Your Letters

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

Abdication of Responsibility

Cheltenham

Dear Collective,

Those of us who can’t really afford a donation can perhaps best answer your appeal for funds by renewing their subscriptions in advance of its due date (as I do herewith). Your proposed republication of The Queen’s Vernacular has given me renewed confidence and interest in you. I was beginning to have my doubts! It has struck me recently that you were failing to live up to your title or your raison d’etre, even in provincial solitude I was aware of items of gay news which I’d have expected you to comment on. May I give you an example?

One of the Sundays recently reported a rumour that the government has relaxed the stringent regulations against sexual deviancy amongst members of the security services. If true, this is an extremely important advance in the campaign that you are supposed to be waging, and one that will make an immense difference to the welfare of a great many people. I’d have expected you to be on to this like a shot, to use every effort to get it confirmed or denied, and to have published at once the result of your investigations.

I myself worked for some years in one of the government organisations to which these regulations apply. Over the years I watched people I knew or felt to be homosexual gradually dwindle into hypocritical tomb-faced prigs, through their willing subservience to a code of behaviour which their own natures recognised as unjust. One of them, after many years of unhappy solitude, finally met and set up house with a well-known local actor. Very shortly afterwards he was dismissed at a day’s notice: after some fifteen years of service, he was stood down on full pay and subsequently transferred to the Post Office. It was all right you see, for him to restrict himself to furtive and unsatisfactory pleasures; he only became a threat to national security when he had the courage to make his homosexuality overt by establishing a happy, loving and stable relationship with another man. He had a nice sense of irony, so no doubt he appreciated to the full the hypocrisy of his treatment

Well, now you know the sort of personal implications that these regulations have hitherto entailed, and why any relaxation of them would be of great interest. For one thing, it would make nonsense of your editorial in No 15: it would imply that public opinion no longer regards homosexuality as something culpable, so that nobody would have reason to prefer blackmail to the threat of disclosure, and that the government has at last acknowledged this improvement in public attitudes.

So to sit back and moan that ‘to us it seems that nothing has changed since 1916’, seems rather an abdication of your responsibilities as ‘Europe’s Biggest, etc. Newspaper’! You are merely fortifying the ghetto mentality that you profess to deplore.

David Blount

ED: Sure, Pendennis in The Observer ran the story on January 20. But then, so did Gay News in Issue 14 – under the headline Equality for Gay Cops – and that appeared a full fortnight before Pendennis ran his story.

Don’t Be Shy

67 Vere Road,
Brighton

Dear Friends,

Glad to see libraries being mentioned in Gay News. I was intending to wait and hear other views before writing, but a few points have arisen in letters from Stuart Woollard and Geoffrey Leight in GN16.

LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE is a magazine for radical librarians which I started at the end of last year, around which is forming a group of like minded people interested in information and library work. Stuart Woollard is very welcome to start a gay group within LFSC, alongside the other area and “subject” groups being formed.

I’m involved in the coming together of the alternative library in several ways. Firstly, I’m looking after the library of the UNDERGROUND PRESS SYNDICATE (Europe). Secondly I’m involved in the project of microfilm alternative publications, which is being undertaken by the Harvester Press of Brighton. LFSC is not actually involved in the microfilming, though I and several other members are working on assembling back issues for filming and indexing (would anyone like to index GAY NEWS and the other gay papers?)

I’m working on the second issue of LFSC at the moment, and will be including a round up of views on gay papers and books in libraries. Public libraries (and university and college libraries for that matter), will only stock papers such as Gay News if enough people ask for them. Don’t be shy, libraries are there to serve you, not to dictate your reading habits. Nuff said…?

John Noyce
Editor, LIBRARIANS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

Here to Stay

Manchester

Dear Gay News,

No greater tribute could be paid to Gay News than the increasingly prevalent practice of other gay publications to reprint the information on the gay scene given in your pages. Where they copy you, they are fine. Where they don’t, they produce an array of misinformation, ancient history and unintentional comedy.

No names; it would be cruel. One of them recently gave CHE’s national address as a British Monomark box number, although the Kennedy Street office has been running for nearly two years. Another listed the Club 43 in Manchester as still operative, even though it was closed in September 1970 under the amazingly stupid Manchester bylaw of 1896 which was held to preclude male dancing. The same magazine listed as gay a variety of other non-existent streets and misnamed establishments, in some of which the dominance of heterosexuality is truly frightening. And quite stifling.

Has Gay News anything to fear from its rivals? Don’t be funny. The glossy magazines may print a few more photographs of bare bums and tired organs and congratulate the legal authorities rather more often than Gay News is prone to do (a curious contradiction). But, as the best thing ever to happen to the homophile movement in Britain, Gay News is here to stay. It MUST.

Barrie A. Kenyon

Desperate To Share

Cardiff

Dear Friends.

I am a former patient from Broadmoor and I am gay. Since leaving there I have been hard pressed to lead a happy life, because of being in Broadmoor very few people want to take me seriously. I travel around a lot and find things to occupy myself. I desperately need to find someone who would come and share my life with me. I am very lonely all the time and am always afraid that I could get desperate or bitter and do something rash or silly.

I know I do not deserve any special attention and if you ignore me I shall not mind too much, for this has become my chief problem. I would like to meet someone who is understanding and willing to be loved in my own fashion, who is kind, but not in the wrong way. I enjoy so many good things, but find I have no-one to share them with. I have been into a lot of strange scenes and lean towards adventurous gay things. I do so because I need things to occupy my mind, to keep my senses alert and I love exploring and finding things out.

… I do not know what response my letter will bring for I have no private fortune, only a modest income and so many hopes for a future that sometimes seems impossibly remote. I am sorry to have troubled you with my cares, as though I were the only troubled gay person in the world, but I have no friends and too many acquaintances. If you can, will you help me? Merely writing to you has been something.

G G

ED: We’ll forward any letters to G G.

Judged By My Peers

London SW8

Dear Gay News,

It is interesting to see that the old problem is being discussed again: I mean the rights and wrongs of sex-without-love versus sex-with-love. But surely there is no ‘versus’ about it. These things are not opposed to each other; they are the extremes of the same pendulum.

So for example you start by feeling sick with boredom, because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street and have sex. Afterwards you think ‘How awful; never again’. So you swing to the other extreme of the pendulum and you fall in love with another chap and you think, ‘How marvellous’, and then you discover that he wants to love you without sex. And you still think ‘How marvellous’, until you discover that he’s having sex with someone else. So you cry your eyes out, against the wall, because your heart’s broken. And you have a nervous breakdown. And then you recover. And then you start feeling sick with boredom because your life has no sex in it. So you pick up a chap in the street…

And if a policeman walks by, and says, all sardonic. ‘Hullo, hullo, hullo, and may I ask how long this has been going on?’ you can say, politely, ‘you may well ask, officer. It’s been going on for about 7,000 years. Ever since urban civilisation began.’

During these 7,000 years, have any changes taken place? Really the big change has taken place quite recently. The change is that we don’t feel guilty any more. If somebody breaks your heart, you have to bear the pain. But at least you don’t have to bear the pain of guilt as well.

Today, as a matter of fact, the guilt lies on the other side. The guilt lies with Lord Longford and Lord Hailsham and people like that.

How fortunate for you, my lords, that God does not exist. Because, if he existed, do you know what would happen? He would call you up on Judgement Day. He would say to you. ‘Come here Lord Longford. Come her Lord Hailsham. I was hungry and you fed me not. I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink. I was in prison arid you visited me not. I was homosexual and I loved you, and you called my love ‘vice’. Depart from me ye cursed, into the lake of eternal fire, which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world…”

Terrible words, my lords. Think them over when you go to pray. And while you are at your prayers, ask God to give you the grace to realise that there is more virtue in a decent homosexual boy’s finger than God can find in your Christian pretensions. More virtue, more courage, more humility, more generosity and more gentleness and more ordinary common-or-garden human love.

Where is vice? Where is viciousness? Who are your murderers? Heterosexuals. Who are your rapists? Heterosexuals. Who are your Hell’s Angels and your muggers? Heterosexuals. Who are your robbers, your bank raiders, your men of violence, aggression and hatred? Heterosexuals all. And the only thing you can do is raise your sanctimonious eyes to heaven and talk about homosexual ‘vice’.

Why? Can it be because, in your warped opinions, no crime is so great as the ‘crime’ of homosexual love?

True viciousness is formed among heterosexuals. Homosexuals, on the whole, are a gentler, sweeter sort. That is the truth my lords. And at the bottom of your cold hearts you know it.

Dai Grove

Strength to Strength

London W6

Dear Gay News.

I’ve been reading Gay News for a few months now and it goes from strength to strength. It’s a pleasure to see each new issue coming out. knowing there’s going to be over an hour’s good reading. I am especially interested in your reports of continental gay activists, especially as we’re in the Common Market!

Could you have a regular column every week. I believe our French friends are having a far from easy time at the moment. Let’s have more contributions from your readers. You could throw some light on the provincial scene; what it’s like being gay in the Scilly Isles for example! Also the situation in Shepherds Bush, Chelsea etc, and what’s happening in Brixton vis a vis our black brothers. We all read how terrible the percentage of young blacks leaving school is. How is a black gay treated by his school mates etc?

Gay News: Let’s see more and more articles from people of all political shades. Let’s see your circulation mount and mount. Let’s hope you can keep your gay ads, because all in all Gay News is rapidly becoming indispensable.

Philip Van Grondelle

ED: Get writing folks.

Honestly Gay

London NW11

Dear Gay News,

The Fellowship of Christ the Liberator (issue 16) may be good for some gay Christians, but it would be far better if they were active members of community churches — not hiding their sexual identity, not being blatantly “chip on the shoulder” but just being honestly gay.

Most priests and ministers welcome the gay, as well as the straight into their churches. If you find one who does not, move on. There are plenty more. By integrating and educating it will be seen by other church goers that gays are good.

Dudley


Spinning Wheel Mead
Harlow  Essex

Dear Gay News,

Congratulations on Your wonderful paper. I especially like the cover picture. Please let’s have more ‘get together’ pictures.

Is there any chance of becoming larger or even a weekly in the future?

Love, Fortune and Success to you all,

Alan Stoner

Your Letters

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

Save Your Eyesight

London W11

Dear Gay News,

Well, I’ve finally got the money together to put another personal ad in Gay News – Well, I’ve just got to meet some friends somehow. The loneliness can make you go blind, I tell you)

I would just like to say how much I agree with you over your conclusions in “Standing In The Shadows”, while we are bitching with each other… discussing Marx instead of the heartache and fear of thinking you’re different from absolutely everyone else, there will be an unlit gas ring hissing somewhere tonight. I think Gay News should repeat that statement every now and again (perhaps as a headline over an editorial or subscription page).

I did not, however, quite follow your bitch against ‘tall slim, longhaired, passive, warm and generous — always generous’ unless you were getting at ‘sex with beautiful bodies’ as opposed to meaningful relationships.

I was also pleased to see the ideas expressed in ‘Who’s Kidding Who?’ in print and put so fully and coherently. I only hope that Miss LaRue reads them. (Incidentally, the same comments apply equally to a ghastly TV (sic) spectacular that Tim Brooke-Taylor did last year with Cliff Richard).

And — to end this letter, or ‘hymn to David Seligman’ — I’d just like to add that his comments about the cinema in “Criticism of Criticism of Criticism” are right on too!

Rick Vaughan

Tawdry, Passé and Uncritical

London NW1

Dear Collective,

Sorry but I must agree with Daniel James (GN14). Gay News does appear tawdry, passé and uncritical in terms of content. What is particularly unfortunate is that what once might have been a policy of being non-aligned has been shown to become one of middle-ground politics which is inevitably male biased. By all means have all points of view represented so that issues of bisexuality, Womens Liberation and Radical Feminism and the political left generally are also given coverage in your paper.

This is important because the demand for equality is in essence a revolutionary demand. Equality for gays cannot be achieved within the present social format. True equality (and freedom to cottage and make it with 16 year olds is not that) means the abandonment of the nuclear family and the whole ethos of male dominance and sex-role playing as integral social norms. In turn, none of these things can be achieved without the destruction of the economic system which relies on and fosters them.

You report that Angie Weir is now “more convinced of a proper Marxist understanding of the situation” but we are not told what that is. Fortunately we don’t all have to go through Angie’s experience to come to a similar understanding. Individual liberation has to be related to the wider political fight for Socialism (not one of the perverted beaurocratic versions thereof which are the product of a male supremacist movement that did not adequately link the elimination of sexism with the ending of capitalism) where individual actions and hopes can be brought together in the creation of a better society for all oppressed people. Homosexuality only exists as. a negative label now because it is necessarily deviant within a social construct based on role division at social and economic, at all levels. Gay Liberation means the ending of sex-class divisions which has to be connected with the elimination of economic-class structures. The liberal-reformist alternative is the aping of warped, stereotyped relationships of heterosexual “normality”.

As far as GN is concerned I am making a plea for you to see your ‘open house’ editorial policy as encompassing the Socialist left in general and bi and gay radicals in particular. For a start, please try and get an article by Angie Weir — wouldn’t that be the first feature article by a woman as well as the first putting gay oppression into a fundamental political perspective? – and one by one of the socialist organisations like L.P.Y.S, or IMG on how it views the liberation from sex-roles generally, and of gays especially, which would also serve to add to the demands for making an analysis of sexism a more critical part of their programme.

Ray

An End To Isolation

6, The Lawns,
Mount Pleasant,
St Albans, Herts.

Dear Gay News.

I am writing to you because David Seligman’s article, “Standing in the Shadows” (GN15) seems to me to be both sensible and civilised.

There are a great many homosexuals living in the provinces and the country, to whom the gay world, as expressed by London, is neither desirable nor understandable. What your kind article showed was that there are still many homosexuals living in an unnecessary isolation.

I would like to see a series of organisations, without political message or dogma, existing in the provinces to bring together all homosexuals, regardless of age, size, colour or creed. So that in any town there would be no need for any man to remain alone and lonely. It would then be possible for a man to move from area to area in the sure knowledge that he would be able to talk to, and to meet with, those persons who are best able to help and befriend him: namely his fellow homosexuals.

I am not distressed about the young foe they are able to look after their own interests; often with devastating ruthlessness — but I am distressed about the older homosexual. I think that it would be beneficial were we all to remember that we are not immortal, and that an older manls behaviour is not that behaviour which is wholly strange to ourselves: that it is, in fact, a preview of our own middle and old age.

I ask that you should place this letter in your columns, not because it has merit, but because I wish to ask all homosexuals in St Albans and surrounding areas, to write to me so that we can arrange to meet: all of us with each other. I hope that people will write, and that we can meet regularly. I do not expect that we shall all like each other; similarity of sex does not necessitate affection. But I do expect that we should try to form an organisation so that there should need to be no lonely homosexual in St Albans. If we are to be civilised then we must care for each other: and care, not because we are beautiful, witty, erudite, or anything exceptional; but because we are all homosexuals.

Once again, may I thank you for an extraordinary article. It was humane informed and sincere.

David Richardson

A Continuing Problem

Oxford

Dear Gay News,

I scanned Gay News 15 from cover to cover, looking for some hint that this might be a paper for gay women as well as gay men. The clues were very few; even your Gay Lexicon didn’t contain one word of lesbian derivation!

Granted, this could well be our faults, there are fewer of us — and who knows – perhaps we do less! But don’t you think you are making it harder for lesbians who have not yet “come out”, by tacitly ignoring their existence?

Perhaps it is time you jogged your female colleagues on the editorial collective… but whoops! There are no women on the EC — just Glenys Parry up in Manchester. No wonder we’ve got problems!

I’d like to suggest that all women who read Gay News could make some literary contribution to it, an account, a letter, even a small ad! I’m sure it would enrich the paper, and encourage other women to identify with it.

Congratulations to the Gay News staff who are bearing up so nobly despite our absence.

Diana

ED: Write on Diana.

Problem Column

Abingdon, Berks

Dear Gay News,

I am yet one more of your ardent devotees, only too glad to be kept up to date efficiently and cheaply, especially living in such isolation from the gay metropolis! May I mention an idea which you probably thought of long ago and rejected?

How about a “Dear Auntie” problem column? If you have considered this, why have you not bothered with it? Surely, for homosexuals, this sort of service must be needed even more than for heterosexuals who can go to any number of people and agencies for help.

I would be willing to help answering, though you would probably have better qualified contacts. Whatever the practical problems, I am sure it is worth considering, as both valuable and probably amusing as well.

Chris Rose

ED: We welcome the idea of a ‘problem column’. In the early issues of GN we attempted to get one going, but the response was fairly negative. If any readers or organisations can help, please get in touch.

Gay Life In Hull

Hull

Dear Gay News,

As a recently arrived young assistant lecturer on the staff of the University of Hull, I was horrified to find that the university has no active gay group, either CHE or GLF. The sexual liberation society, which functioned up until the last academic year is no longer active. Neither is there a CHE or GLF in the city – with a population of some 300,000.

If any staff, students or people in Hull are interested in setting up a group for social activities, or political activities (if the latter is something people want to participate in) would they contact me, at 133 Park Avenue, Hull, or telephone Hull 403553. and we could make a start in reviving a gay life in Hull.

Howard Johnson

Not So Simple

London NW6

Dear Collective,

I always thought that if I saw someone (of my own sex) I fancied, I could approach him, chat him up, and ask him back: he could either agree or refuse and that was that! I was astounded to read in “Still At It” (GN15) that this is in fact illegal!!

Not only is this law ridiculous, it is positively criminal!!

E R

ED: This letter is referring to the continued use of agent provocateur methods by the Chelsea police in the vicinity of The Coleherne, Earl’s Court.

We’re Waiting Mr James

London SW12

Dear Gay News,

I am surprised that Daniel James (GN14) chose to write to you in the way he did. You are no doubt producing the best you can with your limited materials and resources, and have little need for non-constructive criticism.

I look forward to seeing a well-written professional article from Mr James in one of your future issues.

Ian Clark

Letters continued on page 10.

Letters Continued

Discrimination in Earls Court

London W8

Dear Editorial Collective,

Readers of GN – more than a few of them — who live in or visit Earls Court may be interested to hear of an odd case of discrimination which I met with at the NSS Newsagents, a few yards to the left as one leaves the underground in Earls Court Road. I wanted to display one of the printed CHE publicity cards on the postcard boards of this always busy shop; many newcomers to London look at these boards, and I hoped that some of them would ask CHE for information and, perhaps, help. As the Manchester address of CHE is the only one on the card, I added the address, phone number and hours open of the London Information Centre.

I handed the card to a girl assistant (who isn’t to blame in all this) who charged me 50p for a week’s ‘showing’ and said the card would appear the next morning. When, late the next afternoon, it still wasn’t up, I asked the same assistant about it, and she said that the manager had refused to display it; the trend of her remarks was that he thought it not respectable and likely to give offence. ‘To whom?’ I wondered. There are usually ads at this shop of the type ‘3rd young man required for gay flat’, and while I entirely support gay flats, I don’t see why, if they can be advertised, a concerned and humane organisation such as CHE can’t. There are always ads of the type, ‘Lovely young model gives French tuition’, ‘Young man seeks part-time work; any position considered’. In other words, prostitutes — but not CHE – can advertise there!

I asked the assistant if I could see the manager. She went away, came back, and told me he was busy. So I said I’d wait. She saw him again and told me that he’d be busy for the next hour; I politely offered to call back in an hour’s time or to make an appointment to see him. This time I was told that he refused to see me at all. Naturally I wanted the manager himself to tell me why the ad was rejected. A male assistant said that the trouble seemed to be that ‘it comes right to the point’ – to which I made the obvious reply that surely this was a very good thing. I suppose ‘the point’ is that the word ‘homosexual’ is actually used: blush, blush.

The crowning absurdity was that, close to the copies of Playboy, Men Only, Mayfair, Cosmopolitan, etc, the shop (partly redeeming itself) was selling Lunch, the CHE-associated magazine. I took a copy from the rack and pointed to the magic words inside the cover.

I might not have written this letter if the manager had agreed to see me, might have tolerated the lack of understanding and the illogicality; but the plain rudeness of his refusal led me to say — very pleasantly – that I’d try to give the matter some publicity, and where better than in this independent paper?

When I asked to have the postcard returned, the staff couldn’t find it. I was given back my 50p, but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t looked to see if the ad was displayed. (I hadn’t left my own address). I don’t wish to be unfair: I expect the manager would have sent the 50p to CHE at 22 Great Windmill Street.

This may be an embarrassing letter if the NSS Newsagents sell Gay News! However, I don’t think they do. I usually buy mine from the news-stands outside Kensington High Street tube and outside The Boltons — to encourage this kind of ‘outlet’; the service is friendly and courteous.

What worries me is that it’s just possible that an unhappy homosexual might have been helped by CHE, and now won’t hear about it.

Peter Rogers

ED: The manager of the NSS Newsagents at Earls Court has always refused to stock Gay News, despite the large amount of requests he receives for it. His manner has always been rude to indifferent to the person approching him. He also has shouted, on at least one occasion “Fucking poof” at a member of the public enquiring whether or not he stocked GN. Please pester him and the staff until the paper is regularly on sale there.


ED. Owing to the extreme shortage of space in this issue, we are unable to publish as many letters as we feel we should. We apologise to those people who have not had their correspondence printed. We will endeavour to include their letters in the next issue.

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.

Letters Continued

Freedom From Abuse

London W11

Dear Ed,

First about myself: I am a London sociologist and university lecturer. I am also a homosexual with an affair which last October celebrated its tenth anniversary (we met as provincial working-class students: he is now 27 and I am 34). I’m thus no longer young. However I bridge in my person more than the gap between two generations, that also between the working and middle classes, and more significantly in this context, between the latter and the homosexual community. I throw in the biography, not I hope to boost further my already highly developed ego, but in order to venture the suggestion that my prejudices and attitudes are likely to reflect not only those of the ‘Gay World’ but of a wider spectrum of the community.

First of all the bouquet. I greatly approve of the whole, rather breath-taking panorama of organisations of homosexuals which have mushroomed, almost overnight, particularly outside the metropolis where the need is greater. I welcome also the appearance of Gay News because it represents the first attempts of homosexuals to communicate openly with each other as human beings and not merely as sex objects. Mr Stafford is, in my view, wrong to wish to suppress this or other forms of homosexual oppression on the grounds of their present (undoubted) crudity, and patches of abrasive immaturity. The nappy-wetting and turbulent infant grows up, in the fullness of time, into the maturity and strength of manhood. So it can be with Gay News and the rest. The signs are there already (see for example the excellent final section in your Christmas number editorial, and the wise decision to feature items of general interest).

There is however, one matter which causes me a measure of disquiet and true sorrow. This is the treatment of Mr Stafford in your columns. However wrong-headed and obnoxious his views may be to me and the young activists who dominate the metropolitan homosexual organisations, it must be recognised that he has an important point of view (representative of a very large body of homosexuals, apart from the rest of the community). We must all bear in mind that there is a much worse crime then being wrong, and that is to be convinced that one has a monopoly of what is right.

Mr Stafford’s presence on the executive committee of CHE far from being deplored, should be strongly welcomed, and his important viewpoint treated with the respect it deserves of mature people symbolised in a reasoned dialogue, free from personal abuse.

Finally if I were asked for just one suggestion as to hew your readership, innate strength and standing with the community at large might be enhanced dramatically and at a single stroke, it would be this: take a leaf out of the London right-wing press in their treatment of Richard Neville and offer Mr Stafford a regular column and a free hand in your newspaper.

After all, true tolerance, like charity, starts at home! I wish you a prosperous New Year in which your paper continues to grow in those virtues so ardently sought by us all (and even Martin Stafford, don’t forget).

Mike, D Phil (Dr Mike, Shrewesbury)

ED: Mr Martin Stafford is, of course, entitled to his opinions and particular viewpoint, but was it necessary for him to attempt to close down Gay News because he personally did not approve of one item in the paper? With regard to your suggestion that Mr Stafford be invited to write us a regular column, he is most welcome to, as are all people who wish to communicate their ideas and comments to our readership.

Radical Free Library

London SW9

Dear Gay News,

For some time now you have been running a request from me on information page) regarding the building up of a collection of radical gay pepers and magazines, as part of an alternative library.

We are all quite aware of how difficult it is to get books about homosexuality from a public library, very often they simply do not have them available/will not buy them/do not wish to buy them. The situation is probably more uptight over radical gay publications. As part of a wider move to collect, to make freely available, radical/underground publications an alternative library has been formed.

Quite probably under the aegis of Librarians for Social Change quite a lot of material will be microfilmed to be more freely available.

The point is we have no resources at all except what people donate. So can I appeal to everybody reading Gay News to please let me have any old back issues of gay publications, political rather than ‘pin-up’, instead of throwing them away. We would really be grateful if back issues of publications ‘Come Together’, especially issues 1 to 7 could be sent to us.

Geoffrey Leight

Letters Continued

Bristling Inaccuracies

9 Moray Place, Edinburgh 3
Dear Gay News,

I never thought I’d find myself springing to the defence of Sir Michael Swann, but your news item in GN14 bristled with so many inaccuracies that the record must be set straight.

  1. The reference to his brush with Scottish International omitted the essential point, which is that he’d got hold of the wrong end of the stick. He thought that the story about a warden at another Scottish university was a bizarrely distorted version of something that had happened at Edinburgh.
  2. The teach-in on Homosexuality on March 8th is not being organised by the Scottish Minorities Group, but by a specially formed committee of staff and students (more non-gays than gays) from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt University — containing, by the way, not one professor, but two.
  3. Sir Michael did not write letters complaining about the abusive letters he’d received, though he did ask the Deputy Secretary to the University to tell me that the Teach-In could not be described without Senatus approval as an official University event, as the Glasgow Herald (for reasons best known to itself) had labelled it.
  4. To say that ‘he has taken steps to make sure that no university funds are spent on the teach-in by telling university committees that they may not regard the teach-in as official’ is almost libellous. Our Committee has no evidence that this has happened.
  5. In short. Sir Michael is not ‘on record’ as being anti-gay. It would be quite untypical of him to take any such positive stand. I have recently heard that in reply to at least one of the ‘abusive letters’ he started off by reassuring the writer that the Teach-In was not an official event and ended by saying that the University believed in encouraging free discussion. This hedging of his bets strikes me as far more characteristic of the political animal that he is.

I am not happy about the attitude of the University committees we have approached for help; their reasons for rejecting our applications strike me as specious and unconvincing. But individual prejudice, conscious or subconscious, could well be a sufficient explanation. Making wild and unprovable accusations of behind-the-scenes rigging is just playing into the enemy’s hands. In the long battle for gay rights we have to learn to be cunning as well as courageous.

Michael Coulson

Back In Business

Gay Arrow,
Reading Gay Alliance,
Room 7, 30 London Road,
Reading.
Dear Gay News,

We would like to clarify a point in your article “Angry Silence Hits RGA” (Gay News 14). It ended with the suggestion that complaints from a member of the public may gave made the landlord “forget” to renew his music and dance licence at the Tavern.

This is not true. The complaint to the brewers regarding the press advertisement came after the lapse of the licence. The landlord has done his best to ensure that our meetings go ahead without problems, and was very apologetic at the loss of the licence. He continued to let RGA use the club-room free of charge for the period without extensions or dancing, when attendances were very low and his revenue negligible.

The help he has given RGA since social functions started last June has been the most that could be expected from any licensee in business for gain, and in no other way associated with the aims of our organisation. This contrasts with the attitude of his monopolist employer.

We are pleased to report that he has now regained his licences, and our socials and discos are back in business.

Dave Thompson, Goff Sargent,
Editors of Gay Arrow

Not So Lucky

Albany Trust,
32 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London W1V 8EP.
Dear GN,

Your editorial spiel on money and the gay movement was dead on — except for your belief that “the Albany Trust is lucky enough to have a charitable trust supporting it just now.” I wish this was true, but it’s not. Last year we did receive just under £3,000 from the Gulbenkian Foundation.

But that was a once-only, emergency grant aimed at helping us keep our heads above water to the end of 1972 so that we could continue with the vital job of co-ordinating counselling and befriending activities for the homophile movement. The money has all been spent now, and the grant was necessitated because our 1972 income had dropped to half of what it used to be.

Now, at the beginning of 1973, the Albany Trust is once again faced with the prospect of being out of business within a few months unless adequate support is forthcoming. Our autumn appeal – designed to put us “in the black” for this year as a first step – was a failure. Yet we are not only “carrying” all NFHO’s administrative expenses but have also been contributing to those of CHE and other homophile groups. This can’t go on unless the gay world shows positive signs of wanting it to.

To expect more work to be done by gay organisations when they haven’t enough cash in hand to keep going at present levels is futile. There’s no question of “chicken or egg?” here. Given the cash, we will do the job. But time is short – for the Albany Trust and for NFHO, as well as for Gay News.

Antony Grey, Managing Trustee

Your Letters

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

Why Risk It?

Middlesex

Dear Sir,

I have only seen numbers 9, 11 and 12 of GN.

I advertised in numbers 11 and 12 for someone to share my home and life. There was a bigger response than I expected and I am dealing with this now in what I hope is a civilised way.

Meanwhile, one or two thoughts occur to me. I think the heading of your illegal page is excellent. Some of the ads, however, are a bit doubtful. If you want to remain in circulation, why put it at risk in this way? There is always a temptation, feeling oneself to be in a minority, resentful, a bit aggressive about it, to be daring. Resist it. You do not have the lampooning function of Private Eye, that can tell any client of the blessed Arnold Goodman to get fucked. JS recently found BS by way of your columns (it may have been the other way round!) One of them wanted a big black cock but he could well have found it by other means without exposing you to police prosecution. Stratton-Wells is justified in his complaints. I am half-guilty myself, knowing that particular appeal, though I am not passive. Still, there is a fantasised urge there. I think Antony Storr points out that many active homosexuals want a partner with a big prick, which is, may I say in passing, English vernacular as opposed to the American cock, applicable to both male and female genitalia. The fantasised urges I spoke of can’t be allowed to direct our lives. I hope that JS and BS are happy together.

But I do think that being ‘turned on’ is suspiciously mechanical.

Faults of layout and format are not worth criticising in view of the difficult conditions you have to cope with. I wish you could find a gay millionaire to smooth things out.

Another thing: whatever Messrs JS and BS may say, your business is not to do with cocks and spunk and arseholes. These are very private matters. Gay includes women. Women do not have the apparatus mentioned. Not only do you need to devote more space to women, you also need to promote more effective communication between gay women and men. I am sure you are thinking about this.

Finally, I think you could and should increase the price of GN to at least 40p. You are in a seller’s market, with the unique advantage that you are on the side of the buyer.

Peter Jackson

Second Thoughts

Brighton

Dear Editorial Collective,

At your invitation I feel I must write and ask who is the self-styled Mary Whitehouse, or Little Hitler? Who has barred such innocent words as leather and denim from the personal ads ?

While I must agree some of the ads have been near the knuckle. I’m sure the situation doesn’t justify this discriminatory action.

Why, even in GN 12, Julian got all switched on when “he” visited the Wheatsheaf’s Green Room. I can’t wait to get there.

If you don’t want to continue the personal adverts for fear of prosecution, then come clean and say so, and don’t inflict this dictatorial attitude. After all. I’m sure everyone knows the idea of the ads.

I was hoping to put a personal advert in after Christmas, but for fear of this censorship, I am having second thoughts. So will many others.

Have another think about this matter, and come up with a logical answer.

Roy Bonham

PS. Have subscribed to no 23. Make it!

ED: Sorry we didn’t explain our new policy towards personal ads clearly enough in GN13. We most certainly are not “barring” words such as leather and denim. But for now we must alter or refuse adverts which explicitly refer to sexual acts, preferences or organs, ie whipping, CP, well-endowed, etc.

Love Lives Forever

London, SW8

Dear Gay News,

Your correspondent Doug Pollard approached the problem of ageing (GN 12 page 7) with as much wit as possible. Correct. Better laugh than cry, always. But I must tell you that the lads at the disco don’t tell me (as Doug does) to go and find an armchair at the Athenaem; and talking to my old school chums (all those bloody bishops). On the contrary, the lads at the disco invite me to come again, because I love them and they (bless their hearts) love me.

There’s only one solution to the problem. We must create a special Marxism for grandpas. What about joining the T.G.W.U. (Terpsichorian Grandpas of the World Unite) and then I can buy a ticket to the Yuletide National Lorrydrivers Lottery (You’ve nothing to loose but your life).

To be serious, Doug, I think that your phrase “gone for ever” is a bit defeatist in tone. Of course you are perfectly right in a way. If homosexuality is simply a question of cocks and balls and having it off, then certainly there comes an end to that.

But homosexuality isn’t that. It’s love, and love doesn’t go, it lives forever.

So let me stay on the disco circuit, where I guarantee I’ll find more courage, humility, generosity, gentleness and sheer love per square foot than anywhere else in London, possibly in the world. Oh brave new world that hath such creatures in it. Even Pale Brother Death is halted, and stands amazed.

Dai Grove.

Face It Babes

Dear Collective,

Sorry, but I’d like to inject a sour, critically appraising note into the general chorus of congratulation. Of course it is good that you exist and the paper is mildly entertaining, though not very informative. But how many other gays besides me are increasingly turned off by the prevailing giggly, simpering, juvenile tone representing all that is passé and stupid and discredited in the homosexual image.

Face it, babes, there is something tawdry about Gay News. Just not enough reality and intelligence.

It is mostly badly written, amateurish and uncritical in its comments on almost everything. I am not calling for the over-intellectualised approach, just a more balanced and broad depiction of the real variety and maturity in much of the gay world.

And how confused can your values get? That calendar has a photograph of Mae West who may be the object of a cult but has been known for years to be extremely hostile to gay men. I suppose you’re being good Christian gays (who needs them?) in turning the other — you should pardon the expression— cheek, but first rule of any revolution, no matter how minor, is know thine enemy.

Daniel James

Fem or Butch

Leeds

Dear Gay News,

I’ve just returned from a gay club in London where I was asked if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ — having never considered this, I just said I was a person. However it seemed that people expected to know if I was ‘fem’ or ‘butch’ in order to relate themselves to me; ie was I a good pick up. I find it equally hard to relate to fem and butch images and all their restrictions. Perhaps it’s my restriction but I suggest that these gay women are presenting the stereotypes that one can find in any straight disco/bar. They also prevent other gay women coming out by turning them off the gay scene because these gay women seek individuality rather than conformity. Anyway, I’d like to know what other people think of this.

Incidentally, we’d like more women members of GLF in Leeds, we have fluctuated to two at the moment.

Jane

Much Ado

Bayswater

Dear Gay News,

Whilst, probably correctly, petulantly chanting again and again your dissociation with any organisation, do you dare print this letter and admit in reply to James Knight that Roger Baker, Press Officer for CHE wrote the attack on Martin Stafford for your newspaper?

Love, B S

ED: We dared to print your letter. So what?

Bugging the Bugs

London

Dear Gay News,

Thanks a lot for that really interesting article on crabs in GN8! As you said we can all be a bit simple sometimes and I must qualify for simpleton of the year award. I’ve been scratching my balls for about a week or so, and it was only when re-reading some back numbers of GN that I realised what I had got. I immediately rushed round to the local chemists for the Quellada (and got an icy and disgusted look from the assistant as she gave it to me!) Got a hot (too hot) bath with about half a bottle of Dettol in it and proceeded to cover myself with the recommended lotion. Then I took everything I’d worn, the bedsheets, towels and all to the laundrette and the dry cleaners. All this as you can imagine cost me a fortune, the dry cleaning alone came to £1.50. I’m still racking my brains to think when and where I could have caught the little bastards, as I get a bath very regularly and use plenty of Femfresh – er I mean Old Spice!

What really made me uptight was that the other night I was with a really fabulous boy at a club and had to make excuses when he asked me back to his place, as I still had the Quellada lotion on my body! Thanks to the above mentioned article and its excellent advice I have got rid of the pesky things and can start to live again!

On another track. I’d like to say how fantastic I think Gay News is and give my love to Julian! Keep the gay flag flying!

Rick

Lovely Points

Dear Gay News,

That letter from ‘Queenies Castle’ really slayed us (Gay News issue number 12). “If” Sebastion is “straight”, then “call me Madam”. Perhaps He (or she) had a tiff with the Manager of the “dear old Bio” and plans to get her revenge.

Keep on writing, Julian, we love to read your points of view. We also think “Queenies Castle” should be renamed “HATTERS CASTLE”.

Martha, Michelle and Diana

Never Be Parents

London, W14.

Dear Gay News,

Few people seem to be aware of the unhappiness facing the Lesbian who loves children, but, because she cannot respond to men, despairs of ever having any children of her own.

Many gay men marry women who understand their problems and together they managed to bring up happy children. Gay women, on the other hand, have to find all their emotional satisfaction in their relationships with other women – and as they get older, with increasingly young girls who tend to become daughter substitutes.

Not all gay women may have found this, but it has been my experience. All my men friends are gay; all the straight men I ever knew lost interest not being content with a non-sexual relationship. Good riddance anyway. In retrospect they are all so hung-up on role playing that they couldn’t see the real person in me or themsleves.

Is there anyone who is really into kids and is not hung-up on sex and roles? Creative and understanding? I would like to hear about gay or bi men who also get depressed because they think they will never be parents.

Dierdre.

Your Letters

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

Rallying Point

Dear Gay News,

I saw Gay News on sale at Better Books Charing Cross Road – and my eagerness to find out about you overcame the diffidence/shyness that makes one hesitant at making a purchase which tactically ‘labels’ the purchaser. (Yes I know it’s foolish: why should we be furtive? It is a habit that many of us have grown into in self-defence but or rather thanks to GLF, CHE and publications like yours — it is becoming increasingly unnecessary).

The paper is just what was lacking, a sort of rallying point for all the progressive movements that have sprung up in recent years. Nothing is more encouraging to potential activists than news of what other people are doing. I’m sure you are going to do a great deal of good for the homosexual cause just by existing, for there is a danger of slipping back if the movements become splintered up with too much infighting. This is how ‘they’ have always kept the upper hand, divide and rule. By uniting all the various groups informally, which Gay News does simply by reporting what everyone is doing, we can avert this danger and continue to move forward. You are right to preserve your independence since this way you can be of greatest value to all groups and individuals… may you go from strength to strength.

Not the least pleasurable thing about Gay News is your selling price. For the first time we have a publication that everyone can afford, not just a rip-off ‘bold’ progressive Gay Magazine which just happens to cost 50p (or more) an issue. For far too long, gay people have been exploited by publishers who have artificially inflated prices just to make a quick profit – and this attitude extends to other spheres. Perhaps with your encouragement we can attack this particular injustice too. Readers will I’m sure, respond to your invitation on page ten to write in with comments on goods and services etc. This is a case where unity is strength since gay people are consumers with enormous total purchasing power – and only too eager to go where the best value is to be found.

Let me end with a practical suggestion for those readers like myself who are non-activist but feel they would like to do something tangible for the cause. Campaigning and street selling, etc are for the youngsters, and many of us cannot afford to be over-generous with our money or time. But there is one simple, and inexpensive thing we can do, buy two copies instead of one and leave the extra one on the train or bus or wherever it can do most good. With best wishes to everyone responsible for Gay News which is so beautifully produced in every way. Keep up the good work.

John

Vassall and Parole

Chiswick, London W4.

Dear Gay News,

Having read the letter from Michael, of Bromley, in yesterday’s Gay News, (GN12, page 6) I feel that it is imperative that the misconception raised thereby should be corrected without delay.

A person released on licence by the Secretary of State under Sec 60, Criminal Justice Act 1967 (CJA67) is only subject to supervision under that licence until the actual day upon which he would have normally been due for release from prison had he not been granted parole. After that date he is just as free from restrictions as if he had never been allowed early release on licence. This is an absolute rule (always provided that no further offence has been committed during the parole period); it could not be otherwise: to extend the period of supervision beyond the normal release-date would be to increase the sentence imposed by the judge at the trial. I quote:

“A licence granted to any person under this section shall … remain in force until a date specified in the licence, being …
… the date on which he could have been discharged from prison on remission of part of his sentence under the prison rules …”

CJA67, Sec 60(6) (b)

Therefore Vassall will only be subject to supervision for some TWO years – not eight as suggested – that is until the date upon which his release would have been due in any event.*

If any Gay News readers are troubled with legal problems on which they would like advice, I would be only too glad to anwer any enquiries, which should be sent to me c/o the Gay News Office. When writing, remember the more detail you give the easier it is to give advice. All letters will, of course, be treated in the strictest confidence. Love to all gays – everywhere,

Steve Williams

*Ps: The recently passed CJA72 in no way affects what I’ve said re parole.

Gay Public Relations

London, SW4

Dear GN Collective,

When I first started subscribing to Gay News I was none too sure of my motives. A homosexual newspaper must, by definition, be primarily concerned with sex. I have never bought or subscribed to any other sex-orientated paper or magazine before, so why do I read Gay News? Perhaps more than anything to be reassured that I am not some sort of freak, that, as Lord Arran put it in GN1, we are ‘… just human beings like anyone else.’

The problem is of course that society at large still has difficulty in believing this. Lord Arran suggested that publicity can only do us harm. It can ‘…only re-arouse the slowly dying hatreds… But without publicity we simply return to square one – those strange creatures who inhabit a twilight world — a subject best swept under the carpet. We can only become acceptable if we publicise the fact, as often as possible, that we are about as normal as anyone else, and not people to be despised or feared.

Because of our limited acceptability we have practically no access to national newspapers, so the next best thing is our own newspaper. Gay News. We, like other minority groups — Naturists, Esperantists, Radio Hams, Women’s Lib (at least you may have heard of these) – are getting our own nationwide newspapers and journals, as well as clubs and societies for those who need them. Let’s hope Gay News becomes as acceptable and as popular as Hi-fi News, Woman’s Own or Dalton’s Weekly. More popular!

Chris

Correcting False Impressions

Dear Gay News,

In reference to Jakov Geissmann’s report on our recent Jewish national ”Think-In” entitled “Judaism and the Jewish Homosexual”, I became deeply disturbed on his very false impression in the way he described it as 8 hours of “boredom” to the extent that he himself left the meeting in the middle of our principal guest speaker’s talk. In order that your readers should not be misinformed, it’s my duty (as organiser of this think-in) to emphasise the positive structure and climax of this meeting. I have since discussed it with out Jewish group, and we are generally convinced that indeed it was a very successful meeting. Incidentally, no member of the group has ever heard of Jakov Geissmann so I can only presume that he sent in his report purely as an observer. Briefly, please allow me space in your column to inform your readers why we believe it was a success.

(1) Dr. Wendy Greengross in her opening remarks, accepting us as normal and healthy people, being part of society in the same way as heterosexuals.

(2) The vast number of Jewish gays who publicly declared themselves, just like an awareness group, where everybody quite freely spoke about themselves, especially in relationship to their families, followed by a general discussion.

(3) Last, but not least, our principal guest speaker, Dr Alan Unterman PhD, Student Chaplain to Manchester University, and a very humanistic and religious Jew, has made a deep research into the problems facing Jewish gays. Admittedly he quoted the Bible which forbids homosexuality, however he emphasised that according to “Judaism” there are no heterosexuals or homosexuals, basically we are all bi-sexual, although many people would disagree on this fact. He said, that Adam, being the first man was created both male and female, and at the birth of Eve, Adam was split.

He went on to define that “male and female are two halves of one whole”. His talk was obviously followed by a very heated discussion, but I stress at no time did he reject us, on the contrary he constantly accepted us as “normal” people, but insisted that we are all bi-sexual. The session ended with a very moving talk by Antony Grey of the Albany Trust, who throughout his ten years of counselling, mentioned the disturbing number of Jewish gays where marriage and family unity in the Jewish religion was the main problem facing the Jewish Gay. None of these points I’ve mentioned was remarked by Jakov Geissmann. Also since he even left before Antony Grey’s talk, on the contrary, Mr Grey himself said that he found the entire meeting most interesting and constructive and enjoyed every minute of it. In conclusion, due to our questionnaire form. I’ve had a massive response from Jewish gays interested to continue a Jewish group and I shall be pleased to answer anyone who wishes to write to me. Last, but not least, may I take this opportunity in congratulating Gay News . as Britain’s No 1 first class independent gay paper, you are doing a wonderful job and I sincerely hope that eventually your paper will be available over the counter at all national newsagents and bookstalls throughout the country.

Love and Peace,

Simon Benson, Albion Court, 75 Larkhall Rise, London SW4 6HS

Better Understanding

Dear GN,

I welcome the news that GN is branching further afield and featuring items of general interest.

This is a wise decision as it will strengthen the paper and attract heterosexuals to read Gay News, and also make them understand the problems we face and that our views on life are similar to theirs.

This in turn will make for a better understanding in our fight for equal recognition.

Carry on GN, you have my full support.

P Atkins (Miss)

Utterly Amazed

Osterley TW7 4PX
Middlesex.

Dear Gay News,

I have read and enjoyed all the issues of Gay News to date, but I find one startling fact about your ads, and that is that your paper puts an ad in pleading for new premises and has done so for quite a few months now, but to my utter amazement (and no doubt yours) you have had no response whatsoever. Surely there must be property owners in London who could help you out. In fact I would have thought that gay people all over London would wish to help THEIR paper out.

Sadly it is quite obvious to me that whilst it’s okay to read Gay News in private it is too much to help out a damn good paper openly.

Finally I would like to stress that I am in no way connected with Gay News but felt so disgusted with the gay community to which this letter concerns that I felt something should be said publicly on your behalf,

Royston Williams

Lemon Drop Kids

London, N8

Dear Lemon,

When will you realise that throwing shit at Martin Stafford is counter-productive?

I know that Martin is a humourless little twerp who’s dreadfully hung up; but if that’s his kink, let him be.

It’s very wrong of you to think that Martin is alone in his opinions. He isn’t. Throughout the country he has a great deal of support – especially from the more paranoid ghetto queens. But his supporters are by no means confined to that group.

Fresh recruits flock to his counter-revolutionary banner all the time. Some just agree with everything he says: others feel sorry for him (if you’ve ever seen him you’ll know what I mean) and tend to be especially so after the sort of bollocking he got in GN11.

The Martin Staffords of this world have an annoying habit of having the last laugh. This may well not happen with the Martin Stafford, as he does not seem able to laugh.

The only way to get rid of this type of person who constantly tries to betray his own kind is to let him condemn himself with his own (incredibly silly) words. I suggest you forgo the Bitter Lemon and try a bit of arsenic and old lace.

James Knight

ED: Denis Lemon did not write the piece concerning Martin Stafford in GN11, although he does completely condone what was said.

No Drinking

Bedfordshire

Dear Sirs,

I would like to pass a mild comment on the article ‘Lancette’ by a ‘real doctor’, in Gay News No9

The author states that the only reason doctors advise against alcohol is that one is likely to have carefree sex if one is drunk; and that in no way does alcohol affect the treatment being given.

I’m undergoing a course of treatment of pills to clear myself of non-specific urethritis. After having taken them for nearly a week, my symptoms subsided to the extent that I had to look for them. One evening (still taking the pills) I had less than five drinks.

On awakening the next morning, my symptoms had re appeared, and the discharge I was suffering had worsened.

My I suggest to your author that he thinks before quoting age-old cliches, and that he doesn’t include us all in the sexist gay society in London, where sleeping with a man is as common as drinking a glass of water. Sex is, to me, still very beautiful and very personal.

N. Ferguson

Your Letters

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

Scandalous Behaviour

Woodsetts, nr. Worksop,
Notts

Dear Gay News,

I have been going to write to you for some time but have kept putting it off through laziness. What has at last impelled me to shake off my torpor is the appalling and scandalous action of Mr Martin Stafford as reported in Gay News no 11.

As a fellow member of CHE’s Executive Committee, I am well aware of the petulant and selfish attitude that he adopts. But I am horrified that even he could go to the lengths that you have reported. To disagree with your policy of publishing contact ads is one thing; but to go over to the enemy in this way is something that ought not even be considered by someone holding any official position in an organisation such as CHE. I am absolutely sure that the overwhelming majority of CHE members will join with me in condemning such action in the strongest possible terms. I must congratulate Gay News for its objective (even kindly) reporting of the episode. It is time that CHE took some firm action to put Mr Stafford in his place as the squalid little nuisance that he is.

On the same subject, more or less, I find it very sad that so many of our brother and sister homosexuals, while looking for and expecting sympathy and understanding for their own problems find it so difficult to be sympathetic and understanding of those of others. Typical is the letter of VJM of Dublin in GN 11. What is so awful about camping it up in female clothes that a repressed pederast finds so hard to accept?

In the meantime, it’s an ill wind … etc. I have at last got round to telling you what a good job you are doing and sending you the small donation and the cigarette coupons that I have been meaning to do for some time.

With congratulations and all good wisnes tor continued success.

H. E. (Ike) Cowan

Good News, Bad News

London WC1

Dear Friends and Lovers,

Congratulations on what must be the very best issue of Gay News yet (No. 11). What with one of my very favourite people on the cover and that splendid interview with Shuff, I sat transfixed in the laundromat long after my knickers had finished tumbling dry. Mrs Shufflewick is certainly the best drag artist working today, a comedian of genius. The interview proved that the success of such articles (which only come off now and then) lies in asking the right question at the right stage in the conversation. So congratulations to Shuff’s interrogators.

Now the bad news. I felt that Peter Homes’ report of the German gay movie at the NFT was inadequate and rather silly. The event was not, I agree, as important as all that. But it was interesting and both the film and the audience’s reaction had messages for us that deserved a rather more serious discussion than that offered.

Finally, your reporter with a cold who couldn’t stay on for CHE’s evening show after the fair has embarrassed me considerably. I certainly did not conceive the one-act musical that was put on, nor did I take part in it. In fact my only contribution to the evening was to appear in a five-minute sketch. Credit where credit’s due, etc — so thank Rex, Michael, Marie and Gavin for the show.

Lots of love,

Roger Baker

Forced to be Free

National Federation of Homophile Organisations,
65 Shoot-up Hill, London, NW2 3PS

Dear Friends,

I don’t consider myself to be “Britain’s number one homosexual”; I simply told the London Medical Group audience that I had publicly been referred to in that way at another recent meeting, so I had no objection whatever to telling them that I was gay. This was in response to a “come out” challenge to the panel by a gay visitor in the audience. I added that the Chairman had set us an impossible task by asking for a “dispassionate and objective” account of homosexuality, because everybody in the world speaks from his or her own personal subjective sexual viewpoint, and I was no exception. But I hoped that having told them I was gay myself would not preclude my hearers from accepting that what I had to say was the result of knowledge gained through ten years’ professional work and responsible experience of running the Albany Trust. We have to scotch the absurd notion that only the “straight” can speak authoritatively about the “gay” (or vice versa).

This little episode did, however, cause me to reflect about “coming out”. It is good to be able to: but not everyone yet can without running considerable social and professional risks. Isn’t it somewhat unfair for those who are in a more fortunate situation not to recognise this? To taunt a panel of three professional people, only one of whom (myself) was able to publicly lay homosexuality on the line without almost inevitable and immediately damaging repercussions in their own sphere of work, strikes me as oppressive. It’s utterly wrong, of course, that such repercussions should still happen, but until we have all done much more to put society right in this respect, each one of us must surely be left to decide how far, and in what ways, we can come out. I have fought as hard as anyone for gay liberation and other civil rights causes; but I would resent being “forced to be free” a la Rousseau.

What those who still feel bound to remain “in the closet” can do, however, is to make the work of those of us in the various homophile groups and publications more effective by seeing to it that we aren’t starved out of existence. The entire homophile movement is in a state of chronic financial crisis that threatens its continued life. I hope all your readers will carefully consider the urgent needs of the Albany Trust, the NFHO and its member organisations, GLF, Gay News, and the various other homophile publications and see to it that if they can’t yet come out of their closets, they do dig deeper into their pockets so that we can all do more to make 1973 a year that is safer for gay people to come out in.

Love and Peace,

Antony Grey,
Chairman

Slagging Julian

Queenies Castle
Sussex

Dearest Darling Gay News.

Much though I love your newspaper, I have just one teensy-weensy complaint. I refer of course dears, to our little friend Julian Denys Grinspoon. Really, I don’t know why he bothers! He doesn’t give anything worth having; and what a pseud name!

Well really, loves, who wants to know what films are on at our dear old Bio? No one ever goes there for the films, do they? One gets enough carnal knowledge from just sitting there; and as for active participation, well I don’t think I need tell you old queens anything about that! Jules makes such a fuss just because some silly duchess at the cinema wouldn’t give him what he wants. Then he makes a big thing about telling us about all the people he eventually got it from (the programme of course). As if we want to know about his private life anyway.

The double-entendres are just too much personally I don’t like that sort of thing. He’s always doing things behind people’s backs just to get his own way. That sort of thing was illegal you know! So, why do all you lovelies at Gay News waste your space (and time) on him? Anyway, loves, he’s so camp and that’s one thing I cannot stand!

Thanks for your mag.
Lots of love,
A straight reader and friend,

Sebastian

Call to All Gay Sisters

Dear Gay News,

This is really a call to all lady gays. I fervently agree with the letter from Sappho (GN10) and I sing in chorus “where have all the ladies gone?”

I’m sure I am not the only female reading this wonderful newspaper. But the guys rule the waves once again, don’t let them hog all the paper. I know lots about them and have seen plenty of their arses. How about giving me a little of what I want. Let’s have a few of our lady friends saying something about themselves. I don’t see why we couldn’t have a sexy little ladie’s page if we tried hard enough. But there is only you who can bring that about, so write in and say something – anything! Like, where a few of you lovely ladies hang out! I’m a fresher to London and am still looking for lots of friends and a tour around the gay places. So don’t keep your info to yourselves, let’s all know about it. I’m looking for an opening – don’t keep me waiting! Write and tell me, and lots like me I’m sure, where we can meet some of you lovely ladies.

Love to you all,

Lynne

ED: Please get in touch with us Lynne, you forgot to put your name and address on your letter. Without your address we cannot forward any letters to you.

No GLF At CHE

London W6

Dear Collective.

May I bring this information to the attention of your readers. Going down to the CHE London Information Centre to do my lunchtime stint on the rota on Monday, November 6, I was told by the office manager that on the previous Sunday a decision was taken by the London Management Committee of CHE to remove all GLF literature in LIC.

The reason given was that LIC had too much of a left-wing flavour, and that GLF literature was too much in evidence. I observed that other gay literature including one of full frontal nudes was untouched by this censorship.

LIC exists surely to provide first information, on CHE, then information on all other gay organisations regardless of any political, religious or any other basis. I certainly was not aware that GLF dominated the diplay, nor was I conscious of the left-wing flavour of LIC — whatever sinister spectre that term conjures in certain narrow minds. It is sad to see this rage over gay-red-under-the-bed getting the better of some of our brothers and sisters, or is there some deeper motive behind this first move? Whatever the reason I am sure this decision is a bad one and must be resolutely opposed. Group Chairmen, please note.

Teck Ong

Truer Homosexuality

Durham

Dear Gay News,

The article in a recent Gay News about so-called pederasty prompted me to get my thoughts on the subject in order and write this.

Basically I’m bisexual. At the moment I’m more heterosexually than homosexually inclined, but this is more because of ‘supply’ than ‘demand’. As far as the homosexual side of my sexual make-up goes I could be defined as a pederast, because I’m chiefly attracted to guys in an age-range of about 15—22. I doubt whether I could get it on with anyone older than this. I’ve thought about the reasons for my choice, and they’re something like this.

Physically and mentally, I’m a pretty fair balance between masculine and feminine. I’m also 19 (so that makes half my sexual make-up illegal but I don’t care, it’s the law that’s wrong), and I’m attracted to similar people. Maybe this is truer homosexuality than that seen in many couples where the butch/bitch syndrome is their basis. Anyway, there’s an elusive blend of masculine hardness and slimness with feminine softness which really turns me on. Quite a lot of guys in this age-group have it, and so do some women; the only trouble is, all the guys are straight! So I do the next best thing and go with women…

I’ve written mainly about physical characteristics; but before anyone writes a nasty reply, I do take mental characteristics into account, indeed very much so. however I can’t get it on with a guy or chick unless I fancy them. What a hangup!

Chris

Letterette Of The Month

Sidcup, Kent

… Thanks a lot … great reading … love the ads … love it all … Happiness is egg shaped … and so am I.

EL

Gay Movie

46, Cavan Drive, St Albans, Herts.

Dear Gay News,

I am in the process of finishing a gay film ‘Love Of My Own’ and I would like to hear from interested parties, in getting it on celluloid. Script-writers, film-directors with experience, actors, non-actors, and people with finance. This film calls for actresses (not in drag). I would like any gay director of a company to give permission to use the board room, and also anyone with a large house with swimming pool, so come on, let’s really make this film for 1973.

RL

Your Letters continued on page 6.