13 SEPTEMBER 1975, Page 5


Sir: Interesting that defenders of the Americanism 'gay' for the homosexual racket (August 30) claim justification by citing its minor connotations of vice and social disrepute!

Are we expected to embrace this restricted meaning along with revised attitudes to the oldest profession and the oldest professed predilection, and meekly accept its impertinent interference with a whole host of. wider applications of 'greater seniority and, I would submit, of happier association?

It is a bit like a threat to freedom of uninvolved folk when a verbal fad is allowed so to insinuate itself into the body of contemporary speech that the majority of non-consenting adults are put to embarrassment to find that one of the treasures of the language has been rendered unfit for normal use by being abducted to serve an indirectly relevant cause on a far-fetched and unconvincing pretext.

Let the promoters of the campaign for homosexual equality fight their battles — and win — on the merits of their case without recourse to dubious gimmicks. Let this abused member of our linguistic heritage resume its delightful character none the worse for the escapade; open as ever, to varied implications but unsullied by any smear of partisanship.

C. G. Underhill

120 North Side, Clapham Common, London SW4.