1 NOVEMBER 1963, Page 14


SIR,—Alan Brien, in his 'Afterthought' on homo- sexual law reform, proffers advice which shows him to be rather remote from the actualities of the situation. The crux of the matter, so far as the Homosexual Law Reform Society is concerned, is not shortage of ideas, but an acute shortage of hard cash with which to put them into effect.

Nobody is more aware than we are of the depth of public ignorance about homosexuality and the present need for a national programme of education about it. If. Mr. Brien had read some of the letters we receive or talked to just a few of those who come to this office for help, he would realise that there is here a depth of human misery, despair and isolation caused through social ignorance and stupidity which calls for nothing less than a govern- ment-backed educational campaign on a scale which would be far beyond the resources of any voluntary body.

It is now over three years since Mr. R. A. Butler, as Home Secretary, said that reform of the law must await education of the public to its necessity. Yet since then, nothing has been done by anybody in responsible official positions to help in this main-- moth task. It shOuld, in fact, form an integral part of the adequate sex education and awareness of mental health problems which our country so markedly lacks.

Mr. Brien's suggestion that the homosexuals should 'stand up and be counted' is, of course, not new; I believe it was the late Gilbert Harding who suggested that the 'problem' would cease to exist if all homosexuals turned blue overnight. But, as the mice who wished to bell the cat found, there is understandable diffidence, even amongst the ladies.

Finally, I must correct the impression which Mr. Brien conveys (I am sure inadvertently) that this society is a homosexual lobby. Our executive and honorary committees, which comprise its governing body, consist of over one hundred distinguished public figures, ranging from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Jo Grimond, MP, Lady Longford and J. B. Priestley, with Professor A. J. Ayer as president. Many of the members would differ about the medical, religious and ethical aspects of homosexual behaviour; all are united in deplor- ing the present law and its patently evil con- sequences.


Secretary, Homosexual Law Reform Society 32 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WI