SMG Committee Meeting No3 on The Homosexual In Scotland 9 May 1969

Agenda for 3rd SMG Committee Meeting 9 May, 1969: Images of Page 1, Page 2

This is a 2 foolscap pages Gestetnered document headed "CONFIDENTIAL GROUP ONLY. THE HOMOSEXUAL IN SCOTLAND, ( The third discussion/meeting of individuals) (1) SECREATARY'S REPORT (2) AGENDA (3) Financial (4) Secretary's Comments.

THE HOMOSEXUAL IN SCOTLAND [2 computer matrix printer sheets] [on reverse in yellow felt tip] PRINTER'S DRAFTS (+ few spares)

Report of the third meeting of individuals to discuss the position of the homosexual in Scotland, which was held at 65, Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow, W2, from 7.30 to 10pm on Friday 9 May 1969.

This was our first full meeting, and the Chairman in his opening words extended a warm welcome to “Arena 3” readers and other first timers. He outlined our history and explained that several people present had professional backgrounds which would make their contribution of particular value. He also noted that other meeting places would be needed. He then asked the Secretary to read out his report, and said that before debating adoption of a name, other members might like to describe their activities since the March meeting.

In my Report – copies of which were distributed – I reviewed developments since 6 March [1969]. Much activity followed from my Albany Trust visit on 14 March. Other Trust supporters in Scotland will not be informed of our existence, for A.T. supporters do not have that kind of say in what the Trust does, does not do. Antony Grey made it clear to me just how alarmed he was that Scottish activities might duplicate the Manchester line. [Clubs, I think? IWS] In an intensive series of meetings, we came to the conclusion that abandonment of meetings or exclusion of certain individuals would be wrong. We agreed that since “club” causes anxiety and polarisation, we should not think in club terms.

At the end of March an important article “Homosexuals: New Law but no New Deal” by A.G. and D J West appeared in “New Society” It drew responses from the Chairman and myself, and from Alan Horsfall. I ordered 12 reprints from the A.T. also 12 reprints of “FORUM talks to A.G.” for distribution. (I strongly recommend both articles to the Group). Correspondence with Frank Kameny in Washington has been distributed to some members. Frank has suggested we should put ourselves on their mailing lists. We would find the publications invaluable as sources of ideal and approaches. I am keeping A.H. and A.G. as fully informed as possible of what we are doing; both have expressed good wishes to the success of the meetings.

Members attending then made individual contributions. The Arena 3 first timers took the opportunity to say that this was the first social contact of this kind they had experienced. One, who had read A. 3 from its inception, thought the venture well worth while. Another described the effects of isolation and her previous personal experiences of mental breakdown and hospitalisation.

One of our original Glasgow members raised questions of relationship with A.T. [Albany Trust] and police liaison. I answered that those who supported A.T. should clearly continue to do so. Our local activities in no way contradicted the Trust's work. There may well be a place in the community for a group such as the one we are trying to establish. The Trust wont commit itself to an untried group. (I enclose A.T. Covenant form for each member to read). The Glasgow solicitor, commenting on the wish “to get the police on our side”, in organising groups because they would argue that homosexuals are especially vulnerable. Chairman said that in his experience it depended very much on attitude of Chief Constable, whether or not an approach was made. I said that even if we did approach our Chief Constable, what answers would we give to his certain-to-be-asked questions about our aims? This was discussed.

An active Edinburgh member said that he had met a Mr Hamilton of the Church of Scotland. Mr Hamilton had already received his committee's approval for the use of a room in Edinburgh. This room will accommodate a dozen comfortably, and we could have the share of a bookcase. As this member said in a letter to Secy: “Mr Hamilton ... did not flinch when I mentioned that we hoped to arrange for some social contact between homosexuals”. Mr Hamilton does counseling for the A. T. and also receives referrals from psychiatric hospitals. Our Edinburgh member also helps with the work at the Mound Centre. The boys at (up to 30) this hostel/community are overseen by an Andrew Davenport. This person might be a good choice for our Advisory Panel. Our member has many contacts!

The C of S minister's contribution properly belongs to the discussion on Structure & Aims which followed. We adopted the name “THE SCOTTISH MINORITIES GROUP”, preferring the word “group” to “committee” - the word I'd put on the agenda. We decided to keep the offices of Chairman and Secretary, but I asked our active Edinburgh member if he would look after matters financial; and he agreed.

Our first task will be to discover just what are the needs, social and otherwise, of homosexuals in Scotland. To this end, we decided to ask the Chairman if he would write [see letter & some replies] on the Group's behalf to various people who in the course of their work will have formed views on the subject. Group members were asked to send Colin [Harvey] the names and addresses of persons they particularly think should receive this letter. Colin and myself spend most of the afternoon following the Meeting discussing, and drafting it. Draft copies are at this [p 2] moment with certain members for approval.

Our minister would like eventually to represent the Group's views in any discussions concerning homosexuality arising in Social and Moral Welfare [Committee of C of S] deliberations. However, he must be absolutely clear about the Group's aims. These aims should become clearer in the next few weeks. At the meeting the Group examined the possibility of getting sufficiently organised to undertake education, liaison with other bodies with similar aims (e.g. Council for Social Service, Samaritans), and perhaps having some sort of supportive work for the homosexual in difficulty. On this, no cut-and-dried decisions were taken.

Publicity and matters related put us in a dilemma. We don't want to be furtive, “dark alleyway” types, yet “popular press” publicity would not be welcome at this early stage. An important decision was to have complete anonymity (barring Chairman & Secretary) on our bulletins and reports. I am sorry, but the reports will be less “intimate” because of this. The decision too will heighten the necessity for regular and lively meetings! We will keep the question of police contact under review. There is no question of “hiding from them”, simply that the time is not yet ripe. It has been suggested to me that my address will soon become too public. I don't have worries in this direction, because like some others, I feel that the Group should begin to consolidate its strength and numbers, while groundwork plans are being laid. At the next meeting we could consider whether or not we should have an accommodation address of British Monomark or poste restante.

Education could well start “at home”. With this in mind, I will compile a separate sheet which will give information about magazines and books. I hope the Group will send in individual suggestions for reading matter. I'm afraid we didn't get round to considering one member's suggestion regarding Professor Millar's Commission [Prof of Psychiatry at Aberdeen University?] which is looking at moral education in Scottish schools, and taking evidence. Could the group submit evidence? I will ask the member concerned if he will prepare a short document, which I will circulate to members for discussion. Write me, if you have any ideas. We felt it essential to secure the services of an Advisory Panel. The Chairman's letter will help us here. As also will individual member's contacts with professional people.

Finances . An agreement was readily reached to contribute £1 per person per annum. We have a treasurer now, although I did in fact collect the money at this meeting. I will be sending him a list shortly. I reckon that at least 15/- [75p] of your £1 will be absorbed in Group communication (taxing, but very essential work!) I will ask Treasurer to put any residue to a fund which will help pay towards any rooms rented or restaurants visited. Membership cards will not be issued; but Treasurer will acknowledge any money you give to the Group. We discussed printed letterheads at the meeting, and I gave you the printers estimates, and commented on the large variations. I will call in at the printers in Ayr (they gave the cheapest estimate) and discuss an order for 500 Sheets. It looks as if we will have an unbudgeted cost of about £7 to face. I, personally, think Group identity will be enhanced when we have our own paper.

The meeting voluntarily came to an end just after 9.30pm for coffee. When we discovered that coffee couldn't be prepared in the building (no cups), I guided everyone to the local tavern. Due to the vagaries of the Scottish licensing laws, we only had time for one drink before the ritual eviction into the street at 10.15! However this brief sally-forth was a tremendous social success, and future meetings will be better planned. At the moment, I am looking at good meeting places in the city and I am optimistic that we will not be stuck for somewhere to do.

Date time and place of next meeting. The next full meeting will be on Wednesday 16 July 1969 at 8pm in Glasgow. But the whereabouts we don't yet know. I have no doubt that I will be meeting some of you before then (I certainly hope so) at mini-meetings. We should be able to fix something up in plenty of time for 16 July.

[signed] Ian C Dunn (IAN C DUNN) Secretary, Scottish Minorities Group.

This is the full report of the Third Meeting, and was prepared in Glasgow 12 May 1969. 26 complete copies were run off on a “Gestetner” duplicator. Apart from inter-Group distribution, advisory copies were sent to A.G. [Anthony Grey] (Albany Trust), A.H. [Alan Horsefall] (Esquire), E. L.[Esme Langley] (M.R.T) [Minorities Research Group], F.K. (Washington Mattachine) and K.R. [Kathleen Raby] (Glasgow Soc of Social Services).