GAY LIB IN GREAT BRITAIN
EDITOR'S NOTE - Anthony Collins>
an Associated Press Writer, submitted the following article to the
news service and it was reprinted
in the Houston Post, May 24; The
release received from CHE in
London was not as complete as a
result the NUNTIUS is reprinting
the AP release.
LONDON - In a Piccadilly Circus doorway a couple embraces.
The lovers are breaking the law
--they're both men.
They have just come from a
demonstration by militant homosexuals who feel that Britian's already-liberal laws still aren't
Among otherthings, they demand
the right to be just as amorous
in public as boy and girl couples.
"If I want to kiss my boy friend
and hold hands in public, I don't
see why that should be illegal,"
says Malcolm Bissett, a 20-year-
old Scottish homosexual. He is a
member of a protest movement
called the Gay Liberation Front
The GLF wants Britan to give
homosexuals the same legal rights
as everyone else.
While many people in other countries consider Britain's 1967 law
on homosexuality extremely liberal, the militants don't see it that
The landmark 1967 Act of Parliament, preceded by a lively
sexual acts in private by consenting adults.
It was intended not to condone
homosexuality but to free adult
homosexuals from police harassment and blackmail. Four U.S.
states -- Colorado, Connecticut,
Illinois and Idaho -- have similar laws.
With the 1967 Act, Britain came
a long way from the 16th century
law of Henry VIII grouping homosexuality with heresy and witchcraft -- all punished by death --
and an 1861 law changing the
maximum sentence to life
But British GLF militants complain that even when there is
mutual consent and privacy, the
1967 law still provides for imprisonment of up to five years for
a homosexual 21 or older if hehas
relations with a young man 16
to 20. For sexual relations with
a boy under 16 the maximum
penalty is life imprisonment.
The militants want the age limit
dropped from 21 to 16 -- the same
"age of consent" as for heterosexuals. And they want freedom
from alleged police harassment
of homosexuals who show affection
"The 1967 law didn't go far
enough, although it was a start,"
contends Tony Smythe, general
secretary of the National Council
for Civil Liberties, a liberal group.
"There are still many homosexuals suffering from guilt and
loneliness because their relationships are illegal or socially frown- .
Says the Rev. Michael Butler,
an Anglican clergyman who counsels homosexuals: "The 1967 law
helped make society more sympathetic, especially when people
saw that the bill was supported
by the churches. But people forget
that there have been centuries of
society being conditioned against
The Rev. Mr. Butler works for
the Samaritans, a charity that
tries to talk people out of suicide.
A growing number of the depressed
people who come to the Samaritans
are homosexuals, he says.
They call themselves "gay",
but he finds they're often sad --
suffering from loneliness, shame
There are no precise figures on
their numbers. Michael De-la-
Noy, former press officer for the
archbishop of Canterbury and now
active in helping homosexuals, estimates there are more than one
milling homosexuals out of
FOR YOUR PRIVATE APPOINTMENT
. . . for your entire needs — Cosmetics,
jewelry, panty-hose, wigs, bras, etc.
- lingerie, clothing and understanding.
9 - 5 JVlon. - Sat
AFTER HOURS 944-7402
NOW OPEN SALOON SERVING YOUR
PRE-GAME WARM UP:
GREYHOUNDS, BLOODY AND SCREWS
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AFTERNOONS
1 'TIL 4 P.M.
Britian's total population of 55
The GLF now claims a membership of 1,000 throughout the
country, with branches in 13 cities.
Its weekly London meetings and
demonstrations called "gayins"
draw some 300, it says.
The first public dance in Britain
for homosexual men and women
was organized in London in 1970
by the GLF and 750 attended.
About one-fifth of GLF's members are lesbians, and they are
considered its most radical influence. In contrast, their
American "sisters" have broken
away from male homosexual protest groups.
Although Britain is more tolerant than many other countries,
the GLF claims that homosexuals
get turned down for many jobs
purely because of their homosexuality.
But the Rev. Mr. Butler of the
Samaritans suspects that homosexuals often use this as an excuse when they're rejected for
"Leading a double life, hiding
their secret from their parents,
makes them almost paranoid in
many cases, and they read too much #
into a situation," he says.
"It makes for a ghetto mentality. They get more obsessed
with their homosexuality until
gradually their personalities
deteriorate," he adds. "I try to
get them to go out more into
London's "gay ghetto" includes
a notorious movie house near Victoria train station, public toilets,
parks and a group of pubs in the
low rent Earls Court district where
homosexuals have furtive encounters. "A sexual meat market," the
London Times calls these places.
The GLF and another group
called Campaign for Homosexual
Equality have tried to organize
social clubs that would offer better
places to meet.
But in some cases, such as the
English town of Burnley, offended
local citizens have pressured landlords not to let them in, the
National Civil Liberties Council
The militants say it's wrong to
call homosexuality a sickness.
They've demonstrated against British psychiatric clinics that use
electric shocks and nausea-producing chemicals as an "aversion
therapy" to treat homosexuals.
The GLF uses street theater,
Hyde Park pinics and other activities to drive home the slogan:
"Gay is Good."
The group has had several setbacks, but feels its activities are
starting to achieve a main purpose:
to "liberate" the ashamed homosexuals known as "closet queens"
and help them shake off their guilt.
Reprinted from the Houston Chronicle May 28, 1972.
Washington - A federal judge has
ordered the Defense Department to
restore the security status is had
revoked from an avowed homosexual.
U.S. Dist. Judge John H. Pratt
issues an order and an accompanying memorandum stating that a
person who admits to practicing
homosexuality carnot be barred
from handling secret defense
Benning Wentworth, an employe
of an electronics firm under a
defense contract, had his clearance lifted under a guideline blocking clearance of people who have
engaged in "any criminal, infamous dishonest or notoriously
disgraceful conduct or sexual pro-
Pratt ruled that Wentworth "did
not receive a fair and impartial
adjudication" of his Defense Department security status. Wentworth had been cleared for defense
work for 13 years.