by Anton Wills-Eve

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I should have written this years ago!


We have a very interesting debate going on in the media in Britain at the moment centred round probably the most emotive and disturbing subject that has done a complete U turn in my life time. But before continuing let me make it clear that I am not writing anything other than an account of how acceptable behaviour has changed in the past sixty years. I am telling my own version of what I have observed and why I am very worried at how easy it is to change different classes of society’s perception of right and wrong, and hatred and acceptance, without actually changing much conduct at all. Just making the sins of the rich available to everyone.

When I was growing up as a young boy, let us say at the age of ten in 1952, three aspects of sexual pratice among people of all ages was seen as being very definitely the worst things anyone could do. One was being a practising homosexual, the second a practising prostitute and the third being a practising paedophile. One of these has since been legalised, one made illegal and the third abominated as the worst crime of all. Incredibly, members of the public have been told it is a criminal offence to oppose the first change. A new and inaccurately stupid word, ‘homophobia’, has even been coined to allow people to be charged with so called ‘hate crimes’. I know why things were as they were in 1950 and why they changed, but I have no idea why the emotive hate aspect had to be brought in to justify changes in the law.

Take a typical central London street in 1950, say in the West End; eg. Soho. Prostitutes were allowed to solicit openly because they provided a ‘service’ that was not something against which legisation had ever been introduced. Homosexuality was condemned because many upper class people held hypocritical views about Victorian morality and, although practising homosexual acts a lot of the time from their schooldays onwards, – both sexes, – were socially ashamed to admit this. So they either never spoke of it or ranted against it. But where did that leave youngsters of my age who were told that some things were wrong and dreadful while experiencing the horror of watching ordinary people either committing such acts themselves? Or worse, being abused by the very people who preached to them that such behaviour was disgusting? Well here is my experience.

My mother’s side of the family were all on the stage or in some branch of the entertainment business and with my sister, a year older, we often spent a lot of time in top theatre dressing rooms with members of the family. But we had been well instructed in the dangers of allowing homosexuals anywhere near us because they might influence the way we perceived sexual practices both then and later in life. The important thing was that we were never made afraid that any so called ‘pervert’ was going to sexually abuse us as children in any way at all. Actually it was mostly exhibitionist lesbians and male dancers who flaunted their homosexuality, but we found it amusing and actually got to know and like quite a few of them. So I asked one of the monks at my school, I was a catholic at a school run by a religious order, why I should not make friends with people my mother thought could have a bad influence on me or set a lasting bad example. The answer was superb.

“Anton, any sexual act outside marriage, no matter what combination of genders, is against the ten commandments, therefore a sin and therefore you shouldn’t do it.” You have to admit that was pretty straightforward, down the line and spot on; but it was how he dealt with my reply that I did not understand until I was nineteen!

“Father, why are sexual acts between people who enjoy them any worse than breaking any other commandment? I shouldn’t tell lies, but we both know that and do it all the time. Why is one worse than the other?” Listen to this reply.

“Because by the age you are now (I was then 11) you understand why lying is a sin and why you shouldn’t do it. You won’t understand sexual misdeeds until you are old enough to have experienced them. So you have to be told in advance what to look out for and then avoid it.” What a confusing load of rubbish to tell someone my age who did know and did understand anyway. From then on I formed my own philosophy about ‘sins of the flesh’ as they called them. Yes, they were sins but there were good reasons why people committed them, as with all sins. But what changed?

Well first we had a law passed in the late fiftys making soliciting in public illegal for reasons which I never understood. A lot of my female acquaintances round the theatres were on the game. I knew they were, they never threatened me and as often as not they had a good sense of humour and my sister and I were too young to see any harm they were doing. Even so they were soon classified as criminals if they sought to sell themselves in public.

A long time later the outcry against homosexuality began to die down because, as my generation grew up, we could not accept that those who did not like having sex with people of the opposite gender should be criminally marginalised just because of the biological natures and predelections with which they were born. A man can love a man just as much as he can a woman, and so too with women. It was this realisation that led to the changing of the law to make it okay for anyone to have sex with anyone else no matter who they were. The logic is simply that one person’s sexual preferences, though sinful, are not something which they can help and is not a fit subject for legal interference. But there is a point where it is.

If people start telling other people that having sexual relations with anyone at all just because you enjoy it is not wrong, then the moral dimension comes in and that is where so many people get inordinately over heated and concerned both ethically and emotionally. Well as I’ve said I know what constitutes a sin and what does not so I have no problem in this way. But I certainly would if I found anybody trying to make another person commit a sin when that person did not know why it could be wrong. And, as the law stands, if I interfered in such a case where homosexuality was concerned  I would be liable to be jailed, but not if I told someone they should not be adulterous!

Insane? Yes, of course and nothing to do with free speech. Just the failure of the politically correct to see my point of view, which is that if I love someone I would not want them to be encouraged to do wrong. Done with compassion that is an act of love not hate. And it goes as much for people trying to seduce others into acts of heterosexual adultery or any other type of sin. What I should never do, and never have, is insult or berate a homosexual just because I know that is the nature with which they were born. But then you shouldn’t do that to anybody simply because their natures are different to yours.

Just because the idea of having any type of sexual relationship with another man makes me feel like vomiting is my bad luck. It is, if you like, the natural reaction to matters sexual with which I was born. It certainly does not make me holier than thou when comparing myself to a homosexually orientated person. I would never encourage anyone to deliberately commit a sin if I knew they understood and believed that that was what their actions might be. And I would always make it a priority in everything I did to ensure that I was not hurting, harming, mentally upsetting or just being plain insulting to somebody else for any reason at all. A good or clever joke, which might not be appreciated by someone because they had no sense of humour, would only be insulting if I told it in a deliberately insulting way. Believe me Catholics and Jews tell the best jokes on themselves of any people I know.

But I haven’t mentioned how and why paedophilia has become so much more widely perceived as a really dreadful act. Firstly, if it involves adults abusing young children, up to the age of twelve, there really is no excuse for putting a youngster through an enforced experience that can physically and mentally scar them for life. This is not just a sexual crime it is an act of torture for which there is no excuse at all. And yet there is a reason why people do it. Some people, far more than most of us would like to imagine, actually get physical pleasure out of having sexual relations with very small children because it turns them on. This is the really hidden ‘crime’ whose name nobody mentioned for centuries and is only now being universally criticised. Its full viciousness has been realised only since being brought out into the open by the large number of admissions from its victims that they suffered in the way they did.

But I wish the media would stop reporting celebrity, educational and religious cases of child abuse in a way that suggests that no journalist or news photographer ever lusted after a child in their lives. They are amongst the worst of the lot and should be named and shamed as much if not more than those they publicise. To my own knowledge more than half the newsmen I knew when working in different parts of the world used to make for the nearest child brothel as soon as they hit town. In asia and South America it was especially disgusting, and the way they boasted about their discoveries and methods of enjoyment, which they could only satisfy when a very long way from home, was ghastly. It is the only aspect of journalism which I can honestly say revolted me and made me ashamed of my profession. Consequently it is the only profession in which you never hear of anyone being guilty of this offence. Many, many reporters are too afraid to finger someone who might be able to point the finger back. The world of entertainment is just as bad and my mother would not let me enter the film business when I had the chance aged fourteen, and thank heavens. Child molestation was rife in that industry and still is.

But There is one side of sexual consent and the law which is still absurd. In our country if two fifteen year olds make love neither is guilty of anything. If a sixteen years and one day old kid makes love to a fifteen years and 362 days old child then one is deemed to have been raped and the other to is put on a sex register and could even be jailed. I admit one has to draw the line somewhere, but I think common sense should be the arbiter here not an absolute rule for every case. I believe in some states in the US it is illegal to even write about someone having sex under the age of eighteen. Why, when hard core porn is available on tap for all ages on all computers throughout the world? I am not advocating filming and then uploading licencious behaviour between any couples at any age, just wondering why the anti porn laws are not enforced. I suppose there is too much money and greed involved for thousands of cases to be brought to court.

But to finish, I think what I have seen in my lifetime is a world in which one lot of double standards, where everyone was either good or bad according to their station in life, has been swapped for one in which nobody is considered wrong for following any sexual preferences. Yet if you think of it, everybody is still behaving exactly as they always did only it just happens to be the turn of a different section of society to get away with being as awful as others have always been. Plus ca change….!