The Gay Times

Since its inception, photography has been perceived as a gateway to the past. The photograph is a powerful tool that evokes memory, knowledge and allows for the discussion of opinion. However, as a photographer I chose to put this power to the test. Could I alter our perception of reality through the narrative of imagery? The Gay Times is a fictional storytelling document, highlighting the discrimination of sexuality in 1970’s Britain, however the power dynamics have been turned. The straights are under attack! Influenced by the short film “Love is all you need” by Kim Rocco Shields, I have constructed a fictional narrative subtly based around the real-life discrimination of homosexuals in the media. Each photograph selected for this project was constructed through editing existing archival and modern imagery. This was to symbolically highlight the fact that queer rights are still an ongoing topic and that whilst this project is based in the past it is also influenced by today’s political climate on gay existence. The purpose of this imagery was to act as evidence into the fictional narrative presented alongside it in the form of media print. In my research I found that newspaper articles from that time used crude language towards the homosexual community. This language is something I also wanted to replicate in my print which plays on existing straight stereotypes common among the gay community. However, this project is a direct response to the modern-day argument surrounding the existence of gay pride and the lack of heterosexual accolade. It is hoped that by stripping the dominant community of their social and political rights and telling their story through the plight of discrimination, this will allow heterosexual viewers to step back and acknowledge their privilege while also allowing open dialogue to be made by both communities.

Tuesday, February 7th, 1973


A new cure for heterosexuality is on the horizon according to doctors who boast of a new technique called “aversion therapy” that will prevent opposite sex-attraction. In a recent conference in London, members of the HPG (Heterosexual Prevention Group) made the announcement of a new trial therapy currently being practised. Professor Arnold Gay, a leading psychiatrist and well known within the straight conversion groups claimed that the therapy currently being tested is proving to be a “great success”. From information given during the conference, patients who have previously struggled with opposite- sex deviancy are now “completely normal and in loving homosexual relationships”.

 

Tuesday, February 7th, 1973 Image

Friday, February 10th, 1973


A leading straight conversion therapist who was the founding father of the heterosexual cure movement has been sacked for gross misconduct with a female. The disturbing relationship between Mr. John Wilks and his female secretary Miss Sarah Sanders has allegedly been having an affair for over two years after disgruntled family members alerted the press after their deceit was uncovered. Wilks and Sanders were recently arrested in Greater Manchester after being caught in an indecent position in a gender-neutral public toilet. Following the arrests, it was leaked to the media that the supposedly happily married man is a closeted heterosexual. In the past the disgraced therapist has admitted to struggling with opposite-sex attraction in his youth with Wilks claiming it was “a disgusting unnatural phase”. However, after apparently claiming to be cured of his heterosexuality after undergoing therapy thirty years ago.

 

Friday, February 10th, 1973 Image

Saturday, March 1st, 1973


Campaigners from the Straight Liberation Front have today announced plans to protest outside the London West End after the government announced it is to continue the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the musical theatre industry. Jane Goddard, member of the SLF branch in Ealing today made the complaint towards government policy regarding the treatment of heterosexuality in the musical theatre industry. Since decriminalisation in 1967, the government has implemented several policies relating to the dealings of heterosexuality in the workplace. In a statement from the government it was announced that there would be no changes made to policy regarding heterosexuals openly living their lifestyle in the theatre. This came after a petition of a hundred West End actors calling for the government to reinstate actors being sacked for being heterosexual.

 

 

 

Saturday, March 1st, 1973 Image

Friday, March 17th, 1973


The SLF (Straight Liberation Front) has today announced their outrage at Straight women apparently having their babies taken away and given to homosexual families. The statement was made more than a month after the Gay Times exposed a shocking abnormality among heterosexuals that allows them to procreate in an unnatural manner. In the days since the bombshell, many heterosexual women have come forward claiming they were “kidnapped” and forced to hand over their babies.

Friday, March 17th, 1973 Image

Friday, May 4th, 1973


Members of Straight Liberation groups gathered at their annual meeting place at Avenham Park, Preston to protest a proposed ban on public promotion of heterosexuality. Lancashire County Council brought forward the ban after the widely condemned Section 29 Law was enacted last week. The amendment states that all local authority “shall not intentionally promote heterosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting heterosexuality ”. This ban means the now yearly heterosexual parades have been cancelled and those who partake in such activity will face arrest. This risk does not seem to faze those who campaign for their strongly held beliefs that heterosexuality should be accepted as a normal sexual orientation. While the act of heterosexuality between two consenting adults over the age of twenty-one was legalised in the United Kingdom over eight years ago, there appears to be a widespread disapproval of heterosexuality among society.

 

Friday, May 4th, 1973 Image

Thursday, July 24th, 1973


The country was in celebration yesterday after the leader of the Queer Party, Marie Monroe rose to power after a landslide election win. The PM’s rise to power signifies the anger of the country after great upheaval in recent months. The Straight Liberation Front has responded to the election results with further anarchy by taking to the streets once again. Monroe is not believed to be a supporter of the heterosexual community having been a prominent supporter of the Section 29 Bill and proposed other laws in the past to ban the teachings of opposite sex attraction in schools. They believe heterosexuality to be “filthy, unnatural and unpleasant to look at”. What comes next is uncertain, however this election result is likely to bring further fractures among society in regard to how to deal with the militant heterosexual activists. It is hoped this election will send a clear message to these militants that the government means business.

 

Thursday, July 24th, 1973 Image

Tuesday, August 5th, 1973


Police have today foiled an attempt plot by SLF to perform a so called “wedding” ceremony at a church in Lancaster. At around Midday police raided the St Felicia Church of Queerness in Lancaster after an unexpected tip-off by neighbours claimed that large crowds of heterosexuals were congregating outside the church. It is reported that police found the Bishop of the church Mr. Paul Ryan performing what appeared to be an unofficial marriage ceremony between a man and a woman. The couple, named as Miss Karen Scott and Mr. James Arthur (pictured) are influential members in the Straight Liberation Movement. The issue of marriage has been notably present in the demands of the SLF in the past. After the UK decriminalised the act of heterosexuality in 1967 the then leader of the group claimed that “marriage equality” was the next goal in their warped agenda. This would mean tarnishing the sanctity of marriage by allowing couples of the opposite sex to marry.  

Tuesday, August 5th, 1973 Image

Monday, August 29th, 1973


The Queen has today vowed that 1973 will be the “queerest year yet” during her yearly Queer Day Speech to the nation. The speech comes in response to the ongoing violence between heterosexual protesters and police over the past few months that have dominated the headlines. Her Fabulousness also stressed the need for calm in her speech but also talked of the importance of instilling queer values on society. According to the Queen “homosexuality is the bedrock of our society. The love between two men or two women is the most natural and acceptable love”. Despite the unacceptable violence from the “straight menace” it is hoped that any criminal activity will be stamped down immediately. Members of the public camped outside Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the royal family during their journey to the annual Queer Day catwalk and later their appearance at the local bathhouses.  

Monday, August 29th, 1973 Image

Tuesday, October 3rd, 1973


Members of the public have come out against the heterosexuals menacing society with their constant outburst. Over twenty people have died since the crisis began early in the summer in response to Section 29. However, the public have had enough of the constant disruptions caused by the heterosexual protests. The local councils, particularly in the North have argued that that cost of further police patrolling the streets is “unsustainable”. Hospitals have been pushed to the limits with the number of casualties from the clashes having increased. Local MPs have been bombarded with complaints from the public about resolving the crisis. The Queer Party MP for Liverpool, has revealed that the government is beginning to relent on the issue of Section 29. Cameron told us “We are in talks with the straight community about resolving this crisis and putting our differences aside. I do not condone or support heterosexuality but a solution must be made. The PM is now considering the option of repealing the bill altogether”.

Tuesday, October 3rd, 1973 Image

Friday, October 6th, 1973


In a tremendous blow for the government and the sanity of our country, the Prime Minister has today relented to the straight mafia and announced plans to drop the Section 29 bill. At around 11am this morning the PM addressed the nation outside 10 Downing Street in regard to the ongoing violence sweeping the country between straight demonstrators and police. After months of anger and disagreement the PM announced the government’s decision to withdraw the bill. In her statement Marie Monroe told the nation that the repeal of Section 29 will happen “within days” and while the decision was “not taken likely” it was nonetheless “devastating”. The PM paid tribute to those whose lost their lives over the past few months from civil unrest. However, Monroe was quick to condemn the Straight Liberation Movement as “insidious and repulsive” while also hinting at the government is considering a more relaxed approach to heterosexual legislation in the future. This is in stark contrast to what previous government ministers say about a potential stricter approach to heterosexuality. Fellow members of government and hard-line anti-straight parliamentarians are already calling for the PM’s resignation labelling her decision “weak” and “defending sin”.   

Friday, October 6th, 1973 Image

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Nathan Johnson

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  • Degree show 2020
    • BA (Hons) Photography