A recently resurfaced newspaper article from 1962 offering readers a guide on “how to spot a homo” is a vivid reminder of just how far we have come on our journey to full LGBT equality.
Published in the Sunday Mirror, the article offers “some useful advice” on how to “spot a possible homo”.
The article was published in response to John Vassall, an Admirality clerk, who was caught spying for Russia. The resulting scandal raised questions about his sexuality and he was accused of secret liaisons with government ministers.
The article suggests “The Admiralty, the Foreign Office, and MI5 don’t seem to know” how to spot the elusive homosexual.
It claims gay men “fall into two groups – the obvious, and the concealed”.
The gay men who fall into the ‘obvious’ category: “Dye their hair, touch up their lips’ and wait for it… ‘Walk with a gay little wiggle could be spotted by a One-Eyed Jack on a foggy day”.
The ‘concealed’ types apparently wear silk suits at chi-chi bars with full bosomed ladies.
“Or they wear hairy sports jackets and give their wives a black eye when they get back from the working men’s club”.
The article warns: “THEY are everywhere, and they can be anyone. How then are we ever going to pick them out? They wrestle, play golf, ski and work up great knots of muscles lifting weights. They are married, have children.”
“You can and will meet them in London’s Bond Street, Tokio’s Ginza, Rome’s Via Veneto, Glasgow’s Sauchiehall-street, the Road to Mandalay and the street where you live…”
The article’s author even developed five categories of hidden homosexuals after consulting a psychiatrist:
1. The middle aged man, unmarried who has an unnaturally strong affection for his mother.
2. The man who has a consuming interest in youth. He is ready to give ALL his spare time to working and talking with boys and youths.
3. The crawler. The ‘umble man, the man who is always saying he’s nothing and everybody else is marvellous, the man with the fixed and meaningless smile on his face. A prime suspect.
4. The fussy dressed. When one, two or three button jackets are in he is the first to wear them. His shirts are detergent bright, his tie has the latest knot and is always just so, and he can never pass a mirror or a shop window without a sly glance at himself.”
5. The over clean man is the next prime suspect.
Bonus: Check out this anti-gay propaganda film produced by the Inglewood, California police department and the Inglewood Unified School District in 1961