Ban on LGBT Displomats
We want your stories of being gay before it was legalised. Scroll down the page :
The Foreign Office has at long last apologised for a ban on gay diplomats some 30 years after it was lifted.
It was pout in pace as the goivernment and securty forces were afraid that gay staff members could be open to blackmail and many of the brightest stars in the service was blacklisted and ' grounded', and theiur career prospects tharted dramatically.
I knew a doplomat decades ago who travelled all over the world for the Diplomatic Service of the UK and as he was single it was cheaper for the government to send him rather than uproot kids at school and send a whole family, so where it suited them, they used gay staff but where there was a risk - when they knew for certai someone was gay - they were thwarted and strarved of promotion, which makes little sense as my friend stated that as he was ' out ' and everyone knew he
was gay - WHO WOULD BLACKMAIL HIM - HE WAS OUT - and yet scopres of clkoseted gays withion the service were merily sent all over the wporld and to dangeropus locations but as they were seen as being ;' straight' it was okay but many were closet gays and as long as they wer ein the closet - THEY ARE MORE AT RISK OF BLACKMAIL THAN THE OUT GAY MAN... and it absolutely made no sense at all.
Sir Philip Barton said becaisus eof the misguided view, peoples careers had been ended, cut short or stopped before they could even begin. He also apologised for the ban and the impact it had on LGBT staff and their loved ones here in the UK and abroad.
The ban had been fuelled by cases such as John Vassall a clerk at the British Embassy in Moscow who was caught in a honey trap. The soviets used homosexuality, outlawed at the time to force him to pass secrets to thge KGB. He wa sjailed for 18 years in 1962.
The hypocricy between LGBT staff though has been well spoken about and hopw the closet gays hid while the out staff were percecuted and given menial jonbs with little promotion and many good people lost out and all because of the manic fear of homosexuality being a security risk while being out poses little threat to anyone.
Good that tis has come about but a long time in coming and a long time after the laes on homosexuality were legalised but it seems not if you work for the Foreign Office, who, clearly were decades behind.
We want your stories of being gay before it was legalised.
John: I worked for many years travelling the world for the Foreign Office and back in the late 70's when I had been working for the FO for over a decade and well respected, it came out I was gay and you'd have thought I had raped Mother Superior - the chaos, the madness, the panic and the absolute fear from those above was paramount, and all they kept speaking about over and over was about the threat I placed on the agency and how I was wrong and a risk and as I asked, now that you know I am gay and everyone now knows I am gay - where is the risk ? I am out of the closet. The doors have well and truly been blown off and there is no way I was going back into the closet, so - why am I a risk...?
and the panic on their faces told a story in itself, especially as most of the staff that turned against me and damned me, were gay themselves but in the closet. I am now almost 90 years of age - a grand dame of gay men, and after some 20 years of being stuck in an office they eventually allowed me to travel for the job again and admitted at that time it was criminal what had happened to me but by then, I was much older and had absolutely no love for the FO so did the bare minimum - took the wage and the pension and retired early as they wanted to get rid of me and I have taken my pension for almost 30 years - so to coin a phrase ' Fuck them John.' It was hard in those days and having watched the youth of today and how messed up they are - with being able to be out and proud, and I do wonder how we stayed so un messed up when we had Lilly Law after us wanting to prosecute and jail us just for being gay - not for any crime or anything but - just because we liked sex with men and loved men and wanted male company.
I was born decades too early and in a small way envy the youth of today and having read your life story on your web site John makes me so envy, but I had a good innings and had good family and friends to support and felt sorry for those who had no family and killed themselves rather than face prosecution for being gay - of which over the decades past, I knew quite a few. Sad stories and these kids of today haven't got a clue, not a damned clue, what we went through so they could be free. Walter. ( London )
John: I worked on the North Sea Oil Rigs back in the 1970's and hid my gayness. I knew it was a homophobic environment as a friend on the rigs, the one who helped get me the job in catering in the first place, told me in advance and on my first 2 week stint he was beaten by some guy he made a pass at on the rig who threatened to throw him over the side of the rig and broke his nose - and he was off the rig never to return, so I hunkered down and kept to myself. It was a well paid job with 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off and I saved a lot of money in the 3 years I did this - and other than this one instance, I never saw anything else but then, I kept to myself and the catering crew were housed seperately to the oil riggers and I just earned my money, did my job, kept my dick in my pants and kept quiet. It was legal to be gay in the 70's but on the oil rig there was a law unto itself and if you were not liked, you could easily be thrown overboard and no one ever asked a question.
I came out once I left the rigs and opened my own gay B&B - now long gone, and I lived a completely out gay life after being hidden for so long. But, John - give me the riggers any day as at least you knew where you were with them while the gay crowd can be lethal and deadly in so many other ways and you never know who is going to stab you in the back. The gay community was a lot worse than ever these riggers were. Josh.
Dear Hamilton Hall Establishment. I missed out on a gay life, married at 19 to a girl from school. Expected to provide grandkids for both sets of parents. Went down the normal route of wife, kids, job, mortgage and even a cat. Loved it all very dearly - on the whole, while part of me died a little every time I saw an attractive man I lusted after but did nothing about. Kids eventually left home and wife died of cancer and at 66 I found myself alone and scared. Kids were both abroad ( one in Canada and the other works in Dubai ) and I found myself alone for the first time ever. Found a Gay Times, found your advert for Hamilton Hall and can honestly say that this was a complete lifesaver. Attended shaking with nerves. You were all so nice and sympathetic towards me. So full of understanding and you and I talked in your bit above the hall, and it was like I was reborn.
Met someone as well. We have had a very close relationship and a sexual one at that - wooppyy - and I
even came out to my 2 daughters and everything is fine with them and Will, my friend ( boyfriend ) lives very close by and we see each other 2 or 3 times a week and the company and the friendship offered by his gay friends and those I met at hamilton hall have released me from something and I am delighted to have restarted my life and I feel reborn as a gay man after all thge lies and denial and pretense. Maybe I was born a few decades too early. Nevertheless, it has all been worth while as I have 2 wonderful children and want for nothing. Jerry PS.
John: My Mother talked decades ago about all the men that had worked in the family business and often mentioned the expression ' Bachelors Gay' - and it never twigged to her at the time that these men were gay. Was only when I came out to her back in the 70's that she put two and two together and realised.. All these ' couples ' worked at the familty tailers - some for decades, and were just chums, palls together, and only when I came out to her did she instantly twig that of course, these guys had been gay and she never realised, being so more innocent in those days. These couples were just that - couples, and she said she wished she had known at the time as she could have offered a sence of cover for them, pretending to be a girlfrind or something. She was a real gay mens fantasy Mother for a lot of years after that and died with many gay friends.
John: MY whole life was a straight experience until after 60 years of wedded bliss, my wife died, I came out and have been happy ever since. I was happy before, just a different happy. Now at 83, I have been out for 3 years now and although old have enjoyed these past 3 years enormously. Horace B.