3 responses

  1. Stephen
    October 20, 2012

    What an interesting agenda for today. I’d forgotten about Horsfall so I’m glad to be reminded.

    I wonder how much the Beaulieu case really did influence public opinion. (note to Americans, following English conventions of treating French as a joke the name’s pronounced Bewlee) I’m not saying it didn’t, I just wonder. Of course the aristocracy has always done whatever it wants: laws that applied to the rest of the country never applied to them. Perhaps it was as much the shock of seeing his lordship in a dock as much as anything else. I daresay you’ve picked up on how much I despise the English caste system. It made life in the UK intolerable for me.

    However, I would suggest that what might have been a more interesting demonstration of how the country was changing was what happened when John Gielgud was entrapped and arrested. This is all from memory and is entirely anecdotal so bear with me but I was told that he was at the time rehearsing a new play. Unwilling to face a public humiliation his first instinct was to withdraw till friends talked him out of it. (As I remember his friend and colleague Ralph Richardson didn’t talk to him for a few years after but he was the exception) So he faced the opening night having pleaded guilty and paid his fine unsure of how the audience would react. Bear in mind that the London first night audience, particularly the balcony, was notorious for being vocal and intolerant, they would boo a play or an actor to silence if they didn’t like what they saw. However, when Sir John made his first entrance the house rose to cheer him. You can imagine his feelings. I would suggest that indicated a real turning point.

    And also, remember the fine film Victim with Dirk Bogarde, who was never secretive about his sexuality in private while maintaining a movie star facade for public consumption, played a closeted gay man caught up in a web of blackmail. A really fine film and well worth the time to watch. One of the few instances in which a gay actor played a gay man. Still relatively unusual. It was one of the main reasons that the Wollfenden Report’s findings were actually put in place.

  2. malcanoid
    October 20, 2012

    “He also campaigned for an end to gays serviing openly in the military” – I don’t think so. I believe he campaigned for gays to be able to serve openly in the military

    • Jim Burroway
      October 20, 2012

      Two key words went missing in the final edit. It’s fixed now.

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