HIM 64, December 1983

There can be no doubt that homosexuality played a part in the life of Dennis Nilsen and in the deaths of his victims. [Note: Dennis Nilsen was a notorious serial killer who murdered at least 12 young gay men between 1978 and 1983 in London].

But, my, oh my, what a squalid picture the papers painted of gay lie in London following Nilsen’s trial.

Those without knowledge of the gay scene would be alarmed and sickened by the images created in the press. The media would have us believe the scene consisted entirely of innocent young boys from the provinces being preyed on by evil men in the capital. “There are middle-aged homosexual sharks, who know that to homeless young lads, seduction might seem a small price to pay for a few nights in a warm bed,” wrote Jeremy Sandford in THE DAILY MAIL.

Nobody is trying to pretend that this sort of thing doesn’t happen. Nilsen has illustrated that it does. But it goes on much less than they imply and the consequences are rarely so horrendous.

And anyway, whose fault is it if there are so many vulnerable young people walking the streets of London with no home, no money and few prospects?

No indication was given in the media that there is another gay scene — vibrant, lively and perfectly innocent — existing in London. The picture that emerged was relentlessly sordid.

And then there was the constant harping on the fact that Nilsen was homosexual/bisexual/ transvestite/necrophiliac (depending on which paper you read). The repeated connection made between homosexuality and dangerous madness (“The homosexual mass-killer” —DAILY EXPRESS; “Gay lovers macabre tale” —SUN) was alarming, if predictable.

As in the Brighton-PIE case, when it was assumed that all gay men are child-molesters, the Nilsen incident implied we were all potential mass killers or pathetic, inadequate drifters inhabiting, a squalid world of “seedy pubs” and doss-houses.

Perhaps the worst example of sensationalism at our expense was in The Daily Star: “Wearing heavy make-up, skirts and high heels, he would prowl the notorious Soho gay bars and clubs,” it leered. Then it went on to make a tenuous connection between Nilsen and David Martin. [Note: David Martin was a notorious criminal who reputedly carried out burglaries dressed in women’s clothes.]

According to The Daily Star Nilsen was ‘in love’ with Martin, even though they met only momentarily whilst on remand and then under the scrutiny of jailers. (“They were never alone, they met under the watchful eyes of prison officers.”) However, the paper manages to suggest that somehow the two men had a sexual relationship.

The ‘posh’ papers resisted the appeal of easy thrills and concentrated mainly on the contradictory psychiatric evidence.

Only the communist Morning Star turned the tables and repeatedly referred to “ex-probationary policeman Nilsen”.

Maybe it would be nearer the truth to suggest that Nilsen’s time in the army and police force did more to prepare him for his callous murders than did his gayness.

Homosexuality is not the culprit in this depressing case any more than heterosexuality was for The Yorkshire Ripper. But did you ever see Peter Sutcliffe referred to as the heterosexual serial killer? No, neither did I.


The usual way for the posh Sunday papers to review gay books is with an irritating tone of world-weary patronisation. How refreshing, therefore, to read Paul Bailey’s crit of ‘Mae West is Dead’ in The Observer.

Not only does he give the book a studied and comprehensive analysis, he also tells us why he is qualified to do so: “Thirty years ago, when I was coming to terms with the fact that I was ‘one of those’ nobody … talked openly about homosexuality.”

Nice one, Paul, I’ll even go out and buy the book.

I will not, however, be bothering with ‘Three Literary Friendships’ reviewed in The Sunday Times. Here the know-it-all-seen-it-all attitude re-surfaces, and as if to reassure us how sophisticated he is, critic Peter Ackroyd wallows in all the negative aspects of the friendships. This is particularly true of the section on the love affair between the poets Verlaine and Rimbaud. Ackroyd says of them: “If their destiny was the gutter that was because the gutter was the place they felt most at ease.”

Makes you want to puke, doesn’t it?


The deaths of two gay actors last month got much media coverage.

The inquest on Peter Arne, murdered by one of his casual pickups, ensured that the lurid details of his private life were dragged up. Poor Peter did not make a dignified final exit, and the papers ensured that everyone knew about it.

Peter Dudley (Bert Tilsley from Coronation Street), on the other hand, was accorded a fond farewell. THE SUN carried several photographs of the funeral, including one of a grief-stricken young man described as ‘a friend’ being comforted by Cheryl Murray (Suzy Birchal in The Street). THE SUN managed to mention Peter’s cottaging conviction only once, which for them must have been quite an effort.


D.B. LINE of Ashford, Kent wrote a letter to The Police Review attacking the idea of gay men as police officers: “May the service be ‘merry’ but not ‘gay’ and remain a service that can be respected by all walks of life. Gone, perhaps, is the Dock Green image of Jack Warner, but please don’t taint our image further.”

I don’t think the police need gay men to taint their image, D.B. Line, they are making a pretty good job of it themselves.


More and more medical staff are refusing to handle the bodies of AIDS victims in case they get “the gay plague” (as several newspapers continue to call it).

The latest horror is the refusal of a pathologist, Professor Keith Simpson, to carry out a post-mortem on Stewart Thompson-Neill who died at Whipps Cross, Hospital, London.

In its coverage of the story, The Daily Mails says starkly, “AIDS is a disease carried by homosexuals.”

If the hysteria persists (and how can it do otherwise when fuelled by such emotive press coverage), how long will it be before AIDS victims are turned away from hospitals altogether?

It’s time for a bit of calm discussion in the media about what is actually known about AIDS. Or is calling for a bit of restraint from our press just asking for too much?

HIM 66, February 1984

Dr Goebbels was Hitler’s minister for propaganda. It was his job to twist, distort and invent news and create government-approved opinion in the minds of the German people.

If he had been alive today it’s likely he would be editing the London EVENING STANDARD.

This detestable paper has such a consistent policy of misrepresenting groups it judges to be “dissident” that it must be regarded as nothing but a mouth-piece for the establishment. It operates just like Pravda in Russia, telling its readers only what the regime wants them to know.

Gays are frequent victims of the smearing campaigns — as are CND, the GLC and the Greenham Peace Women.

Recently the GLC made a grant to the London Gay Teenage Group. THE STANDARD blasted the news with three-inch headlines: “Rates Grant for Teenage Gays.” It went into detail about the objections raised by the seemingly permanently ‘outraged’ Tories on the GLC. It did not mention why the grant was given or needed.

However, a few days earlier the GLC had made a grant to a half-way house for rehabilitating mental patients back into the community: this is an area the Tories have neglected scandalously. The grant was ten times the size of the one given to the gay teenagers. THE STANDARD gave the story three paragraphs on the last news page.

It is THE STANDARD which is almost totally responsible for creating the myth that the GLC gives away half its rates to gays. Neither the Nazis nor the Kremlin would be unfamiliar with THE STANDARD’S tactics.


At last a little bit of sanity in the matter of caring for AIDS victims.

Following the hysterical refusal of a Home Office Coroner to do a post mortem on a suspected AIDS death, the Royal College of Nursing’s Margaret Lee said in the college’s newspaper: “As a profession which says nursing is exclusively our prerogative, we can’t suddenly opt out because of our taboos and fears.”

It takes people with real dedication to talk like that. Are you listening Professor Keith Simpson?


IN 1978 a man called Dan White marched into City Hall, San Francisco and murdered the Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk, the city’s first elected “out” gay official. White was given a seven-year jail sentence and, by the time you read this, he will have been released.

In The Observer William Scobie tells of the feelings of fury still fermenting in the Castro area of San Francisco, the famous gay ghetto. “The wounds are still fresh, still festering,” said Harry Britt, a gay activist who took over Harvey Milk’s seat on the board. “White is a walking provocation if he stays here.”

White’s derisory sentence for such a cold-blooded and calculated double-murder underlines the frightening corruption that seems endemic in American public life.

I hate retribution and feel that revenge only degrades — but if this swaggering murderer were to be picked off by some vengeful homosexual I would shed tears only for a gay brother who felt driven to such an act.


The Daily Mirror reports that Mrs Mary Whitehouse won ‘substantial’ libel damages against the Observer because it published an extract from a book which said “she was the sort of person who would have been at home in Nazi Germany.”

I, of course, have nothing to add.


In a superb feature in The New Statesman, ex-Gay News literary editor Alison Hennegan exposes the hypocrisy at work in the world of literature and literary criticism.

She tells of how, when she worked on the old Gay News, she would approach well-known writers whom she knew to be gay and ask them to contribute. Desperately afraid that their reputations would be ‘tainted’ they invariably refused.

She also tackles the old chestnut of our choice of the word ‘gay’ to describe ourselves. “‘Gay’ and ‘lesbian’ say quite clearly that sex is always political: individuals can never experience it — however passionately they may long to do — in an emotional and moral vacuum insulated from the beliefs, values and conflicts which shape the rest of society.”

Hope New Statesman readers are receptive.


JEAN ROOK (self-appointed First Lady of Fleet Street, but known to her friends as the First Twat of THE DAILY EXPRESS) used her column in THE DAILY EXPRESS to choose Christmas presents for famous people.

For Boy George she would like to give “Girl George”. And if that isn’t nauseating enough she says of Prince Charles: “A night out with the boys — to remind him that he was once one of them…”

Does the crow know something that we don’t?


TENNIS ace Billie Jean King has spoken about the consequences of her 7-year lesbian affair with hairdresser Marilyn Barnett. Unfortunately, Ms King’s only concern seems to be that she lost money by having her image ‘ruined’.

Silly Billie must join the ever-lengthening list of public figures who foolishly imagined that the closet was a safe place to be. It’s only when they’ve been dragged kicking and screaming out into the open that these unfortunate people have to acknowledge that the press is merciless in playing on their dishonesty.

Starting with Oscar Wilde and progressing through Jeremy Thorpe, Commander Tresstrail and Peter Tatchell, who all had to come clean after rather undignified denials, we have a terrifying list of ruined lives and wasted talent.

If Billie Jean and her ilk had been proud of their gayness they might have found some sort of respect for their courage. However, it would be foolish to believe that any public person at present languishing behind a barrier of lies is going to be the first to take the step.

But being up-front in the first place is the only way to rob the media of its gloating exposés.

HIM 69, May 1984

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 71, July 1984

Homosexuality has definitely been flavour-of-the month as far as the media is concerned. And, in the main, it has been sympathetic coverage.

The Keith Hampson affair, coinciding as it did with a parliamentary debate on the subject, ensured maximum exposure for the ugly ‘pretty police’.

But did all this attention really make any difference to the situation? Well, perhaps the promise from the Metropolitan Police to “tighten up the rules” is pretty meaningless, but, as far as public opinion goes, I think we have made major inroads.

It was interesting to see how various papers treated the issue. According to THE SUNDAY MIRROR: “Police deny claims often made in clubs that they act as decoys to trap gays.” Whilst on the same day in THE OBSERVER: “Police sources said the decision to use agent provocateurs was taken at a very high level.”

The commentators were unanimously favourable in their support for an end to entrapment. It was as though someone had, at last, shouted foul! and all the media gurus joined in the call for fair play.

Lynda Lee-Potter in THE DAILY MAIL said: “If the destruction of Dr Keith Hampson MP’s career results in ending the vendetta against homosexuals which the police have been conducting for years, possibly one iota of good will emerge from this sad and sorry case.”

John Vincent in THE SUN wrote: “As the police know full well, the real crime that worries the public is out on the streets. For most people safety on public transport and in their homes comes before private morals.” Even the ghastly Woodrow Wyatt in THE NEWS OF THE WORLD managed to admit that he had “no room to cast stones” and ruminated on how the sex drive can “make worthy and sensible men behave like lunatics.”

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH carried a large and sympathetic piece entitled Law, Liberty and the Homosexual in which Paul Williams explored the gay world and its reaction to police activities.

Ken Livingstone was reported in the LONDON EVENING STANDARD as saying: “I think it is absolutely monstrous that in a city where mugging, burglary and rape are the main concern, we have police officers wasting their time around gay bars, waiting for someone to pinch their bums.”

And even the normally vituperative SCOTSMAN managed to say: “Just as in the era before homosexual law reform, the blackmailer was generally regarded with greater detestation than his homosexual victim, so in today’s different moral climate the police agent provocateur might be more generally disliked than the homosexual he arrests.”


I hate to return to the distasteful subject of DAILY EXPRESS gossip William Hickey, but his recent spiteful anti-gay tirades have been too much to ignore.

First, he set about trying to destroy the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality. He did this by publishing the names of those Tory MPs brave enough to offer themselves as vice-presidents of the group. This was supposed to be some sort “expose”, but the story amounted to nothing but spite, malice and ill-intention.

But he went one better a few days later by calling on Sir Peter Hayman, the elderly diplomat recently fined for cottaging, to surrender his knighthood. Or better still — in Hickey’s book — the Queen should take it away from him.

It took a pretty heartless bastard to write, as Hickey did: “After treachery one might suppose that fiddling about in public lavatories is only one down the scale in bringing dishonour to honours.”

He wrote this about an old man who has given most of his life to the faultless service of his country.

If Hickey knows what shame is, I hope he’s hanging his head at this very moment.


REPORTING that Tory MP Richard Alexander had resigned from the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality (see previous item) THE SUNDAY MIRROR says: “Mr Alexander stressed that he did not practise the group’s activities.”

Eh? Can we just have a re-run of that? …”he did not practise the group’s activities.”

Like what — licking envelopes? Organising meetings? Lobbying parliament?

Or does the CGHE have livelier ‘activities’ than we know about?


In an astonishing about-face, Sir John Junor, editor of THE SUNDAY EXPRESS and long-time critic of gay rights, has actually admitted that gays are often treated unjustly.

He was commenting upon the case of Richard Longstaff, who emigrated from England to the USA in 1966 and has now been denied American citizenship because he failed to declare his homosexuality on his original visa application all those years ago. “I hardly go singing and dancing in the streets in favour of the Gay Liberation movement,” writes JJ, “But isn’t it a little tough that someone who cannot be blamed for having been born the way he is should be victimised for not having had the courage to give a truthful answer to a humiliating question put to him when he was little more than a child?”

You’re making progress, Sir John. But hasn’t it dawned on you yet that America isn’t the only country that persecutes homosexuals?

John Junor

Why not drop a line to your friend Margaret Thatcher. She can give you all the details.


According to THE SUN, ITV has sold The Benny Hill show to Russia. But the Soviets insist that all references to homosexuality be deleted from the shows.

It would be nice to think that the Russians didn’t want to insult the sensibilities of their gay citizens by exposing them to Hill’s vulgar and unfunny jibes. But the truth is more likely to be that they want to keep alive the myth that homosexuality does not exist in the USSR.

Whatever the benefits the revolution brought to the people of the Soviet Union, gays were, as they are everywhere else, excluded from enjoying them.


That haven of tolerance and love, Belfast, has, according to THE SUNDAY NEWS, been up in arms at the idea of Man Around’s gay holidays being made available to Ulster homosexuals.

“DUP leaders lashed out at the ‘filthy’ holidays,” the paper says, and with unusual restraint Assemblyman Wesley Pentland said: “Package holidays for homosexuals are dirty, deplorable, filthy, anti-God and unscriptural.”

Whereas East Belfast MP Peter Robinson said: “I’d like to send perverts and degenerates on a one-way trip to gay resorts.”

Believe me, if I lived in Belfast, I’d be the first one knocking on Mr Robinson’s door begging for that one-way ticket. Anything to get away from the poisoned minds and soiled mouths of these ga-ga men of god.


“Straight Talking John Smith” in THE SUNDAY PEOPLE chides the homosexual community for “hijacking another perfectly decent English word.” He refers to ‘pink’, telling readers that there is a ‘pink’ economy. And the money spent in this twilight world is known as the ‘pink pound’.

“Thus tainted,” he says, “the word pink will take on a simpering new significance far removed from its original intent.”

Well, as you’re so fond of straight talking, why don’t you take back all the words you and your wonderful kind have lumbered us with in the past? To start with you can have “queer” and “puff” and “fairy” and “nancy” and all the other perfectly innocent words you’ve corrupted in your sickening attempts to insult and belittle us.

HIM/GAY TIMES 73, September 1984

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.

HIM/GAY TIMES 74, October 1984

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.

HIM/GAY TIMES 75, November 1984

“Hooray for Rugby”, yelled THE SUN in its now infamous editorial. But I say Put the Flags out for Islington. For if you were disheartened by the balderdash being served up in the council chamber in Tory-controlled Rugby, you will be cheered to hear of Islington Council’s employment policy, as reported in the LONDON EVENING STANDARD: “All posts are open to lesbians and gay men including those working with children,” said the Labour-controlled council.

“Loony Left, Loony Left”, screamed the critics, like pathetic parrots with their beaks stuck in a groove.

But god, it’s got to be better than the Righteous Right with their one-sided view of democracy. For according to the (Tory) press, Rugby council is carrying out the wishes of the people who elected it. But Islington is seen as “foisting political dogma” on an unsuspecting electorate.

But didn’t the same electoral process produce both councils? If it did, can we expect Mrs Thatcher to abolish it?


There’s nothing quite like the self-congratulatory British concept of “tolerance” to demonstrate hypocrisy at its most refined. Take the case of Oscar Wilde. His “disgrace” in late Victorian England was greeted with glee by the press and the establishment. They took their most brilliant light – creator of the most sublime comedy in the English language – and crushed him in order to satisfy some prurient impulse. (The one Mrs Thatcher wants to restore.)

Even after the trial and imprisonment the degradation continued. THE GUARDIAN reported newly-revealed Home Office papers detailing the circumstances of Wilde’s imprisonment.

The dirty-minded chaplain, W.D. Morrison reported: “I hear and see that perverted sexual practices are again getting the mastery over him.” A load of lurid rubbish as it turned out – the smell that had got the raving reverend’s glands throbbing was no more than Jeyes fluid used to clean the cell. Oscar “suffered dysentery from bad food, developed an abscess in his ear and a perforated ear drum from a fall that was left untreated for nine months.”

Despite pathetic pleas for clemency, he was forced to serve every single day of his two years with hard labour sentence.


They’re still searching for the “cause” of homosexuality. THE GUARDIAN tells of researchers at the State University of New York who have found clear evidence of biological differences between homosexual and heterosexual men – a dissimilar response to certain hormones.

But why are they trying to find a way to tell gay and straight men apart? And if they manage to perfect their techniques, what use will it be put to? I’m sure the personnel department at Rugby Council would find a use for it. And so would Fidel Castro, who has already tried once to clear Cuba of homosexuals.

A grim prospect indeed.


An OBSERVER opinion poll into social attitudes in this country came up with some fascinating results. When asked whether the police “tend to pick on homosexuals”, 10% of those questioned thought they did, Interestingly, when analysed, the results showed that in the 18-24 age group the number who thought the police persecuted gays went up to 13%, but only 5% of pensioners agreed.

Obviously, the younger generation has a more realistic idea of what is going on.


A big review of ‘Pornography’, the latest gay play to be presented at the ICA in London and now touring the country, appeared in THE STAGE. “Loveless promiscuity is not now applauded by no straights. Why then should it be worn like a badge of pride by so many in the gay community? And since it is, is it any wonder that homosexuals are often regarded with contempt rather than concern?” wrote critic Charles Spencer.

There followed a lively correspondence, with David Bulbeck writing in the next issue: “It is untrue… as many gay people do look for love and stable relationships, and it shows a total misunderstanding of gay people and lifestyles.” Whilst Peter Zander wrote: “… each man must find his own pattern. For some that is promiscuity, whether ‘loveless’ as Mr Spencer describes it, or loving. Loving promiscuity? Why not?” Obviously a debate that has only just begun.


Peter Tory, THE DAILY MIRROR’s ill-informed gossip columnist, reported that gay Conservatives “want laws that govern their activities to apply to women as well as men.”

What? The gay Tories want an age of consent of 21 for lesbians? I’m sure that wasn’t what they meant. Mind you, the idea of any homosexual wanting to be a Tory in the first place is so bizarre that such a development wouldn’t surprise me.


THE OBSERVER tells of new research in America which seems to show that AIDS can be transmitted by saliva. Researcher Dr Matilda Krim of the Sloan Kettering cancer centre in New York says: “It is very frightening indeed. Certainly there is now a threat of public persecution of gays who may be accused of being a health risk.” The Observer anticipates “the prospect of a public vendetta against those who may be accused of passing on the disease in restaurants, offices, drink­ing fountains and other public places.”

My knees were still knocking when I turned to THE SUNDAY TIMES to read of a new drug, Immunovir, which might be useful in treating AIDS symptoms. But the developers of the drug think it might be too late: “the number of people suffering from AIDS is doubling every six months in Britain”.

Researchers Adler and Harris want “a campaign of health education to persuade people at risk to change their behaviour.” It’s up to us, I suppose.


The theatre critic of THE TIMES said Bob Hope got cheap laughs at the expense of gays. Example: “did you hear about the two gays who died, were cremated and had their ashes stored in a fruit jar?”

I was pleased to see that Mr Hope’s British tour was an unmitigated disaster with cancelled shows and thousands of unsold tickets. What you might call poetic justice.

GAY TIMES 77, January 1985

THE panic the press has tried to create over AIDS is irresponsible in the extreme. There seems to be no conscience amongst the journalists who have been orchestrating this hysteria.

It started with the tragic death of three babies in Australia who had received HIV-infected blood: “Last night a major hunt was under way for more blood donated by the man, a practising homosexual,” announced THE DAILY MAIL. Queensland Health Minister Brian Austin was first among many who said: “These children appear to be the innocent victims of the permissive society Australia is becoming.”

Here we go, I thought, could this be the slippery slope, the excuse for a backlash we’ve been expecting?

Well, THE TIMES was quick to add fuel to the fire, in a scaremongering editorial: “The infection’s origins and means of propagation excites repugnance, moral and physical, at promiscuous male homosexuality — conduct which, tolerable in private circumstances, has with the advent of ‘gay liberation’ become advertised, even glorified as acceptable public conduct, even a proud badge for public men to wear.”

So, it’s all our fault is it? Overlooking the fact that gays are the victims not the originators of AIDS, THE TIMES continues: “Many members of the public are tempted to see in AIDS some sort of retribution for a questionable style of life.”

THE OBSERVER reported that Australian MPs were “demanding that the blood donor be charged with manslaughter”. While THE STANDARD was happy, I imagine, to report “Homosexuals in Sydney are being attacked by people who blame them for a nationwide outbreak of the often-fatal disease AIDS.”

THE TIMES, indeed, couldn’t leave the subject I alone and said that in Germany a “leading virologist” was predicting that “10,000 Germans could be expected to die of AIDS in the next six years.” This was followed up in their medical briefing with the unbelievable question “Is it wise to share a lavatory with a homosexual?”

THE TIMES also gave voice to a shameless bigot called Digby Anderson, anxious to take hold of this handy new weapon to with which to bash his pet hates: “It is no longer for the sceptics to show that the permissive revolution was a mistake: it is for its increasingly beleagured supporters to justify its continued incorporation in law and welfare provision.”

The right-wing SPECTATOR was moved to allow the following: “Given an inch, the homosexuals demand all. Granted legality, they have advanced boldly, noisily, immodestly, without shame, flaunting and organising themselves, proselytising vigorously, demanding ever-fresh ‘rights’, privileges, hand-outs, immunities, special representation.”

From the dangerous to the ludicrous as THE GUARDIAN said: “Police in New South Wales are being issued with plastic gloves because they fear the disease (AIDS) could be passed on by erring motorists.” If you can make sense of that, you’re a better man than I am.

Conjecture, half-truth and sensation are the last thing we need in a situation like this, which is why I was so angered not only by the half-baked things being said in the newspapers but also the BBC TV NEWS stating categorically: “20% of homosexual men are carrying the AIDS virus.” How the hell could they have arrived at a statistic like that? They mean, presumably, that 20% of gay men who’ve been treated in STD clinics have the virus — which is very different.

THE OBSERVER tried to make some kind of amends by carrying a moving interview with the mother of an AIDS victim whose son had been rejected and reviled because of his illness. After he died she ‘asked the specialist who had treated him whether he would have a word with her son’s boyfriend. This poor man wanted to know whether he was likely to get the disease, too. ‘Not unless he’s been up to the same shenanigans and has been mixing with the same company,” said the doctor. “That was the level of his counselling”.

Are you scared yet? I can tell you that the events of the last month have put the wind up me good and proper.


If I’d known there was going to be a gay TV festival last month I would have alerted you to it. It started with a chat show hosted by FRANK DELANEY (BBC2) in which Alison Hennegan had a ding-dong battle with Julian Mitchell (author of Another Country) over whether gay literature can, or should, be regarded as a separate genre. Result: Hennegan victorious, Mitchell mincemeat.

BEING HOMOSEXUAL an American documentary about gay life in the USA was tucked away at midnight on ITV whilst the OTHER HALF episode about Sir Angus Wilson and his boyfriend was repeated on BBC1. Channel 4’s JUST SEX series featured a programme about attitudes to gay sex and featured gay photographer Bob Workman. It also had a middle-aged man who averred: “It revolts me and I don’t know why.” Much of the same came from Richard Ingrams, editor of Private Eye who turned up on BBC2’s critics programme DID YOU SEE…? Discussing the aforementioned Just Sex, he spewed out his usual contorted logic regarding ‘homosexualists’ and was then thoroughly shamed by the two women on the panel. Later that week he missed being sent to jail by inches. Never mind, perhaps next time. He’s got a lot of crimes to answer for.

The came DIVERSE REPORTS on Channel 4 featuring the come-back of ex-Gay News editor Denis Lemon. Subtitled What a Difference a Gay Makes, it paraded an abysmal show of prejudice, confusion and lamentable ignorance on the part of the great British public. There, inevitably was Rugby council leader Gordon Collett gabbling absolute claptrap which seemed to leave even him foundering to make sense of it.

Finally, FORTY MINUTES (BBC2) covered the subject of ‘Rent Boys’ —a sordid little picture of self-delusion and excuse. They all said they really didn’t want to do it, but they “had to”. The ‘punter’ who was interviewed (and there seemed something particularly perverse in someone wanting to declare their ‘shame’ on TV) said he was “disgusted” but felt he “had to” keep on doing it. Oh dear.


THE GUARDIAN is anticipating that the Gay’s the Word trial will be “the biggest of its sort since the obscenity charge involving D.H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover”. Nicholas de Jongh had a background piece which turned up fascinating snippets like “Eight years ago Customs and Excise seized an edition of the work of Thomas Rowlandson, apparently unaware of the fact that the originals were hanging in the George collection at Windsor Castle.” He says that Gay’s the Word is supported by MPs, the NCCL and “a battery of writers and publishers of all persuasions.”

Meanwhile a letter in the DAILY TELEGRAPH also revealed an interesting (but irrelevant, I know) fact. Apparently one of the books the Customs philistines snatched was written by a 15th century woman called Christine de Pisan who, according to the correspondent, was “a Whitehouse of her day and fought valiantly against the obscene and depraving.”

It seems the men at the Customs had better watch out that their collected stupidity does not appear in a volume under the title “Customs Cock-Ups” — I’m sure it would be a weighty tome.

GAY TIMES 78, February 1985

More gay telly, treats last month – something which got up the nose of arch-moraliser Mary Kenny in THE DAILY MAIL: “I am profoundly against the persecution of homosexuals,” she said, after spending the whole column condemning us, “but too much pro-gay propaganda makes ordinary people feel hostile.” I wonder what she thinks all the anti-gay propaganda makes “ordinary” people feel – sympathetic?

Her ire had been raised by John Peacock’s play “More Lives than One” (BBC1). It was widely re-viewed, with Lucy Hughes-Hallett in the STANDARD saying: “I hope some toes were curling inside policemen’s boots last night …” She was referring to the cottage-squads depicted in the play, describing the police as: “Squandering whole afternoons in bullying, prurient little games.”

Herbert Kretzmer in THE DAILY MAIL observed: “Despite external signs of enlightenment, it strikes me that the prejudice against homosexuals is as rooted as ever and it was this continuing fear and loathing which provided the source of last night’s play.”

THE TIMES, of course, thought the cottage surveillance “a highly effective way of preventing a private indulgence from degenerating into a public nuisance.”

Sean Day-Lewis in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH said; “The play was a brave and mostly believable exploration of a difficult theme, but was opaque in its realisation of the bisexual capacity for taking its pleasures on all sides.” Just one comment about that Mr Day-Lewis: “Eh?”

Maureen Paton in THE DAILY EXPRESS said that “All he (the hero) wanted was to be treated like a human being – and here was a friend on the one hand urging him to suppress his instincts for the sake of his family and his aggressively liberated male lover on the other attempting to turn him into a card-carrying freak show.” Oh, by the way, subscriptions are due all those of you who want a new card entitling you to be a freak show.


LONDON Labour MP Chris Smith gave an interesting interview to NEW SOCIALIST about his decision to Come Out. With a majority of only 400, straight politicians might think Smith’s decision political suicide. But the interviewer, Christian Wolmar, put it another way: “A cynical observer might say that the timing of your coming out would guarantee that your party would re-select you because they couldn’t possibly be seen to de-select the only openly gay MP.” I hadn’t thought of that – but, anyway, how come Smith hadn’t come out before he was elected? “I didn’t do it because I was extremely worried about what the possible consequences might be.”

A Franklin cartoon

At least that’s honest, but I’m always a bit wary of gay public figures who’ve kept quiet for years and suddenly present themselves as shining examples to the rest of us.

No, I mustn’t carp – at least Smith has done it. Now, what about you other Westminster closet cases?


Rupert Murdoch, the Aussie owner of the most despicable ‘newspapers’ in the world was quoted in THE OBSERVER as saying: “I’d go to prison for The Sun but not for The Times”.

If that’s the case, he should have been doing hard labour years ago.


Left-wing councils that continue to promote gay rights really get the Tory press hopping mad. Hackney Council has produced a report that aims to give gay ratepayers the same rights as everyone else as regards adoption and fostering. Social welfare and so on. THE DAILY EXPRESS editorialised: “This is appalling foolishness. Despite the propaganda of militant homosexuals and trendy theorists, most of us still recognise the obvious truth: homosexuality is deviant.” The leader writer obviously had a bout of apoplexy while writing that – hopefully it might prove fatal. On the same day THE SUN, not to be topped, trotted out one of its hate-filled little homilies: “If it were not such a dangerous idea it would be laughable. Impressionable youngsters have enough difficulty coping with adolescence as it is. We can only assume that the Hackney loonies have taken over the asylum.” While the rest of us have to assume that the National Front has taken over the Sun.

A more considered, but equally lamentable reaction came from Peter Simple in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH. He wanted to challenge the “myth” that ten per cent of the population is gay. “When the hullabaloo over homosexuals erupted about 25 years ago, the figure given was 5 per cent. At this rate it should be 20 per cent by the end of the century.” But his real point came later: “What is thoroughly objectionable … is that homosexuals should be treated as ‘a community’ or a ‘minority group’.” He says that along with the Irish, women, blacks and the handicapped, we’ve been identified as a ‘group’ so that our vote can be manipulated by the Left. A tired argument which simply proves that if he thinks we’re that gullible, Peter really must be Simple.


The AIDS hysteria in the press continues unabated. It seems almost every day they manage to find some new shack-horror angle to splash in three-inch head-lines.

THE NEWS OF THE WORLD carried “gay plague” headlines in three consecutive issues, concentrating on the horrifying effects of the disease – on homosexuals of course. “Victims of gay plague long to die,” said one headline, whilst the following week came: “My doomed son’s gay plague agony”. The next issue carried: “Art genius destroyed by gay killer bug”. Anyone reading these stories would have got the impression that somehow only homosexuals are capable of getting AIDS. There was an element of rather sick self-congratulation in these pieces. They all seemed to be saying: “It can’t happen to us because we’re straight.”

Another batch of contaminated blood provided hundreds of column inches for the junk press. The DAILY EXPRESS was prompted to splash: “56 given AIDS killer blood” and told its readers: “The blood all came from a homosexual in his twenties who is now dying in hospital.” Lowest point was reached, needless to say, by the SUN, with a front-page story entitled: “Blood from gay .donor puts 41 at AIDS risk” (notice how, uncharacteristically, THE SUN had reduced the EXPRESS’s number of “innocent” victims by 15). “A gay blood donor with the killer disease AIDS has infected 41 other people it was reported last night.” I wonder how long it took reporter Leslie Toulson to create that first sentence which manages to make it appear that this poor man got some kind of kick from passing on the disease. The not very subtly concealed message is: see how irresponsible these queers are.

The leader-writer of THE SUN took the matter up on page two of the same issue: “In the streets of Britain there are an unknown number of men who are walking time bombs. They are homosexuals with the killer disease AIDS. When they volunteer as blood donors they become a menace to all society.” Notice the phraseology: “a menace to all society”.

I asked the editor of THE SUN, Kelvin McKenzie, whether he was prepared to take responsibility for acts of violence which might be incited against gay men by this highly provocative editorial. “I do not accept that our editorial did any more than urge all homosexuals, in the interests of the entire community, to think twice before giving blood,” was his reply.

Only THE OBSERVER tried to give balance with a small item headed: “Gays not to blame for AIDS”. It described how money was being withheld for research into AIDS because it had been incorrectly identified as a “gay disease”. “Government departments were described as reluctant to seem to ‘condone’ homosexuality. It was also blamed for an upsurge of anti-homosexual sentiment in Britain and abroad, providing a new focus for deep-rooted prejudice that years of ‘gay liberation’ have done little to dispel.” A doctor involved in AIDS research is quoted in the same feature saying: “In Africa the ratio of males to females with the disease is 1.1 to I — in other words almost exactly 50 per cent.”

Confirmation of this followed in THE LANCET, when it reported the case of a heterosexual couple, who had passed AIDS to their child. “This supports the idea that the virus can be transmitted heterosexually,” said The Lancet.

Picking this story up, the papers suddenly dropped the “gay plague” headlines. The gay angle suddenly became secondary as it dawned on them that they could get it, too. Except for THE SUN, of course, which still insisted that AIDS sufferers were “gay plague victims”.

It is papers like THE SUN and NEWS OF THE WORLD that do the whole community a disservice by encouraging bigotry in government departments and hindering research money. But what does Mr McKenzie and the rest of the Sun’s-of-bitches care — “the gay plague” makes them money and that’s the only criterion.


“Noel Coward’s friends are treating with ridicule the suggestion that he had a homosexual affair with the late Duke of Kent, the Queen’s uncle,” said the MAIL ON SUNDAY, pushing its crinolines firmly over its knees. The “allegation” had been made by author Michael Thornton, giving his book about the Queen Mother invaluable publicity in the process.

But could it be true or was it just greed for free advertising? Could His Grace really have been “one of them”? And surely our dear Noel wouldn’t have done such a thing, would he?

Well … would he?

GAY TIMES 82, June 1985

Anti-gay hysteria reigns in Fleet Street and this month it has reached a new pitch. Using homosexuality as a blunt instrument with which to bash its political enemies, the Right-wing papers have poured relentless scorn, slander and hatred over us.

“Fury over sex-classes for under-16s at GLC on-the-rates gay centre” rambled a headline in the DAILY EXPRESS as it led into another of the ‘storms’ which seem to emanate mainly from the gin glasses of the well-patronised wine bars of Fleet Street. This was one of those totally fabricated ‘controversies’ which are of interest to no-one except the creepy propagandists of the press who have the uncanny ability to turn innocent activities into sinister-sounding goings-on. It was a classic of the genre.

The inventor of this particular flight of fancy was John Burns. He managed to turn the Gay Youth Movement’s Spring Festival into a “bizarre workshop” attended almost exclusively, according to him, by paedophiles. There was not a scrap of evidence to support any of the insinuations he made, not one fact to justify the shock-horror approach. And if you need any further proof that it was just another excuse to have a go at gays, just look who we have crawling from under his stone, with the every-ready quote, none other than our friend, Geoffrey Dickens MP. “It’s disgraceful,” he ‘stormed’, “Every parent ought to be concerned. This weekend must be cancelled.”

The other rent-a-gob Tory, Peter Bruinvels, was hammering on the door of that weird organ THE SUN when it revealed there was to be a gay storyline in ‘Dynasty’. He ‘stormed’ “It is sick and sad that the producers have revived the homosexual element. We don’t want this kind of thing on British TV.”

What kind of thing, exactly? Well, according to the SUN “the new affair will be more explicit. Steven is shown holding hands with Luke and hugging.” Aaaargh! Quick, pull the covers down over the piano legs, cover the children’s eyes—hugging! Whatever next?

Well, for that we have to return to THE DAILY EXPRESS for the wicked witch of the west, Jean Rook, to tell us about Greenwich Council’s decision to promote better understanding of homosexuality in its schools. Leading with her not-inconsiderable chin, the Rook crowed: “I believe in being tolerant of fairies and I don’t go round pulling off their wings. But let no man—let alone a recognised and practically qualified ‘teacher’ of the subject—attempt to teach my son how to fly off the standard course.”

A week later she was at it again: “as a 1985 mother, I’d sooner burn that classroom speech (in defence of Oscar Wilde) than deliver it to an increasingly warped and bent section of society which ill-names itself Gay. Gay? They are a miserable bunch of fanatics who spend their lives dismally pretending to revel in what they are. And outrageously trying to recruit others … Now my backlash is complete … to red Hell with Oscar Wilde!”

Jean Rook puts me increasingly in mind of one of those Daleks who screech “Exterminate! Exterminate!” in a rising pitch until eventually a fuse blows and a little wisp of smoke comes out of the top. I believe she’s now been sedated and taken back to The Home.

Then we come to turncoat ex-union leader and now Tory toadie, Lord Frank Chapple. “The latest idea from Greenwich council is as queer as I’ve seen,” he wrote in THE DAILY MAIL. “Apparently the council’s education sub-committee wants school children to be taught the ‘riches … of homosexual experience!’ I say, no way.”

But who the hell cares what Frank says? He lost his credence a long time ago.


Predictably the election of Bob Crossman as the first ‘out’ mayor in the London Borough of Islington provoked the papers to sneers. They obviously couldn’t cope with it in any other way. George Gale in THE DAILY EXPRESS said: “Homosexuals usually like dressing up. Bob Crossman and his boyfriend might fancy themselves in ‘mayor and mayoress’ gowns and chains. We will then be able to consider the lilies of Islington. They toil not neither do they spin—but Solomon in all his glory would not be arrayed like one of these.”

I suggest you go and lie down with a Valium, George.

Another columnist with a lot of impotent rage is Alan Williams in THE MAIL ON SUNDAY. “Now all this is very amusing,” he sneers, “But such idiocies have sinister implications… While we continue to deride Victorian values and giggle at the novelties of trendy ‘sexual politics’, in the end we find it is the grim, humourless zealots of the Left who have the last laugh. And when they do … we may think it about as funny as a bread queue on a cold day in Siberia.”

So, that’s how we’re going to bring down Western civilisation is it? I’d often wondered.


Straight critics, even in the gutter papers, were over the moon about Oscar-winning gay film The Times of Harvey Milk. lain Johnstone in THE OBSERVER said it was “an historical document of lasting value” and “one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.” Philip French in THE SUNDAY TIMES found it “an eloquent and deeply moving picture” whilst THE MAIL ON SUNDAY critic defied “anyone not to be moved by it”. Clive Hirschhorn of THE SUNDAY EXPRESS conceded that the film “deservedly won an Oscar”, whilst Neil Sinyard in THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH said, “the film was ultimately a wide-ranging plea for tolerance and it is hard to imagine anyone not responding to it.”

Only the DAILY TELEGRAPH found sympathy with Dan White, Harvey Milk’s assassin. Trying to make excuses for the double murder, THE TELEGRAPH said: “It was perhaps due to a subconscious fear that with the multiplication of homosexuals, reproduction must eventually cease altogether, a powerful influence toward self-preservation, as it were.”

If, even after seeing the film, this man could write such twaddle, we should bear in mind the words of Derek Malcolm in THE GUARDIAN: “It shows how minorities only have to work together to gain meaningful power, and how ordinary people can be persuaded that those they have originally feared, or even hated, can work with them towards the same general good.”

If you haven’t seen the film, I urge you to do so. But for those who are not in London—start lobbying your local art cinema or film society to include it on their programme. And a letter to the film buyers at the TV stations wouldn’t go amiss.


“I cannot imagine a Christian society in which divorce, abortion, sexual relationships before marriage and homosexuality are tolerated,” said the Pope in Holland.

Coming as he does from the Vatican’s long line of thieves, murderers and criminals, John Paul II seems a comparatively mild Pope. But his dotty doctrines, with their nonsensical and inhumane demands, got a rough ride in the Netherlands last month.

How comforting it was to see the Popemobile being pelted with eggs and bottles. How gratifying to see the ghastly old duffer squirming in his chair as his ‘supporters’ gave him an earful. According to the DAILY TELEGRAPH he sat ‘stony-faced’ as a missionary leader, Henrietta Wasser, told him off for his attitudes to sexual matters. She says he “points the finger instead of extending the hand.”


Remember Donna (born-again) Summers? She’s the singer who rode to fame on the backs of her gay fans and then said: “Homosexuals have brought Aids on themselves. The disease is a retribution from God”.

Now the EVENING STANDARD reports she is “attempting a reconciliation with her fans.”

This probably means Donna’s short of a bob or two. Well, as far as I’m concerned she can piss off and ask Billy Graham for a loan.


Nobody will be surprised by the stopping of the grant to the London Lesbian and Gay Centre. In reporting the decision, THE NEW STATEMAN asks: “What gloss did the clerks of the DoE come up with to save the ‘human face’ of Kenneth Baker?” Nothing feasible, I’m afraid. But that hasn’t stopped THE SUN calling it a “seedy pick-up joint” and THE DAILY MAIL repeating the slander. THE MAIL ON SUNDAY also calls it a “pick-up joint” —even though not one of the writers has ever been near it.


I LOOK forward to seeing you all on the Pride March. Fleet Street has made it important that we all show up this year —so please make the effort.