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.

GAY TIMES January 2007

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

Elton John is a true superstar, an international phenomenon, a filler of stadiums and concert halls. He never seems to go out of fashion. It is natural, therefore, that people will be interested in what he does and says. For instance, on his recent Australian tour, he had a dicky tummy during one of his concerts and had to leave the stage momentarily for a bit of a barf. He returned refreshed and relieved and completed his post-chunder performance to the satisfaction of the assembled multitude. This incident was duly reported in the world’s media. Even when Elton spews, the world listens.

It also listens when he gobs off about religion and gay rights, as he did in the special gay edition of The Observer Music magazine. “I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people,” he said, in a free-flowing conversation with Jake Spears of Scissor Sisters. “Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.” Elton thinks that religion turns people into “hateful lemmings”.

Even though he admires some things about religion, he still thinks it gives a rotten deal to gay people and should be “banned”. Banned? That’s a big ambition, Elton, but not a very liberal one. Every effort so far to “ban” religion has resulted in it getting stronger and stronger. Far better to think it out of your head once and for all.

But, of course, Elton is right about religion hating gay people. Some Christians will try to convince us that it’s just the extremists, the fundamentalists, the wackos who are to blame. But looking at reports of religious attacks on gay people this month (and there are some scary examples in this month’s news section), I don’t see them coming only from the fringes of religion, but also directly from the centre.

Take the current campaign being waged against the new regulations to ban discrimination against gays in the provision of goods and services. Religious bodies are demanding big opt outs. They want to retain the right to reject and discriminate against gay people. “Gay groups meeting in our church hall? Over our dead bodies!” is the message.

These new regulations (which were originally supposed to be put into place last October, but have now been postponed until next April because of religious objections) are being rejected from right across the religious spectrum from the happy-clappy evangelicals to the mainstream Christian establishment.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols, told The Daily Mail that the guidelines represented the imposition of an unacceptable morality. In a scathing sermon in St Chad’s Cathedral, the Archbishop said: “The Government must realise that it is not possible to seek co-operation with us [the Catholic Church] while at the same time trying to impose on us conditions which contradict our moral values. It is simply unacceptable to suggest that the resources of faith communities, whether in schools, adoption agencies, welfare programmes, halls and shelters can work in co-operation with public authorities only if the faith communities accept not simply a legal framework but also the moral standards at present being touted by the government.”

Nichols said that “an inversion of morality” was being forced on them by these regulations.

So, there you have it. If you’re gay, the church doesn’t want to provide you with any services at all. It wants the right to turn you away from its shelters if you are homeless, to refuse to deal with you if you are seeking to adopt a disadvantaged child, to turn your children away from its schools or deny you a job as a teacher in them. This is despite the fact that most of these services are provided with taxpayers’ money. Yes, that’s right – we can pay for the services, but we can’t have them unless we somehow renounce our innate sexuality. This is the “morality” that the Archbishop thinks is so superior.

So now to Sheffield, where a “Christian magistrate”, Andrew McClintock – who worked in a family court – has launched a legal challenge against the Government after he was “forced” to resign (according to The Daily Mail) because the introduction of civil partnerships meant he might have to permit gay couples to adopt. He told The Yorkshire Post: “I have a problem with putting a child in a same-sex household because of my moral position.”

There will be an employment tribunal in January to decide on Mr McClintock’s stand. I sincerely hope that they make clear to Mr McClintock that is a magistrate’s job to apply the law that is made by a democratically elected parliament and not by the Holy Fathers. If he doesn’t agree, then he shouldn’t have been in the job in the first place.

And in Scotland, Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Mario Conti have been publicly rebuked by a third bishop, Joseph Devine, who does not think they take a hard enough line on homosexuality. Devine was furious that the Scottish Executive had passed a law permitting gay couples to adopt and said that the other two clerics had failed to speak out against it, and had embarked on a policy of “appeasement”. Devine’s seething hatred of gay people is spurring him into more and more extreme statements on the topic.

This push by religious interests against gay rights is also apparent in countries around the globe. In America, of course, they’ve got it down to a fine art. The agitation against gay marriage has set back gay rights in the States by years. The religious Right’s campaigns have been dishonest and, not to put too fine a point on it, plain wicked. And it’s not all coming from the likes of Fred (God Hates Fags) Phelps, but directly from the White House.

The Gay Pride march in Israel was curtailed because of an unprecedented unity among raving Christians, Jews and Muslims who forced the parade off the streets of Jerusalem with threats of violence and intimidation. And when a follower of the religion of peace threatens violence, you have to take it seriously.

Most of the time these extremists like to kill each other, but on this occasion they could lay their communal hatred aside and come together in hatred of homosexuals.

In America, the Vatican has started its witch hunt for gay priests in its seminaries. According to Generation Q website, “The Vatican has started its investigation of America’s 229 seminaries to root out gays. The Human Rights Campaign spokesman, Joe Solmonese said: “When the Church makes gay men the scapegoat for paedophiles, it ignores one problem and creates another. It does nothing to keep children safe or punish criminals.”

It is even worse in the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran where Iran Focus reported that “A gay man was hanged in public on Tuesday in the western city of Kermanshan on the charge of sodomy. Shahab Darvishi was charged “lavat” which means in Islamic law homosexual sex.” 200 people watched with glee as the execution was carried out by pious clerics.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Vatican has issued new guidelines about “gay outreach” which are supposed to be “friendly” and “welcoming”. They demand that gay Catholics remain celibate and to accept that their sexuality is “disordered”. The document “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination” was adopted 194-37 at the Catholic Bishops conference.

The guidelines say that it is not sinful to feel homosexual attraction – only to act on those feelings. Priests are instructed help Catholics avoid “the lifestyle and values of ‘gay subculture’” Gays are also discouraged from coming out.

Francisco DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an independent outreach to Catholic gays that has already drawn disapproval from some church leaders, says the guidelines “do not reflect good science, good theology or human reality. This document proposed that lesbian and gay people be viewed not in the entirety of their lives, but in one dimension only – the sexual dimension. No other group in church is singled out in this way.”

The Catholic Church’s almost psychotic hatred of gay people is damaging not only to Catholics but to everyone who listens to these priests and imagines that their words carry some kind of special authority.

So, it seems, Elton John does have a point. The religious rabble-rousing is getting louder and more strident. The determination and increasingly

The grotesque hypocrisy of these holy joes who claim moral superiority for themselves while behaving in the most appalling ways needs to be challenged.

Time for getting the gloves off is surely overdue.


“There are still a lot of life experiences to be gone through before anyone can deal with the problems of coming out in what is a relatively hostile environment” – Tom Watkins, manager of pop acts such as Bros, Pet Shop Boys and East 17.

“In our day and time, no other sin marches so defiantly across our national landscape as homosexuality,” Mark Harris, at the Baptist Convention in the USA

“The human race is undergoing a massive cultural mutation. The meaning of sexuality is being transformed as biology revolutionises reproduction. Women are demanding equality across the globe. Men are being forced to re-imagine their familial and social roles. Gays and lesbians are at the centre of these changes. Their refusal to be silent and invisible is one of the era’s great resources, a magnificent sign of hope.” James Carroll, Boston Globe.

“I love his lack of shame and his refusal to apologise: it’s a lesson for all of us,” Alan Cumming on George Michael.