I Owe It All to Dear Old Wolfy: Lord Wolfenden Is an Unlikely Gay Hero, Writes Julian Clary, but by Beginning the Demystification of Homosexuality He Did Us All a Favour

By Clary, Julian | New Statesman (1996), July 23, 2007 | Go to article overview

I Owe It All to Dear Old Wolfy: Lord Wolfenden Is an Unlikely Gay Hero, Writes Julian Clary, but by Beginning the Demystification of Homosexuality He Did Us All a Favour


Clary, Julian, New Statesman (1996)


Naturally, I have been asked to contribute to this "gay special" (which isn't, as my friend Hector suggested, "oral sex administered with a mouthful of champagne"). "Why," declared the NS voice on the phone, "to publish such an issue without a contribution from you would be like pasta without Parmesan, roast lamb without mint sauce, Fred West without Rosemary!" In the end I broke down.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Euphemisms, double entendres and what can only be described as symbolism have played a big part in gay history. A signet ring worn on your pinkie used to be a "sign" to other homosexuals that you were partial to meat and two veg. (It probably still is, in the provinces.) A hanky in your right, rear jeans pocket meant that you were active rather than passive (or "Martha" rather than "Arthur", I can't remember which), and nowadays dilated pupils mean you've had a skinful of drugs and will do anything with anyone, as long as they're breathing and wearing trousers.

Evolution is a wonderful thing. I've got the ring, the hanky and the dilated pupils. (Best to cover all bases, I figured.)

When I was at Goldsmiths in the late Seventies, our elderly English lecturer would digress from our seminars about the metaphysical poets to talk nostalgically about his gay life in the Thirties and Forties. It all sounded excitingly furtive: off-duty guardsmen in St James's Park, men in suits tapping their feet meaning-fully as they sat opposite you on the Tube. The fact that homosexual acts were illegal wasn't even mentioned. It didn't seem as if anyone was going without just on account of a pompous law, for Dorothy's sake.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

So, even though we must all be grateful for such liberation and for the acceptance we have so graciously been granted, I'm being a tad reserved about it. Please don't think we're all gay now just because we've suddenly got the go-ahead. We were at it like rabbits before Wolfenden stated the bleeding obvious about our human rights. Very good of him, I'm sure, but let's not go overboard in our gratitude.

Between 1938 and 1955 there was an 85 per cent increase in homosexual offences. In 1952, for example, there were 670 cases of naughty sodomy, 3,078 cases of glorious indecent assault and 1,686 cases of highly enjoyable gross indecency.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

I Owe It All to Dear Old Wolfy: Lord Wolfenden Is an Unlikely Gay Hero, Writes Julian Clary, but by Beginning the Demystification of Homosexuality He Did Us All a Favour
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.