14 NOVEMBER 1958, Page 24

Letters to the Editor

The Wolfenden Debate A. E. Dyson, Peter Wildeblood Anger in a Small Town Robert Hodge, Ian Nairn

The 'Daily Sketch' and the Anzio Crash 1. M. Hall Egg Basket W. S. Mitchell Coronation Ceremonial Brian Fothergill

Lord Kitchener B. S. Townroe

Consumer Reports Stanley Alderson

The Church of England and Divorce Rev. Victor H. Beaton THE WOLFENDEN DEBATE

S112,-1f Mr. Royston Pike considers a 'concern for social misfits' regrettably sentimental, he is entitled to do so. Many of us will feel glad that we are living in a society which for some centuries has taken such concern to be part of the business of being civilised.

What I would question is whether there are any real grounds for thinking of homosexuals as social misfits at all, other than the fact that our own vin- dictive and discredited law frequently makes them so? Though a fairly small minority (and the Wolfenden Committee, without committing itself, clearly regarded the type of estimate quoted by Mr. Wollheim as being very plausible), they are in no way physically or mentally disabled. Many boys pass through a homosexual phase in adolescence which, as the Wolfenden Committee emphasised, ought not to be taken too seriously (Report, paras, 22 and 72). The smaller number of men who are homosexual throughout their lives have yet to be proved more criminally minded as a class than their fellows. Some, as Mr. Wollheim pointed out, are highly talented; many at every social level are responsible as citizens and trustworthy and pleasant as indi- viduals. Nine out of ten would never be supposed from their appearance or dress or general moral attitudes to be anything other than 'normal.' Their 'difference' is one' which affects only their private lives, and would never have become a social problem if an unjust law had not made it so.

Tht truth, surely, is that homosexuals are not

dangerous to heterosexuals (who, as Freud pointed out, are as little likely to be turned into homo- sexuals as homosexuals are into heterosexuals), and their particular disability is not of a kind to impede a fully useful and productive life. The social 'problem' is contributed solely by the law itself; which has now been resoundingly discredited by a Government inquiry and ought, clearly, to be repealed without further delay.—Yours faithfully, A. E. DYSON Vice-Chairman

The Homosexual Law Reform Society, 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, WI