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Covers of the First Six Issues of Gay News from 1972

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Gay News launched in May 1972, and was at first collectively edited by a group of people including Denis Lemon, Doug Pollard and Glenys Parry, all of whom were gay liberation campaigners before, during and after their involvement in the newspaper.

The Gay News Archive Project writes about these first pioneering issues:

The newspapers tell an important story in the history of LGBT+ rights in the United Kingdom in the 1970s – an area of queer history that is often overlooked, partially because, in the words of Tom Robinson, “the buggers are legal now, what more are they after?”. The era covered is one where male homosexuality had been partially decriminalised, so long as only two men were doing it, and they were alone, and the building in question contained only them (ruling out hotels and having friends staying over!), and they were both over 21 – the age of consent remaining at 16 for straight people.

Yet it was a fun a time. The newspaper revels in the joy of being gay, of having gay friends and of breaking free from the constraints of straight society in a time before the arrival of HIV and AIDS in our community. There are as many laughs to be had in its pages as there are sorrowful stories and angry rants – all of life is in these pages.

First Issue of Gay News

First Issue of Gay News from May

SNIPPETS (page 12)

From the Observer……”Writing biographies of Edward Heath is becoming a cottage industry.”

And from somewhere a little nearer home……”Course, Teddy’s never had any trouble, ‘cept once, when he went with someone who wasn’t in the services.”

We also hear the Gay Liberation Front’s newspaper, ‘Come Together’, is now being referred to in certain rather structured gay circles as “Fall Apart.”

And while we’re in that corner of the world, may we express our condolences to the exalted gentleman who slipped his disc in a counselling session.

Finally, a sobering thought for all gay newshounds everywhere.
“Over and above everything else Jeremy was in love with himself: but he didn’t get on together.”

Or, as we were told the other night in the caff up the road………
“Toilet? It’s downstairs, it’s the ladies. We share everything here.”

Bye for now.

Gay News issue 2

2nd Issue of Gay News, June 1972

 

Personal Ads from the second issue

Issue 3 Gay News

Issue 3, July 1972

The third issue contained this letter from WH Smith:

W.H. SMITH & SON LTD.
Strand House, Portugal Street
London WC2A 2HS

D. Pollard, Esq. 24th June, 1972.
Gay News Ltd.
19, London Street,
LONDON W.2.

Dear Mr Pollard,

Thank you for your letter of 23rd June enclosing a copy of your projected fortnightly newspaper GAY NEWS.

I am afraid that I cannot feel that this publication would be a commercial proposition so far as W.H. Smith are concerned. As I am sure you will appreciate, one of our biggest problems is lack of display space and it is essential that such space as is available is given to titles which, in our opinion, will sell and sell quickly and, quite frankly, I do not think that GAY NEWS comes into this category.

I must, therefore, refuse your offer of supplies for W.H. Smith and thank you for giving us the opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

H.A. Baron
News Buyer & Administrative Manager
News & Book Sales Department.

On page 3 there was a warning about the police in London:

DANGER! POLICE AT WORK

DANGER – Police and Transport Police are at work in the cottage at Baker Street Underground Station, and being rather physical too.

Also beware of the cottages in Battersea Park, where conveniences are under constant police surveillance.

 

issue 4 Gay News

Issue 4, published 1st August 1972

Accomodation ads featured in Issue 4

Issue 5 Gay News

Issue 5, published 14th August 1972

Fourteen –
Old enough to wear long trousers.
Old enough to protect my sister in the dark of the night.
But I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Fifteen –
I joined the army today.
I’ve grown up now, you see.
Yes.
I’m old enough to kill…
or to be killed.
And yet…
I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Eighteen –
Now I really am a man.
Because I am old enough to marry, and to raise a family.
I’m old enough to drink in pubs –
No more kids shandies for me.
Yes, I can even vote.
But still…
I am not old enough to choose the way I love.

Twnety-one at last.
The day has finally come.
The way I love is mine to choose.
The only trouble is…
those I love,
are not old enough to choose
the way they love.

Love’s Laws by Karmon

 

Drag

THE CRICKETERS, Battersea Park Road, SW11.
(BR Battersea Park).

Sun. The Trollettes. Fri. Various Artistes.
Tues. Steel Band. Say. Singalong & Dancing.
Wed. Various Artistes. Compere/Organist
Thurs. Talent Night. Kenneth Mancell.

THE DORSET ARMS, 124 Clapham Road, SW4 (Oval Tube)

Tuesdays. Michael and Bow. Thursdays. Michael.
Sundays. Michael and Bow.

THE NEW BLACK CAP 171 Camden High Street, NW1 (Camden Town Tube) Drag Every Night.
Featured artists include Mark Fleming, Bow, Mrs Shufflewick, Jean Fredericks, New Dumbells, Sandy Graham, Chris Kay.

Alan McGorrin is Gay News’s super salesman at The Black Cap. Be nice to him, he works very hard for us.

 

ROYAL VAUXHALL TAVERN.
372 Kennington Lane, SE11. (Vauxhall).

Thursday (Alt.) Mr.Tammy or Lee Paris with Lettuce.
Friday. Mr.Tammy. Monday. Bow.
Saturday. Lee Paris. Wednesday. Lee Paris.
Sunday. (Lunch) Bow. New Act Starting Soon.
Sunday. (Night) Mr.Tammy.

ROYAL OAK. 62 Glenthorne Road, W6 (Hammersmith). Drag every night except Tuesday.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE’. South Lambeth Place. SW8 (Vauxhall). Every nght except Tuesday.
Friday Mark Fleming

OXFORD TAVERN 256 Kentish Town Road. NW5 (Kentish Town) Drag on Tues. Wed. and Thurs.
Resident host Perri St Clair.

WINDSOR CASTLE
309 Harrow Road,W9 (Westbourne Park)
Drag on Wednesday and Sunday (Lunch & Eve)

THE BELL. Pentonville Road, N1 (Kings Cross).
Every Alt. Friday. Derek Rees. – Sandy Roy

THE BUSH HOTEL. 2, Goldhawk Road, W.12. (Goldhawk Road). Every Thursday.

THE ALEXANDRA
Alexandra Road, St.John.s Wood, NW8
Wednesday’s Mr Angel. Friday’s Derek Rees.

Issue 6 Gay News

Issue 6, published by September 1st 1972

Readers letter:

WARNING
Brixton Hill
London

Dear Gay News,

Piggery alas at yet another cottage. On August 16 at Strawberry Vale cottage, Finchley, on the North Circular Road near the A 1000 intersection. I arrived to find a cute looking fuzz in fetchingly butch mufti – leather jacket and lovely black hair and moustache – taking down the particulars of several gay brothers whilst a colleague with an alsation dog looked on.

In early May the same cottage was invaded by-two Security Express guards, again complete with alsations. Whether the London Borough of Barnet had hired them for this purpose or they decided just to have a little go at any fucking poufs they might find whilst passing I can’t say, but clearly this is a terrifying precedent.

Love and strength, Jim Scott
Upper Richmond Road,
Putney Sw15

 

Discos

KINGS ARMS. Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pinder Street) Tube/BR Liverpool Street.
Dicks Inn, Gay Disco every Monday
Compere Tricky Dicky.

THE ARABIAN. Cambridge Heath Road, London. (corner of Bishops Way) Tube Bethnal Green/Bus 277. Dicks Inn, Gay Disco – closed for the Summer. Re-opens early October.

KINGS ARMS, Liverpool Street, London.
(corner of Pindar Street)
Tube/BR Liverpool Street. Buses 8,8A,22,6, 47,97.
Tricky Dicky Show on Saturday Nights. 8.30-11 00. Admission Free. Saloon Bar Disco. Impersonations etc. Gay Atmosphere.
Gay News is on sale at all Tricky Dicky Disco’s.

Sussex G.L.F. Disco every Friday 8-11pm at Stanford Arms, Preston Circus. Brighton. Only 15p.

Gay Disco in . THE CRYPT. ST MATTHEWS CHURCH, (opposite Town Hall). BRIXTON Sept 18th & 25th & hopefully every Monday. BR/Tube – Brixton Buses 35. 37, 109. 59, 2. 3. 26. Admission 15p – Beer and Sandwich Bar.
LOVE -KISSES-SOUTH LONDON GLF.

DRAG MOBILE DISCOTEQUE
Tuesday Nights – ROYAL OAK, 62 Glenthorne Road, London W6.
Wednesday Nights – THE PONTEFRACT CASTLE 48 Chapel Street, Edgware Road Tube.
Dancing Permitted, complete with Drag Show featuring Mr.Jean Fredericks, Peter Martindale & Diamond David.

Weekly GLF Disco starting shortly at BULL & GATE pub. Kentish Town. Phone GLF Office at 01-837 7174 to check details.

THE FATHER RED CAP Boys Only, Girls Only, and Mixed Disco’s.
Gay News is always on sale at the Father Red Cap (upstairs disco).

The first six issues of Gay News can be viewed in their entirety at the Gay News Archive Project