Sunday, 5 November 2017

A richer and fuller life


His stories of escapades as a young gay man in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s were as mischievous and comic as they were a window into an often hostile world, where as second-class citizens homosexual men had to tread carefully on the edges of society.

National Service was "fantastic" [he said] because it was filled with so many gay men.

Cambridge was equally "very, very gay", causing one heterosexual undergraduate to complain to him, through tears, that there was "something wrong with him" because he was attracted to women.

"I think you'll be alright Douglas," Prof Lockyer replied drily.

"There was this semi-secret, sub-rosa network of gay clubs we would go to," he explained.

One bar-hopping friend and ex-lover was Jeremy Wolfenden, the gay son of Lord Wolfenden, whose radical report controversially recommended decriminalising homosexuality in 1957.

"Places like the Rockingham in Soho... was for well-to-do, sophisticated people - it had its own writing paper.

"You had to give your name at the door and I said: 'Jeremy, aren't you a little worried that you give your name 'Wolfenden'?

"He said: 'Oh don't worry my dear I always give your name.'

"So I'm recorded as having a much busier social life when it was in fact Jeremy capering about town while his father made these important recommendations to the government about 'queers'."
RIP Professor Roger Lockyer, historian, writer and one half of the very first couple who became "civil partners" when the law changed in 2005 [they converted their partnership to marriage in 2014]. Of the occasion, he said:
"I think that particularly being a historian… people do know a bit about their own history and what others went through and it makes for a richer and fuller life if they do.

"I remember distinctly walking down the street after the ceremony thinking: 'I am as legal a person as anybody else. I am a full citizen at last.' It was a wonderful feeling."


And finally, when asked about the secret of longevity [the couple had been together for 51 years when he died] he had this to say:
The best way to stay in a long and happy relationship is to want to stay in a long and happy relationship! It helps a great deal if you find the other person very attractive, which of course I did in the case of Percy - he was a young, handsome man - but we also shared so much in common.

I learned quite early on that if you want a relationship to endure, you must not bridle at every possible insult. We’ve both behaved badly to each other from time to time, and I just kept on thinking to myself: “It’s not worth losing this wonderful relationship over things that don’t really count. The little things are the little things; the big thing is the relationship and as long as that’s sound, then to hell with any of the details."
Indeed.

5 comments:

  1. They sound very sweet and sensible. My husband and I would have been together 30 years on Thursday and we also had that "Oh, just move along" attitude.

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    1. Madam Arcati and I will be celebrating 20 years next May. I agree, couples like Roger and Percy had it completely right... Jx

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  2. Fascinating story thanks for posting

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    1. Thought you might appreciate it. Jx

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  3. If you wouldn't mind, I would really appreciate it if you would consider my blog, emilysvirtualrocket.blogspot.com Aside from a critique of Mr. Trump which takes place daily, the main part consists of daily life for transgender folks. And, once in awhile, I write poetry! I hope you enjoy it.

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    Emily Shorette
    emilysvirtualrocket.blogspot.com

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