“What Are We Going To Do About It?”
Gay Lib hold regular dances in London, and most of them nowadays are at Fulham Town Hall. They are openly advertised and open to all and this combination of factors has led to troubles which may mean the end of dances at Fulham.
The trouble has been caused by local louts who seem to think that queer-bashing and baiting is a fun way to round off an evening out. At the last two dances there have been bunches of them hanging around outside, especially towards the end of the dance and attempts have been made to dissuade them from causing trouble, but without success. In part this would seem to be a result of the tacit support they receive from the local police.
One guy in drag is standing at the entrance to the hall when some of these kids come by and start to make fun of him. “You a fellah? Show us your cock then!” So, entering into the spirit of things, he does. They then try to start a fight because he flashed his cock in front of ‘their’ girls (jealous, perhaps?).
Later on, same evening. Two guys leave hand in hand. From across the road a group jeers and one or two of them throw things. It looks as if they might attack. So our intrepid twosome take the offensive, and chase them off, brandishing milk bottles. As the group disappears, they turn back and head for the station, returning the bottles to their crate. Very shortly after this, they are arrested by the ever-vigilant local constabulary for possessing offensive weapons.
Meanwhile, on the station platform, another guy has been attacked by a different group of boys.
The following week the attitude of the police becomes clearer. Once again there are groups of little ‘toughs’ hanging round outside the hall. With the previous weekly incidents in mind, someone calls the police to move them away. A squad car, complete with uniformed inspector, arrives and shoos them away. They then park discreetly nearby. Three guys leave for the station, and as they cross the road, the gang reappears. Two run, one of them decides to make a stand; he receives one severely blacked eye, and a cut needing four stitches just under the other. One of the gang has a sleeve torn from his coat, another, a lapel. At this late stage, the same squad car reappears, and the gang hastily departs. The police display their usual zeal in pursuing the formalities but do not pursue the gang. “Oh, it’s another gay dance – we always have trouble at these gay dances” . . . . . . and asking the guy who has blood mining down his face “It’ll have to be a clearer description than that!” They are about to leave when the opportunity for the clearest description possible arises – the gang reappears. They are pointed out to the police, who question them, but let them go. “They say they just off a bus.” – in spite of their clearly damaged clothing. The police then leave, and our friend goes to hospital to have his face stitched.
In order to make sure the coast is clear, someone takes a walk to make sure the gang has gone. They haven’t gone very far they – and apparently laughing and joking with the policemen. In anger he shouts out to the effect that ‘these pigs are supposed to protect people, and here they are having a laugh with the ones who caused all the trouble’. In a flash he is surrounded by policemen, and arrested for insulting behaviour and breach of the peace – surrounded by so many policemen that they can’t all fit into the squad car, and some of them are detailed to hoof it back to the station.
So that leads on to a few questions. To the police – “Who’s side are you on?” And to the gay community generally – “What are we going to do about it?”