chapter  1
14 Pages

FROM THE PLAYHOUSE TO THE OLD BAILEY

A young man, ostensibly in search of a cure for his addiction to drugs, breaks down in a doctor’s consulting room. High on guilt and shame, he confesses that he is really a victim of homosexual desires which he cannot control. ‘I’m one of those damned creatures who are called degenerates and moral lepers for a thing they cannot help,’ he helpfully explains.1 An affected, middle-aged bachelor dons a pair of gardening gloves to arrange a bouquet of irises and tulips in a vase.2 A long-haired, sensitive 18-year-old schoolboy, who acts female roles in the school plays and is nicknamed ‘Grace’, attempts suicide with a kitchen knife, after failing to rise to the challenge posed by the local prostitute.3 A colonel in the Austro-Hungarian army, who has been blackmailed to spy for the enemy, drags his boy-friend out of bed and warns the young man that he has nothing to look forward to except a future of ‘dyed, whispy hair …disease…rolling thighs and a big bottom’.4 A ‘shamefully beautiful’, young man lies happily in bed in the arms of his older lover.5 An enraged, middle-aged man demands that the homosexuals of New York fight for recognition of and pride in a’gay culture that isn’t just sexual. Being defined by our cocks is literally killing us,’ he shouts.6