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 69, May 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 OBSERVER reports on the Earls Court ‘pretty police’, those power-crazed morons who go to sinister lengths in their efforts to destroy the lives of innocent people.

The police officers involved wear provocative clothes, hang about well-known gay pubs, make the first move, talk dirty, and when their victim responds, arrest him.

At one of the notorious trials earlier this year, the judge said that it was clear that someone was lying. The counsel representing the police naturally said it was the defendant and that if it were to be the policemen who were telling porkies, then “they shouldn’t be police officers, put should be in prison.”

The juries found the defendants not guilty in five of the six cases. It follows that either the juries were extremely stupid or that the police were lying.

So why aren’t these police officers in prison? Do they have immunity from the laws of perjury?

Scotland Yard told THE OBSERVER that there was to be no enquiry and no disciplinary action against the oath-breaking officers.

Listen, whenever gay people complain to the Press Council about the insulting things Fleet Street say about us, the Council invariably replies “Newspapers have a right to express their opinions forcefully.”

Alright — my opinion is that the West London police officers involved in these scandalous cases are liars, cheats and a menace to decent people. Is that forceful enough?


THE SUNDAY PEOPLE advise us that “like any loving mum, Mrs Katherine Jackson has sprung to the defence of her ‘little boy’ Michael, the hottest name in pop. “People say he’s gay, but he isn’t. It’s against religion, against God and the Bible speaks against it.”

Listen Mrs Jackson, if your little boy with his pill-popping, hormone-injecting, face-lifting, ageing juvenile lifestyle is “normal”, I thank Christ I ain’t.


One of the most frightening things I’ve read this month was in London’s listing magazine TIME OUT. During an investigation into the effects of ‘video nasties’ on young people, the TO reporter asked a pair of lads what they had found most disturbing about their viewing of videos.

After describing various disembowellings, torture and rape, they eventually said that the only thing that had turned their stomach had been the “gay wedding where two men kissed each other.”

A chilling prospect for the future of gay rights. Or could this youthful homophobia be just a phase that this upcoming generation will grow out of?


THE SUN says that Radio One’s newest DJ Dixie Peach will be featuring record requests and dedications from gay people. Rapidly assuring us that “he’s not gay himself”, Dixie say rather patronisingly, “I’ll have a small spot for lovers of dedications on my new programme and I’d like response from gay people because they are very much part of our society.”

So come on, you gay lovers, put Dixie to the test.


Is William Hickey going gay? I’m sure this is a question that has been exercising your mind over the last couple of months (unless, of course, you had something more important to do — cutting your toenails, perhaps?)

Anyway, the DAILY EXPRESS gossip columnist has been deluging his readers with a torrent of gay news recently. Did you know, for instance, that all four TV channels turned down the opportunity to screen a tribute to Noel Coward? “The Establishment has always been slightly shifty about acknowledging Cowards’ talent because of his homosexuality,” Hickey says.

He then informs us that that well-known fag-hag the Queen Mother will be unveiling a plaque to Coward in Westminster Abbey and the Drury Lane tribute will star Sirs Gielgud, Attenborough and Mills. Hardly what you’d call an “alternative” event.

In the following day’s paper, Mr Hickey returned to one of his favourite topics: Peter Tatchell. Apparently, Peter has been seen emerging from The Hippodrome nightclub on its Monday gay night. “The idea of two men on the dance-floor together — will you lead or shall I? — isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But Tatchell stands firm, even when anti-gays push him off his bike and threaten him with worse,” writes Sweet William.

You know, Mr Hickey. I’m getting worried about you. One of these days. You’ll turn up in John St Clair’s column and what would Nigel Dempster make of that? [Note: John St Clair was HIM’s own gossip columnist.]


THE OBSERVER gives frightening statistics from America about the increasing incidence of AIDS in San Francisco. “On the campus at Stanford University a group of statues has been damaged by a man with a hammer. The figures show two men together and two women, also together, in affectionate poses.” It is rumoured that the vandal is a gay AIDS victim who was “demonstrating his despair”.


Ames Murray, TV editor of THE DAILY EXPRESS wrote a piece about the Channel Four series Jesus: The Evidence. There are assertions by experts, he says, that “Christ, if he existed, may have engaged in secret rituals attended by homosexuals.”

Wow and double-wow! And then, with incredible arrogance, he says: “Christ blessed thieves and prostitutes — so what’s so surprising that homosexuals might have been present?”

The stupid naivity seems to know no bounds. Does Mr Murray imagine for one moment that all those camp old twats who dress up in frocks and jewels to revel in rituals and ceremonies in the Church are all 100% heterosexual?

Believe me, outside a Busby Berkeley musical there isn’t anywhere except the church where queens can camp it up so outrageously.

HIM 70, June 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=

Except for an Agenda article by Andrew Lumsden and a couple of letters in the GUARDIAN, I could find no mention in the national papers of the worrying raid on Gay’s the Word bookshop.

The only other references I could find in the straight press were an article by Alison Hennegan in THE NEW STATESMAN and a news story in THE BOOKSELLER. With her usual perceptiveness, Alison Hennegan identified the reasons for the proliferation of gay literature over the last couple of years: “It has sprung from one overriding need: a hunger for truth after so many lies; and a determination that having once found the truth we would never again lose it to those with a vested interest in suppressing or controlling access to it.”

THE BOOKSELLER quotes Peter Strauch, department manager of Dillon’s University Bookshop: “We have been ordering books from American publishers for a considerable number of years, including titles stocked at Gay’s the Word. Other central London bookshops have also imported and sold these titles for a long time.”

Given this, isn’t it strange that Gay’s the Word should be singled out for special treatment by HM Customs and Excise?

Only when these book-burning philistines visit Foyles and remove their imports will I believe that the raid is anything other than a direct strike at gay communications.


The Tory-inspired DAILY EXPRESS just can’t leave Ken Livingstone alone. Their latest piece of crude propaganda was headed “The Great Dictator” and written by Peter Grosvenor. “Would Londoners, now paying rates for daft schemes to support gay movements, have voted so convincingly for Labour had they known Red Ken would be running the city?”

The answer to that, Mr Grosvenor, according to the latest opinion polls, is an overwhelming YES. So stuff that up your nostrils and sniff it.

As for Red Ken himself, well he refuses to back down on his support for gay rights simply for the sake of political expediency. He is reported in THE STANDARD as saying: “Being gay or Lesbian is natural for gay men and lesbians. This needs to be understood by the heterosexual majority. The GLC has endeavoured to recognise this in its policy.”

Obviously the Tories and their Fleet Street toe-rags don’t take easily to common-sense logic.


THE NEW YORK TIMES ran a major feature entitled “For Victims of AIDS, Support is a Lonely Siege.” It described the work of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a research, support and campaigning group in America.

On the one hand, writer Larry Kramer says: “We’re more responsible. Everyone in the gay community realises now that homosexuality is defined by more than what you do sexually. Being gay is a cultural tradition, a heritage to be proud of.”

But on the other hand, there is growing evidence of a drift back into the old ways of bath houses, cruising, sexual partnerings running into many hundreds and all the other things that seem, on current evidence, to encourage the spread of AIDS.

The Gay Men’s Health Crisis is receiving 30 calls a week from newly diagnosed AIDS victims. They think it highly likely that as many as 30,000 more cases are, at this moment incubating.

Depressing stuff indeed.


Writing in WOMAN magazine, ‘royal-watcher’ Anthony Holden says “the strains of the last 18 months are beginning to show on the Queen’s face.”

Part of the strain was the resignation of Commander Tresstrail “in disgrace” after his homosexuality was revealed.

Never mind the Queen, what I want to know is how Commander Tresstrail’s face is faring under the strain he’s been exposed to after his cruel and unnecessary martyrdom by the media monsters?

And if she was so concerned, why didn’t Her Majesty utter a single word in his defence?


Spike Milligan wrote a letter to NEW SOCIETY suggesting that “parliament should set up a central screening bureau for would-be parents. It would look into people’s records to see if they are drunks, criminals, violent and whether they can support a family.” He says: “Children are being born to drunks, drug addicts, masochists, sadists and even in the bizarre context of lesbians…”

Now hold on a minute Mr Milligan. Am I wrong in saying that you’ve spent more time than most in mental institutions suffering from manic depression? Isn’t your rather unstable state of mind well chronicled? But I can find no evidence of restraint on your part when it came to parenthood.

Many lesbians make exemplary parents and to have their parenthood dismissed by the increasingly unfunny Mr Milligan is, to put it mildly, stark, staring mad.


THE SUN (described by another Fleet Street journal as a “yobbo paper”) lived up to its image when reporting the attack on pop star Marilyn in Australia.

Marilyn was beaten up in a gay bar out there. THE SUN gleefully splashed it across the front page, with the comment from the Aussie police chief: “He isn’t seriously hurt — all he needs is a powder puff.”

But as far as gay-bashing goes, the antipodean thug still has a long way to go before he can equal the editor of THE SUN.


THE whingeing Michael Jackson is still going on about how gay he isn’t. After getting his mother to reassure the loyal fans that her weird son was not homosexual (on the grounds it was against religion), we now have his doctor making the same assertion in THE SUN.

All right, Michael. I believe it. The question is: do you?

HIM/GAY TIMES 74, October 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=

An horrendous report in THE EALING AND CHISWICK GUARDIAN tells of the two gay guys who dared to kiss each other in the street. They were promptly arrested and hauled before Marlborough Street Magistrates Court. The police claimed they had received complaints about the men kissing from a straight couple. According to PC Martin Holden, the young male half of this allegedly affronted couple approached the canoodling gays and said: “You filthy beasts, how dare you do that in front of my girlfriend.” The accused said no such incident took place, there was no couple and no complaint.

So, who exactly were the affronted couple? What were their names and why weren’t they in court to support PC Holden’s evidence?

The defence suggested that PC Holden invented the couple and that they were, in fact, a figment of his imagination. PC Holden denied this, but could not produce a scrap of evidence to support his claim.

Who would you believe? And, more importantly, who did the magistrate believe?

Needless to say, the men were convicted of “insulting behaviour” and their names and address were printed in the paper.

Do you remember the story of Pinocchio? Well, I don’t know how long PC Martin Holden’s nose was, but I’ll bet it’s a hell of a lot longer since this case.


It seems that straights are trying to commandeer Camp and claim it as their very own. In a new book called simply ‘Camp’ author Philip Core tries to extend the concept right out of recognition. But it takes gays to show how it’s really done. Like the anecdote quoted in THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD’s review of ‘Camp’. Tallulah Bankhead the famed Hollywood lesbian “Was at a New York wedding when a cardinal passed her in full regalia swinging a smoking censer. As he passed Tallulah remarked: ‘Darling your drag is divine, but your purse is on fire.’” Delicious.


Do you remember the legendary Alan Whicker programme that suggested gays were welcome in San Francisco’s police force? I always had my doubts about its veracity, and now I’m sure it was just a propaganda exercise.

According to THE SUN a “gay cop” called Paul Siedler was seen on a TV newsreel kissing one of the male participants in this year’s San Francisco Gay Pride March, which he was marshalling. “Shocked police chiefs were checking if there are grounds for dismissal,” says the SUN.

I knew it all along. Pigs are pigs the world over.


An item in THE MAIL ON SUNDAY reads: “Miners at Shoreham power station thought they had the perfect spot to picket — it overlooked the nudist beach. Then they discovered all the naturists were gay.”

Is it supposed to be funny? Perhaps they forgot to print some of it . . .


Get the smelling salts for Her ‘Majesty. Pass Lady Windermere her fan! The shadow of homosexuality has been cast over the cult of Princess Diana! No, it seems her step-brother Adam Shand Kydd has written a novel with gay heroes. Not that he is gay himself, of course, God forbid! “The 29-year old bachelor” says (in MIDWEEK magazine): “It’s not a gay novel, but what can you do if people slam labels on you? I chose a homosexual couple because I find it impossible to write convincingly about women — what makes their minds tick over.”

Breathe easy, your Ladyship — there’s no real taint.

But what’s this in THE SUN — Prince Andrew (he’s the rather fat boy who looks like a chimpanzee) almost went to Heaven, yes THE Heaven where the gay brotherhood gathers. Only when his bodyguard forbade the visit did Andrew think again.

But if Andy thinks he’s randy, he might meet his match within the portals of Heaven.


Obituaries of Truman Capote present him as an enigma. A writer who convinced people that he was important, but who didn’t manage to live up to his own hype. An interesting development here is the mention of homosexuality as being a major aspect of his life. How many gays have passed through the obituary columns with their sexuality unmentioned?

THE GUARDIAN says that Capote was “half in and half out of the closet” —a very strange idea because surely there can be no half measures in Coming Out. As Tom Robinson said in the last issue of GAY TIMES, once you’re out, there’s no going back. Anyway, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH said that Capote’s taste in men changed. At first “he liked middle-aged chaps with suits and ties, happy marriages and perhaps a position in the local church”. Later “his taste coarsened” and he went for “simpler men — very simple sometimes”.

The general consensus that Capote’s life was mis-spent and his talent wasted in pursuit of celebrity, riches and pleasure, as THE DAILY MAIL put it it.


Peter Conrad’s review of the books ‘View from Christopher Street’ and ‘Aphrodisiac’ in THE OBSERVER demon­strates an unusual knowledge of gay American history and mores. He gives an interesting analysis of how U.S. gays have split themselves into “fractious cadres, each adhering to its own sartorial character, the old androgynes with their scarves and bangles against the new brutes stomping in work books and hard hats, leather tormentors in harnesses against transvestites, those critics of the macho mystique. Manhattan clones with their lumberjack flannel against those from Chicago who prefer the collegiate look.’

Conrad also identifies the growing distaste for the dehumanising philosophy of “fast-food sex” … “on the corner of Christopher Street where those en route to the disco, roller rink, or the disused warehouse by the river once bought flasks of the aphrodisiac amyl nitrate, volunteers now collect donations for medical research.”


As the world turns to the right (viz Canada electing Tories and President Reagan declaring himself a sort of Christian Ayatollah) we now have news of Australia’s own monstrous Sir Johannes Bjelke-Peterson, premier of Queensland. In an OBSERVER feature this ancient extremist, who has been in power for 16 years. is quoted as regarding homosexuals as “insulting, evil animals”.

He also opposes rights for Aborigines, hates conservation and wants The Great Barrier Reef exploiting for the maximum profit.

He bans street demonstrations by “homosexuals. lesbians, do-gooders, anyone who seeks to improve the lot of Aborigines, political moderates and critics of his wife, Flo.” He also likes to spend taxpayers’ money on aeroplanes for himself.

THE OBSERVER presented the 74-year old Aussie oddball as a corrupt, selfish, intolerant, deeply ignorant man who should never have been allowed anywhere near public office, let alone retain it for 16 years.

Such are the perils of democracy.


Michael Jackson, the hormone-gobbling warbler, is at it again. According to the front page of THE DAILY STAR, Jackson has once more issued a statement “denying rumours that he is gay”. He did it against the wishes of his advisers. I think they were right, be­cause now bad-mouth comedienne Joan Rivers is quoted in THE DAILY MIRROR as saving “Michael Jackson makes Liberace look like a member of the green berets.”

Let’s be honest – he does ask for it.