Nottingham CHE - continued


Here are photographs of the Nottingham CHE Committee, though they were taken a little earlier than 1974


One of the most enjoyable areas of campaigning and information giving was with the National Housewives Register.


This organisation had recently started as a less starchy alternative to the W.I. Someone put us on their list of speakers. After one group invited us, word got round that we gave good value and further invitations rolled in from about 25 other National Housewives Register groups over a period of 8 years.


To read one person's view of our involvement with the National Housewive's Register, click  HERE.




In 1976 Radio Nottingham gave Nottingham CHE group the chance to record its own 15 minute radio programme. CHE members had already featured in several discussion and phone-in programmes locally, but this programme was more planned and structured.














At the 1976 NALGO AGM, Nottingham CHE's convenor Richard Webster proposed that in in their dealings with Notts County Council, the Council should state that it would not discriminate against employees on the grounds of sexual orientation. Richard “came out” while proposing the motion, which was passed by an overwhelming majority

A section called “The Heterosexual News” attempted to attack the association between paedophilia and gay men by reading bits from the Evening Post which reported sexual assaults by heterosexuals on under-age girls. There was also “Frank Pough, with the Queerspotting Results”.


The only gay in the village! Another bit had a country yokel being visited by his Fairy Godmother - arriving to the sound of thunder and clucking chickens. When the yokel bemoaned that fact that he was gay, Fairy Godmother encouraged him by stating that “One in ten are gay” only to receive the news that in his village there were only ten people. Click HERE to hear "The only gay in the village"

In August 1977 the CHE Conference came to Nottingham and took over the Commodore for its meetings and what was then the Albany Hotel on Maid Marian Way for visiting delegates. The conference made headline news mainly because of the invitation of a Dutch professor who had made a study of paedophiles. Gay men may have been branded as paedophiles, but the newspapers did not appreciate them discussing the truth about that stereotyping.




badge sweatshop

The conference was entertained by a visit from Gay Sweatshop.


Gay Sweatshop had recently been set up as a professional lesbian and gay travelling theatre group which performed plays written specially for it. The child of one lesbian mum at the conference misread its name and thought it was Gay Sweetshop.

By now Nottingham CHE had had useful meetings with some local MPs. To continue this approach, Howard Hyman invited the Conservative leader of the County Council to speak to the group.













Shortly afterwards, Councillor Wright wrote a letter “inviting” Nottingham CVS to remove CHE and Switchboard from their premises. The letter was also signed by Councillor Michael Gallagher, the leader of the Labour group. It was suggested that not taking up the “invitation” would have potential implications for NCVS’s grant. Ron Collier, the then Director of Nottingham CVS, refused to cooperate and backed CHE and Switchboard.


The threats evaporated and it eventually became public that the two councillors did not have the backing of their parties, but were acting as individuals.


Early in 1978 the Evening Post decided that it would once again refuse to take ads for CHE or Switchboard. No explanation was given. Advertisements were started in Mansfield CHAD and several smaller local papers. On January 20th, Kenneth Clarke MP spoke to the CHE group. He was supportive of many of the aims of CHE and could not understand why the Evening Post banned the ads for a service that he described as "worthy and essential". In 2007 Kenneth Clarke wrote a letter to Rushcliffe PCT in support of Nottingham Switchboard, whose grant was threatened by the PCT's perilous financial state.


Did you know that in 1964 all gay men looked like Kenneth Clarke? To find out why, click  HERE.


In 1978, William Whitlock, the Labour MP for Nottingham North, was not so helpful. Click HERE to read his response to a leter from Nottingham CHE.


In 1978 Tyneside CHE produced a tape/slide kit which was intended to be used in schools to explain the realities of homosexuality. Even today the juxtaposition of "school" and "homosexuality" is likely to cause an eruption from the Daily Mail. In the 1970s Nottingham CHE had a long and arduous struggle to get the tape-slide kit shown at what was Nottingham Teachers' Centre. Eventually it was shown and the prospect of it being shown generated enough interest to make it the subject of a Radio Trent phone-in. To see the tape/slide kit slide show, click HERE

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