HIM 67, March 1984

Terry Sanderson’s autobiography “The Reluctant Gay Activist” is now available on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reluctant-Gay-Activist-Terry-Sanderson/dp/B09BYN3DD9/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

The West German Government has got itself in a right old pickle over the sacking and then reinstatement of General Gunter Kiessling.

The whole “scandal” hinges on the premise that homosexuality is, per se, a security risk.

Military intelligence reported seeing General Kiessling in two Cologne gay bars. That, believe it or not, is the full extent of his supposed “incriminating”activities.

Was it a KGB plot or back-stabbing bya jealous colleague? THE GUARDIAN and THE DAILY TELEGRAPH have been following the affair with interest. But despite the ludicrous plot-twists, some of which would have been rejected by the writers of Dallas as being too far-fetched even for them, General Kiessling got his pension and ‘honour’ restored intact.

I hope all the people involved in this non-scandal get their fingers badly burned. It’s the least they deserve.

For it is we ordinary gays who have to bear the brunt of the unquestioned assumption that homosexuality is, in itself, justification for ruining a career.

A pox on the lot of them.


In between the apologies, retractions and adjudications from the press council, THE SUN managed to fit in a pathetic story about pop singer Michael Jackson denying “heartbreaking rumours about his sexuality”. “I’m not gay,” he bleats.

Thank gawd for that, says I.


According to THE DAILY MAIL, the Women’s Committee on Islington council have recommended to the government that “male homosexuals be allowed to solicit without fear of prosecution, and for the age of consent for male homosexuals to be lowered to 16.”

Of course the recommendations are part of a wider package including allowing prostitutes to advertise and “brothels to be made legal”.

THE MAIL gave three whole paragraphs to the report – and one of those was given over to SDP Councillor Chris Pryce’s comment: “They’re barmy.”

Of course, THE DAILY MAIL sees it as a duty to distort the report and misrepresent what the women really said. In actual fact the recommendations are simply common sense, an attempt to bring our hypocritical and cruel sex laws into some kind of order. When THE MAIL says the women want gay men to be allowed to “solicit”, they really mean we should be allowed to meet each other without fear of being nabbed by over-zealous rozzers.

Lowering the age of consent is not only reasonable but essential if this country is going to continue to present itself as a defender of human rights.

If the women who seek these changes are “barmy”, you can enrol me into the “loony left” from today. The further I can get from the Repulsive Right, the better.


THE SUNDAY PEOPLE seem to think it scandalous that the crew on the superliner QE2 should have a gay bar for their off-duty hours.

But why the raised eyebrows when a large proportion of the crew are gay?

There are lots of jobs in which gay people predominate — the merchant navy is one, together with catering, hospitals and most of the service industries. Heterosexuals with family commitments are reluctant to take on these careers with their long, irregular hours and periods away from home.

If all the gay labour were withdrawn, the hotel trade, health service and so on would simply collapse.

Why on earth there should be objections to the workers enjoying their leisure in a way appropriate to them beats me.

But the, you can’t really expect THE SUNDAY PEOPLE to make sense.


The word “shame” has been bandied about rather freely in the press over the last couple of weeks. Mostly in connection with convictions for cottaging against two prominent public figures. TV personality Leonard Sachs (74) and MP Dr Roger Thomas both fell victim to the self-righteous activities of the police “loo patrol”. The victims’ agony was compounded by the courts and the humiliation completed by the media.

In my mind the “shame” should fall squarely on the shoulders of the police, the courts and the grotesque newspapers who delight in rubbing salt in the wounds.

What good has come from these incidents? Who benefits? Until the law is changed this sort of wicked and unnecessary persecution will continue to bring “shame” on the whole system, but particularly on newspapers that are not obliged to be involved in it.

HIM/GAY TIMES 73, September 1984

Terry Sanderson’s autobiography “The Reluctant Gay Activist” is now available on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reluctant-Gay-Activist-Terry-Sanderson/dp/B09BYN3DD9/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

I didn’t see the gay Play for Today ‘The Groundling and The Kite’ BBC1 but it got a very mixed reception from the critics. THE DAILY MAIL said it was “a honey … a sweet and gently funny play — I liked it enormously”. But THE OBSERVER hated it like poison: “should set the Gay Movement back a good five or 10 years. A few more offerings of this kind and it will all be illegal again by 1985.”

Well, whatever you thought of it, Lucy Hughes-Hallett in THE LONDON STANDARD made the point that despite the fact the two main characters were supposed to be madly in love they never actually got into bed together. “For two men to sit publicly on the same mattress, albeit fully-clothed is still, apparently, a no-no.”

She’s got a point.


The coverage of the Democratic convention in San Francisco inevitably included mention of the gay people in the city. The very visible gay population was lumped together with the “freaks” and “weirdos” who also turned out to protest. “Gays in street riots” said a headline in THE NEWS OF THE WORLD. I was disappointed when I read the story to find no evidence to support the headline.

Meanwhile, SIXTY MINUTES (BBC1) included a song from The Gay Men’s Chorus. The gobby Sarah Kennedy declared herself “speechless” after the item.

Which makes a pleasant change.


FAR be it from me to give extra publicity to the totally useless ‘socialite’ Vikki de Lambray, but he turned up in the William Hickey column again. This time saying he was going to marry some old berk called Sir Hew McCowan. “All arrant nonsense” says Hickey. ‘Miss’ de Lambray is quoted as saying: “He proposed to me over drinks at the Hippodrome Nightclub. He said I looked very lovely that night, very Sloane Rangerish, and ordered some special champagne.”

Will somebody please help me understand?


Lay aside any idea that I’m prejudiced against GAY NEWS because I’m writing for its main competitor. If you’ve seen it you won’t need me to tell you how appalling it is. Anyway, out of curiosity I squandered another 60p to see if there had been an improvement. And the impossible has happened: it has got worse!

In the issue I was foolish enough to buy, Conservative MP Matthew Parris was saying that gays were making “scapegoats” of the police. Can you believe it? His point was that it was the law that was wrong and we shouldn’t blame the police because they have to enforce it.

To the accompaniment of a rapidly rising blood-pressure I read: “If we don’t want homosexuals arrested for importuning we should say so, rather than knock the police for taking Parliament at its word and actually enforcing the law.”

When, Mr Parris, did Parliament instruct the police to use agents provocateurs? I can remember when it told them not to. When did it give permission to the police to beat up, humiliate and persecute innocent people or fabricate evidence in court?

To think that such an article should appear in a publication supposedly produced by gay people is incredible.

GAY NEWS is now only a shadow of its former self and is not only weedy, it is lousy to look at and a rip-off— it’s also positively dangerous.


DR ROGER THOMAS, the ‘disgraced’ Labour MP who was recently entrapped by the police and fined for cottaging was reported in THE DAILY MAIL as being “bitter” that his local constituency party plan to get shut of him. He’s even more annoyed that Neil Kinnock has withdrawn the “support” he promised when he thought Dr Thomas’s resignation might cause an inconvenient by-election.

I would have thought an MP of Dr Thomas’s experience would have known by now that if it was expedient and served their ambitions, politicians would sling their own mother in the canal.

So, it looks like ta-ta Dr Thomas.


Scientists and psychologists can now cease their researches into homosexuality. It has all been explained! What? Are you trying to tell me haven’t seen the latest is of THE PLAIN TRUTH?

For those who haven’t seen it, The Plain Truth is a free handout magazine published (without advertising) by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious cult with more money than sense (haven’t they all?).

Under the heading “Is it true that some are ‘born that way’?” we are told that being gay is nothing to do with hormones or genetics or parental influence. No, apparently, we were all visited by Satan at a very early age and he put the idea into our heads.

Well, that explains everything. According to The Plain Truth: “Satan is the originator of the idea that sex is intrinsically evil, dirty and shameful.” Funny, isn’t it, how it takes the churches to keep old Lucifer’s message going.

Are you listening at the back, you little devils?


THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH’s “Mandrake” interviewed Christopher Isherwood in California. Mandrake is respectful for most of the article but then says: “Seeking to provoke, we raise the issue of ‘gay liberation’ in America — its unappealing stridency for instance.”

Christopher was “sweetly unmoved” by the intended jibe and simply said: “I want everybody — including my people — to have rights.” He enjoys being gay and says: “It’s nice to get together, to have your group, your bunch. It’s terrible not to have anything to belong to.”

So we can claim Christopher Isherwood as our very own living literary legend. And have, as a pleasant change, a dignified public figure who is gay with no ifs and buts about it.