he pronounced them all guilty and fined Douglas £5, and Richard and Peter £15 each.

All three conducted their own cases and dressed up for the occasion. The public gallery was filled with up to 20 gays supporting the three in the dock in various stages of “drag” and make-up.

At the beginning of both the morning and afternoon sessions the magistrate warned the gays in the public gallery that if he didn’t like the way they behaved he’d have them all thrown out. A warning he had to repeat halfway through the afternoon session.

Basically the evidence for the prosecution was given by PC Allen, of Notting Hill Police, who said that he’d arrested Douglas for obstructing the 15-feet-wide pavement outside the pub after a group of gays had been ejected from the pub at the landlord’s request. They had sat down as a protest against his refusal to serve men in “drag”.

PC Allen claimed that as he was leading Douglas to the police-van double-parked outside the Champion, Richard Chappie had jumped on his back and Peter Borne had grabbed his arm to stop him.

This was backed up by PC Alan Wiseman of Notting Hill, who said at first that he was sitting in the front of the van when Douglas was put into it, and later said he was standing by the doors, when he was pressed for that answer by the prosecuting solicitor.

Allen also claimed that Douglas had said that he was not going to be arrested by a member of the “working class”. PC Wiseman admitted he’d heard none of this.

What PC Wiseman did admit, however, when questioned by Douglas MacDougal, was that he had started to charge the three, leaving the room for a while to write up his notes and then returning to finish the charge procedure. But when he was questioned by the prosecution PC Wiseman was wise enough to change his story.

This neat sleight of tongue was completely ignored by the magistrate, as was the entire defence case.

Douglas said that he had never stopped walking, therefore he had never caused an obstruction. PC Allen, on the other hand, had called the gays “fucking queers” and had told him (Douglas) to “fuck off’ towards Notting Hill Gate which was not the direction that Douglas wanted to go. So he walked back, without stopping. It was then that PC Allen grabbed him add dragged him by the hair to the police-van.

Both Peter and Richard brought witnesses to say that neither was the type of person to go around hitting 15-stone policemen, who were already ‘over-excited’.

Summing up the case the magistrate said: “One of the things I have to ask myself is whether the comment about the ‘working class’ was made up by PC Allen or whether McDougal said this. I think it is a statement that most people are likely to use. And at the same time, it is unlikely that PC Allen would have made it up.” But even he didn’t sound altogether convinced.

When he announced the sentence the public gallery turned from a gentle smoulde of discontent to open amazement, with shouts such as “Why don’t you hang them while you’re at it?” people lighting up cigarettes and others noisily leaving in disgust.


LIBERATION NOTE: Gay Lib supporters suggested the reporters from Gay News and Lunch didn’t attend the second half of the case if the reporters valued their safety. Despite this intimidation, both Gay News and Lunch returned and reported.

FASHION NOTE: Quote from a Gay Libber to the Gay Newsman at the Champion case. Gay Libber looks down nose and says: “You don’t look very gay. You look like a Young Socialist.” This came from one of the current GLF power clique.

Christmas Extensions

LONDON: As we know that a fair number of gays in the West London area will be around over the Christmas period, we thought you might like details of the holiday extensions the most popular of the pubs in this area will be having.

In fact the four main pubs, The Colherne and The Boltons in Earl’s Court, The Champion at Notting Hill Gate, and the Queen’s Head in Tryon Street, Chelsea, will all be having the same extensions. They are: Christmas Eve, till midnight; Boxing Day, also till midnight; and New Years Eve, till 12.30 am.

Please check with the pubs yourselves to see if they are open at all on Christmas Day.

Your Letters Continued

Bigoted Letters

London EC2

Dear Gay News,

May I be permitted space in reply to the bigoted letters of Michael Harth and J B Marr in GN10.

Both are concerned with what Michael refers to as ‘screaming queens’ and Mr Marr as ‘gyrating freaks’.

It is always my expectation that the victims of prejudice and irrationality will be capable of recognising such attitudes within themselves when they are confronted by ‘deviations’ that they find disturbing in other people. This expectation is frequently disappointed. As the film It Is Not The Homosexual Who Is Perverse etc. puts it, gays who are, in general, put down by the society in which they live are often anxious to find others at whom they themselves can point the finger of scorn.

Of course, this is a phenomenon that applies not merely to gays, but is worldwide. The lighter-skinned black likes to feel superior to the darker-skinned; the Western Jew likes to feel superior to the Eastern Jew; the white-collar worker likes to feel superior to the tradesman or labourer, the pink-skinned ‘white’ likes to feel superior to those who have black, yellow or red skins; and so on … Oppressed and exploited himself, and very often not conscious of his own oppression, the superior person needs to compensate for his feelings of inferiority. The most obvious expression of this phenomenon is the dominant male/dependant female relationship.

Messrs Marr and Harth, to judge by their language, apparently believe that they themselves are acceptable to the society in which they live, and are afraid that they may lose their ‘respectability’ by being linked with their more obvious brothers. Both rationalise their fear and anger, Mr Marr by using emotive terms like ‘mincing’, ‘unwashed’ and ‘perverts’ to describe the objects of his abhorrance and suggesting that they are obsessed with sex, conveniently forgetting or not realising that the heterosexual world’s preoccupation with sex is so overwhelming that we hardly even notice it any longer – the mere fact that men wear trousers and women wear dresses is a display of sexual preoccupation (and differentiation) so enormous that we have come to take it for granted!

Michael Harth is able to rationalise his detestation by defining ‘us’ (that is, himself) as ‘true’ homosexuals and ‘them’ as pseudo-heterosexuals. How clever of Michael to be able to reach such a satisfactory conclusion when most of the people doing research in the field of homosexuality find the subject so complex that they feel unable to draw any conclusions, or, if they do, their conclusions are frequently at variance, one with the other!

What Michael and Mr Marr fail to understand is that the problem (if that is what it should be called) has nothing to do with the screaming queens but is entirely in their own heads. If some males of the human species prefer to dress and act differently from the manner in which your two correspondents think they ought to dress and act, that is not Michael’s or Mr Marr’s concern. Every human being has the right to choose his or her own way of life as long as it does no physical or mental harm to others. If other people choose to be offended, that is their option, but being offended is not the same as being hurt or victimised or brainwashed.

One small amendment to my remark about the ‘queen’s’ life-style not being Michael’s concern. Michael appears to be proud of belonging to CHE. But CHE is an organisation for all gays, and its specific aim is equality in society for all gays. If he wishes to exclude from CHE those gays whose way of life is not to his taste, then he has either to do some hard re-thinking or to resign from CHE. To that extent, the ‘screaming queens’ are his concern. I hope Michael will recollect the words of one of his favourite philosophers, Schopenhauer … “The truth was not found because … the intention was to find preconceived opinion …”

Love and peace,

L Collinson

Biased or Objective?

London

Dear Gay News,

I was sorry to see that your reporting of the Champion trial was so biased. As a defence witness I saw a number of things which your reporter failed to notice, for reasons best known to himself. For instance, the fuzz not merely grabbed someone’s camera but kicked members of the public downstairs, simply because some of them were objecting to the way the MacKenzie lawyer was being treated.

I also think that at a time when we should be fighting together, your reporter’s bitchy remarks about Peter Reed are unnecessary and useless. Whatever Peter did or did not do, I’m sure the reporter might have managed to remember to get hold of the testimony of the defence witnesses. I find it a rather poor excuse for his lack of reporting.

Incidents such as these embitter relations between GLF and Gay News; and it would be sad if what is otherwise a very good paper continued to print deliberately unfavourable reports about Gay Lib.

Yours,

Frank Honore

Vassall Supervision?

Bromley

Dear Gay News,

I read your item about William Vassall (GN10) with interest, but remain curious about one aspect that is not mentioned by you.

Since he had been sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, in normal circumstances after allowing for good conduct remission of one third, he would have been discharged after twelve years. In view of every reports’ reference to his exemplary behaviour in prison, one can quite safely assume that this would have been the case. As he is released on parole I believe that he is subject to some form of supervision for the remainder of his original sentence — another eight years from now.

The authorities by releasing him two years earlier (ten years instead of twelve) have managed therefore to retain control of William Vassal for a further eight years from the date of his sentence. He would have been released in two years time, with no supervision for the following six years.

Can any of your readers let me know whether I have got my facts right?

All best wishes,

Michael

Champion Case Erupts In Court

LONDON: Two gays were each fined £5 for “using threatening behaviour” at Marylebone Magistrates’ Court on October 24 after an incident when the manager of Notting Hill’s Champion pub refused to serve a number of gays in drag. Andrew Lumsden and Peter Reed were both charged with using threatening words likely to cause a breach of the peace, and of using threatening behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Magistrate K. Harrington was surprised when Lumsden asked for the court to admit their “MacKenzie adviser”. Mr Harrington had the law of MacKenzie v. MacKenzie (1967) briefly outlined to him by his clerk and then agreed.

Lumsden and Reed’s MacKenzie adviser came in wearing a white robe and sat with the accused in the dock to give them advice on points of law.

Magistrate Harrington listened closely to the evidence of PC Andrew McGregor of Notting Hill police who said that after some effort in capturing Reed and arresting him. he and another policeman had set off in pursuit of Lumsden.

Reed had shouted things like “You fucking great brutes, let me in, you can’t stop me” and “Fascists, bastards, pigs, you can’t stop me. Gay Lib will support me.” when the police ejected him from the pub and had fought to get back in, PC McGregor said.

When it came to arresting Lumsden PC McGregor had been unable to do it on his own. PC B 405 North had come to his assistance, they held Lumsden by the arms, the policeman alleged, while Lumsden had lashed out with his legs as they were trying to throw him out of the pub.

When North and McGregor had got Lumsden to the police-van he had shouted: “You bloody fascist bastards.”

Questioned by Lumsden, PC McGregor admitted he’d never made a verbal arrest until Lumsden was being held down on the police van’s floor. He denied that either he or PC North had punched Lumsden in the face during the struggle inside the pub, during which Lumsden was pinioned to the floor and which had smashed several glasses, as the policemen fighting with Lumsden had hit the pub’s tables.

Once they arrived at Notting Hill police station the policeman involved in making the arrests had gone off into another room for a private conversation, Lumsden said.

Later Lumsden was seen by a police doctor who found a “surface abrasion” on Lumsden’s cheek and that Lumsden was “under the influence of alcohol”. He was challenged on this by Lumsden who produced a letter from his own doctor which said that one of his nostrils was blocked and there was a haemmorhage in his left eye. The police doctor admitted he had not carried out any tests that showed that Lumsden was under the influence of alcohol. He merely said “Your pupils were dilated.’

This evidence came after a lunch recess and a lengthy adjournment immediately following lunch. Magistrate Harrington had obviously had enough of the 20 to 30 gays in the public gallery and their bubble blowing, laughter and existence.

Throughout the morning he had shouted that he would have the gallery cleared if anyone else laughed. But the noise after lunch proved too much and he ordered the police to clear the public gallery. The gays left peacefully. It was then that Lumsden and Reed’s MacKenzie adviser shouted that there were a number of queens in court, that the magistrate was a queen and was in no position to sit in judgement on Lumsden and Reed.

He was then dragged out of the dock by PC D9, sustaining light injuries to his arm. PC D9 did not stop there. He grabbed a boy with a camera round his neck, opened the camera and exposed the film.

It is the magistrate’s choice whether he allows a MacKenzie adviser at all, but Mr Harrington finally relented and allowed the adviser back into the dock and the court started again. But this time the public gallery was largely empty.

The gays who had been sitting there stood outside the court shouting and jostling with police for some time before being allowed back into the court, two at a time.

Lumsden and Reed defended themselves by saying that there was no violence on their side, but only on the side of the landlord and police.

It was noticeable that magistrate Harrington took little interest in the defence case, becoming more nervous with each witness who appeared in drag, and consoling himself by reading Stone’s Justices Manual.

He finally decided that the language Lumsden and Reed had used was not threatening but “abusive” but he decided they did use threatening behaviour, fining each £5 and binding them over to keep the peace for a year in the sum of £20.

During the case Reed and Lumsden called several witnesses, all of whom corroborated their testimonies. But because the defendant Reed took it into his head to snatch the GN reporter’s notebook, steal the relevant pages and destroy them within the precincts of the court making him liable to three fresh criminal charges – we cannot give details of defence case and this report must remain unfortunately one-sided.

Shortly after this one of Reed’s friends told the reporter to “piss off, or I’ll thump you” – laying himself open to two criminal charges.

The other three gays arrested at the Champion on the same night, Douglas McDougal, Richard Chappie and Peter Bourne, did not appear in court for long.

The cases against them were adjourned until December, because the prosecution said, the policeman who arrested them was in hospital “although it’s nothing to do with this case.”

Note: No proceedings have been started against Reed el al for assault against the person, or property, for theft, contempt of court, using threatening words, or using threatening behaviour.

Your Letters

Please note that any letters received by us at Gay News are liable to be published unless you state otherwise.

Quiet and Concealed

Natal, South Africa,

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on launching your paper. It’s pretty good too!!

It’s great to be in touch with what is happening in the UK. Here in 19th-century South Africa one can feel terribly isolated from all the activity that one feels sure is going on elsewhere: a copy of Gay News seems to bridge the gap somewhat.

Some brief notes on South Africa: we have a largish gay community (among the Whites) organised in each of Durban, Cape Town and especially Johannesburg. In each of these cities there is an exclusively gay night-club and sometimes a bar (non-exclusive). Johannesburg has about three clubs and at least an equal number of bars.

Gay attitudes being essentially S. African attitudes, there is very little racial mixing, any contact is frowned upon. I do not know anything about gay communities (if these exist as such) among any of the black population groups. I have heard that the Indians have a gay club in Natal, but apart from this one could easily believe there to be no black homosexuals in S. Africa!

Gay Liberation — none so far as I know, except for a small group in Durban started recently by a couple of friends and me. So far we’ve had little success. There is too much apathy and fear of coming out, even on the campus.

Police action – although homosexual acts are illegal, the police turn a blind eye on the clubs, at the moment. They don’t like Gay Lib though!

Generally speaking, the South African scene is quiet and concealed. Everyone minds their own business and lives in their own closets. As long as you conform more or less, you’re OK.

Richard Wallace-Tarry

Appalling Bad Taste

London SE15.

Dear Sirs,

I must say I find your picture of Lord Longford and Cliff Richard in the current issue of Gay News in appalling bad taste. Lord Longford is one of the few really good men in public life today, spending much of his time helping drop-outs in all walks of life. Because you disapprove of his investigation into pornography, it is no excuse for slandering him in this way.

The thing that worries me about pornography is the effect on youth. I am not a father but I don’t wish my young nephews to see lurid paperbacks when purchasing their sweets and comics. Nor when answering an ad in your magazine, do I wish to be invited to ‘cum in my pants’ while watching young boys having sex on film. Don’t you think it is wicked that children should be exploited in this way? What sort of lives are they going to lead? Anything that Lord Longford can do to clean up pornography as it affects children is long overdue.

There are many good things in your magazine and also some offensive. With so many representations of the male organ in the current issue I should think even more retailers will refuse to handle it, and I don’t blame them.

H.R.A.

Thanks to Gay News…?

York.

Dear Gay News,

Thank you for your paper — it’s saved me from going completely insane. My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years, during which time I found out he was gay.

Together we dragged ourselves off to various doctors and psychiatrists, after which time we were both taking anti-depressants for some time. Phil began to think he was a raving pervert, and I believed it was gay people who were perverting him.

Then Gay News emerged into our lives, and slowly the gap between us narrowed and we began to live again. Only through understanding and respect of each other as people have we managed to denounce the roles that society has given us.

At last Phil can be as gay as he likes, and I’m proud of him for it. After reading some of your articles in GN I’ve cried with guilt to think that a year ago I might have thought like those cops.

With the help of GN and a change of attitudes we now have an extremely happy relationship, sexually and otherwise.

Maybe your paper ought to do an article on bisexuality. One doctor we went to see told us there was no such thing! During one visit, when Phil wasn’t there, he told me that I should find myself a nice straight guy so that I could have children, as that what my aim in life should be, and what was a nice girl like me getting mixed up with a ‘queer’ for.

Well, it’s shit to the lot of them because we’ve proved them wrong, we’re happy. I’d much rather stay with Phil as he’s a beautiful person, than go forth and multiply with any Tom, Dick or Harry for the sake of keeping up with the attitudes of society, ie that gays and straights are two different kinds of species.

Lots of love from a converted straight,

Joan

Safety in the Suburbs

Dearest Pooftahs,

What with all the carry-on, hasslings, arrests, righteous indignation and wrongful suspicions of stolen cameras that has been happening around and about the dear old Coleherne lately, isn’t it about time that someone (could it be me?) tried to bring some little perspective into the matter.

So all right, the pigs persecute us gays on every possible occasion, and most of us have known about it for quite a time. But aren’t we playing rather too obviously into their hands in this particular case.

How many times have you visited the Coleherne at closing time, not merely as a witness to the bullying pig tactics which quite obviously go on, but as an observer of how one particular part of a minority group (ie the gays who use the Coleherne) behave late at night in a high-density living area. OK, I know 11pm isn’t late for some, but some of us are early risers by economic necessity, and the cruising and camping, bitchy fights and lingering farewells often do carry on until much later.

Perhaps if a few of our people were less shrill in their manner and more abstemious with their gin and tonics, the pigs wouldn’t even have an excuse.

Anyway, right on. Gay News, you’re just beginning to let it all hang out!

Love.

J. Porter.

ED. Bring up any little thing you like J.P. and play into anyone’s hand you can get into, but some of us have been frequenting the Coleherne regularly for up to ten years, as customers, and we know the scene. Earls Court is generally a noisy late-living area, especially the Old Brompton Road itself, it’s the police who push people into the back streets, and who are we, or you, to dictate drinking habits to anyone.

Any Offers

Cheshire,

Dear Sir,

I am writing to see if you may be able to help me with my problem.

Since 1940 I have been a confirmed S/M, and my first wife was also, and therefore I had no occasion to look elsewhere to have my bottom smacked or caned or whipped to give me complete sexual satisfaction. But in 1960 I lost my first wife with cancer. In the 18 months which followed I met three men, one a homosexual, in Manchester and he got pleasure out of smacking my bottom for an hour at a time until it was bleeding, and this relationship lasted for three weeks then he disappeared. I found two more but they were only one night stands. Then I remarried and tried to introduce this way to my second wife and found she wouldn’t and couldn’t respond to it, and I have tried to find someone, unknown to my wife, of course, who would smack my bottom but I’ve had no success and I’m very frustrated now. I don’t mind which sex, colour, or nationality as long as I can meet someone, or as many people as possible because I like plenty of it.

So if you could help me at all I would be very grateful. Or course this is all unknown to my wife and there would be hell to pay if she found out, but if I make contact with someone first, arrangements could be made later.

R.B.

ED. If anyone wishes to write to our friend we will pass all letters on to him. Stamped envelope please.

Kiddettes

London WC1

Dear Gay News,

Even if Councillor Kidd appears to be developing an obsession with homosexuals there is no reason why we in turn (as seems to be the case) should develop an obsession with him. There are few people in Scotland who would treat his views with the seriousness of Gay News 7, and still fewer who would go to the trouble of seeking them out — with the possible exception of BBC Scotland looking for a lighter item for its News. Councillor Kidd has been a laughing-stock throughout at least the Lowlands for years; the very mention of his name provokes derision. Homosexuality is only the latest in a very long list of subjects on which he has pronounced with unfailing unintelligence. He is an isolated eccentric even in true-blue Edinburgh: have you thought about how much practical effect his exhortations to the police have had?

You would do better to think more about the support for us that does exist outside the gay community (and finds regular practical expression — witness the Iona Community’s help to SMG) than to build up bogeymen for us to shudder over in private. Do for goodness’ sake cheer up: much of your last issue reads as if it were produced in an office full of inconsolable depressives.

Good wishes anyway.

Graeme Woolaston.

Sickening Treatment

London NW3

Dear Sir,

I was interested to read your Stop Press item on the trouble it the ‘Champion’ on 16th September. As an onlooker that evening, I was sickened by the way the Landlord and police treated the GLF boys who were not in my opinion in ‘drag’. I feel that this word must be defined more precisely before the law is allowed to come down upon it.

I was also shocked by the lack of support from other gays in the bar and I left shortly after the events, determined not to support that pub again. Until the Landlord drew attention to himself and the police arrived I was not even aware of our persecuted comrades.

I am not accustomed to wearing drag but I did not find the clothing in the least offensive and they behaved admirably in the circumstances.

If gay people allow this sort of discrimination without protest, where will it end?

A Teacher

No Chips Please

Birmingham

Dear Gay News,

Firstly, thanks for a newspaper that looks towards the future and not the usual propoganda we read and hear so much about, as though we have a chip on our shoulders about being gay.

We are all human beings with the same feelings towards life as everyone, homosexual or heterosexual and not at all odd, so there is no need for anyone to feel guilty about being gay.

I would like this paper, given time, to be read by heterosexual as well as homosexual. We will eventually get accepted by the general public if we don’t segregate ourselves as though we are different and as if we are all the time hitting out upon the public as though they are always against us. It works both ways, and the sooner we realise this the better our chances for an equal acceptance!

Every Success for your good work,

P. Arthur Miles
Gwen Browne

Customers Wore Drag

19721001-03LONDON: Drag gays arrested at Notting Hill Gate’s Champion pub are wrong to accuse the manager of bullying his customers, he told Gay News.

Terry Mahon, who’s managed the pub for a year said. “One reason why I don’t like the drag lads drinking in the pub is because it upsets the rest of my customers. My regular customers just don’t want the drag people in the pub.

“And it’s my job to give the customer what he wants.” The licensee of any pub has the right to refuse permission to serve anyone who he doesn’t want to serve. So Mr Mahon’s alright there.

Before taking over the Champion, Mr Mahon did a three-month relief managership at the Boltons in Earls Court. Now he has asked Bass Charrington, the brewery that owns both pubs, to let him stay at the Champion for another two years after his two-year managership runs out.

He told Gay News: “I’ve got nothing against gay people. In fact I’ve made some good friends among them. That’s why I want to stay on longer than the brewery normally lets its managers stay at a pub.

“This pub just isn’t the sort of place where drag is welcomed by the customers. When I first moved in I suggested we should have one drag night a week – a night when all the customers wore drag. And the customers were so indignant I dropped the idea right away.”

Mr Mahon’s answer came after accusations that he bullied his customers from some of 20 drag gays who were refused service in the pub – as reported in GN7.

In a scuffle at the pub following this incident five of the gays were arrested and charged with a number of charges including obstructing the footpath, using threatening words and using threatening behaviour.

They appeared the next day – a Saturday – at Marylebone magistrates court and were remanded on bail until October 24.

Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourne, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were the five gays arrested. They were held by the police from 10.30pm until about 2 am, when after being stripped, searched and questioned they were released.

They charge the police with insulting them, pulling their hair and refusing to allow them to use the telephone.

Mr Mahon told his side of the story to Gay News: “I told them I wasn’t going to serve them, then they sat down and I asked them to move out. So I called the police.

“I don’t think these GLF lads who come in realise my customers don’t want them around If I served them regularly I’d lose half my customers.

“The other night, after they had been thrown out by the police, when I came back I had about a dozen drinks bought for me and people walked up and shook me by the hand.

“They say I bully my customers, but how can one man bully 300 people at the same time? It’s ridiculous.”

CORRECTION

In GN7 it was said that the five gays arrested at the Champion, Notting Hill Gate, would appear at Marlborough Street magistrates court, whereas, in fact, they were remanded to appear at Marylebone magistrates.

We regret this error, which was caused by incorrect information being given to the newspaper by Scotland Yard early on the morning following the arrests.

STOP PRESS

19720914-10Fracas At Gay Pub

On Friday 16th September, at approximately 10.30pm, five members of the Gay Liberation Front were arrested by Notting Hill police after 20 gays in drag tried to buy drinks in the Champion pub on Bayswater Road.

Richard Chappel, Douglas McDougal, Peter Bourn, Peter Reed and Andrew Lumsden were bailed by the police after being held in the cells for at least three hours. They claim they were not allowed to make any telephone calls while they were being held.

And they charge the police with using unnecessary violence and using insulting behaviour against them.

Gay News got the tip-off from Peter from Barnes, who was outside the pub with his boyfriend. Scotland Yard checked out the information he gave them and told him:

“Don’t quote me on this, but we hate these sort of problems.

“It’s up to the landlord of the pub to refuse to sell drinks to anyone, and to ask them to leave. If they won’t leave he can call the police. If they still won’t leave they can be charged with obstructing the police in the course of their duty.”

The drag gays are charged with a number of offences including one of obstructing the footpath, two of obstructing the police and two of threatening behaviour.

But they say the threatening behaviour was not just one-sided. Gay News was told:

“What was really terrifying was not just the fact that the police pulled our hair, which you can expect, But also, as well as getting all the ‘Yes, ducky’, ‘No, ducky’ remarks the arresting officer pulled Doug’s hair in the police van and said: ‘We’ll get you later’.”

Trouble broke out when the landlord decided not to serve the drag gays, who had had a social. Then, they sat down. The landlord called the police and three policemen entered the pub to clear the sit-down protesters. Outside there were two police vans, two panda cars and two squad cars.

The gays were released, after being stripped and questioned, at about 2am. They were bailed to appear at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court the next day.

The full story will appear in Gay News No. 8.