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.

Trouble Shared

01-197205XX 5We’ll do what we can to help and advise if you share this trouble of yours with us in this regular column.

ALONE IN GLASGOW

It’s only recently that I’ve realised I’m as attracted to certain women as I am to men. This came as a big surprise to me and I’m sure it would be more of a horrible shock to my friends; which is exactly the trouble. I know no-one who feels the same as me and I have very little access to meeting them. In fact, I sometimes feel I’m the only lesbian in Glasgow! Glasgow seems to be a more repressed area than most. It’s a huge city but one which prefers to ignore part of its population and keep them in isolation and loneliness. I mean, where can you meet people? I see many women in the street to whom I’m attracted, and I’m sure they feel the same, but there’s this horrible stigma about being homosexual or bisexual or anything which deviates from the norm. It must be really bad as it took me 19 years to even admit it to myself. I believe there’s a great number of people, both male and female who consider themselves totally heterosexual but in fact have a nagging doubt at the back of their minds about this. Men have been conditioned into worshipping females with big boobs and bums and women have just been conditioned into worshipping men in all pimply, hairy and un-deodorised forms! I just can’t understand why people should be outlawed because they are attracted to a member of the same sex. I think it might have something to do with the way men are expected to be extremely manly and women to be feminine. The fact that we are all just people has been forgotten. What I’m trying to say is, I think of myself as a person first and then a woman second and if I’m attracted to a girl it’s because of her personality and then her sex.

I think homosexuals will be more and more isolated as time goes on. You only have to look at the way “Straight” People act physically towards each other – there is no form of physical communication at all – only between members of the opposite sex. This has come about quite recently because 20-30 years ago it was usual and normal to see women go walking down the street arm in arm without half the street turning round for a second look. People are being pressurised more and none into being heterosexual.

In mediaeval times it was usual and highly commendable for young boys to have knights as lovers. In fact it was considered a disgrace if they didn’t!

How times have changed!

I think the only way to bridge this terrible gap of lonely people is for a magazine like Gay News, produced sincerely for homosexual people, to organise a system like box numbers (at the very least) to help people communicate more easily.

I personally hope this will take place in the very near future.

It is a ‘terrible gap’ – and we exist to help bridge it. Although we were, and still are, concerned about the whole business of running box number ads, not least because they might technically be illegal, Gay News does have a small ads column (q.v.) and box numbers. For the sake of the future, though, gay people cannot go on hiding away from the stigma put upon us; we must become known, as people who happen to be gay. No fear ever goes away until it is faced, and nothing is won from this society without some measure of defiance. But the power of the oppression is strong, stronger in our minds, I believe, than in fact, but still with great power. And so in deference to her wishes we have not printed the name of our lonely sister. We’ll pass on any letters we get to her and put her in touch with gay organisations in Scotland.