HIM 65, January 1984

I used to work in a psychiatric hospital where one of the patients thought he was a messenger of God and claimed to speak with divine authority. He was kept locked away because people thought he was mad.

Now I hear of a similar case in Italy (courtesy of The Daily Express). There’s an old chap there purporting to be speaking with holy inspiration. The difference between the two cases is that everyone felt sorry for the first, but several million people actually listen to and approve of the second.

I’m talking about His Holiness, of course, and far be it from me to be disrespectful, but his latest pathetic pontiff-ication is sheer Papal Bull.

He trots out the same old half-baked ideas as before. Homosexuals are more to be pitied than blamed, but just in case some of you Quest members were under the impression that jolly John Paul was about to sanction your practices, you can forget it. [Note: Quest was a group for gay Catholics.]

Homosexuality, as far as the Vatican is concerned, is still a first-league sin. So, those of you who’ve been up to your tricks had better get straight down to confession and tell all.


In The Mail on Sunday, Peter McKay reports on a revolting Washington DC disc jockey called Gary D. Not only was his programme blatantly racist, he referred to homosexuals as “faggots”, “queers” and, mysteriously, “bedwetters”.

He was sacked from the radio station KIX Country and, you would have thought, good riddance. But horror of horrors, there were hundreds of protest calls — not complaining about his remarks (“Get your guns and kill a commie today”) but about the fact that he had been fired.

Not to be outdone, this repugnant redneck has now dedicated his life to “finding a cure for homosexuality.”

He should be careful that homosexuals don’t take his advice — and their guns — and find a cure for him.


I was hoping upon hope that The Sun was changing its tune when it came to its attitude to gays, but I have to retire disappointed to the blue corner.

It recently printed one of the crudest smear-jobs on the Greenham Peace Women I’ve yet seen (“Four out of five are lesbians”) which insisted that because most of the women are gay their opinions can be safely ignored.

It followed this up with a news item “Go-go girls threatened by lesbians” about a protest by women at Glasgow University. It used phrases like “butch members of Glasgow Women’s Union” and called the protestors a “lesbian mob”.

It’s an old ploy to label your opponents gay, it negates any message they might be putting across immediately. And so The Sun sinks slowly in the west. If only it would.


Several papers reported that Jeremy Thorpe, “disgraced ex-Liberal leader” might be thinking of a comeback.

I hope he doesn’t. He’s suffered enough humiliation at the hands of the establishment. If he tries to re-enter public life, I fear he is asking for the same again.


“The Voice of the (Sunday) People” raised the terror of the gay menace again recently. This time the object of their righteous fervour was arch-threat to civilization Marilyn.

Marilyn is a transvestite pop singer who performs in drag and slap. He isn’t a very good singer but it isn’t the music the ever-vigilant PEOPLE is worried about, but the “kind of pouting performance you might expect to encounter in a gay bath house in San Francisco.”

Like some kind of time-warp back to the early sixties, Marilyn was criticized by the paper for “thrusting his pelvis” and for giving a “raunchy routine” that was “more sickening than sexy” on Top of The Pops — “a young people’s programme watched by millions of children all over the country.”

This was the editorial comment on a day when the arrival of Cruise missiles was announced, when the situation in Lebanon deteriorated and when the Ministry of Defence were found to be wasting billions of pounds.

As a newspaper, THE SUNDAY PEOPLE would make pretty good papier-mache.


Hands up those who saw the NEWS OF THE WORLD story headlined “Gay Confessions of a Kennel Club Top Dog”? Now hands up those who understand what the hell it was about?

As far as I could make out, Major Charles Carmichael was sacked from his job as secretary of the Kennel Club because he had sex with a 12-year-old boy some ten years ago. The Major, a born-again Christian, felt the need to “purge himself”.

But why he made his confession at a publicity lunch of the Kennel Club wasn’t clear, and where the blind girl and the faith healer fitted in was equally obscure.

However, there were a couple of quotes that wouldn’t have been out of place in one of Joe Orton’s loopy comedies.

“The Lord let me know clearly he was sending me to the Kennel Club so I would be witness to his glory,” the Major is reported as saying. “I have purged myself. I was only a closet gay and the incident with the 12-year old did not involve full intercourse.”

Major Carmichael is, by the way, a member of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship. Confused? You’re not the only one.

HIM 67, March 1984

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 68, April 1984

Gossip columnists obviously have a hard time filling their columns. Much of their material is weak in the extreme and their ‘wit’ for the most part embarrassing. And nowadays it seems only homosexuality is scandalous enough to raise eyebrows. There are few other subjects ‘gossips’ can sneer at and get away with it.

They’ve had a field day with poor old Elton John. But then, Elton does seem to ask for it. Not happy with just quietly getting married he has to give journalists all the ammunition they need to shoot him down. [Note: Elton John married German recording engineer Renate Blauel on 14 February 1984].

“Straight talking John Smith” in The Sunday People started his item with the hilariously witty and original “Oh my goodness, what a gay day”, and to prove what a wag he is he included the phrase “good on yer, yer pommy poofter”.

William Hickey in THE DAILY EXPRESS headed his tribute “Elton and The Boys He Leaves Behind-which managed to avoid the libelous while leaving little of Elton’s past gay life unexplored.

From other sections of the papers the overwhelming message to Elton was: “We knew you were really one of us all the time. Nice to know you’re normal.”

When, er, I mean if,the marriage ends, Elton is going to reap a nasty harvest from the sick publicity machine he is courting.


Another favourite target for the columnists is Peter Tatchell. Described in THE DAILY MIRROR by the execrable Peter Tory as “an admitted homosexual”.

Tatchell found himself in the limelight again because it is exactly a year since his notorious Bermondsey debacle.

That’s enough for the papers to rake it all over again and throw any residual mud at Tony Benn. Peter Tory, the MIRROR’s ‘gossip’ seemed positively gleeful in reporting that Tatchell had almost been shoved under a bus and threatened with several kinds of death.


Meanwhile, William Hickey again, this time reporting that Gay News has taken a poll in gay circles and found Neil Kinnock to be “man of the year” (a fact which the publisher of GN, raving right-winger Nigel Ostrer wasn’t pleased about). [Note: Nigel Ostrer bought the title Gay News from Denis Lemon after the original folded, but the new version did not last long and the title was sold on to Millivres and was incorporated into Gay Times].

According to Hickey, Neil Kinnock’s reaction on hearing the news was “That’s all I need right now”. There is evidence to suggest that Kinnock is a homophobe — but I still resent Hickey trying to use homosexuality as a chisel to chip away at the Labour leader’s reputation. It seems to be an increasing habit in the press — associate your worst enemy with homosexuality (however vaguely) and hope that his popularity will plummet. The evidence seems to suggest that it doesn’t work anyway.


One person who can’t be caught in that particular trap is Christopher Isherwood. THE STANDARD Diary reports that Isherwood recently met Bob Fosse, the man who turned the book Goodbye to Berlin into the film Cabaret.

Isherwood hated the film because it suggested that there was more to his relationship with the singer Sally Bowles than mere friendship. The irate Isherwood said: “I never slept with a woman in my life.” Hard for THE STANDARD to make innuendo out of anything as plain as that.


THE SUNDAY EXPRESS gossip column, however, carried a cleverly-worded piece about Rock Hudson and his manager Tom Clarke.

Although nothing was said directly, there was enough suggestion and insinuation to get the message over loud and clear.


THE DAILY MIRROR and THE SUN carried the story of the lesbian couple who had been allocated a flat by Hereford Council. THE MIRROR said: “the women are jumping the queue because they are being treated as a married couple.”

But as lesbians can’t get married, there would be no hope of them ever being housed if the MIRROR’s criterion were applied. Never mind, I thought, the councillors in Hereford have their hearts in the right place, and the women have their flat in which to live happily ever after.

But then THE GUARDIAN reported that there was to be a “rethink”. The publicity has been so hysterical that the anti-gay feeling in the Council (orchestrated by a Coun. Bert Evans) resulted in the women being “hounded remorselessly”.

Mr Evans said: “If this goes through we could see an invasion of sexual deviants which would mean that normal people would never get rehoused.”

If Mr Evans thinks Hereford is about to become another San Francisco he can rest in peace. Not many gay people would want to breathe the same air as such a bigoted burgher as he.


LIKE a lot of gay people, I have a great affection for Kenneth Williams. In the closeted sixties, his outrageous Julian and Sandy sketches in Round the Horne were like a lifeline to those of us isolated and alone. We seemed to share with Williams a naughty secret joke that straights could never hope to understand.

You can imagine my horror, therefore, on picking up the NEWS OF THE WORLD colour magazine and seeing our Kenny quoted as saying: “Man is made for woman and anybody who pretends that two men can live together happily like man and wife is talking a load of rubbish. Let’s not kid ourselves, there would no life in that kind of relationship.”

At the beginning of the interview, Mr Williams proclaims: “I am a cult” although I’m not sure he’s spelt it right


And like a vision from heaven to prove Kenneth Williams wrong, Sir Angus Wilson and Tony Garrett, his lover of 32 years, put their relationship in front of the TV cameras in THE OTHER HALF (BBC1). It turned out to be a loving, giving partnership with lots of humour and a good deal of quiet contentment.

The other nice thing about this programme was that it explored the texture and workings of a gay relationship rather than presenting another heavy tract on the nature and tragedy of homosexuality.

Sir Angus said he didn’t feel the need to wear a badge saying “I’m homosexual.”

He went one better and declared it on prime time television. In doing so he rendered a great service to the gay community.


In Mary Kenny’s attempted hatchet job on The National Council for Civil Liberties [Note: Now called simply “Liberty”] in THE DAIL MAIL she said the NCCL had been greeted on its 50th birthday by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and other “frankly lunatic causes”. She contended that by Mrs Thatcher declining to give her support it must be proof (if any were needed as far as MAIL readers go) that the NCCL is just another group of left-wing, gay-loving maniacs. Ms Kenny says she will believe in the NCCL when it “champions, everybody’s rights”.

This apparently, includes The National Front, Ku Klux Klan and others with murder in their hearts. Ms Kenny wants freedom for “racists to be racists” — as long as they are peaceful. Yes, the National Front is noted for its peacefulness, isn’t it?

The NCCL has consistently championed gay rights and maintained a justified watch on the police. It is an essential organisation in these times of rapidly diminishing personal liberty.


Peter Adamson, ex-Len Fairclough of Coronation Street, wrote a series of exposés in THE NEWS OF THE WORLD telling earth-shattering “secrets” of life backstage at Granada. There was an awful lot of schoolboy-type sniggering about tits, bums, lavatories and rather childish horseplay.

His memories of Peter Dudley, who played Bert Tilsley, were hardly surprising. He reveals that Peter was a “cottager” and a “harmless homosexual.”

A more tawdry set of memoirs would be difficult to imagine.

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 72, August 1984

Once again, the fearless truth-mongers of Fleet Street have proved that no-one is safe in the closet. Wherever gay public figures hide, the press will winkle them out.

Poor old Martina Navratilova got the treatment over her relationship with Judy Nelson. Martina makes no secret of her sexuality, but poor Judy went straight into the “we’re just good friends” attitude. “My role is a kind of therapy for her. We are not having a love affair,” says Judy in THE SUNDAY MIRROR.

In THE SUNDAY PEOPLE she says “it’s ridiculous” to say they are lovers.

Meanwhile, ancient editor of THE SUNDAY EXPRESS, Sir John Junor lost the points I awarded him last month when he told Judy she was a fool to abandon heterosexual bliss in favour of “that hatchet faced lesbian”. You’re a silly pillock, Sir John.

But wait — who is this unexpected defender of our Martina? None other than old chisel-face herself, Jean Rook. In THE DAILY EXPRESS she takes male journalists to task for ignoring Martina’s superb tennis and concentrating on her “navvy shoulders” and unconventional looks.

After complaining that the Wimbledon champ doesn’t fancy her (can’t understand why, I’m sure) Rook says: “I object to the Oscar Wildean witch-hunt of this unusual and lonely figure, who doesn’t please men.” If Rook hadn’t spent so much time harassing gay people in the past, this might not ring quite so hollow.

And, much as they try to snipe at her, our Martina glides from triumph to triumph. And that’s something none of the bastards can take away from her.

Then THE SUN (“You scum,” Martina calls them — game, set and match Navratilova) caught up with Bill Buckley, star of the That’s Life TV show. Some disgruntled girl had shopped Bill to THE SCUM because he’d been “sleeping with” her boyfriend James. This was page one “news”.

After that we were treated to, the unedifying spectacle of Su (Hi-de-Hi) Pollard’s new husband being prised out of the closet in a rather sordid court case. “My Gay Love for Su’s Man” screeched the DAILY STAR on its front page.

There can be little doubt that the editors of the tabloid newspapers in this country are all on high-fibre diets. How else would they be able to produce a daily pile of shit with such monotonous regularity?


An interesting development in America was reported in THE GUARDIAN. The latest thing for male gay couples in the super-rich state of California is to “buy” a baby in Guatamala and smuggle it back to the United States. Such is their desperation to be parents that they are prepared to risk everything to have a child of their own. All the established methods of adoption are closed to gay couples.

The description of the risks they took reads like a rather unlikely novel, and the article was very sympathetic. “In his neat little jump suit in his baby chair, the baby had fallen asleep, just like any other much-loved baby anywhere in the world.” Everybody say “aah”.


A lovely feature in THE TIMES describes the exhibition at the Berlin Historical Museum documenting gay history in the Weimar Period. Before Hitler started sending the gay men and lesbians to concentration camps, there was a flourishing “scene” in the German capital.

Of course, there was opposition to the exhibition but this had the effect of making the organisers more determined to go ahead. “The museum itself, originally lukewarm about the project, said it became fully committed only when it experienced at first hand “the abuse and vehemence of anti-homosexual feeling.”

Can you imagine the British Museum organising something like this? That’ll be the day.


LONDON readers will hardly have been able to avoid the ubiquitous posters advertising the Argentinian God-shouter, Luis Palau.

This wanna-be Billy Graham (who is also wending his vulgar way around the country) hired the QPR football ground to tell those who already believe it that Jesus Saves. The hoardings show Mr Palau sitting on a throne-like chair, apparently floating in the clouds. No doubt practising to be God.

Anyway, according to THE EALING GAZETTE, our Luis tells his hysterical audience, (to the strains of the traitorous Cliff Richard) that “the blood of Jesus cleanses homosexuality, criminality and drug addiction.” The posters on the tube said simply “Bring your doubts”. Some wag had written underneath “and have them confirmed”.

I never thought I’d be joining in the cry of “Send them back where they came from” — but in the case of Luis Palau and Billy Graham, I’ll make an exception.


A frightening report in the SUNDAY EXPRESS tells of the blatantly racist French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen who is peddling the old “pure race” ideas. “He considers homosexuality a scandal and a threat to the birth-rate”, the article says. And Le Pen wants more and more “babies born of good French stock” and that means no foreigners and no homosexuals who delay the process of producing this Gallic master race.

Like all the other mental cases who’ve pushed these ideas before him, Le Pen is full of hatred, and seems to have unlimited venom for the minorities he has chosen as scapegoats.

Unlike our own National Front, who don’t seem to, be able to make much impression at all, Le Pen’s French National Front managed to poll eleven per cent of the votes in the recent European election. That represents an awful lot of foolish Frenchmen — with apparently very short memories.


The present strong gay influence on rock and pop music is now the talk of the tabloids. Several months after they were spotted by this magazine, THE SUN carried a feature on the amazing Frankie Goes to Hollywood. One of the group’s members Paul Rutherford says: “In fact it’s only Holly Johnson and I who are gay… There are far more important things to worry about than the fact some people go with blokes rather than women.” Whilst in THE DAILY EXPRESS, Bronski Beat (you could have read it in HIM months ago) – were featured with the comment: “There are so many clubs featuring gay nights that the boystown chart has been established to register the leading dance records.”

Where we lead others follow.

GAY TIMES 76, December 1984

THE acquittal of Keith Hampson brought favourable comment from many of the Fleet Street commentators. [Note: Keith Hampson was a Conservative MP who was arrested in May 1984 at a gay theatre club in Soho after being accused of touching the thigh of what turned out to be an undercover policeman. The subsequent court case against him was dropped, but it ended his parliamentary career.]

“Police constables’ time is surely better spent than hanging around Soho clubs in tight jeans, necklaces and training shoes,” said THE GUARDIAN, whilst THE DAILY MAIL said: “Where there is no suggestion of corruption of youth or any other criminal activity, many people may well wonder why charges of this kind are brought against citizens — prominent or not. Surely the police and courts have better things to do.”

Alexander Chancellor in THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH chided PC Stuart Marshall for his “off-duty” clothes: “He possibly looks very nice in them, but might they not, I wonder, convey a slightly misleading impression if worn in a homosexual club? They would not, at any rate, appear the ideal attire for a policeman intent on avoiding the embarrassment of any indecent interest being directed towards himself.”

The sympathies were the same, but the expression offensive, as you’d expect, from John Smith in THE SUNDAY PEOPLE: “One wonders whether PC Marshall went there looking like a proper poof in the hope that he would be treated like one.”

So, will all this mean anything or is it just – again – empty cant?


THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH reveals that Sir Kenneth Newman, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner “has ordered that all uniformed policemen and women assigned to plain clothes duties must be properly briefed by a senior officer against acting as agents provocateurs.”

The order was made on October 12th and is contained in the Metropolitan Police General Orders, the “two-volume Bible” of the force. How seriously can we take this? Well, a letter from Scotland Yard, dated 30th March 1984 (reported in POLICING LONDON) said: “Guidance on entrapment is contained in paragraph 1.92 of Home Office consolidation circular … that no member of the police force should counsel, invite or procure the commission of a crime.”

This was just over a month before the arrest of Keith Hampson. Or, as Larry Gostin, General Secretary of The National Council for Civil Liberties said in a letter to THE GUARDIAN: “Policing the morals of the community of the kind illustrated in these cases will continue unabated. The only thing that will change now that the Hampson case is over is that the subject will be eased out of the news while the police practices carry on as before.”


According to THE SUNDAY TIMES book review of the New Longman Dictionary, a note in the lexicon declares: “Gay is the preferred word used by homosexuals of themselves and this has become such an important sense of the word that one may be misunderstood if one uses it simply to mean ‘cheerful’.” At last — the word is officially ours!


Not noted for its radicalism, THE BOOKSELLER (organ of the book trade) managed an angry editorial about the Customs action against Gay’s The Word. Noting the techniques so far employed, THE BOOKSELLER observes: “If many of the titles are not believed by Customs to be indecent or obscene but are held to weaken the trading position of the shop, and to increase the cost of preparing a defence, many will see the tactics of the Customs and Excise as a clear abuse of power.”

They are perfectly right, of course. There can no longer be any shadow of doubt that this is not an attempt to keep “obscenity” out of the country, but a direct attempt to destroy Gay’s The Word.

And that is why it is the duty of all of us to hasten to the shop’s defence. If the authorities succeed in this endeavour —what next?


I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over a letter which was published in the Portsmouth SOUTHERN EVENING ECHO. It was from an idiot called Stuart Wallace, who informed readers about the meaning of the term “street dog”. He says it’s well known gay terminology (obviously I’ve led a sheltered life, never having heard it before). “Street dogs are those who roam and tramp the street and ‘cottages’ (public toilets) seeking out male prostitutes or willing partners.” He then goes into great detail about Portsmouth’s cottages — surely none but a regular could have such a comprehensive knowledge. Finally (and you can almost see the slobber running down his lips) he informs his horrified audience that he has “rubbed shoulders” with “these fermenting fruits”.

It goes on like some kind of diseased sex fantasy until Mr Wally (er … I mean, Wallace) tells us he had to leave the crew of the QE2 because “it was so rife” and he was afraid it would become “compulsory”. Daft as a brush, as my old mother would say.


THAT’S FAMILY LIFE (BBC1 TV) dealt with gay teenagers and their coming out problems at home. A young man called Keith spoke movingly about his homosexuality and how afraid and isolated it had made him feel. His mother, in turn, described her shock of first hearing the news (“I cried non-stop for three days”) and his stepfather described the profound change in his own attitudes when Keith came clean about his sexuality. “To be honest, before I knew about Keith, the idea of homosexuality made my flesh creep. I didn’t want to be anywhere near them.” “And now?” probed Esther Rantzen. “We still love Keith very dearly and we want him to be happy in his own way.”

I hope a lot of families with gay children were watching this programme —it would have inspired and reassured them and provided proof that parents can understand, even though, on the surface, they might seem completely anti-gay.


On the day President Reagan was celebrating his re-election by saying (for the twentieth time) “You ain’t seen nothing yet”, there was another celebration going on in the U.S. of A. to prove him right. A report in THE STANDARD says the Los Angeles suburb of West Hollywood has declared itself to be America’s first homosexually-control-led city. The 36,000 inhabitants voted two-to-one to create the new city and install lesbian activist Valerie Terrigno as the new mayor.

So, you see, geriatric religious maniacs are not the only ones who can manage a landslide victory in the madness that is America.

GAY TIMES 79, March 1985

The British press has declared war on homosexuals. “The renewed open season on gays” was how Susan Hemmings described it in a letter to THE GUARDIAN, and it has gone well beyond the spiteful sniping we are used to. This month has seen one of the most concerted, sustained and vindictive attacks ever launched on our community.

Day after day the Big Guns have been firing off volleys of misinformation and distortion on the subject of AIDS. With apparent glee, papers like THE SUN and DAILY STAR have been allotting acres of space to bigots who seem to have been waiting patiently in the wings for this opportunity.

And by using this device (“Vicar says AIDS is the wrath of God”) the papers can publish the crudest and most despicable slanders without shouldering any of the responsibility: “We didn’t say it—we just quoted the vicar”.

THE SUN gave us a prime example when it afforded large prominence to a Liverpool publican who had banned gays from his pubs. “AIDS is a real threat to the moral fabric of society,” he was allowed to say. “A lot of ordinary people are going to catch something from beer glasses. We don’t want gays on the premises. Let’s face it, they’re the ones who causes it.”

Just the worthless opinion of some ignorant landlord, maybe, but it was given the front page treatment. It also gave The SUN the opportunity to headline: “Beer mugs may spread the disease”.

If all this sounds like superstitious clap, trap, you ain’t seen nothing yet, for it takes the media’s “intellectuals” to give the wrath of God Theory credence. With the contorted logic much-favoured by propagandists who can’t make a real case, Peregrine Worsthorne in The SUNDAY TELEGRAPH wrote: “The public’s first reaction to this new danger will be to look for a scapegoat—a search which, in this case, presents no difficulty at all, the male homosexual being the obvious candidate. Not that scapegoat is quite the right word, it carries with.it the suggestion— wholly inappropriate in the case of, AIDS – of some innocent person or group being forced to bear the undeserved burden… In the case of Aids, male homosexuals undoubtedly are responsible. According to Mr Worsthorne, then, homosexuals have had it coming for some time and now they’re going to get it – the only thing missing from his piece was “praise the Lord.”


But who, in Peregrine Worsthorne’s reckoning, is “innocent” and who “guilty”? All I know is that if he’d used the world Jew or black instead of homosexual he would have been hauled up under the Race Relations Act.


So how are we, the guilty ones, going to be punished? Well, to start with they can take our jobs away. That’s the idea of fat-arsed, thick-headed Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens who, according to THE DAILY EXRESS urged the Government to tighten up on local authorities who “encourage” homosexual teachers.

Expanding on this theme, THE EXPRESS editorialised: “Why was the Reverend Gregory Richards, a homosexual, employed as a chaplain in the prison service? ‘God knows how many people he has infected with the disease. Equal rights for homosexuals cannot operate in sensitive appointments when such risks as AIDS exist.”

And never missing an opportunity to kick a man when he’s dead, the emetic editor of THE SUNDAY EXPRESS, John Junor, wrote: “Shouldn’t there be a post mortem on how Rev Gregory Richards, a known homosexual, came to be given and allowed to keep for so long, a prison service job in an institution for teenage offenders.”

And isn’t it time there was a post mortem on Sir John Junor – preferably a real one.


THE SUN’S infinitely questionable editorial voice settled for prison sentences. “We believe that all would-be blood donors should be asked to declare that they are not practising homosexuals. If it was discovered that they had lied, then an automatic jail sentence should be imposed.”

But which jails would all these convicted blood donors be sent to? Very few, it seems, for those tough prison screws turn out to be just like those silly people who stand on chairs and scream when they see a mouse. AIDS is not a mouse, I agree, but there is no need for this overreaction.


The same ludicrous panic seems to have spread to firemen who have decided that they won’t use the kiss-of-life any more even though “it saves about 1000 lives a year by reviving victims of fires, road crashes and other tragedies,” said THE SUNDAY PEOPLE. The paper seemed oblivious to the fact that their mad three-inch headlines about the disease might have something to do with creating the firemen’s fear.

Meanwhile the lead story of the same edition (“Scandal of AIDS cover-up on QE2”) was about Cunard not making a big fuss about an AIDS victim (“a homosexual millionaire”) being taken off their flagship. “Astonishing” said THE PEOPLE — which presumably would have preferred the passengers to abandon ship in mid-Pacific.


People who behave rationally and with compassion in dealing with AIDS victims are being increasingly vilified. Like Dr John Newman, the BBC’s medical officer who allowed a man (“a homosexual in his 30s) according to THE SUNDAY MIRROR to work at TV Centre until he died of pneumonia. “I knew this man had AIDS but I felt it was safe for him to carry on working.” “BBC let AIDS man keep on working,” screeched THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH.

It would be a mortal shame if this kind of exaggerated reaction discouraged people from acting sensibly for fear of being persecuted by the press.


To be fair there have been a few voices raised within the media’s ranks, trying to bring a bit of balance. But they have been few, and far from prominent.

Alix Palmer, a columnist on THE DAILY STAR, attacked Peregrine Worsthorne as “a morality-monger” and said the Rev Owen (“homosexuals should repent”) Leigh-Williams was “riddled with superstition and not much common sense.” Whilst John Smith in THE SUNDAY PEOPLE said that the opportunist vicar was “talking through his dog-collar”. Smith also wrote: “It would be disastrous if this lead to the kind of hysteria which gripped the United States where people feared they might catch the disease simply by being served by a homosexual waiter or handling change from a homosexual bus conductor.” Disastrous indeed. Perhaps Mr Smith should have a word with his editor about that.

THE GUARDIAN commented: “Practical steps might beneficially be accompanied by a wider recognition that male homosexuals who are bearing the main brunt of this cruel and dreadful disease need all the support and understanding a supposedly caring society can provide.

THE DAILY MIRROR wrote an editorial that pinpointed the dangers. “It is homosexuals who are at risk most of all. If the present scare continues they will be treated as lepers, socially and politically, as well as medically. The Ministry of Health must publicise clearly and honestly what the dangers are. Making ADS a notifiable disease must not be an excuse for a witch hunt against homosexuals, but part of a campaign to stop it spreading.”

Perhaps Mr Maxwell could take some of his own advice and use The Daily Mirror as a publicity tool to put the record straight, and some of his money to stop the tidal wave of terror.


But the low point, the very pits, came from The DAILY STAR: “Do homosexual lawyers get legal AIDS? Do gay orange growers get marmalAIDS and do teetotallers get lemon AIDS?” Hilarious isn’t it? But here’s an even funnier one that will appeal to the Fleet Street wags. Did you hear about THE DAILY STAR journalist who had a stroke and was paralysed all down one side until he died in agony a few days later? Thought that one would tickle you.


So how do we protect ourselves from this relentless press onslaught? What can we do in our own defence?

First, we have to somehow get over to people the knowledge that AIDS is not a “plague” — gay or otherwise. It is not highly contagious. Unfortunately, this is the myth the press are most determined to foster. They surreptitiously suggest you can get AIDS from a beer glass or from a church cup or from even being in the same room as gays. You do not get AIDS like you get the ‘flu and people must be made to understand this.

Here are a few things we can all do, and if you think of others, please write to Gay Times and share them:

  1. Blitz the editors and journalists of the offending newspapers with letters and phone calls. It might be that the reporters just don’t understand the issues. If this is the case, we have to make them understand. Letters to correspondence columns can help redress the balance of distorted reporting; this is particularly true of the regional press which is much more likely to print letters from readers. The newspapers are tireless in their efforts to discredit and defame us—we must be equally vigorous in our own defence. Make a habit of writing protest letters—by the score if necessary.
  2. Write to your MP explaining your disquiet over newspaper coverage. Tell him or her that it is time the Government took stronger measures to disseminate the truth. You could hammer home the need for more money to be allocated to AIDS research.
  3. Put friends, family and colleagues in the picture as much as possible. Explain that the media is not giving a clear picture of what is happening—then tell them the known facts. You can help yourself in this task by obtaining a supply of leaflets about AIDS from the Health Education Council, 13-39 Standard Road, London NW10 6HD. The printed word undoubtedly has more authority than the spoken one—a fact the press use to their advantage.
  4. If you are a member of the National Union of Journalists (or you know someone who is) raise the matter of the disgraceful incitement to panic at chapel meetings. Remind your fellow members of the NUJ guidelines detailing how AIDS should be reported, which were issued last August and which have been flagrantly disregarded.
  5. Individual members of the public can make complaints to the National Union of Journalists as an alternative to the totally ineffective Press Council. Offending journalists can be brought before their chapels and disciplined if the offence is serious enough.
  6. Make a donation to The Terrence Higgins Trust. This is the only organisation trying to counter the panic and hysteria with hard facts and authoritative comments. We must ensure that the Trust survives and their work expands as it becomes more and more vital to all of us.
  7. We are all worried about AIDS—not only about the disease but about the reactions to it and the implications for gay people. We must support each other and unite for a fight back. Discuss AIDS with your friends and make sure you are aware of the facts. Talk about your fears and let’s think seriously about the changes we can make in our lifestyles to ensure the disease is checked. People who are on their own and worried about what is happening should not remain isolated—get in touch with a gay helpline and talk through your fears.

GAY TIMES 88, December 1985 – January 1986 (Double Issue)

Lock your doors, bar your windows and watch out for the Hypocrites. They’ve escaped and are running amok in Fleet Street. Primary among them this month is a creepy Mancunian slob by the name of Bernard Manning who purports to be a comedian. With the collusion of THE SUNDAY PEOPLE who gave him two full pages to do it, he launched a vile assault on gay show business personalities like Kenny Everett, Russell Grant and John Inman under the headline “Ban the Panto Fairies”.

It seems Mr Manning doesn’t like homosexuals. “They ought to keep themselves to themselves,” he says. He also says that gays should not be allowed on “television, on stage, in clubs or in pubs.” But the main thrust of his ‘argument’ is that gays shouldn’t be allowed to entertain families because they are likely to “corrupt the children.”

This is rich coming from someone who for years has made a living out of uttering the most filthy racist abuse imaginable. Each time he opens his mouth his own unarguable corruption spews forth. A more worthless and degraded individual it would be difficult to imagine. Why then did The Sunday People give him column inches to expound these views? This is something that must remain between the editor and his conscience—but when the Hippodrome had the cheek to put Manning on as cabaret at one of their gay nights the discerning audience booed the bastard off the stage.

I am pleased to say that Manning did not escape totally unscathed. Alix Palmer of THE STAR wrote: “I once went to his grotty little club in Manchester and found he was the same in the flesh as he had been on television: a nasty, sweaty, blubbery teller of fartling jokes. He also keeps a bust of Hitler on his mantelpiece.”

Now we turn to the pages of that august journal THE SPECTATOR for our next hypocrite. The Spectator, for those fortunate enough not to have seen it, is the haunt of many a Conservative intellectual and thinker (if such a creature isn’t a contradiction in terms). A regular column called ‘High Life’ is written by ‘Taki’, the pen-name of a Mr Theodoracopoulos. He recently decided to “break his silence” on Aids: “Gutless politicians … are afraid to come straight out with the fact that extreme promiscuity has led to the Aids epidemic. In an age when pornography, expletive language is in every movie and rock disc and full frontals on television … the yellow-streaked pols are refusing to say that Aids is a disease caught by men who bugger and are buggered by dozens or even hundreds of other men every year.”

In the following issue a correspondent pointed out that Taki’s opinions weren’t original. In fact, he’d pinched them almost word-for-word from a column in the New York Post by Norman Podheretz. Not able to write his own bigoted column he plagiarises other people’s.

This, by the way, is the same Mr Theodoracrapolous who was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for drug offences so you’ll recognise his qualifications to moralise at the rest of us.

Taki? More like Tacky!


Not only the national press is engaged in the growing anti-gay propaganda campaign, the local papers are doing their bit, too. Just look at some of the stuff that has appeared in local rags around the country over the past few weeks.

“An attack on a South Wales gay society was made by Ogwr councillors yesterday. They were branded “perverts”, “drug takers” and a corruptive influence on the young by Tory councillors, while a Labour councillor described homosexuality as an illness which should receive medical attention.”—SOUTH WALES ECHO.

“Sick, evil and inferior are what a Bromley doctor has been accused of branding GAYS”—under a huge front-page headline reading “Gays are Evil” in the BROMLEY LEADER.

The PLYMOUTH EVENING HERALD told us that “an offensive gay club poster” had been hounded out of the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau by the Mayor of Looe, Mr John Enever. “I don’t mind as long as they’re counselling, but when they talk about gay clubs, I’m afraid I take exception.”

“Row over poofs and queers,” was the giant front-page lead of THE SOLIHULL DAILY TIMES, reporting Tory council leader Bob Meacham saying: “We took a liberal attitude to poofs and queers and now we’re knee deep in them. God has sent Aids to get rid of them.” THE COVENTRY EVENING TELEGRAPH reported him as saying: “The disease is evidence of divine retribution on a par with the fire which hit York Minster last year.”

These are crude and extreme attacks but they are becoming more frequent and local papers are giving them more prominence. It’s up to us all to ensure we don’t let these slanders go unchallenged. If we remain silent you can be assured that the Bible-thumpers won’t. We mustn’t allow our enemies to occupy both the editorial space and the letters columns. It doesn’t take long to write a letter—but it takes a long time to counter hatred and persecution once it takes hold.


And still Fleet Street criticizes those who try to help gays. THE DAILY MAIL slagged off Lambeth Council for organising a lesbian and gay conference. What the conference was about was of no interest to THE MAIL. All they cared about was that it cost £4000 of “ratepayers’ money”. They talk as if gays are somehow excused from paying rates. Are we not entitled to some small return from our massive contributions?

Meanwhile the bluer-than-blue SUNDAY EXPRESS said: “Gay city snub for cash crisis scouts.” Gay city? Where could that be? San Francisco? West Hollywood? No indeed—it’s Birmingham. “Cash starved scouts should not be considered for rates relief, but homosexual and lesbian groups should, according to Birmingham City treasurer Paul Sabin,” the paper reported. Proper tugs at your heart strings, doesn’t it?

The DAILY TELEGRAPH headlined: “Islington flats offer open to homosexuals.” But when you read the report underneath you realise that gays have no more chance of getting a flat than anyone else. But what’s the truth when there’s a message to get across?


A new threat to the Government’s long-delayed public education campaign on Aids comes from the strange British attitude to sex. When Thames TV put out an hour-long special on Aids, it included a clip from an educational video aimed at gays. Gay sex acts were discussed. The following day, James Murray, TV editor of THE DAILY EXPRESS reported that “viewers raised a howl of protest about a report on the gay plague Aids. Homosexuals interviewed in the programme used basic words to describe what they did to one another.”

But who were all these howling viewers? We have to take Mr Murray’s word that there were any because the one he quotes doesn’t have a name.

On the same theme, THE GUARDIAN told us (in a two-day “Aids Extra”) that the Gay Medical Association has had printing plates for a “safe sex” leaflet seized as ‘obscene’ by the Metropolitan Police.

How on earth are we ever going to get an effective campaign under way when we aren’t even allowed to talk openly about sex? People’s lives are at stake but the precious two-faced sense of “propriety” has to be protected at all costs. The Sun will gleefully print lurid details of rape cases and parade pictures of naked post-pubescent girls, but they won’t help gays save their own lives because that wouldn’t be “normal.”.


Speaking of THE SUN, it has carried negative gay stories almost every day for the past few weeks. One said, “Barmy Bernie in ‘race and gays’ threat” in which their new hate-figure, Bernie Grant leader of Haringey council was criticised for wanting to protect black people and gays from being murdered and abused. The Sun presumably wants the violence to continue and even increase. Does Mr Murdoch’s excuse-for-a-newspaper applaud mindless thuggery then? It seems so.


If you think things are bad in this country, you should thank your lucky stars that you don’t live in Queensland, Northern Australia. That blighted land is ruled over by Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, who the TIMES rather charitably described as “profoundly Conservative.”

Sir Johannes has recently introduced legislation that banned “sexual perverts or deviants and child molesters” from public houses.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, described the detestable old fart as “a, Bible-bashing bastard” and the Australian press called him “a real raving ratbag.”

But this is mild stuff. Gay Times—being a family journal—could not possibly print what I’d like to say about the Premier of Queensland.


However, raving rat-bags are not confined to the deep North of Oz. Take our own dear John Carlisle, “the hanger and flogger MP from Luton, North” (as THE GUARDIAN termed him). He wrote to Ken Livingstone about the GLC’s Charter for Gay Rights, describing it as “a stain on the people of London pandering to sick and depraved people.”

Ken Livingstone replied: “Dear John, perhaps if you studied it in more detail you could come to terms with your sexuality instead of denying it. Yours Ken.”


THE DAILY MAIL carried the encouraging headline: “Gays axe Christmas”. It referred to West Hollywood’s progressive policies. Sounds like my kinda town!


As this will be the last Mediawatch column of 1985 I’d like to thank all those readers who’ve sent in cuttings and to have a single Christmas wish: that there be a controlled nuclear explosion in the vicinity of Fleet Street.

GAY TIMES 90, March 1986

Greta Schiller’s documentary film BEFORE STONEWALL (distributed by The Other Cinema if you want to request your local film society or alternative cinema to screen it) was well-received by those papers that deigned to review it. It tells of what life was like for gay people in America before the days of gay liberation. One of the speakers describes how difficult it was to Come Out to parents in the 50s. You could expect all kinds of extreme reactions, he said.

Unfortunately, things don’t seem to have changed much during the intervening 30 years. Not for readers of THE SUN, anyway. They were invited, if they had a gay child, to tell agony aunt Deirdre Sanders how they coped. This is a sample of the response: “Mary discovered her son David was homosexual … from a phone call from one of the boy’s ex-lovers. She says: ‘I didn’t want to touch David. After he’d gone I sterilised every cup, plate and piece of cutlery he’d used. I wish he’d got killed when he fought in the Falklands war. At least he would have died with honour.” And there is a whole page of similar reactions from perplexed parents. One father hasn’t spoken to his gay son for seven years.

Nowhere in this catalogue of misery is a positive reaction described. There is no account of the parents who have accepted and enthusiastically embraced their gay children, even though we know such people exist and are probably in the majority.

Nowhere does the article suggest that perhaps it is the parents who are over-reacting and being unreasonable. The blame for the unhappiness is placed squarely with the children.

I can’t help wondering, though, whether the fact that all the parents are regular readers of The Sun has anything to do with their dismay. If these distressed people have only The Sun’s version of what gay life is like to inform them, it’s no wonder they’re hysterical.

The Sun also reaps a rich harvest from its own campaign of misinformation in another article “My misery posing as an AIDS victim”. Leaving aside questions about the value of such a piece, we are invited to follow “Sun man” Peter Cliff around the country as he tells all and sundry that he has Aids. It hardly needs saying that taxis refused his fare, hotels closed their doors on him, restaurants declined to serve him and barbers wouldn’t cut his hair.

Once again you have to ask where the hysteria arose. How did people get such exaggerated fears in the first place? Much of the blame must lie with those yobbish journalists who presently hide behind a barbed wire fence in the east of London—the Wapping liars. “Media-bashing” they call it now when people criticise their rotten ways. I call it credit where it’s due.


THE front page of the DAILY EXPRESS for February 3rd carried the headline: “£140m spree on the rates.” The story said: “A Daily Express investigation has revealed details of plans to heap money on dozens of way-out organisations set up during Mr Livingstone’s five-year reign of chaos. They include groups for gays and lesbians, anti-police ‘research’ groups and ‘arts organisations’”

Page five of the same issue. “The GLC plans to hand out a colossal £100 million to wind up five chaotic years of Labour rule. The cash will go to gays and lesbians, police ‘research’ teams… etc, etc.” And the page after that: “A short-list of some of the recipients of the GLC’s largesse … London Lesbian Line, Black Lesbian and Gay Centre, Greenwich Black Women’s Collective …” and so on ad nauseum.

Have you got the message yet? That’s right —the DAILY EXPRESS is a toilet roll.


A new and worryingly nasty breed of Aids stories is beginning to emerge in the press. THE SUNDAY MIRROR tells us that “Kissogram girls have packed in pecking the punters—because they are terrified of catching Aids”. THE SUNDAY PEOPLE followed up its scandalous Bernard Manning interview with an even more slanderous attack on gays.

They report “panic” in Trinidad after “Homosexuals, some suffering from the deadly disease, jabbed contaminated syringes into carnival revellers.” The paper says that gays were seen to draw blood from themselves and then jab it into people at random in the crowd. And who is supposed to have seen this happen? Well, “a woman,” apparently, and a “customs official.” No names, no pack drill. The “woman witness” is quoted as saying: “Some of the gays are boasting all over town that they want to spread Aids around so that ‘straights’ will know what it is like to die slowly.”

The article begs many questions, not least of which is how does a casual observer know who is gay, who has got Aids and who hasn’t?

The story reads rather like one of those First World War propaganda pieces about the beastly Hun who were purported to have bayonetted babies. The new enemy? Homosexuals. You and me.

It is my belief that this story cannot be supported by evidence. I have written to the editor of THE SUNDAY PEOPLE to this effect and if he doesn’t come up with a satisfactory answer, then I shall complain to the Press Council. If any Gay Times readers want to add their voice to this complaint, I can provide copies of the article.


THE DAILY TELEGRAPH told us that “Aids panic sweeps Irish jails”. On inspection it seems that, just as they did in England, the prison officers are using Aids as a means of drawing attention to the squalid and overcrowded conditions in their prisons. In the same edition we are told that “Lifeguards patrolling South Wales beaches have become the first to be given protective masks to safeguard against catching Aids during mouth-to-mouth contact.”

THE OBSERVER reports that “A recent study by NBC and the Wall Street Journal… showed that three-quarters of all Americans polled believed that Aids would spread beyond the ‘at risk’ groups … a third gave credence to the idea that it can be caught from being sneezed on, donating blood or sharing a needle.”

So how do we challenge this frightening and stubborn ignorance? GUARDIAN readers get the occasional opportunity. After carrying a feature on Aids in pregnancy, several readers wrote at length challenging some of the usual assumptions. Richard Wilding wrote: “Once again your newspaper repeats the common but erroneous statement ‘one third of all homosexuals in this country now carry the Aids virus.’ Nobody knows how many people (gay, straight, male or female) carry the Aids virus … Among gay men in this country, one third of those tested (repeat one third of those tested) have been found to be antibody positive. It does not follow from this that one third of the entire male gay population of Britain are antibody positive, let alone Aids virus carriers.”

Of course, THE GUARDIAN is virtually alone in making space for such debate. The others continue untroubled in their campaign of distortion.


To compensate for Dire Deirdre (er … that’s Dear Deirdre) THE SUN’s horrendous agony aunt, we have Marje Proops in THE MIRROR offering advice to a young lesbian. The woman was “intensely happy” with her female lover but couldn’t get satisfaction from their sex life together. Marje says: “I think you may feel some guilt about being a lesbian, but that will fade as you meet more couples like yourselves. That’s bound to be the shape of your circle of friends. Then gradually you will feel a sense of belonging to a homosexual group … Sexual responses, whether it’s between a man and woman or between gays of either gender are all to do with loving and giving and caring. You love your partner. When you have learned to trust your own sexuality, that love will make you warmly responsive.”

Isn’t that nice? I couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s good to know we have at least one friend in the newspaper business. Thanks, Marje.