//The Ideology and Politics of the Gay Movement

The Ideology and Politics of the Gay Movement

by Rachel Tingle



It is thirty years this year since the Sexual offences Act decriminalised
homosexual intercourse between consenting adults over the age of 21
in private. Given the situation now, it is rather hard for most of
us to appreciate what the public climate towards homosexuality was
like before that time. The law influenced the whole culture and it
was difficult, if not impossible, to produce books or films featuring
homosexuals other than via coded signals. Known homosexuals were subject
to widespread discrimination, particularly in the job market. For
that reason most homosexuals chose to remain ‘in the closet’, as it
is called, concealing their sexual proclivities as far as possible.

Although some still do, there has been such a change in the legal
and cultural treatment of homosexuality since 1967 that not only are
most homosexuals now completely open about their homosexuality, but
also increasingly it is those who persist in holding negative views
about homosexual activity who are in a sense putting themselves ‘in
the closet’ - keeping quiet about how they really think for fear of
looking old-fashioned and prejudiced, or because of fears of the consequence
for their job prospects. This is particularly the case for those working
in many areas of the media or education, not uncoincidentally key
areas of our society as far as the transmission of ideas and values
are concerned. Nor is it a coincidence that in the other key area
influencing ideas and values - the Church - there should have been
an increasingly fierce battle in recent years over the way homosexuality
is to be viewed.

This extraordinary sea-change in what is historically an extremely
short period of time has obviously not just happened by accident.
Whilst it is not possible here to discuss in detail how it has come
about, what I want to do is to discuss the intellectually cohesive
- if factually flawed - set of ideas which has developed since the
late 1960s which have played such an important part in uniting what
had previously been isolated individual homosexuals into an effective
movement working for the complete acceptance of homosexuality in society.
As we shall see, these ideas have been adopted mainly to serve the
political needs of the movement as a whole, rather than the psychological
or emotional needs of individual homosexuals.

This increasing acceptance of homosexuality is not a peculiarly British
phenomenon and similar trends have been manifest all over the English-speaking
world, as well as other parts of Europe, particularly the Scandinavian
countries. With only relatively slight variations, homosexual groups
in countries like America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and now
South Africa, have used similar strategies and tactics based on a
similar set of ideas to achieve their objective. And whilst the cradle
of the ideology of the gay-rights movement was America, where gay-rights
activists were able to observe closely and draw on the experience
of the black civil-rights movement, the birth of the international
co-ordination of gay rights activism occurred in Britain. The first
International Congress on Gay Rights was convened by the Scottish
Homosexual Rights Group in 1974, and this developed into the International
Gay Association (IGA) (now the International Lesbian and Gay Association
- ILGA) which met for the first time in Coventry in August 1978 with
representatives from national homosexual organisations from eleven
countries. The IGA set up a co-ordination centre in Dublin and a treasurer’s
office in Amsterdam; by 1983 it was able to boast 73 member organisations,
collectively representing 100,000 lesbians and gay men around the
world.1

The ideology of the gay movement is not something which the movement
itself presents systematically, but is rather implicit in homosexual
literature and campaigning material. For much of this systematic analysis
I should express my debt to the American Catholic researcher, Fr.
Enrique Rueda, and his mammoth 1982 study: The Homosexual Network:
Private Lives and Public Policy.2 I run through the claims of the
gay movement without comment their factual accuracy, before looking
at some of their public-policy implications, and only then comment
briefly on the factual accuracy of these claims.

The key elements of this ideology break down into several distinct
headings, the first of which relate to:

A. The Way the Homosexual Movement itself views Homosexuality 

Here, in striking contrast to the work of many psychotherapists or
Christian counsellors, the gay movement has very little to say about
the causes of homosexuality. Overwhelmingly their literature simply
takes the homosexual condition as a given, and the movement is more
concerned to emphasise two propositions. The first of these is that:

1. There is a distinction between gay and homosexual. 

As a letter published in the American Wall Street Journal in 1981
stated:

“‘gay’ is no synonym - hence no ‘euphemism’ - for ‘homosexual’. Not
everyone engaged in a homosexual act is gay.... a gay is a person
who recognises and accepts the homosexual component of his or her
make-up with some measure of self-respect, dignity, and pride.”

So the process by which a homosexual becomes gay - or ‘comes out’
- is conceived as a form of liberation. It is a liberation from the
restraints and cultural norms of heterosexual society into a whole
new culture including gay bars, restaurants, books, films, and support
groups. Thus there is a world of difference between the homosexual
individual who generally accepts the cultural norms of heterosexual
society and to a greater or lesser extent is discreet about his or
her homosexuality, and the liberated gay.

The collective decision to use ‘gay’ as a code word for the promotion
of the homosexual movement’s interests took place in America in the
early 1970s, and was specifically promoted by New York’s Gay Liberation
Front. As American lawyer, Roger Magnuson, has written, “gay is used
to suggest a cheerful, free, and sunny approach to life.”3 And he
has stressed the importance of the use of this language. As he has
stated, the goal of the gay liberation movement:4

“was, and is, total acceptance of homosexuality. In seeking that end
result, the movement ran up against two significant social impediments:
laws that made homosexual conduct illegal ... and language that made
homosexual conduct unattractive. A movement aggressively seeking full
social acceptance had to clear both hurdles. Laws could be changed
only if public perception were changed; public perception could be
changed only if language were changed. Imagine a group calling for
‘buggers’ rights’ or speaking of ‘buggers’ pride’.”

2. Gay is Good.

The second proposition about the way the movement views homosexuality
is that Gay is Good. This approach, which was heavily influenced by
the ‘Black is Beautiful’ slogan of the American civil rights and Black
Power movement, attempts to overcome all sense of inferiority in the
gay community. At their most aggressive, members of the gay community
assert not only that being gay is as good as being ‘straight’, but
that it is actually better. In some quarters, for instance, the non-productive
aspects of homosexuality are presented as a ‘good’ given population
pressures on the earth’s resources. It is also argued that homosexual
relationships are based on equality and dignity, and are sensitive
and non-violent whereas, it is claimed, heterosexual relationships
are based on power and paternalism.

Such attitudes are to be found, for instance, in a video made in Britain
in the mid-1980s, called provocatively ‘Framed Youth: revenge of the
teenage perverts’.5 This video, which showed shots of pairs of girls
and pairs of boys kissing each other and in bed with each other, presented
the gay lifestyle as young, fun, trendy and caring. However, by superimposing
images of heterosexual couples or families with images of Mrs Thatcher,
boxing matches, and nuclear explosions, heterosexuality in contrast
was made to look stiff, old-fashioned and brutal. This video, was
amongst resource material recommended at that time by the Health Education
Council, and the Inner London Education Authority.

B. What Homosexuality is not

The next three propositions of the gay ideology relate to the fact
that, in addition to affirming and accepting homosexual behaviour,
the gay movement quite deliberately counters traditionally-held views
about homosexuality which it perceives as having resulted in the oppression
of homosexuals. Thus the gay movement strenuously argues that:

3. Homosexuality is not a matter of choice

Although there is some confusion on this point, generally the gay
movement has claimed that homosexuality is not a matter of choice,
rather it is something innate and fixed. For instance, Professor Peter
Campbell of the Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality argued
in a 1987 publication that:6

"homosexuality, like left-handedness, is a fact of life about some
people who do not differ in other respects from the majority; that
is it is not a matter of seduction, corruption, perversion or whim.”

whilst the current publicity/recruitment leaflet of the Lesbian and
Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) similarly asserts that “Homosexuality
is natural. It is like being left-handed”.

In order to convey this sense of homosexuals having no choice about
their homosexuality, the gay movement has fought against the use of
the term ‘sexual preference’ in legislation or public-policy statements
and has generally succeeded in getting the term ‘sexual orientation’
used instead.

Moreover, the gay movement uses the proposition that homosexuals have
no choice about their homosexuality to refute allegations that older
homosexuals tend to initiate or corrupt children into a homosexual
lifestyle. Rather, they maintain that in growing up homosexuals simply
discover that they are homosexual, and this recognition is seen primarily
as a matter of increasing social maturity.

It has to be said, however, that there is some confusion or division
within the gay movement and some homosexuals and bisexuals now argue
that one should be able to freely choose one’s form of sexual behaviour
without any form of societal restraint. Hence the March 1987 issue
of Gen, a publication from the Women’s Education Group (associated
with the Inner London Education Authority), declared that:

“People are not born with particular sexuality. We acquire it through
living in a particular society. People may be heterosexual and lesbian/gay
at different times in their lives.”

4. Homosexuality is not changeable

Closely linked to the argument that homosexuality is not a matter
of choice is the argument that it is not changeable. Gay writers and
activists tend to belittle the attempts of men and women to free themselves
from homosexual tendencies and to argue that if they do adopt a heterosexual
lifestyle it will not last. The political necessity of this stance
by the gay-rights movement is obvious - if homosexuals really can
change then there might be more effort by wider society to persuade
them to do so, and the political arguments that homosexuals must be
treated as a special group but with equal rights in society would
be considerably weakened.

5. Homosexuality is not an illness

Before the influence of the gay-rights movement became so profound,
even those most sympathetic to the homosexual condition regarded it
as a deviation from the heterosexual norm and a proper subject for
therapy. The view that homosexuality is an illness, however, constitutes
an attack upon the core of the homosexual ideology - that is that
gay is good. How can one celebrate ‘coming out’, or take pride in
being ‘gay’, if ‘gayness’ is an illness? Thus the homosexual movement
in America sought to get homosexuality declassified as a mental disorder.
In December 1973, after several years of campaigning, demonstrations,
and threats by a group of gay-rights activists, the Board of the American
Psychiatric Association (APA) caved in and agreed to remove homosexuality
from the official listing of pathologies in the APA’s Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual. Influenced by the APA, the American Psychological
Association passed a similar resolution in 1995. However, these decisions
merely reflected the skilful campaigning of American gay activists,
rather than any objective scientific analysis. And a survey conducted
by the APA of psychiatrists in 125 nations published in September
1993 revealed that the majority of the psychiatrists in all of these
countries still consider homosexuality a pathological deviation.7

C. How Homosexuals Should Relate To Their Condition

The third set of propositions of the ideology of the gay movement
relate to the way the individual homosexual should relate to his or
her condition. Here the gay movement argues:

7. That ‘coming-out’ is a desirable or even obligatory action

That individual homosexuals should ‘come out’ is of immense importance
to the movement. First of all it means that the individual becomes
part of the ‘gay scene’ and begins to create a network of homosexual
relationships from which it is increasingly difficult to break free.
This helps reinforce the idea that homosexuality is an unchangeable
condition. Secondly, and crucially, without individual homosexuals
‘coming out’ known homosexuals would not exist as a group and there
could be no gay political movement. Thirdly, when individual homosexuals
‘come out’ it increases their availability as sexual partners, particularly
important given the well-documented high degree of promiscuity amongst
homosexuals. Fourthly, when public figures ‘come out’, particularly
those in establishrnent-type positions, it helps shatter innate social
conservatism, as well as providing public role models for young people
drawn to a homosexual lifestyle. Fifthly, the phenomenon of a large
number of ‘out’ homosexuals is intimidating to ‘straight’ society
and increases the reluctance of those opposed to homosexual practice
to criticise it openly as it helps give the impression that homosexuals
are everywhere. As the gay poet, Michael Swift said in his infamous
essay, “For the Homoerotic Order”:8

“We will unmask the powerful homosexuals who masquerade as heterosexuals
.. We are everywhere; we have infiltrated your ranks. Be careful when
you speak of homosexuals because we are always among you.”

For all these reasons, it is of great significance to the gay movement
in this country that - although there could well have been more homosexuals
in the previous Conservative government - there have never before
been so many MPs prepared to come out about their homosexuality as
there are in the present government That these four Labour MPs (Chris
Smith; Ben Bradshaw, Stephen Twigg and Anna Eagle).are prepared to
be so open about their homosexuality is both a sign of the degree
to whiCh the gay movement has succeeded in getting its agenda accepted,
and an encouragement for it to press on for still more changes.

Controversially within the gay movement itself, some public figures
known or suspected of being homosexual, have been made to come out
against their will by the militant homosexual group Outrage! set up
by Peter Tatchell in 1990 along the lines of a similar American group.
The main reason for this is to force suspected homosexual public figures
to support campaigns of the gay movement. The attempt by Outrage in
1994 to out ten suspected homosexual bishops was, of course, part
of the attempt to take the normalisation of homosexuality inside the
Church of England via the ordination of practising homosexuals and
the acceptance of homosexual marriages.

8. Homosexuality itself has no moral implications

From a financial point of view homosexuality can be quite lucrative
- not only do homosexuals normally have no children to support, but
gay bars, gay pornography, etc. can be big business. Indeed articles
have been written about the power of the ‘pink pound’. From a hedonistic
point of view homosexual behaviour is pleasurable to the homosexuals
concerned. And pyschologically, as Dr Charles Socarides points out,
if one has homosexual tendencies, homosexual sex can provide a sense
of self-identification and emotional release. So, apart from possible
adverse medical consequences, the only thing which might curb homosexual
behaviour are ethical considerations and a sense that such behaviour
is immoral. Because of this it is clearly of great importance to the
gay-rights activists that they should assert that there is nothing
immoral about homosexual practice. Rather, they assert, what is immoral
is not giving loving expression to one’s sexuality, or the failure
of heterosexual society to fully accept homosexuality. This is why
traditional Christian teaching is such a stumbling black to the agenda
of the gay movement, and why it is so necessary, from their point
of view, to get the Church to fully accept homosexual practice.

D. Societal Response to Homosexuality

The gay movement also asserts a set of propositions about what should
be society’s response to homosexuality. The first is that:

9. Homophobia and heterosexism are undesirable conditions which must
be eradicated

The term ‘homophobia’ was coined around 1973 and is attributed to
the American, Dr Mark Friedman. If being gay is the condition of accepting
and affirming joyfully the fact that one is homosexual, ‘homophobia’
means the irrational fear and hatred of homosexuality in oneself and
in others. If gay is good, homophobia is bad. The elimination of homophobia
in a homosexual involves ‘coming out’ and becoming ‘gay’; homophobia
in other people is an illness that has to be cured, or a sin that
must be confessed, or a form of discrimination and oppression that
must be overcome.

‘Heterosexism’ is a newer term than homophobia, and to quite a large
extent is beginning to supplant it - this itself indicating the degree
to which the gay movement has been growing in self-confidence and
its agenda has been getting progressively more extreme. As Changing
the World: A London Charter for Gay and Lesbian Rights, a document
published by the former Greater London Council (GLC) in 1985 has stated:

“The term ‘heterosexism’ ... has been coined, just as ‘racism’ and
‘sexism’ were coined, to describe an attitude of mind that categorises
and then unjustly dismisses as inferior a whole group of fellow citizens.
In the case of heterosexism, the oppression appears to assume that
no one can naturally be homosexual but must be a failed or corrupted
heterosexual.”

The June 1984 Bulletin of the GLC’s Women’s Committee said the same
in more forceful terms:

“Heterosexism is, plainly and simply an oppression. Like other oppressions,
it is perpetrated by a dominant and powerful group, in this case,
heterosexuals. Like other oppressions, it works both on the institutionalised
level, and through individuals .... Like other oppressions it stinks
and it makes plenty of people lives a misery.”

Elsewhere the GLC Women’s Committee has argued that heterosexuality
is not necessarily natural, but an acquired sexuality - - that people
are literally brainwashed into being heterosexual. As its 1986 publication
Tackling Heterosexism has argued:

“it has become clear that heterosexuality, like the assumed superiority
of men, is not natural but acquired. The fact that the majority of
men and women may choose (heterosexuality) as their preferred form
of sexuality has more to do with persuasion, coercion and threat of
ostracism than with its superiority as a form of sexuality.”

10. Homosexuals exist in large numbers

This is a very important plank of gay ideology and is found in publication
after publication which argue that at least one in ten of the population
is homosexual. In The London Gay Teenage Group’s publication, Talking
about School published in 1984, for instance, Hugh Warren argued:

“There are young lesbians and gay men in every school in Britain.
Research and surveys have indicated that between one in five and one
in twenty of the population define themselves as bisexual or homosexual.
A frequency of one in ten is the most commonly quoted and widely accepted
figure. This means that if, for example, a school has 1,000 pupils,
it is likely that 100 of them will be homosexual or will come to that
realisation.”

whilst the LGCM leaflet mentioned earlier declared that “there are
more homosexual people in Britain than the population of Wales.”

The GLC Charter, Changing the World, similarly used the 10% figure,
but then went onto argue that since many people are heterosexual simply
because it is the ‘propagandised sexuality’, the ‘true’ number of
homosexuals might be higher still. As it states: “how can we say that
only 10% of the population is lesbian or gay when many of us never
consider we have a choice of sexuality as that ‘choice’ is so clearly
an unequal one.”

Finally,

11. Homosexuals make up a legitimate minority which deserves its ‘rights’
to be legally protected

‘Equal rights’ ideology, which started with the American black civil
rights movement and which argued that because American blacks had
suffered unjustly on account of their race they were now entitled
to special social and economic privileges, has influenced the ‘equal
opportunities’ policies adopted in many sections of the public sector
in Britain and elsewhere. This deliberately seeks to give either equal
provision of services or access to jobs, or positively discriminates
in the provision of jobs or services to groups considered to have
suffered discrimination on account of their race. The feminist movement
succeeded in getting such equal rights policies extended to women,
and more recently the gay movement has succeeded in getting such rights
extended to homosexuals.

PUBLIC POLICY IMPLICATIONS

These, then, are some of the basic planks of the ideology of the gay
movement and put together they amount to a pretty formidable intellectual
construction for demanding change at all levels of society. Some of
the more important of these are:

1. 	If homosexuals have no choice about their sexuality and if Gay
is Good, it can be argued that it is unfair to discriminate between
heterosexuals and homosexuals over the age of sexual consent.

This argument has been employed for years, particularly by the campaigning
group Stonewall, and, thanks very largely to their efforts, parliament
passed legislation in 1994 to reduce the age of male homosexual consent
from 21 to 18 - the failure to equalise at 16 being due largely to
opposition from most Conservative MPs. But since in July 1997 the
government confirmed a pre-election promise to allow a free vote on
further reduction of the homosexual age of consent to 16, and 93%
of Labour MPs have been shown to be in favour of this,9 a reduction
of the homosexual age of consent to 16 in the life of this parliament
is a virtual certainty. Indeed, the government’s decision this July
not to contest two legal cases on this issue being taken by two homosexual
men before the European Court of Human Rights (20-year old Euan Sutherland,
and 18-year old Chris Morris) is essentially already a de facto reduction.
It is also expected that this may be linked with measures designed
to completely decriminalise gay male sex by abolishing the legal concept
of gross indecency.

There are also some indications that gay-rights campaigners will not
be content with a reduction in the age of consent to 16 and may continue
to campaign for a reduction to 12 as in Holland. For instance, in
a newspaper interview, Peter Tatchell of Outrage,10 has pointed out
the problems for many gays and lesbians who are “coming out younger
than ever” when sex between the age of 13 and 15 would still be illegal
under a changed law.

2. 	If Gay is Good and if homosexuality is not a matter of choice
and has no moral implications, then clearly it is unnecessary for
homosexuals to seek to change their behaviour and unkind for other
people to encourage them to attempt do so. Indeed, at the annual convention
of the American Psychological Association in 1995, a resolution by
gay-rights activists sought to “discourage psychologists and other
mental health professionals from providing treatment designed to change
sexual orientation, or from referring practitioners which claim to
do so” and especially singled out the National Association for Research
and Therapy of Homosexuality for criticism. This proved unsuccessful,
but in August 1997 the American Psychological Association approved
a resolution criticising the attempts by some therapists to cure homosexuality
and declared that so-called 'reparative therapy’ is designed more
to treat ‘societal ignorance and prejudice’ than any systematically
diagnosed illness. It argued, instead, that gays should be counselled
to ‘accept their sexual orientation.” Indeed, in America at any rate,
it seems that pressure is mounting to attempt to ban therapeutic treatment
for homosexuals.

3. 	If Gay is Good, and homosexuality is not a matter of choice, an
homosexuality has no moral implications, then it also follows that
same-sex couples should be given the same protection in law as heterosexual
couples.

At present four countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) offer
marriage-like same-sex legal partnerships and Holland and Hawaii are
expected to adopt similar laws at the beginning of 1998.

In Britain, apart from the moves by the Lesbian and Gay Christian
Movement and others to gain the Church’s acceptance for same-sex marriages,
this agenda has been pursued on a piece-meal basis and is gradually
gaining acceptance. This is shown by the recent decision by the House
of Commons to extend benefits such as travel concessions previously
reserved for husbands and wives to the ‘partners’ of homosexual MPs;
by the decision of the European Court of Justice to grant similar
travel concessions to the lesbian partner of a rail company employee,11
and by an Appeal Court decision in July to grant homosexual couples
the same tenancy succession rights as heterosexuals.12 Similar arguments
have been used to support the right of homosexual couples to adopt
children, and in what may well have been a landmark case in May this
year a judge ruled that a lesbian couple could adopt an 11 year old
girl.13

Similarly in America, gay-rights activists have brought pressure to
bear on companies so that they should offer employees benefits previously
reserved for married couples to homosexual partners - these include
such things as bereavement leave and health insurance. Whilst a number
of large corporations such as Apple Computer, IBM and Disney have
adopted this voluntarily, others with contracts from San Francisco
city council have been forced by law to do so. This move looks like
spreading to other parts of the USA and could be employed in a similarly
way here.

4. 	If homosexuality is not a matter of choice, is not an illness
and has no moral implications then it must be right to educate children
about homosexuality. This is particularly the case since, if homosexuals
exist in large numbers, a lot of children will grow up to become homosexual.

These propositions have been used to support giving children detailed
information about homosexuality in sex education lessons. They also
lie behind the so-called ‘Positive Images’ campaign involving primarily
the Greater London Council (GLC), the Inner London Education Authority
(ILEA, and certain London boroughs (notably Haringey, Ealing and Hackney)
which got underway in the mid 1980s and which aimed to counter ‘homophobia’
by presenting children with positive images of homosexuality throughout
the school curriculum. To help them do this a ‘Relationship and Sexuality
Project’ sponsored by ILEA in 1986 produced an 18-page resource guide
to materials about homosexuality, including lesbian and gay literature,
music and videos, for use by teachers and librarians. A central aspect
of the campaign - as advocated by a series of publications from the
London Gay Teenage Group14 recommended by the ILEA Positive Images
resource guide - was that children should be provided with the names
and addresses of gay and lesbian contact groups.

Some aspects of this campaign have been described in my own publication,
Gay Lessons.15 My particular concern, and that of many parents in
the boroughs which were beginning to implement this ‘positive images’
policy, was that much of the material propagated the entirely false
notion (see below) that one child in ten was potentially homosexual,
and that it would actually promote homosexual behaviour amongst children
- particularly those who at puberty might develop same-sex adolescent
crushes - by being giving them names and addresses of gay groups and
so potentially locking them into a homosexual lifestyle.

At the forefront of this ‘positive images’ campaign was the London
Borough of Haringey - described in Labour Briefing for December 1986
as the “test case for the future of lesbian and gay rights across
the country.” In June of that year all secondary school heads in the
borough received a letter from the council saying that it was establishing
a fund “for curriculum projects from nursery through to further education
which are specifically designed to promote positive images of lesbians
and gays.” Many parents in the borough - who had not been consulted
about the policy - were outraged when they learnt about this and formed
a Parents Action Group (PAG) to oppose it. Their subsequent treatment
speaks volumes about the ‘tolerance’ of such equal opportunities policies.
For instance, when a deputation from the PAG (which included committed
Christians and Muslims) protested to the deputy leader of the council
that the policy discriminated against their religious beliefs, he
told them that the Koran needed updating, the Bible should be rewritten
and that “people have been known to die for their religious beliefs
before.” When the parents attempted to put their case before meetings
of the Education Committee or the Council they were prevented from
speaking, punched at and spat upon by gay-rights activists bused into
the meetings from all over London.16

It was in response to all this that, December 1986 Lord Halsbury introduced
a private member’s bill in parliament, which essentially eventually
ended up as Clause 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, which stated
that:

“a local authority shall not - a) intentionally promote homosexuality
or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;
b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability
of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”

At that time this legislation fairly effectively quashed the positive
images campaign. However, gay-rights groups have been campaigning
vigorously against Clause 28 ever since it was introduced, and it
was a plank of Labour Party policy before the election found not in
their manifesto but their “Policy Handbook”) that it should be abolished.
A BBC2 poll has shown that 91% of Labour MPs are in favour of this1
so abolition of Clause 28 will also almost certainly take place this
parliament.

5. 	On the basis that homosexuals are a legitimate but oppressed minority,
local authorities and governments have adopted policies giving them
‘equal rights’ in law. Thus, for instance the new South African constitution,
adopted in 1986, reads, “the state may not unfairly discriminate directly
or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race,
gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour,
sexual orientation... whilst article 6a of the new Amsterdam Treaty
of the European Union agreed in June 1997 states that “the (European)
Council ... may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based
on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief, disability, age
or sexual orientation...’. (italics added). The full implications
of such legislation is yet to be discovered, but presumably gay groups
could use it as an extremely wide-ranging basis for challenging any
actual or perceived discrimination in law.

In addition, in certain instances homosexuals have succeeded in obtaining
positive discrimination in the provision of services. For instance,
in its charter Changing the World, the GLC argued that: 

“Until there is equality and full recognition of the rights of young
lesbians and gay men, every effort must be made to combat discrimination.
Local authorities should continue and extend the funding of existing
lesbian and gay organisations and agencies and encourage initiatives
for the further development of facilities for young homosexuals ”

Accordingly, over the period 1982-1985 the GLC provided over £1l000,000
in grant aid to lesbian and gay projects, and this would presumably
have continued had it not been for the abolition of the GLC and, to
a lesser extent, Clause 28. This included the funding of what was
then the largest lesbian and gay centre in Europe. in 1989 Manchester
city council spent £300,000 on a community centre strictly for lesbians,17
and, more recently, has funded the “Its Queer up North” international
festival of Lesbian and gay arts.

6. 	The existence of so-called heterosexism has been used to justify
the need to set up ‘heterosexism-awareness’ training classes for teachers
and librarians by some of the local authorities involved in the positive
images policy. Amongst the recommendations in the GLC Women’s Committee
1986 handbook Tackling Heterosexism were:

that ILEA and local education authorities should make a positive commitment
to challenging heterosexism in schools and colleges in the same way
that anti-racist and anti-sexist programmes have been launched.

that resources should be put into developing materials and changing
the curricula in order to effectively challenge heterosexism in lessons
at all stages in the education system from primary school up to colleges
of further education...

that heterosexism awareness training should be introduced as a compulsory
part of in-service training and during teacher training programmes
and that this should be part of a general equal opportunities training
programme ..

By 1987 the Women’s Education Resource Group was able to report that
training courses focusing on “challenging heterosexism: lesbian and
gay issues in the curriculum” had been run with “ILEA Inspectors and
Advisory Teams, librarians, media resources officers, staff in colleges,
staff at the ILEA Television and Publishing Centre, PGCE students
at the Institute of Education, Student Services officers in further
education colleges, Haringey Education Authority and North East London
Polytechnic”18

To summarise, in the words of the Equality 2000 Campaign, launched
by Stonewall this June:

“Before the millennium ends lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are determined
to achieve their equal place in society:

equal before the law

equal protection from discrimination

equal recognition as partners

equal recognition as parents and, of course,

the repeal of Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988).”



ACCURACY OF THE IDEOLOGY OF THE GAY MOVEMENT

All these public policy prescriptions assume that the propositions
of the gay movement outlined earlier are factually accurate. This,
however, is hardly the case. As previous speakers have already made
clear homosexual practice does have moral implications and it does
have very adverse medical consequences. Furthermore, as a recent article
by Dr Trevor Stammers makes clear:19

“Male homosexuals have at least twice the incidence of alcohol abuse
of males generally and lesbians have a seven times high rate than
women generally. For drug abuse the rates are 51% of homosexual men
and 7% of men generally. The use of amylnitrates (‘poppers’) is almost
exclusively among homosexuals (58 times greater than men generally).”
So ‘gay’ can hardly be said to be ‘good’. Moreover, homosexuality
is not a fixed condition, since studies have shown that with sensitive
care and counselling a high proportion of homosexuals can become fully
heterosexual and able to enter into marriages. Dr. Charles Socarides
has claimed, for instance, that over 35% of the homosexuals he treated
over a period 1967 to 1977 developed full heterosexual functioning.20

Turning, in a little more detail to the proposition that homosexuals
make up at least one tenth of the population. This is based on the
1948 and 1953 studies by Dr Alfred Kinsey in the USA, which allegedly
found that 4% of American white males interviewed were exclusively
homosexual and a further 6% more or less exclusively homosexual. The
applicability of such figures to women (even Kinsey’s figures showed
homosexuality amongst American women to be only 5%) or to men and
women in countries other than America has always been highly questionable.
More recently, however, the Kinsey study itself has been thoroughly
discredited since it is now known that he used biased samples including
a high proportion of volunteers and even sex offenders. Dr Judith
Reisman and Edward Eichel have argued in their book Kinsey, Sex and
Fraud that Kinsey did this because he was hardly an objective researcher
but rather had his own agenda - that is, that he essentially viewed
bisexuality as the ‘balanced’ sexual orientation for normal uninhibited
people. There was also a sub-text to his work - he was in favour of
adult sex with children and his study purportedly showed that even
very young children were capable of orgasm. Reisman and Eichel say
they that “Kinsey appears to have directed experimental sex research
on several hundred children aged 2 months to almost 15 years. These
children were orally and manually stimulated to orgasm by a group
of nine sex offenders..7’.21

Based on more recent US studies, conducted during an exit poll in
the November 1992 election, it is now estimated that only 1% of the
US population is engaged in homosexual activity.22 The most recent
and comprehensive study of sexual behaviour in Britain, a survey of
almost 19,000 people conducted during 1990 and 1991, found that the
proportion of active male homosexuals in the population was 1.1% and
that for females was 0.4%.23 Similarly, evidence from Canada, France,
Norway and Denmark all show a figure for homosexual prevalence of
one per cent or less.24

The conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that the belief that
heterosexuality is normal is in fact, true. Homosexuals hardly make
up a significant oppressed minority but, rather, a tiny group which
has been immensely skilful both in extracting far more than its fair
share of public sector resources, but also in silencing the vast majority
of the population who still feel that homosexuality is undesirable.

Whilst seeking to provide help and counselling to those individual
homosexuals who want it, and typical British tolerance to those who
do not, it is surely time to call the bluff of the organised gay political
movement by exposing the falsehood of their ideology and resisting
their political demands. This is particularly important given the
inherent dangers of the homosexual lifestyle. There is probably no
other group who can do this with as much authority, and from whom
wider society needs to hear more clearly, than the clergy.

Rachel Tingle is an economist and journalist. She has worked in economic
consultancy, television and newspaper journalism, and for a number
of senior politicians. Her publications include Another Gospel? An
account of the growing involvement of the Anglican Church in secular
politics (1988) and Revolution or Reconciliation? The struggle in
the Church in South Africa (1992) Her booklet Gay Lessons: How Public
Funds are used to promote Homosexuality Among Children and Young People
received extensive media interest and contributed directly to the
Clause 28 legislation.

	NOTES

1. Gay Scotland, March/April 1983. For more information on the IGA/ILGA
see Stephen Green, The Sexual Dead-End (Broadview Books, PO Box 782,
London SW16 2YT).

2 Enrique T. Rueda, The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public
Policy (Deven Adair Company, Old Greenwich, Connecticut 06870).

3. Roger J. Magnuson, Are ‘Gay Rights’ Right? (Straitgate Press, Minneapolis
1985, p. 5).

4. Ibid.

5. Available from Albany Video, Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG.

6. Peter Campbell, Open Mind, No. 3, 1987.

7. Ibid., p. 180.,

8. Published in the Gay Community News of Boston, 15 February,1987.

9. Poll conducted by Gaytime, BBC2, 25 June, 1997.

10 Independent, 15 July. 1997.

11. The Times, 1 October, 1997.

12 Daily Telegraph, 24 July, 1997.

13 Times, 27 May, 1997

14 Lorraine Trenchard and Hugh Warren, Something to Tell You (1984);
Hugh Warren, Talking about School (1984); Hugh Warren and  Lorraine
Trenchard, Talking about Young Lesbians (1984); Lorraine Trenchard
and Hugh Warren, Talking about Youth Work (1985).

15. Rachel Tingle, Gay Lessons: How Public Funds are used to promote
Homosexuality among Children and Young People (Pickwick Books, 1986
- available from PO Box 75, OX7 6FR).

16. See Rachel Tingle “Straining Sexual Tolerance”, Daily Telegraph,
1 7 December 1986; “Where tolerance breeds intolerance”, Catholic
Herald, 23 January 1987 and “Gay Lessons in Haringey” The Free Nation,
February 1 987.

17 Manchester Evening News, 25 November, 1989.

18 Gen, March 1987, p. 21

19 Family Bulletin (Quarterly Bulletin of Family & Youth Concern),
Autumn 1987. Dr Stammers supports his claims by reference to a number
of medical journal articles.

20 Socarides, op. cit, p. 102

21 Dr Judith Reichman and Edward Eichel, Kinsey Sex and Fraud (Lochinvar-Huntington
House, PO Box 53788, Lafayette, Louisiana), p. 8.

22 Socarides, op. cit., p. 67.

23 Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Blackwell Scientific Publications,
1994)

24 See “Homosexuals and  the 10% Fallacy” in The Wall Street Journal,
3 March, 1993, and Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels, The Social
Organisation of Sexuality (University of Chicago Press, 1994).
2017-06-10T14:26:07+00:00 October 1997 Articles|