’She was the kind ofgirl who changed boyfriends as often as she changed her knickers.‘
An unnamed ( ex- ) friend of Julia Roberts hints at what lies behind the actress '3 rise to fame.
‘A fast car is a phallic symbol. It is a penile extension, a way of showing off.’
JudgeJames Pickles, infamous for his attitude to rape victims, describes his red Mazdd sports car.
‘I am ﬁve feet short, round as a garden gnome. When I grin I look like a gargoyle.‘
Danny De Vito reveals why he was recently voted A merica ’s sexiest screen star.
’I learned to turn one on. It was fun and I will keep it up.’
President George Bush describes the joys of his ﬁrst computer lesson.
’I hope next time she’s crossing a street, four blind guys come along driving cars.‘
Frank Sinatra decides not to forgive Kitty Kelley for her allegations about his ‘lunches’ with Nancy Reagan.
’I’m going to sleep with her as well, if she gives me half a chance.’
Terry Wogan outlines the interview technique he will use on Madonna in Cannes.
‘There’s no future in petrol-tank Christianity, using Sunday to fill the spiritual tank for a week.‘
George Carey. the new Archbishop ofCanterbury, ﬁnds a new vehiclefor religious metaphors.
Moves to end gay persecution
The Crown Office has indicated that the age of consent for gay men in Scotland is to be effectively dropped from 21 to 16. Thomas Quinn discovers that a policy to end police persecution of homosexuals is long overdue, and Sue Wilson gauges the reaction of gay rights
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ollowing a recent report in Scotland on Sunday, there are now strong indications that new guidelines will be issued by the Lord Advocate on the enforcement of the laws on homosexuality. This will effectively reduce the age of consent between homosexual men in Scotland from twenty-one to sixteen. It is hoped that the police will interpret this as a sign from the legal authorities that resources should not be squandered on victimising gay men through toilet
patrols and park traps.
One person to experience this was George, who was walking through a deserted Kelvingrove Park I in the West End of Glasgow at one o’clock on a : Monday morning last May. The park is a well known meeting place for gay men looking for sex, and George was on his way home after a night in l
the city’s clubs when he came across a ’goodish looking guy’ astride a fence. He picked up no . adverse signals, so approached the man and stood i by the fence. The young man asked him what he , wanted so George, who describes himselfas ’not j one for messing about at the best of times’, gave an indication by touching the man’s groin.
The ‘young man’ turned out to be a police officer who went on to introduce a colleague now emerging from a nearby bush. George was arrested and soon found himselfin a nearby police station charged with indecent assault. But the case was eventually dropped by the Procurator Fiscal after it was argued that George’s actions could be put down to ‘excessive stress’ in his private life.
Many ofthose charged by these means have detected this kind of discrepancy between the attitude ofthe prosecutors and the eagerness of the police. There are also wider allegations ofa police campaign that took place during Glasgow’s Year of Culture. Even if no official policy existed, many observers — not just homosexuals — perceived police actions as following unwritten guidelines. One civil servant, who did not want to be named, told of how he was stopped on Kelvinway by a mini-bus full of police officers and warned that the road was ‘full ofhomosexuals‘, and that there was a crack-down for the City of
The Glasgow incidents are not isolated. The gay press has highlighted similar activities in cities all over the country, and stories ofthe entrapment and persecution of gay men have filtered through to some national newspapers. Elsewhere in the media, the attitude towards homosexuality seems to be relaxing despite the shadows of Clause 25 and Section 28. Radio 1’s popular ()ur Tune slot has recently featured gay couples for the first time, although a BBC spokesman says this is not the result of any official policy. Perhaps George and the many others did not go through the mill entirely in vain. (Thomas Quinn)
f The response from gay rights
5 campaigners to the Crown Office
i moves has largely been one of cautious optimism. All stress that this is not a
‘ change in the law itself, only in how it
is to be enforced, and even that has yet to be officially confirmed.
‘Obviously we’re very happy with the decision, assuming it actually happens,’ says John Hein, editor of Gay Scotland. ‘The effects can only be good, but we need the law itself to be changed. It’s simply bad law — if just brings the whole process into disrepute to have a law on the books and not enforce it. Also, at the moment it's subject to the capriciousness of one person — if the Lord Advocate gets run over by a bus tomorrow it could change
back again just as easily.’
‘I won’t be throwing a party until we’ve actually got it in writing,’ says Michael Bradley, from Edinburgh University Lesbian and Gay Society. ‘I don’t want to be too negative — obviously if it means that gay men
; won’t be prosecuted for consensual 3 acts, then that’s brilliant. But after all
the hostile legislation we’ve had, and the fact that more gay men are being prosecuted now than when homosexuality was still illegal, it’s hard not to be cynical about these things.’
‘I think we need to look at the issue why there should be specific laws about sexuality in the first place,’ says Volker Beckman of the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group. ‘lfthere's violence done to someone, then you
deal with it as violence, it shouldn’t have to be part of any sex-related Iaw.’ John Hein is also concerned about the exceptions to the new enforcement 3 guidelines, which include cases involving ‘seduction’ or ‘undue influence'. ‘We need to know what they j mean by all these. Seduction, for instance - isn’t the whole point of getting someone into bed that you seduce them? Undue influence is potentially a real get-out, because you could argue that any older person is in a position of influence with someone younger. I have very mixed feelings about the whole buslness, but obviously its a good thing that a certain sector of the legal profession has realised prosecuting gay men just isn't what they should be doing.’ (Sue Wilson)
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