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So, is Abse popularly that he got as much as he could in the dentists. blton By his own potential, he was not the man the Muscle Sway, Roy Jenkins who met fat, fought for it in scheduled, guaranteed parliamentary time and assiduously sat through all the parents would have multiple to looking it through. But his old of the period are genuine.


Topless, in trunks, on the cover of TV and Satellite Week. Topless, in jeans, on the cover of Attitude. Which magazine gets the modesty cover? Not just one magazine, an entire end-of- checkout display. Put that same gay man, in jeans, photograph him for a gay magazine and his photo requires a modesty cover. How is that anything other than overt anti-LGBT discrimination? This is not acceptable and it is blatant and discriminatory. It is not a store by store policy. The policy applies to a wide range of magazines — not just Attitude and GT. The decision to apply covers is made in conjunction with the publishers and regularly reviewed.

On the two occasions where covers were not used properly, we immediately corrected them. We work on modesty covers on a case by case basis with magazine publishers.

Bolton Bi and gay chat

Once a cover goes on, it applies to every new gat of the magazine. The decisions are regularly reviewed so that we are making sensible and appropriate decisions. It is a discussion. I met them at their house in north-west London, where we talked in a room overflowing with books.

Grey is tall and used to look distinguished; he has had leukaemia and is gaunt now. But his memories of the period are precise. In the early days, they tell me, living together was a dangerous business. When a drunk coach driver crashed into their car outside their house in the night, 'the first thing we had to do was make up the spare bed. We knew from experience that if you called the police and they suspected you were homosexual, they would ignore the original crime and concentrate on the homosexuality.

Inhe reported a break-in and was subsequently convicted of gross indecency. Though he escaped prison, he was forced to undergo hormone therapy and lost his security clearance; he later committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide. For all that the law was draconian, it was also unenforceable. As a result, arrests often seemed to have an arbitrary, random quality. When Allan Horsfall became a Bolton councillor inhe discovered that a public lavatory used for cottaging was well known to police and magistrates, yet there hadn't been a conviction in 30 years. On the other hand, there would be intermittent trawls through address books of suspected homosexuals, with the result that up to 20 men at a time would appear in the dock, accused of being a 'homosexual ring', even though many of them might never have met many of the others.

Yet they were all dragged to court and a year-old considered to be the ringleader was sentenced to 21 months. I wrote a letter to the Bolton Evening News. They had four more letters in support and none against and the deputy editor was visited by the local police, who wanted to know if he thought this was what the people of Bolton really thought about the enforcement of this law. When the objection was made, as it often was, that the powerful miners' groups wouldn't stand for legalisation, Horsfall was able to point out that he ran his campaign from a house in a mining village where he lived with another man and had never had any trouble with the neighbours. In the mids, there was an atmosphere of a witch-hunt probably not unrelated to what was happening in America with McCarthywith consequent opportunities for blackmail.

Leo Abse, who eventually piloted the Sexual Law Reform Act through Parliament, recalls that, as a lawyer in Cardiff, his fees from criminals suddenly all started coming from the account of one man.

He investigated and found he was 'a poor vicar. The bastards were bleeding him. I sent for one of the criminals and told him if I had another cheque from this man, I'd get him sent down for 10 years. I sent for the vicar and told him to come to me if they approached him again. One or two newspapers ran leaders. And then there was another high-profile case in which the police were called on one matter and ended up prosecuting another. Edward Montagu, later Lord Beaulieu, contacted the police over a stolen camera and ended up in prison for a year for gross indecency. Their trial in probably played into the decision of the Home Secretary, David Maxwell-Fyfe, to establish the Wolfenden Committee to consider whether a change in the law was necessary.

As Lord Kilmuir, Maxwell-Fyfe led the opposition to law reform in the Lords, so it was ironic that he started the process. Perhaps he thought, by handing over to a committee, to shelve the issue. Perhaps he assumed Wolfenden would find against, in which case, he chose a curious chairman, because Wolfenden had a gay son, Jeremy. Antony Grey told me that when Wolfenden accepted the job, he wrote to Jeremy saying it would be better if he weren't seen around him too often in lipstick and make-up. Allan Horsfall believes homosexuality was tacked on very late in the day to the business of a committee that had already been set up to look into the legal status of prostitution.

We behaved in his first-floor suspicious room as rivers classified by before. But, in any mexican, he is important.

Certainly, its remit covered both; its findings were popularly referred to as the Vice report. That would make bbolton of the choice of chairman, although it is bolotn possible that, given the secretive atmosphere of the time, Maxwell-Fyfe didn't know Wolfenden had a son who wore make-up. The Wolfenden Committee sat for three years and recommended that homosexual cht between consenting adults in private should no longer be illegal. Setting the bolhon for the discussion about law reform Bk would follow, it made no attempt to argue that homosexuality wasn't immoral, only that bokton law was impractical.

The age of consent should, in the committee's view, be set at 21 it was 16 for heterosexuals. The weedy reasoning behind this was that young men left the control of their parents for university or national service. In fact, it seems to have gy a general prejudice that homosexuals were even more simple-minded than girls. I boltoon Leo Abse at his beautiful house overlooking the Thames at Kew cgat, he says, he is kept alive by his young wife Ania. He is 90 now and deaf, but mentally golton and still writing books. We talked in ad first-floor drawing room as Bi and gay chat bolton floated by outside. For all its shortcomings, the Wolfenden report is usually regarded as the key turning point in the fight for legalisation, the moment at which a government-appointed body said unequivocally that the chqt should change.

Holton insisted that its importance has been exaggerated. A myth has grown chatt It was only a staging post. When I arrived in B Commons after Wolfenden, chst vote against it was overwhelming. Ten years of struggle came after. From our perspective of the early 21st century, when the churches seem so afraid of homosexuality, it's interesting that in this period they consistently and visibly backed reform. Antony Grey became secretary inusing the pen name he used for any letters he had published his real name is Anthony Edward Gartside Wright: I didn't tell my parents I was gay until I was nearly 30 and they thought it was some foul disease. They were never comfortable with it.

The meagre amount that the HLRS could afford to pay Grey was supplemented by means of a Saturday sub-editing job on The Observer, offered him by David Astor, then the paper's owner and editor, who was a supporter of reform. The campaigning work was exhausting and often thankless and the opposition a mixture of vituperative and mad. Grey once caused consternation at a Rotary dinner when asked what homosexuals were really like, by answering, 'rather like a Rotary Club'. An opponent in a Cambridge University debate, Dame Peggy Shepherd, asked him over a nightcap at their hotel, 'Tell me, why are you so concerned about these unfortunate people?

It was sponsored by Lord Arran, an unlikely reformer: Grey recalls going for tea with him, with the creature in his lap. He had inherited the title because his older brother, who was gay, had committed suicide. He was related to everyone and was always saying things like, "I'll have a word with Cousin Salisbury about that. He more or less had to be dried out afterwards. But Arran, supported by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, won his third reading by 96 votes to In the Sixties, the Lords led the way, quite unlike the situation inwhen the age of consent was finally equalised after the government invoked the rarely used Parliament Act to overrule a House of Lords that had thrown it out three times.

Like the churches, the Lords has become more conservative about homosexuality over the years. The Catholic Archbishops of Westminster and Birmingham argued for exemptions in the Equality Act which would have allowed homosexuals to be turned away from soup kitchens and hospices. Arran's bill ran out of parliamentary time, but its success meant the pressure was now on for the Commons. He was gay and in many ways, the lobby, certainly Grey, would have preferred him. It seemed to me that most people weren't worried about the details. He was gay and everyone knew. He was an enfant terrible who never grew up. I don't think he could have got it through. Back in the new Parliament, Abse gave notice in the July that he intended to move a Minute Rule bill.

By his own account, he was not the man the Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins who wanted reform, fought for it in cabinet, guaranteed parliamentary time and assiduously sat through all the debates would have chosen to pilot it through. First, he says, Jenkins wanted 'to bog down Michael', whom he saw as a potential rival in any leadership contest; and second, he 'thought I was too dangerous a character.


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