GAY TIMES August 1988

The “homosexual conspiracy” theory, which seems to be all the rage in the “serious” papers at the moment, popped up again in a major feature in The Mail on Sunday (“Scandal of the Gay Clergy” 10 Jul). This time it was written by Iain Walker who said, in effect, that the man who conducted the persecution of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, George Cassidy, the Archdeacon of London, is himself being persecuted as a result.

Apparently, according to Mr Walker, one in four of inner London’s clergy are gay and “they are supported inside the wider church establishment by homosexuals in positions of the highest responsibility” – no names, no pack drill, of course, but hearsay and anecdotes abound in this diatribe. It appears on the news pages but is merely opinion – rather poorly presented with each point more dubious than the last.

Like last month’s effort in The Sunday Telegraph, this disgraceful piece of propaganda brings shame on the British press. It has no balance, although it is presented as “analysis”, it has no substance, although “investigative journalists” are invoked to give it credence. It talks of LGCM selling “obscenity… the kind of thing you would expect to find in a San Francisco bath house.” The only evidence cited as proof of this was a safer sex leaflet which was very cunningly only reproduced in part, with no mention of its purpose. The leaflet was not produced by LGCM and its inclusion in the feature is to confuse readers of the article by not revealing the whole truth about the leaflet. No mention is made of its purpose – the prevention of the spread of Aids.

If the upper end of the British press is going to continue with this wilful campaign of disinformation about the gay community, then who could complain if there really is a conspiracy afoot?

Is the Government trying to get revenge on us for its humiliation over Section 28? Why are so many articles with a similar, and quite blatant, anti-homosexual purpose, suddenly appearing in sensible as well as loony papers?

Call it paranoia if you like, but let’s not be complacent.

The front-page lead in The People of 2ndJuly was about a man who is HIV positive and working as a hospital porter. He was referred to in the story as “a menace” even though the body of the article showed such a description to be totally unfair and unjustifiable. The man was behaving responsibly in every way.

The People’s decision to persecute him for no other reason than that he is trying to get on with his life is despicable. The journalists who tried to destroy him are detestable. How they got the confidential information about this man isn’t clear, but it isn’t he who should be vilified but those who betrayed his trust.

The newspaper that carried this story is owned by Robert Maxwell, a man who gains much publicity for his supposed concern about Aids.

What I’d like to call him isn’t printable.

Christopher Monckton writes regularly for the London Evening Standard about Aids. He is a nasty, manipulative schemer, who is seeking to use Aids as a political weapon.

His whole approach is based on the idea that people who are affected by the disease must be penalised in order to “protect the uninfected majority”. In short, Mr Monckton is a right-wing loony of the most dangerous sort.

On 16 June he was writing about “testing everyone” for the virus. He made it sound so easy with his talk of a “simple 30 second test”, Does Mr Monckton know something that the rest of us don’t?


He says the whole population could be screened for £30 million, but gives no indication where such a wildly optimistic estimate comes from. There are 56 million people in this country and each would have to be tested regularly to ensure that antibodies haven’t appeared since their last test. And what about false positives and false negatives? Monckton does not consider how a Health Service which is already falling apart would cope with such a task. He does not address the problem of those who would actively avoid the test and how they would be forced to undergo it. A police state? At the very least…

And even if the impossible happened and every man, woman and child in the country had been tested, then what? What would happen to those who were antibody positive? You won’t need three guesses to find Mr Monckton’s answer to that, I fear.

As Larry Gostin, Executive Director of the American Society of Law and Medicine, said in The Guardian (22nd June): “Irrational fears, political pressures, and prejudice against gays and intravenous drug users, which have no scientific validity, have confounded our ability to respond rationally. American debate on Aids focuses more on theoretical possibilities and highly remote risks than on the accumulated public health data.”

If the likes of Monckton have their way, this country’s debate will go in exactly the same direction.

As its contribution to Gay Pride Week, The Sun ran a grotesquely offensive two-page feature on gay life in Brighton (23rd June).

Peppered with weasel words intended to create alienating feelings in the minds of their readers (“bizarre blessing services”, “odd couples”, “gay mafia”), the piece was gratuitously insulting on many levels. “Places you’ll hate if you’re straight”—was a subheading, listing all the gay pubs and clubs in the town and more or less inviting gay-bashers to pay a call. “If you prefer steak and kidney pud to Ducky a l’Orange avoid (these restaurants)… Prefer pints to Pink Fairy cocktails? Then avoid (these pubs)…” And so on.

Another section resurrected “the gay plague” and allowed a local Tory councillor John Blackman to rant in a most disgusting fashion: “The poofs …have made Brighton a place for sick voyeurs and encouraged perverts to come here from all over the country. I think they are giving the town a filthy, dirty image that will damage trade. We don’t want to know about these people who indulge in disgusting acts which are harmful and offensive to the majority of people who live here…I think Brighton would be well rid of them.” The apoplectic Mr Blackman says that “aggressive gays” are “ramming their ideas down everyone’s throat.” Unlike himself, of course, who wouldn’t dream of forcing his bigotry on to an unwilling audience.

The Sun and Mr Blackman infer that gay people have no place in Brighton, that they have, somehow, arrived from another planet to hijack the town from ‘real’ people.

The truth is that the gay community contributes far more to Brighton’s economy and cultural life than Mr Blackman and his crackpot cronies ever will, and the gays will still be there when this silly burgher has been long-forgotten.

The News of the World dragged two more celebrities from the closet this month. One was Pam St Clements (“Pat” off Eastenders) and the other was Andrew Logan (Dr Evadne Hinge).

The latter was treated to the “Celebrity in gay rent boy shame shock-horror disgrace” treatment. The usual routine was followed: some dim-witted rent boy who cares for nothing and no-one—including himself—realises that if he can hook a celebrity client he can make a nice little bit on the side from the ever-open wallet of Mr Murdoch. This time the slimy little Judas came in the form of someone called Ray Morrison, who met Logan at the Apollo Club, “a notorious gay haunt in trendy Wardour Street.”

All this is par for the course, and the NoW’s condemnatory tone totally ignores the fact that Murdoch pays far more to rent boys than their regular customers do.

I hope very much that this grotesque piece of spite will not rob the world of Hinge and Bracket. The BBC stood by Kenny Everett when he got the Murdoch treatment, and they didn’t allow the Russel Harty revelations to stop him working for the Corporation. I think Andrew Logan will find that the Beeb will not hold his private life against him, even if rotten Rupert does.

Boy George might be a pleasant chap, but he’s as thick as his own foundation cream. In an interview in Record Mirror recently he was spouting in his usual half-baked fashion about Section 28.

Take this as an example: “I don’t want kids to be educated about homosexuality. I wasn’t taught about heterosexuality, I couldn’t have given a shit. I’m completely OK, do you see what I mean?” To be frank, George, no.

But worst of all was his rounding on his fellow gays: “What really upsets me about the whole issue is that 10 per cent of the voting public is gay and none of them have the guts to come out and say anything. It makes me sick, it makes me angry, and it really annoys me.”

Mr O’Dowd seems to have overlooked the tens of thousands of people who turned out for the marches in London and Manchester. Or the contributions of many courageous individuals at great personal cost. As someone who was denying his own gayness a few short years ago, George seems to imagine that he’s the only one who feels concerned.

Even given that the quotes have been reprocessed by a journalist, George has a reputation for mouthing off first and thinking later. Rather like a Tory backbencher. Perhaps he should stand for Parliament.

Congratulations Ian McKellen on a well-presented reply (26 Jun) to the Sunday Telegraph’s sinister feature “Is there a gay conspiracy”. It was a most cogent and eloquent article; just the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from our famous champion (who also managed to get Section 28 on to the Wogan Show).

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