An Open letter To The Rad. Femmes

02-197206XX 7Last night I saw some of you at the launching of Spare Rib. Last night I saw you behaving like the oppressive chauvinist men you claim to despise, but in fact are yourselves. Last night I saw you deciding what other people should think, now they should behave, what they should say, and when they didn’t you turned into a bunch of petulant, aggressive little children, because you couldn’t get your way. It would have helped, perhaps, if, instead of dreaming for attention like spoilt children, you had told someone what you had decided, what you thought, and what you felt could be done to change it, if it needed changing. It might have helped if you had shown some concern for others, no matter how blind, especially as you were in the company of people who, for the most part, were either gay themselves, or at the very least, not unsympathetic. But as usual the opportunities to create more, to build love, to understand each other, were wasted in favour of violent destruction.

I thought GLF was about love, about people, about life, about freedom, above all, about liberation. Pardon me. I was wrong. I recognise the straight gay ghettos for what they are – something where there would otherwise be nothing, frightened, confined. But I seek to break that confinement, where we can all be what we are and what we wish to be, without oppressing others. You have looked in the ghetto, in fact, you inhabit it more frequently than most other self-styled liberated gays, but you are there in the role of warders. You have come to the conclusion that, if people will not come out of the ghetto, you will build a fence of hate and bitterness about it so that they may rot in a prison of their own creation. Where you will go from there I do not know – perhaps to a final solution of the straight-gay problem, but I will not come with you.

“If they’re not liberated, tell them to fuck off, they don’t belong in GLF.” Who decides if they are liberated, who applies the tests? Who decides what GLF will and will not accomodate – it is for all gay people.

“We found a cocktail party atmosphere . . . . a bunch of straight men telling the women what to do . . . . one of them said she didn’t mind . . . . we told them what they really wanted . . . .” Are you any the less men telling women what to do because you’re dressed in frocks? Or are the dresses just the sheeps clothing from the safety of which you can utter your agression, your chauvinism? How do you know what anyone else wants? Who are you to tell anyone else what what need? Who gave you this wisdom, insight, righteousness? The answer is no-one, because you have none of these things. A Stalin is no less a Stalin because he looks like a moustachioed Mae West. A fuhrer is still a fuhrer in a frock. You do not care for people, because they are neither perfect nor perfectible. You care only for principles, which can be purified. You also reserve to yourselves the right to decide those principles, and to change them at will. Neatly removes everyone but yourselves, doesn’t it? You won’t fight the society and the prejudices which, whilst you may claim they do not oppress you, oppress and are real to many, many people, gay and straight. It’s much more fun fighting the people who were your friends and your lovers, far easier to hun those who have tried to be open, honest and free with you, than to attack people you never meet, never talk to, and, in the case of straight people, never have any need to relate to.

Can you not see that the words, actions, and manner you employ to achieve whatever you want to achieve, is nothing more than masculine agression run riot? Can you not see that the only end you have so far turned them to is a cold and loveless destruction of all who refuse to side with you? You are not new, you form no part of any alternative, because you use fear as your weapon, and repression as your tool You will not frighten people into being liberated, but by the way you behave it is clear that this is what you are trying to do. And in refusing to see these things in yourself you are perpetuating dishonesty and deceit. You are sincere towards others, but you lie to yourselves.

And from where came this hatred of straight people, and l say again, PEOPLE . . ? Neither you nor I nor anyone else are any better than anyone else. We each have our skills and talents, unless the repression of society has twisted us so far as to render us useless. You didn’t chose to be gay, and most of you couldn’t chose to be straight – do you think straights are in any way different, except that it’s a little bit easier for them? Do you think that the majority of straight men enjoy being dependable fathers, husbands, lovers? We are all oppressed and all brothers in our oppression, no matter how blind to the fact or how obstructive, no matter how frustrating and hurtful it is to an those who ought to be on your side placing themselves on the other, when there isn’t even a need for fences.

And on top of this, you have created nothing, Nothing, that is, that is of any use to anyone but your pure little selves in the company of other pure little selves, and even then only within your head. What help have you been to the greater body of people who are trapped within the system, whether materially or mentally? What attempts have you made to reach them? How have you tried to understand and communicate? What have you given to someone who may want only a gay club to go to unmolested, and be free of interference and insult? l’ll tell you . . . . more insult, and from the only group of people – other gays – to whom he can relate. Where have you made any changes except in your ghetto of ideology and pink-sequins? How does that show others the way forward? How does that prove to someone that he or she is oppressed, if all you do is compound the oppression?

Fascism in a frock has come to GLF. A lie masquerading as a truth, an oppression playing at liberation. Your selfishness and your arrogance are not what GLF is for. GLF no longer exists in any meaningful way whatsoever. You go your way, and those of us who still can love, and know the meaning of the word, will go ours . . . . .

Gay Unity

02-197206XX 7The Harrow local group of G.L.F. decided on Monday night (26th June) that it no longer wished to have any further ties with G.L.F., and will now go it alone under the name “GAY UNITY”. The group has been stagnating for some time because of the large numbers of members who did not wish to be associated with G.L.F. any longer – but now the decision has finally been made.

And whilst we are in Harrow…… the group often meets for a quiet drink in one of the local pubs, usually on Thursday evenings. After the meeting on Monday, when several members of the group retired to this particular pub, they were approached by the landlord, and informed that a member of the local C.I.D., posing as a genuine enquirer, had telephoned the numbers given in the advertisement in the local press, and had been told that the group could be found in this particular pub on Thursday nights. The landlord strongly requested that the group stopped recommending his pub “Cos it’s causing me aggravation, so you tell ’em to lay off.”

One wonders what was threatened.

“Buggery Clubs”

02-197206XX 7Reprinted with love, from the Evening Standard
Thursday 22nd June, 1972

A Government scientist today calls for a radical change of attitude in British society towards homosexuality.

Dr. John Loraine, head of the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Endocrinology Unit in Edinburgh, is at pains in a new book* out today to puncture what he describes as the “conventional wisdom” about orthodox sexual relationships.

In what is undoubtedly the most horrifying picture yet of “the global spectre of over-population”, Dr. Loraine acknowledges that society today is less vociferous in its condemnation of homosexuality than it was in the days when Lord Kilmuir was Home Secretary and “continuously denouncing the evils of ‘sodomite societies’ and ‘buggery clubs'”.

The scientist says: “Yet intransigence on this issue persists, for within the conceptual horizons of the wisdom there is no room for the thought that a proportion of men and women actually prefer homosexual to heterosexual relationships and they will obstinately persist in such activities in spite of the most strident calls for sexual orthodoxy.

“Indeed, the wisdom finds it exceedingly difficult to judge a man or woman by parameters other than his or her sex life; not does it see fit to stress the contributions to civilisation of men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Oscar Wilde, John Maynard Keynes and Ivor Novello”.

*The Death of Tomorrow, by John A. Loraine, Heinemann, £3.75.

Gay News would have reviewed the book in this issue, but unfortunately Heinemann’s are still keeping us waiting for our review copy. Maybe they think that the book is of no interest to a paper such as ours.


Lord Beaumont Cooks

02-197206XX 7The Liberal Cook-Book, is the litery dish edited and partly written by Lord (Tim) Beaumont of Whitley. The Liberal peer and the founder of the Beaumont Society for transvestites, is an accomplished cook. Or should be by now after cooking for eight months for his family; his wife has been studying for a diploma in the decorative arts.

Other contributors to the cook-book are Lord Byers and Jeremy Thorpe (who has offered a recipe called ‘Camembert Ice’. Among liberal party supporters offering culinary delights are Derek Nimmo, Flora Robson and Clement Freud.

Lets hope that the recipes are as hot and tasty as the hot air and intrigueing squabbles usually offered by politicians and their flocks.

Book Reviews

by Leslie Halliwell,
Paladin Books 1072 pages £1.00

This is certainly the most complete, clear, well produced (all listings in alphabetical order) guide to the film world I have ever seen. Whether you are just simply an ordinary film fan, writer or serious addict you’ll find what you want to know.

Every actor who has ever appeared in films, however small their part, seems to be listed with a fairly detailed biography, together with producers, directors, designers etc.; and there are even clear explanations of those technical words like “cross cutting” etc., together with consise explanations of subjects such as the use and development of colour in films.

My one and only complaint is that despite the fact that the paperback edition has only recently appeared, the information therein is only correct to late 1969 or early 1970.

Help Safeguard Liberty

CIVIL LIBERTY: THE NCCL GUIDE,02-197206XX 7ed. Anna Coote and Lawrence Grant.
A Penguin Special, 50p.

This is a successor to the National Council for Civil Liberties’ Handbook of Citizens’ Rights but it much more extensive in its range. The NCCL is not anti the police, public services or the establishment. It is interested only in basic legal rights and is anti – as we all should be – the misuse and abuse of power. Unlike Canada and the USA, this country has no written constitution, no Bill of Rights. Consequently the rights of British citizens are often difficult to isolate and even harder to assert. Vigilance is required to safeguard liberty, but can only be based on knowledge.

This 356 page guide sets out the legal rights of British citizens in simple terms. Unfortunately, as the editors point out, too often one may only find out what one can do by studying the lists of what one cannot do. The most sensitive areas (racial discrimination, drug use, rights on arrest and court procedure) are thoroughly covered, but the guide also includes valuable chapters on the law and the motorist, the consumer, the landlord and tenant. There are sections devoted to children, to education, to sex and to marriage. The theoretically law-abiding citizen who will never be searched on suspicion of carrying drugs or discriminated against through colour or sex, will find much to concern him. The distinguished list of contributors have been resolutely fair: anomalies in the law (different rights for a husband and wife, for a girl of 16 and a boy of 16 for example) are quietly pointed out and case-histories are included where relevant. The full text of the European Convention of Human Rights, which the United Kingdom signed in 1950 but the provisions of which have yet to be incorporated into the ordinary law of the land, is published as an appendix.