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).