ScotsGay Magazine

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Issue 20 __________________________________________________

CONTENTS:

Editorial - fuck you Tony
News - reports & investigations
Otton On... - on the roof of the world
Ogg's View - tart or bitter?
International - news from around the world
Reviews - books, videos, film
Music - Joy DJ Alan's latest chart
ScotsDyke - dykes' diary

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EDITORIAL


Memo to the Prime Minister:

In Bolton, seven gay men have just been convicted of consenting gay sex in the privacy of their own homes as there were more than two participants involved. Two of the men have been put on the Sex Offenders' Register because one of the men "under age".

The judge, Michael Lever, QC, handed down probation and community service orders to the younger defendants: Gary Abdie, David Godfrey, Mark Love and Jonathan Moore, (all in their early 20's), and to Craig Turner, aged 18.

He gave Norman Williams (33) a two-year suspended prison sentence. Terry Connell (55) received a nine-month suspended sentence, and was ordered to pay £500 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Both Williams and Connell, (who had sex with Turner when he was 17-1/2, just six months below the gay age of consent), were forced to sign the Sex Offenders' Register, which lumps them together with rapists and child sex abusers.

This trial has cost the public purse thousands of pounds and has ruined the lives of those involved - one of whom has had their car and house trashed by caring neighbours.

You could have stopped it all. Either by telling your law officers to change guidelines on prosecution policy (as was done by the Tories in Scotland YEARS ago). Or by changing the law.

On 24th February 1994, during the Age of Consent Debate, you told the House: "At present, the law discriminates. There is no doubt about the personal misery that such discrimination brings."

Your Out Gay Cabinet Minister Chris Smith at least wrote to the judge asking for leniency. The Closet Mandy is too busy playing with his Dome. But you did zilch.

Fuck you, Tony!

John Hein

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NEWS

MAN OF GOD BOTHERED

A Scots gay cleric has been unfrocked by his Church and faces allegations of fraud following allegations of missing funds at HIV/AIDS projects in the North of England.

The Reverend James Gough McManus was suspended last Autumn by the Metropolitan Community Church for action unbecoming a minister. And the former AIDS/HIV worker with Cleveland County Council is also facing investigation by Middlesborough Police Fraud Squad over allegations about substantial sums missing from his former employers and other AIDS/HIV organisations with which he was involved.

His suspension from the ministry followed complaints by a well known lesbian author that McManus had failed to deliver a commisioned chapter for a book and had then lied about his failure. He was put on probation by his church and offered counselling, but the suspension will now continue at least until any issues regarding the alleged frauds are resolved.

McManus, who hails from Fife, was Secretary of the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group in the 1980's, but resigned following eccentric behaviour which involved abusive letters being sent to the then Glasgow College of Technology's Student Association. McManus denied writing the letters claiming that they had been written by an assistant whom he refused to name on the grounds that to do so would be contrary to Canon Law!

According to veteran gay campaigner Ian Dunn, McManus also ran up large bills at the Church of Scotland bookshop in Dunn's name - bills which were never paid.

As a Student Officer at Glasgow University, he resigned after a letter was written by him on behalf of the Students Representative Council complaining to Edinburgh District Council about three gay men who were living in a shop cellar without benefit of planning permission. None of the men had any connection with Glasgow University and all were made homeless as a result of his intervention.

After graduation from Glasgow, McManus was employed by Cleveland County Council as HIV/AIDS co-ordinator and was responsible for the formulation of the County's HIV/AIDS policy.

In 1996, following local government reorganisation in England, McManus took up a £25,000 per year post with Stockton Council as policy and performance review officer. He resigned from this job in May 1996 after being suspended when the alleged irregularities at his former employers came to light.

McManus is now believed to be in Brighton where news of the allegations came as some surprise to one community activist who claimed that McManus was much admired in the area for bringing the attention of the Charities Commission to deficiencies in the running of a Sussex AIDS/HIV body.

COMMONS TO DEBATE EQUALITY NETWORK PROPOSALS

The House of Commons is to debate amendments to the Scotland Bill proposed by the Equality Network. The amendments seek to improve the Scottish Parliament's powers to eliminate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They were tabled on February 17th by three Scottish National Party MPs, and Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs are expected to add their names.

Four amendments have been tabled. The first seeks to give the Scottish Parliament power to extend the existing anti-discrimination laws, such as the Sex Discrimination Act. The second would give the Parliament power to impose duties on the public bodies it controls to secure equal opportunities for all. The third and fourth amendments add the words `sexual orientation' and `gender identity' to the definition of equal opportunities given in the Scotland Bill.

Roseanna Cunningham, SNP MP for Perth and Kinross, and the SNP's Equality spokesperson, said, "These amendments would enable Scotland to take the same leaps forward as other small European nations in giving equality of treatment to lesbians and gay men. I believe a Scottish Parliament would have the energy and motivation to drag so many of our laws into the modern age. In the light of the Lisa Grant case, it is now even more important to get `sexual orientation' and `gender identity' included in any definition of equal opportunities. These areas must be made explicit, otherwise, as we have seen, there can be no guarantee of equal treatment."

The government's large majority means that the amendments can only succeed if the government accepts them. Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network said, "At present the government proposes only to allow the Scottish Parliament to impose restricted equality duties, not covering sexual orientation, or for example, age discrimination. We hope they will think seriously about the amendment to allow the Parliament to impose wider equality duties on the public bodies it controls. Without this the Parliament will be unable to deliver equality for all in the services for which it is responsible, and will have less power in this area than the Welsh Assembly."

The amendments are expected to be debated by the full House of Commons in the second or third week of March.

The amendment to give the Parliament power to impose duties on public bodies it controls to deliver their services with regard to equality of opportunity for all people is amendment 348 on the order paper.

The amendments to add the words `sexual orientation' and `gender identity' to the definition of equal opportunities in the Scotland Bill are amendments 349 and 350 on the order paper.

EDINBURGH ATTACKS

The current spate of attacks on gay men in and beside popular `gay village' venues is being closely monitored at Gayfield Square Police Station.

Superintendent Jim Taylor and Sgt Fiona Blenkiron met local activists on 11th February to ensure that police responses were "fair and effective". Mr Taylor has drafted a new GDO (General Divisional Order) 15/97 which runs to three pages and sets out the manner of police response and patrolling in the `village' and at cruising areas nearby. Police support the Candlelight Walk/Vigil due to be held on Sunday 5th April (contact Dean Conway on 0131-447 7751 for further details) but not a "gay monitoring" on the Hill itself.

The reign of terror perpetrated by Clive Winter and Paul Davidson has been stopped. Both men are now serving gaol sentences. Their vicious attacks on fellow gays was a big challenge for Police/Gay Liaison for here it turned out to be our own kind who were deriving bent pleasure out of queer bashing.

Ian Dunn

PROUD STUDENTS

Student Pride at the University of Glasgow (2nd - 7th of February) kicked off with a controversial presentation by Garth Menzies of the Christian Union on the issue of `Christianity and Homosexuality'. Menzies argued that sexuality was a vital part of the human being, something about which we should feel no shame. However, reading the book of Genesis it was clear that God had ordained that sexual expression should be reserved for the union of marriage between man and woman only. Needless to say a vigorous, passionate, heated debate began.

A counter-argument proposed by Nick Thompson, the New Zealand Haka demon of Glasgow Uni., suggested that if sexuality was such a core dimension of the human personality it was unjust and destructive to insist that those of a homosexual orientation should deny and repress this facet of themselves. Derek Coyle, the only gay Paddy (we all know that an Irish homosexual is a man who prefers women to Guinness), argued that Christ told the eunoch ( a sexual outcast in ancient Israel ) he would be with him in the Kingdom of Heaven. Coyle also argued that the Church blessed the sexuality expressed in sterile marriage unions as good, for it furthered the union of the couple and this could open the way for an acceptance of gay unions as morally good. David Smith knocked the original and best homophobe, St. Paul of Corinthians fame, by saying he had no concept of innate homosexuality and he was reacting to the idolatry of sexuality he witnessed in ancient Greece and Rome and not homosexuality per se.

Glasgow Uni. was visited on Wednesday the 4th of February by John Wilkes, director of Phace West and Jim Mearns, a member of the LGB branch of Unison, the equality branch of the Labour Party. Both argued for the possibility of a gay dimension to the New Scottish Parliament (and sure wouldn't it be a rather dull place without it). Both acknowledged the pressing necessity for equality under the law, legislation relating to inheritance rights and security in the workplace.

Thursday witnessed a hectic debate in the hallowed GUU debating chambers on the issue of Gay Parenting. Councillor Louise Fife of Glasgow City Council, a parent herself, argued that gay parents would have all the skills required: they could change nappies, secure an income, bring the children on holidays. A wise-ass from the floor suggested gay men could not breat-feed to which Councillor Fife coolly replied as to whether he'd heard of the bottle!!! The famed karoke diva of Sadie Frosts, Karen Dunbar, rebuked one heckler with the statement that he probably discovers a lot of lesbians amongst the women he chatted to in bars, only in her case it happened to be true!!! .

The principal organizer of Student Pride in Glasgow, the Zeus of the Scene, (the reason why the Greeks invented Greek Love), Menelas Siafakas, had Phace West, Gay Men's Task Force, The Lesbian Line, Pride Scotland, the LGB Youth Group, Unison and Lesbian Archives present material on the Friday in the John MacIntyre Building. On Sunday Student Pride concluded with a 5K sponsored run in Kelvingrove Park on behalf of Body Positive, Strathclyde which raised an estimated £100. The GFT showed `Jeffrey' and'When night is falling' as their contribution to a week of intensively gay activity. Menelas thanks all those who gave generously of their time, talent, effort, good looks and love to Student Pride '98 which helped to make it a memorable, proud and joyfully gay week for all concerned. See you in '99.

Derek Coyle

TALKING BOLLOCKS - UNZIPPED!

In an all-new show, the Glasgow gay guys that created the sell-out hit Talking Bollocks, reveal all!...

Well maybe not quite everything.

With new performers and new stories, Talking Bollocks - Unzipped! looks at how gay men see themselves and show themselves, and how they look at the world. On the Scene or on the street, do we always get what we see? Do we ever really get what we want? The naked truth ... (or not!)

Talking Bollocks - Unzipped! presents the real experiences of ten men, aged 19 to 60, growing up and living as gay men in Scotland. Written and performed by the guys themselves, the production is at times outrageous, at times angry; sometimes camp and passionate, sometimes dark and poignant. Stories that are personal, but also common to us all.

The production is at Glasgow's Ramshorn Theatre, 98 lngram Street, from Wednesday 1 to Saturday 4 April at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £4.00 with £1.50 concessions on the opening night, and £6.00 with £3.00 concessions, from Thursday to Saturday. Tickets are available from Ticketlink on 0141-287 5511.

AMNESTY

Amnesty International (AI) was due to launch its Scottish Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Network on Wednesday 25th February at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Guest speakers were due to include Bishop Richard Holloway and a member of the UK-wide GLBT Network who was to talk about establishing an active group to campaign on behalf of those gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world imprisoned because of their sexuality.

NEW STATUS

Body Positive Strathclyde has now been incorporated as a charitable company limited by guarantee after an overwhelming ballot by members.

HI BRUCE!

Bruce Fraser has been appointed as Development Worker with Gay Men's Health in Edinburgh.

HASH

The new freesheet Cruise dropped a bollock in its first issue by printing an illustration of a sycamore leaf beside a tendentious anti-
cannabis diatribe. This clearly reflected the author's knowledge of his subject!

DROP-IN

Pride Scotland are operating drop-ins on Tuesday 6-7pm at their Edinburgh office and Tuesday and Thursday 6-7pm at their new Glasgow office in the GGLC. The event itself is to be held in Glasgow on 13th June.

SELL OUT

The Edinburgh LGB Centre is finally about to change hands. OUTRIGHT is to sell to the LGB Community Project and will be spending some of the proceeds (after paying off debt) by employing a part time worker. The Centre is the oldest in the UK.

CONFERENCE

The public services union UNISON is running Scotland's first pink policing conference in Glasgow on 20th March in co-operation with the Equality Network. It's entitled "To Serve & Protect: Policing The Lesbian And Gay Community".

ENOBLED

Lord Watson (formerly Mike Watson, the Govan Labour MP ousted by Mohammed Sarwar) has agreed to become OUTRIGHT Scotland's latest Patron. He joins Life President Janey Buchan and Patrons Kay Carmichael, Robin Cook, Roseanna Cunningham, Jessie Devlin, Linda Hendry, Bishop
Richard Holloway, and Edwin Morgan.

POLICE

Edinburgh's Gayfield Police Station wants to encourage more incident reporting. If you witness anything - stay away, but call 999, 112 or 0131-556 9270 (or go into the police station). Keep a careful note of what you see.

BEACH

Dundee LGB Switchboard Youth Group are to hold a Beach Party this summer. Details from Dundee Switchboard on Dundee (01382) 202620.

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OTTON ON...

TIBET:- FORBIDDEN FRUIT IN THE FORBIDDEN LAND


As the first Western journalist to interview gays in Tibet, Garry Otton dodges Himalayan landslides and the Chinese secret police searching for the abominable homosexual living on the Roof Of The World

Prayer flags flutter over the jewel lake, Yamdrok Tso Forget Gran Canaria. In the seventeenth century, Beijing was the gay sex capital of the world. Much of the glitterati openly indulging in a bit of fen tao zhi ai. Quite literally, "the love of shared peach." There was even a boom in gay writing, much of it homoerotic fiction penned by best-selling authors. But it took a conservative backlash by the Manchu Qing government in 1740 and the full weight of a Communist revolution in 1949 before a Chinese Embassy spokesman could assure readers of Gay Times magazine with any amount of conviction: "We do not have homosexuals in China."

Four years ago, a crack appeared in the wall. A letter found its way to Australian gay magazine, Capital Q from a Chinese man claiming he was being subjected to regular sessions of electroshock therapy while his lover underwent hard labour in a re-education camp. Although homosexuality is not illegal in China, they were accused of "bad morality and mental disorders" indulging in a practice that was expected to "disrupt social order and harm society." He pleaded in his letter to the outside world: "Please do not forget that gay people are suffering in China."

Gay rights don't amount to much in a country that turned its guns on its own people in Tiannanmen Square and, according to Amnesty International, executes more of its citizens every year than the rest of the world put together. They barely amount to much amongst countries busy selling China arms, equipment used for torture and shaking hands with them on lucrative business deals. So what the world cares for homosexuals living in that vast, neighbouring Himalayan region of Tibet, occupied by the People's Republic of China since 1959, is anybody's guess.

Up until now, I had assumed Tin Tin was the only gay man in Tibet. Tsering Shakya from the Tibet Information Network in London did his best to set me straight. "Before the present Dalai Lama, Tibet was ruled by the Regent Reting who was widely rumoured amongst the aristocracy to have had boyfriends. Homosexuality was also widespread in Tibetan monasteries, which, before the Chinese invaded, could house up to several thousand men and boys. Each monastery had its own tall, strong disciplinarian monks who carried huge sticks and acted as monk-policemen. They did not have a scholarly attitude or a particularly religious inclination and wore make-up. Parents would often frighten their children by warning them the monk-police would take them away. There was much gossip about their interest in young boys. The expression in Tibetan, trap'i kedmen means `monk's wife' and refers to the effeminate boys who formed relationships with these monk-police."

In the autumn of 1996, I stuffed my rucksack with layers of clothes in preparation for those cold Himalayan nights. Hi-energy bars for when you don't fancy the plate du jour and Immodium for when it doesn't fancy you! I was ready. Almost. Huge mountains of snow and bureaucracy have to be crossed before anyone can enter Tibet. Soldiers of the Red Army are posted on all roads in and out of Tibet's capital, Lhasa. They hug their rifles on bridges, in towns, at various posts along major routes and, of course, on the borders. Visas can be refused at the last minute. China can do without tourists snooping around, but our hard currency is as welcome to them as white gold from the Yamdrok Tso lake. The Chinese compromise by forbidding entry to individual travellers and granting visas only to tour groups on a restricted itinerary. My attempt to get an individual visa was flatly refused, but I passed as a student and latched on to a group from Bangkok.

I spent a few days in Katmandu waiting for my flight to Lhasa. From where I sat in the shade of Rhododendrons, I felt I could reach out and touch the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. A couple of boys were confidently embracing each other nearby; others walked by me, arm in arm. Nepal is a country where public displays of affection between males is perfectly acceptable. Such displays between members of the opposite sex, on the other hand, are not. After witnessing a young Nepalese leading a Westerner through the streets by his hand, I wondered out loud to my Nepalese guide if his country was perhaps becoming popular with western homosexuals. "They are not homosexual," he scoffed. "Just friends." (Well… Whatever. It's certainly not heterosexual)! Similar displays were routinely dismissed with the same customary zeal.

The denial of homosexuality, of course, pays lip-service to the supremacy of heterosexuality. This is world-wide and man-made. When a survey conducted by the Indian Medical Association revealed an astonishing 90% of men in Delhi's Tihar prison indulged in gay sex, the Inspector General of prisons, Ms Kiran Bedi told the TV programme Eyewitness that homosexuality was not a "problem" in Indian prisons: "The chronic overcrowding in the Tihar jail is a deterrent against homosexuality." She was echoed by the Family Conciliation Service Centre's Janak Raj who said: "Homosexuality is against the dignity, honour and religious sentiment of the citizen's of the country" and suggested strip-lighting as a deterrent.

On the other hand, of course, such denial provides the perfect smokescreen for men eager to explore the homosexual side of their nature. In Britain there exists that same level of denial. Just a different smokescreen. Married men who enjoy sex with men, or otherwise don't identify as gay at all, privately trawl the lonely hearts ads or cruise areas they know like-minded men go. It is endemic. Whether in the dead of night or under everyone's noses, like Nepal: It serves the same purpose. Just look to the East and weep, men!

Tibetan Statue Not everyone who had booked the morning flight to Lhasa on China South-western Airlines were able to board the plane. There were simply not enough seats for the number of people who had booked. Furious passengers stormed the check-in desk, desperately waving their tickets at anyone remotely official. Our group, patched together by a tour operator, was at the front of the scrum. On board, and ignoring the hideous in-flight recording of an American game show, I watched in awe as we skirted Everest and the tallest mountains on the planet, before touching down on the Roof of the World.

Lhasa is 37 miles from the airstrip at Gongkar. The drive into the capital is through a valley hemmed in by mountains. The sky is a blue, so deep, you half expect to see the moon and stars. In Lhasa, I found the Tibetans notoriously shy after years of surveillance by a network of spies and informers. A sharp contrast to the Chinese whose music and propaganda barks from distorted loudspeakers and Tannoys everywhere. The Chinese have been pouring into Tibet on the back of financial incentives handed out from Beijing for years. They own most of Lhasa now, mowing down Tibetan monasteries and buildings to make way for their gawdy shops, tasteless architecture and crappy monuments to Socialism. A row of brothels line the sacred Lingkhor, a route trodden by centuries of pilgrims. At first, Lhasa is a huge disappointment: one huge Chinese Take-Away with as much taste as a spring roll. I spent my first day acclimatising to the lack of oxygen and wandered down to the Chinese market in front of the Potala Palace, the former home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace prize winner and 14th reincarnation of Chenrezi, the Buddha of Compassion, who now runs his Government-in Exile from India. At her stall, I found a Chinese woman selling framed pictures of Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, the late Communist leader of China; who starved thousands to death in his Great Leap Forward.

My search for gay Tibetans soon presented itself in the form of a 24-year-old former refugee called Lobsang. We got chatting by a market stall. He had crossed the Himalayas to escape Chinese rule and was taught English in India before being sent back to Tibet. "Tell the outside world what is happening in my country," he begged. I promised I would if he could do something for me. So we struck a deal. Lobsang would find me a "homo-seshual."

This is my part of the deal:-

Lobsang's grandfather had been tortured and killed by the invading Chinese. He'd been spared none of the tyrannical stories of the Cultural Revolution under Chairman Mao Tse-tung and like nearly all Tibetans, yearns for a free Tibet. His feelings ran so deep, that when I played him the South American group, Mecano's "Dalai Lama" on my Walkman, he kept repeating the words Dalai Lama every time he heard it and had to wipe away the tears with his sleeve.

When China first invaded Tibet, they wanted to wipe out its past. Images and artefacts were either melted down to swell Beijing's coffers or sold in antique markets in Hong Kong. Tibetans were no longer allowed to wear their traditional costume, or worship freely. Fewer than 10 of its 2,463 monasteries have survived. These were crazy times. Protesters were shot or imprisoned. Women had abortions forced on them or their children taken away for indoctrination in China. Most bizarrely, whole villages were ordered out into the fields to kill `parasites.' - beating pots and pans until the birds dropped dead from exhaustion. Some species were wiped out altogether. It was a task particularly resented by most Tibetans for whom all life is sacrosanct. Even children had to participate: collecting their quota of insects in jars. But without birds to eat them, the insects thrived and blighted the crops. By 1960, the whole of China was gripped by a terrible famine. Party cadres beat peasants who tried to steal wheat kernels from the fields. As starvation led to cannibalism, the Panchen Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, wrote to Chairman Mao imploring him to have compassion on his countrymen after witnessing peasants picking grain from horse-manure. For his impudence, Mao threw him in prison. 30 million Chinese and Tibetans perished.

Lobsang agreed to contact two "homo-seshual brothers" he knew. More remarkably, he confided that "they love each other." Further questioning revealed his interpretation of "brothers" was a little on the generous side. They were, in fact, just lovers. I hoped these "homo-seshuals" wouldn't be too disappointed when they discovered all I wanted was a quick chat over a small glass of Chang. At first, Lobsang suggested bringing a "homo-seshual" to the hotel, but after spotting the cameras in the lobby recording our every move, I didn't want to take any chances. It was difficult enough arranging anything outside our tour group's tight schedule, but by a strange twist of fate, the last minute cancellation of a visit to Ganden monastery left the following afternoon free. The People's Armed Police had been called in after monks refused to remove pictures of the Dalai Lama at the monastery. There had been some shootings. It was now closed to foreigners.

We arranged to meet outside the gates of the beautiful Norbulingka Park. These are the gardens of the Summer Palace from where the Dalai Lama made his impromptu escape into exile at a few minutes before 10pm on the 19th March, 1959, when the Chinese began shelling Lhasa. I arrived early by rickshaw and spent some melancholy hours walking through the gardens, my head bowed, deep in thought. My reverie was eventually disturbed by the sound of some giggling in the grass to my left. A small family were picnicking together, watching their three-year-old chasing butterflies. After I returned their smiles, they beckoned me to join them and pushed a cup of warm yak butter tea into my hand. I spent some time amusing them with my water-colours before engaging in conversation with the father who was learning English at a nearby school. As the sun sank behind the trees, I took a quick look at my watch, reminding me I was supposed to meet Lobsang outside by the gates of the Norbulingka Park. Before getting up to leave, I pressed my hands together and bowed my head to each family member in turn.

When I arrived at the gates, Lobsang was sitting in the shade of a willow tree looking downcast. He shrugged his shoulders in despair. His friend, Tsering, the "homo-seshual" had not turned up.

To be continued.

Photographs: Garry Otton

© Garry Otton 1996

Certain changes have been made to protect the lives of individuals.

Tibet Foundation:-
10 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2SH (Tel: 0171-404 2889) getza@gn.apc.org

Amnesty International UK Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Network:-
99-119 Rosebury Avenue, London EC1R 4RE (Tel: 0171-814 6200) groups@amnesty.org.uk

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OGG'S VIEW

TART LEAVES BITTER TASTE


I was hooked to Esther Rantzen's series Prostitutes (BBC 1), no less so than the episode which featured Frank, the gay escort out of Liverpool and into London. There are hundreds of thirty-somethings in London who look at least as good as Frank and are giving it away, so I was puzzled by his claim that he'd only rent out to guys who were OK looking. A luxury I'd have thought he would scarcely have, with all due respect. But it wasn't economies with the truth such as that which really bothered me so much as the whole self-delusion of his screen persona. I was deeply saddened by this man's story, by the lack of any sense of human outrage during the whole programme that this man had come to prostitution through the trap door of child abuse and crippled self-esteem.

I disagree with critics such as Megan Radclyffe in Gay Times that Frank came across as full of himself and narcissistic. Here was a guy whistling in the dark to keep his spirits up, and he had, one suspected, been doing that since he was an 8 year old boy removed from loving foster carers to be returned to his abusive, violent natural family. You would have to have a heart of stone not to have wept at his description of his childhood. Frank, telling that story did not, however, weep.

It's fine for us radical gays to take the view that the `workers in the sex industry' are just doing a job, providing a much needed service and that they should not be stigmatised or put down (so far so uncontroversial) but it's altogether a different thing to suggest that this is a biz, a bit like waiting at tables or bar work that is just something ordinary guys can, and do, just harmlessly drift in and out of. It certainly suits a lot of gay publishers to tout that view given the advertising revenues their classified ads bring in per issue especially in London where half the freebies are kept afloat by such ad money. Into the bargain there will always be the Franks of this world who'll pretend they are cool and in control and have, like total control of the situation man and like they're just like making out fine you know.

The next thing I'm going to write is so hard to do without sounding right wing (I'm not) uptight (definitely not) or a prude (double definitely not). My real worry is that by being so uncritical of the whole escort phenomenon we are trapping the damaged, the hurt and the lonely rent boys in that very profession. Whilst they whistle in the dark we write a symphony of politically correct mood music in reply.

If Esther's programme has shown us anything it's how child abuse, in all its many guises, creates adults who live with that little abused, scared and hurt child still inside, still crying out for someone somewhere to care for them as they always should have been. Our sex industry may well have well-adjusted super salespeople working in it, I suspect it has many more slaves . In Scotland local organisations like Scot Pep (Scottish Prostitutes Education Project) provide a lifeline for men and women who need support or even a friendly safe space to escape to for a little while. Ask them if the lifestyle is as casually glamorous and daredevilish as some are painting it and you'll get a dusty answer.

A responsible and community spirited gay scene will want to make sure we are offering a way out and a hand up to men on their knees, in the figurative as well as literal sense, being laissez faire on the other hand can sometimes seem to be another way of saying "I don't care."

There are good arguments for legalising prostitution, not least because it would free many vulnerable people from the influence of heavy criminals and de-stigmatise sex for sale, allowing it to develop as a recreational, therapeutic or convenience experience for a wide cross section of the public. But until the underlying reason why many young people end up doing the job today are addressed it seems to me that when the punter exercises that right of `consumer choice' he may unwittingly be perpetuating the very abuse which led the selected `escort' to take the money in the first place.

As a new Scottish Parliament hoves into view, we are rightly going to demand our equal rights to dignity and equal treatment. Yet remember we shall be an even smaller minority in Scotland (in terms of political and cultural visibility and clout) than we are at the moment on the British political stage. To be heard and listened to we shall have to demonstrate a responsibility, ethic and compassion about sexual politics that gives us a high ground to inspire politicians to support us. It may stick in the craw of many of my fellow activists to think that as a community we could do with improving our act a little and if we don't the Press will exploit it, but that is real life. I want a gay community to be respected because it's worth respecting. Equality I demand as a citizen, respect it seems to me we each, and as a community, have to earn. That could start with a harder and more critical look at ourselves, escorts and all.

Derek Ogg

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LETTERS

ScotsGay welcomes letters from readers. They should be sent to: ScotsGay Letters, PO Box 666, Edinburgh EH7 5YW, fax them to: 0131-539 2999 or alternatively send them via e-mail to letters@scotsgay.co.uk


30 Gayfield Square
Edinburgh EH1 3PA

Dear John,

SELF-IMPORTANCE

Why, I wonder, did the self-important Paul Bryan-Ivison instruct the censorship of the word "gay" before "Gordon McMaster" in OUTRIGHT's contracted display advert in the January 1998 edition?

OUTRIGHT provided the Editor (Andrew Wilson) with a detailed New Statesman dossier on the deceased MP for Paisley South.

I suspect the answer is that GS is afraid to take a stand on the issue.

Well done ScotsGay where you printed OUTRIGHT's advert without alteration - and there has been no negative reaction.

Ian Dunn


Name and address supplied

Dear Sir,

LOW STANDARD

I am writing in absolute frustration and disgust at the quality of the content of each week's submission by Calmac. I was under the impression that these columns were an information section on what was happening in and around my area, and not a bitching column for personal grievances and occasional outing of fellow gay men who are heartily sick and tired of the trash that Calmac writes.

There are numerous events, happenings and general frolics that are overlooked each week or missed out entirely, we find the contents of his column to be of the lowest standard and definitely does not represent the needs or requirements of the community at which it is aimed. He merely uses the column to let everyone know what he's been doing or to get any personal gripes off his chest.

I think the Editor needs to rethink his policy on the content of Calmac's submissions and to be honest kick Calum's arse and have him replaced by someone who can provide an Informative and Unbiased events diary and witty overview of up coming and recent happenings. Not his recent shag trips to Edinburgh or his views on cottaging, of which Calmac is no stranger to. I and the rest of my chums will be boycotting the article until something is done, and I will take this opportunity to nominate myself as replacement for Calmac.

Yours Sincerely

Calmac Replies: I would like to address a couple of points the letter raises, but firstly I would like to say that the Editor was not going to include the letter in the mag, but I insisted as I didn't want it spread about that I wasn't willing to be criticised in print. This is the first letter of its type that ScotsGay has received about this column and I am happy to acknowledge it, however I will also acknowledge here the many more faxes and e-mails from as far apart as the Black Isle to Glasgow and the USA that I have received complimenting the column (which I wouldn't normally "boast" about). Anyway, to answer some of the points, as far as I am aware I have covered and reported on every major Inverness happening in my column.

As many may appreciate, there can be long periods where nothing particularly newsworthy takes place in Inverness. I honestly cannot think what events of significance have happened that I have not covered, ROH organises most things and they have never complained of lack of coverage. If any other organisations have had newsworthy events I have not been told of them, and I am only as good as the info I receive. Unless our letter writer is complaining that I have not mentioned particular private pissups and nights out, I can't think what I've missed, and if I have, nobody gave me the info, so tough! As for "outing" Jesus, our letter writer wasn't even party to the conversation that took place, and nobody knew the chap involved, and I don't particularly think that calling a complete stranger Jesus and quoting what he said is "outing" him. My name is Calmac, not Tatchell!

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INTERNATIONAL

by Rex Wockner

COUPLES MEASURE TAKES EFFECT


The Canadian province of British Columbia's groundbreaking law giving gay and lesbian couples the same rights and obligations as heterosexuals in the areas of child support, custody and access took effect recently.

It is the first law of its kind in North America.

If a same-sex couple breaks up, children will be entitled to spend time with and receive support from both parents. The partners can seek child-support payments from each other and the kids can sue for support.

"Children have the right to expect adequate support, appropriate custodial access and continuing caring relationships with both parents regardless of sexual orientation and marital status," said provincial Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh.

British Columbia has adopted several other gay-inclusive measures. Partners of civil servants receive spousal benefits, welfare officials recognize same-sex households when calculating benefits, gay couples have equal adoption rights, and gay partners are recognized under provisions regulating insider trading of securities.

TWO GAYS RECEIVE SWISS HOLOCAUST REPARATIONS

Two unnamed European men have become the first gays to receive aid from the Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust, according to the Washington Blade and Swiss gay activists.

The fund — which targets Nazi victims who never received Holocaust compensation or otherwise have suffered ongoing hardship — was created after the Swiss government and Swiss banks were accused of storing gold stolen by the Nazis, failing to disclose the location of the gold after the war, and denying Holocaust survivors and their descendants access to dormant accounts.

The two men, one of whom lives in France and the other in Poland, received about £2,100 each from a pot of £310 million that is awaiting distribution.

The French man was held in a concentration camp for six months at age 18 then forced into the German army. The Polish man was jailed at age 17 for violating Nazi Germany's sodomy law and remained jailed until the end of the war.

BAHAMAS

Christian preachers and 50 of their supporters have marched through downtown Nassau, Bahamas to protest against a planned stop by a gay cruise at a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. The group prayed and sang hymns in Rawson Square across from Parliament Square. The cruise ship, meanwhile, aborted the visit due to bad weather. It was the same Atlantis Events cruise that earlier was banned from docking in the Cayman Islands — setting off a gay boycott of the Caymans. "The Bahamas has almost become a mecca for these rear-admirals," protester Rev. Stunce Williams told the Caribbean News Agency. But Tourism Minister C.A. Smith was unmoved by the demonstration. "Last year, the islands of the Bahamas welcomed more than 3.4 million vacationers of all ages, religions, races and sexual preferences," Smith said. "The people of the Bahamas do not discriminate against nor judge other people of the world."

ITALY

A gay shepherd in Africo Nuovo, Italy, was tortured and left for dead by the Ndragheta Calabrian Mafia, local police said. They blamed the attack on relatives of the 65-year-old lover of the shepherd, who is 20 years old. Two suspects have been arrested for kidnapping and attempted murder. The attackers abducted the young man, drove him to a deserted location, beat him with sticks, bound him with barbed wire and hung him from a tree, where he remained until discovered the next morning by a passing motorist.

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand's "Tranny Granny" has become the first transsexual to be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to the community. Jacqui Grant, who lives in Moana, was honoured for her work with young people, including having fostered more than 50 children over the past 18 years. Grant has lived as a woman for over 25 years and is thought to be the only transsexual approved for fostering by the state Children and Young Persons Service. She also runs courses for children with behavioral problems and founded Moana Zoo, a 50-acre home for endangered animals.

PANAMA

Panamanian gays launched their own political party recently, reported Agence France-Presse. The Association of Panamanian Homosexuals said it represents 75,000 citizens and has "the numbers necessary to constitute a powerful political force to compete against the [ruling] Democratic Revolutionary Party and the [opposition] Arnulfista Party." Spokesman Lloyd Gamez called for the creation of a zone in Panama City were gays and transgendered people can conduct commercial and recreational activities without interference.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa's Pretoria High Court has ruled that South African Police Services Medical Aid violated the constitution when it refused to extend health coverage to lesbian police officer Jolande Langemaat's lover of 11 years, Beverley-Ann Myburgh. South Africa is the only nation in the world with a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation written into its constitution.

THAILAND

The Thai lesbian group Anjaree held their first national conference last month at Bangkok's Siam City Hotel. Entitled "The Rights of Lesbians and the Role of Academics and the Media," the confab also hosted Thailand's first lesbian theatrical performance — a 20-minute skit written specially for the occasion.

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REVIEWS


b o o k s

German Bears
by Klaus Schulte-Derne
Verlag rosa Winkel, £13.99

German Bears WOOOOOOOOF! Remember The Bear Cult? You know, the glossy book with all those American bear pics in various stages of undress - the one that éditions aubrey walter had to ship across the Atlantic in huge numbers (still don't know why it was published over here, not that I'm complaining of course!). Well, if it made its way into your pile of regular books by the loo, you'll have to seek out this tasteful addition to the family. A full-bodied 100 b&w photographs of a wide range of styles and shapes of bears from all over Germany fill the pages of this well-produced book. If anything, the quality of the photography is better than its predecessor, and there's certainly more to choose from (I'll have Albert above, please, at least for starters).

Given the number of ostracised "fat", "old" and "hairy" gay men that were welcomed back into the fold by The Bear Cult and the various US bear magazines, it will be interesting to see how many more come out of the woodwork if German Bears gets the distribution it deserves. One thought does occur to me though: with Prowler and Millivres dominating the British glossy market, what are the chances of a British bear book?

Seumas Macmhicean

The Prehistory of Sex: four million years of human sexual culture
by Timothy Taylor
Fourth Estate, £8.99

Sex is fundamental to human life but this is the first time anyone's actually bothered to survey the archaeological evidence concerning sexual activity. Indeed, the assumption has been that sex was entirely functional until relatively recent times, nor was it considered an entirely proper subject for archaeological investigation. Taylor has no such qualms and romps through prehistory, peeking behind the curtains and with binoculars focused on the fields. One thing is immediately obvious — sex has been fun for a very long time. The discussion of our "embarrassing relatives", the pygmy chimp or bonobo, oozes with mercurial glee and we are treated to some rock art which doesn't make it into the official guidebooks.

Taylor's frustration with those who forget about the existence of both women and homosexuality is clear. He is quick to point out that `ritual' palæolithic phallic rods could just be plain old dildoes. Should this demotion of a potent symbol of male power bring a smile to your face, he also suggests that many of the Great Mother Goddess carvings are stone age editions of Playboy.

It's not all fun, of course. The discussions of the origins of homophobia in herding societies and of the debate surrounding the gay gene are invaluable, and the main reference to lesbianism laments its invisibility. A book as wide-ranging as this can't go into as much detail as some of the material deserves, but it provides a fascinating introduction to a long-neglected subject.

Feòrag NicBhrìde

The Mammoth Book of Gay Erotica
edited by Lawrence Schimel
Robinson Bargain, £6.99

Do you believe in old wives tales? If your answer is yes, you better go and get yourself a big bag of carrots to keep your eyesight from deteriorating too much. Over 500 pages of pure unadulterated filth for the likes of you and me by over thirty of the most talented writers of this genre. I don't usually parrot what publishers write about books on the back of them but I'll make an exception here with just a couple of sentences penned by the copywriters of the publishers: Passionate, open, honest, direct and intensely erotic fiction giving us rare gems by Andrew Holloran, Neil Bartlett, Stan Persky and many more. In this book you'll find complete erotic novellas, sexy and intriguing characters, gorgeous settings and a garden of sensual delights in which gay men write openly and joyously to other gay men about their passions, their loves and their desires. And with all this for under 7 quid, this one is a must for everybody!

Dirk Kriete

Obsessions
by Joseph Mills
Millivres, £7.50

A collection of short stories from Scottish novellist Joseph Mills, author of Towards The End which I haven't read but will now seek out. Nicely observed little tales of gay life from which the humanity of the author shines out. Thanks for reminding me (in Watch Out, The World's Behind You) of the Irn Bru sign. And the Scots language is handled superbly.

John Hein

Truman Capote
by George Plimpton
Picador Price, £20

A compilation of memories from people who knew Capote: some friends, some enemies and some who have been acquainted with him over the years. A life story that takes us from the days of his Southern childhood to his early days in New York and then on to his first literary successes and on to his jet setting days, his alcoholism and isolation. Truman Capote rose through the ranks of society at high speed and we see from reading this book that it was a turbulent journey. Although gathering friends along the way he also gathered some enemies and this book's strength is that it relays the experiences of and gives as much credence to the stories of his enemies as it does to his friends, thereby giving us a more rounded picture of Capote. A well written and well structured biography that pleads to be taken off the shelf and read.

Andy Martin

v i d e o

It's that time of the month when the pile of videos which must be reviewed beckon from the corner of the room and I go and do my duty.

First up was Diary of a Sex Fiend. Directed by Jean-Marc Pruveur, it showed just how incestuous the UK porno industry is with the beginning being shot in Prowler's Soho premises despite it being a Dangerous To Know title. And it all seemed jolly erotic too - that was until I saw that our hero had a Prince Albert. And suddenly I didn't have an erection any more!

Prowler's Sex Drive Part One, is another of their overseas productions - Poland this time? - with the usual selection of predictably pleasant young men doing predictably little to each other in order to get an 18 Certificate. However, it suffered from a pierced nipple, so that one didn't wax my dolphin either. I'm a vanilla perve and proud of it!

A Body To Die For, a John Travis film, turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Billed as a "Who Dunnit", I'm afraid that this American video just didn't deliver. Not only was the sound crap (sounding as if it had been recorded in a tunnel), but the storyline didn't work. That said, pleasant enough bodies - a little bit more mature than the previous titles.

Coming Together Zipper's Coming Together proved altogether more interesting. A country sex rampage with a variety of different types of guys ranging from Twink to Biker and Farmer to local PC Plod. Yup, this passed the stiffie test all right!

Strangely enough, the most erotic film in this little pile turned out to be an art film with a 15 Certificate from Dangerous To Know: Lilies. An intense little film by John Greyson, it tells the tale of a Bishop visiting a prison where the inmates take him prisoner and act out scenes from their/his past. A disturbing and threatening past which is all too believable despite the stylised nature of the production. Highly recommended!

Justin Milne

f i l m

After the great success of "Forrest Gump" a while ago Hollywood producers realized having a leading man who is mentally maladjusted in a movie could fascinate audiences. There are two new titles making the most of this idea and you have to include on your must-see list "As Good As It Gets" (15) that is Jack Nicholson's best film in years and is bringing him all kinds of awards.

He is a best selling novelist whose main problem is he insults everyone he meets, particularly a gay neighbour, Greg Kinnear, and expresses outrageous venom towards Greg's minuscule dog. Jack has a cleanliness fetish and on regular visits to a local restaurant takes his own knives and forks in plastic bags. Only one waitress there, Helen Hunt, will tolerate his rudeness and tells the manager not to bar him as she can cope with his peculiarities. Jack is distraught when she is off work taking her son to hospital with chronic asthma attacks. Because her absence disturbs him, he insists on paying his doctor to put the boy on a course of treatment. Helen is grateful to have a specialist in her life, but suspicious of the Nicholson motives.

"As Good As It Gets" is constantly entertaining and frequently very touching. It has the most beautiful little boy you have ever seen onscreen and, what ever films you miss this year, this must not be one of them.

"Good Will Hunting" (15) has received a Golden Globe award for the best original screenplay of the year which was written, amazingly, by the juvenile lead in it, Matt Damon, with Ben Affleck who plays his best friend. Matt is a poverty stricken 20 year old whose orphanage childhood has made him terrified of becoming too close to anyone in case they are taken away from him. He is a janitor at the local Boston college when he isn't getting into fights. His one advantage in life is an extraordinary mind that can remember everything he reads and, mathematically, he is far in advance of the college professors.

When one of them discovers this, he tries to rescue Matt from a prison sentence for violence. The judge agrees to a suspended sentence if he will agree to psychiatric treatment. But he laughs in the face of the first few psychiatrists he meets. Only Robin Williams manages to gain his respect. Young Mr Damon is an attractive addition to our screens who has several more movies coming out soon. Good looks and a brain. What a combination.

Stage plays that have a pessimistic ending are a very risky business to film. Stage audiences don't seem to mind a suicide before the final curtain, but filmgoers seem to want hope in the final fadeout. Peter Fonda being shot dead on a motor bike in the last minute of "Easy Rider" is one of the very rare dismal endings of a hit film. And that was because in 1969 drive-in cinemas were big business in America that had audiences sitting in their cars smoking pot with the windows tightly shut listening to the continual pop records on the soundtrack at maximum volume.

"Bent" (18) started as a stage play that was educational more than enjoyable showing how gays and Jews were persecuted in pre-war Nazi concentration camps. Filming it is a very brave decision. Revered stage director Sean Matthias has opened the story imaginatively in a warehouse club setting that has Mick Jagger performing in drag. Clive Owen is one of the sexiest leading men amongst British actors with or without hair and his performance here deserves awards. But how Nazi guards degrade inmates is only likely to be your scene if you love being a sadist or masochist.

"Bent Men" (15) will stay in my mind forever as the first movie in which a straight guy leaving prison is asked whether he was made to have sex with the other inmates and admits to having done so and enjoyed it. Yet he plans to get married on his first day of release, but somehow gets involved in a bank robbery with hilarious consequences. Writing a farce about robbing a bank is not easy and "Best Men" has problems deciding whether it in a comedy or a thriller. Nevertheless it has some very attractive guys to study while you make a decision.

Eddie Murphy made a fortune from his "Beverly Hills Cop" films making the world realise black witty con men can be very entertaining. Now another black guy, Chris Tucker, has followed exactly in his path with "Money Talks." (PG) which is well worth your time. While in police custody he is handcuffed to a major villain while they are transferred in a police bus. The villain's friends land in a helicopter to rescue him and as they are handcuffed together, Mr Tucker is dragged with him while the police are mowed down with machine guns. Charlie Sheen is a TV reporter desperate for a good story who gets involved and their exploits are very funny and nerve wracking. A Hollywood action thriller at its best.

The makers of "Wag The Dog" (15) couldn't be more pleased about Mr Clinton's private life as their plot has a US President being accused of molesting a teenage girl two weeks before the election. Robert De Niro plays a White House advisor brought in to cover up potential disaster. He joins forces with a Hollywood producer, Dustin Hoffman, in a desperate attempt to divert the country's attention from a presidential scandal to a new war in Albania. It is 97 minutes of great amusement.

If the world of the future interests you "Gattica" (15) is the film for you. It in set in a time when you can choose the genetic make-up of your child. Dazzling intelligence? A non-violent nature? Long life span? Never having to worry about being fat, short or bald? The leading man is Ethan Hawke who was so bewitched by his loading lady in this, Uma Thurman, they have been together since production finished. Remember the easy to look at Jude Law as Bosie in the Oscar Wilde film recently? He makes his American debut here. It is already winning awards at festivals of science fiction and fantasy films.

One of the most uncommercial films I have ever seen is the Russian "Mother and Son" (15) which has brought critical raves at its opening in the States with director Martin Scorcese saying, "Why can't America make cinema like this?" Why they would not bother to is because they are obsessed with making big bucks which this little masterpiece is not at all likely to.

It is 73 minutes of a good looking young man taking care of his invalid mother in a country house and carrying her around the countryside. It will appeal to anyone who has taken care of an elderly parent at the end of their life. Although it was incredibly slow I loved it. And I hope Mr Scorcese persuades the leading man, Alexei Ananishnov, who is presently manager of Pepsi Cola in St. Petersburg, to work for him in movies very soon

As Ralph Fiennes is a hot property right now there will be many eager to study him in "Oscar And Lucinda" based on a Booker prize winning novel by Peter Carey set mostly in Victorian Australia. Training to go into the church Ralph becomes frequently lucky at gambling, but hesitates to tell anyone because of the moral climate of the times. On the ship to Sydney he meets a kindred spirit, Cate Blanchett, who owns a glass factory. Together they plan a church made of glass. Mostly of interest to Fiennes fanatics and there are quite a few of
them.

In "Les Voleurs" (18) an attractive girl, Laurence Cote, is having an affair with a policeman, Daniel Auteuil, and another with philosophy professor, Catherine Deneuve. When Mr Auteuil is not investigating crimes he is consulting Miss Deneuve about where their mutual interest has disappeared to. As she is working with a den of French thieves they both have their work cut out persuading her to give it up and decide which of them she would prefer to be with.

Best Of The Current Releases

As "Scream" made $100 million profit we now have "Scream 2" (18). Those who loved all that blood and screaming the first time around will expect college girls to suffer and suffer.

"Mrs Dalloway" (PG) is a gem if you like the idea of a 1923 Virginia Woolf story about Vanessa Redgrave giving a party to include the people she has loved most in her life. It is the upper classes facing the dramas of the day including Rupert Graves as a shell shocked former soldier giving the most sensitive performance of his life.

"Junk-Mail" is a likeable Norwegian oddity about a postman who opens any post that appeals to him. When a girl he fancies drops her keys he goes to her flat to explore. Mostly of interest to Norwegians living here.

"Middleton's Changeling" (18) is based on a 300 year old play that is a vortex of lust, corruption and death in glorious colour. Set in Spain it has the daughter of the richest man in Alicante engaged to one man who falls in love with another. She persuades her disfigured servant to murder her fiance, but then he insists on payment of the horizontal kind. Billy Connolly wanders in and out giving the impression he was there for the sunbathing. A good looking cast keeps the interest going.

Malcolm Epstein

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MUSIC

Alan's Chart


1. Dr Mu - NDN (Metropolitan)

2. Fata Morgana - Black Steer (Malawi Cob Mix) (Protea)

3. Dave Randall - Bombay (Chug N Bump)

4. Jez & Choopie - Yim (Sourmash / Graham Gold / Qattara Remixes) (Multiply)

5. Three 'N One - No Way Out (One Way) (Low Sense)

6. Prezioso - Raise your Power (Stretch) (TEC)

7. Dex & Nik C - Groundswell (Fruitloop Mix) (Chug N Bump)

8. Wyseguy - Housemaster (Gavi B Remix) (Boo!)

9. Joy Foundation - Space Of Mind (First Born)

10. Bleep & Booster - Don't Stop / Cocaine (Nu)

11. Tiny Tim & DJ Gary - Down & Out (Bonk!)

12. Tin Tin Club - Respect (Tin Tin Club)

13. Tony De Vit - Bring The Beat Back / Don't Ever Stop (TdV)

14. Sandman - Wasteland (Doom XPA 001) (Rabbit City)

15. Paganini Traxx - Release Yourself (Hypno Frantic Funk Mix) (Sony S3)

16. Mandroid - Welcome To Hell (Rabbit City)

17. DJ Quicksilver - Planet Love (Tidy Trax Remix) (Positiva)

18. The Shaker - Star (Canyon Remix) (Ugly Bug)

19. The Crystal Method - Keep Hope Alive (BT's Creatine Method Mix) (Sony S2)

20. Floribunda - Mother's Pride (Big C Remix) (Heat)

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SCOTSDYKE

Dyke's Diary

The hypocrisy of the armed forces' attitude towards lesbians and gay men has been in the news again. The surprise was the supportive coverage tabloid rag The Sun (19th February 1998) gave to two women dismissed from the army because of their lesbian relationship.

Senior officers had turned a blind eye to Lisa Cram and Claire Procter's previous romps with male troops, including two married men -- adultery is an offence under military law -- one a sergeant.

A new code of conduct has just been put before the Army Board for approval and is expected to come into force by the summer. Although it lifts the absolute ban on adultery, affairs between soldiers will remain forbidden (Daily Telegraph, 20th February 1998). Meanwhile, the government has pledged resistance "at every stage" to legal challenges to the ban on homo- and bisexuality, citing the sort of excuses which make you wonder if they've noticed the number of women now serving.

In the Sun article, Lisa and Claire pledged their determination to join the legal action brought by four ex-officers in the European Court of Human Rights. Should they succeed, the government faces a compensation bill of around £1 billion and the ban will be lifted.

Even then, gay service personnel face a rough ride, if the views of their prospective colleagues are anything to go by. At the time the legal action began, the Daily Telegraph (5th March 1996) solicited the opinions of people of different ranks in all the armed services. They ranged from threats of violence ("On a ship the gay would have nowhere to run") to the plain strange ("Men don't like taking showers with men who like taking showers with men"). The most hopeful comment came from an army Lieutenant Colonel who seemed to have his mind on his job "When I go to war, I would rather have alongside me a guy who shoots straight, than a straight who shoots crooked".

In the meantime, Claire and Lisa have to rebuild their lives together. Neither of them had come out to their family when they spoke to the Sun and they are both unemployed. Claire, formerly a high-ranking women's snooker player who once beat Alex Higgins, plans to enter the fire service and Lisa plans a total change of direction as a care assistant.

Heather & Feòrag


Gone Is The Shame - A Compendium of Lesbian Erotica,
introduced by Marti Hohmann Ph.D.
Masquerade Books

Gone Is The Shame Well I'm told that this is a very hot and erotic book. My other half disappeared with it to her pad a week ago, and has not been seen since (well, almost! - she was apparently seen out buying a pizza on Thursday night)!

Gone Is The Shame has fifty one explicit and erotic stories, letters and memoirs for you and your lover to enjoy, so get to it!

Chicken,
by Paula Martinac.
Alyson Books

This is the first of Paula Martinac's books I have read and to begin with I thought, "here we go again", another dyke book of two lovers splitting up, and this is indeed the story. However, although that was part of the book, I was quite surprised and impressed - the plot was good and the twists unexpected.

Lynn, a ghostwriter, has split from Claire after thirteen years and although she goes through the vendetta stage (it was Claire that finished it) and Claire is still clearly on her mind, she seems to be keeping busy with the two young girls she is seeing, along with all their problems.

The first is Lexy, a waitress with a very alluring toybag and the other is Jude, the daughter of a feminist artist who is famous for carving oversize wooden scuptures of women's genitals. She is also working for the author of the book Lynn is ghostwriting. Little does Lynn know that Jude's mother is now the new partner of Claire - how will she react when she finds out?

This book is sharp, funny and twisted - I couldn't put it down.

Heather White

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CREDITS

ScotsGay: a bi-monthly magazine for lesbians, gays and bisexuals edited, printed and published in Scotland. ISSN: 1357-0595. © Pageprint Publishing Limited, February 1998. Non profit use by the lesbigay community of material in the magazine will normally be permitted free of charge — but contact us first for permission. We haven't had sex with most of the people who appear in the magazine so we don't actually know what their sexuality is.

Editor: John Hein. Contributors in this issue: Ian Dunn (News), Garry Otton & Derek Ogg (Features), Liquid Silk, Iain, Minerva, Calmac & Gus (Scene), Rex Wockner (International), Seumas Macmhicean, Feòrag NicBhrìde, Dirk Kreite, John Hein, Andy Martin (Books), Justin Milne (Videos), Malcolm Epstien (Film), Alan Nicholls (Music), Heather White & Feòrag NicBhrìde (ScotsDyke)

Editorial Enquiries: Write to: ScotsGay, Pageprint Limited, PO Box 666, Edinburgh. EH7 5YW. Telephone: 0131-539 0666. Fax: 0131-539 2999. E-mail: scotsgay@drink.demon.co.uk We welcome news, articles, photos, cartoons, etc. — especially lesbian and bisexual material.

Advertising Enquiries: Telephone: 0131-558 1279. Fax: 0131-539 2999.

World-Wide-Web: http://www.scotsgay.co.uk/

Subscribing by Internet: Send a 'subscribe scotsgay-list' message to listserver@drink.demon.co.uk and the text files of future editions will be delivered to you by e-mail.

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