Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Four decades after the Sexual Offences Act this kind of nonsense still happens?!

We are told often that life is so much easier for homosexual people in the UK now than it was pre-1967 when the Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised homosexual acts in private and I am sure it is, even if I don't have relevant personal memories of the period before this, having been only about 15 years old at the time. However, every so often something happens that brings me up with a jolt. Some joker in Portsmouth thought he could make a 'fast buck' by pretending to be an undercover police sergeant and making blackmailing married men 'cruising' in a gay haunt a lucrative proposition, by extracting 'instant fines' from them. The apparently genuine threat of the 'shame' of a court appearance on charges of 'gross indencency' made some of the men involved willing to hand over several hundred pounds each. Presumably one of his potential victims decided to go to the real police (who mostly react somewhat differently now than they would have 40 years ago), leading to Lee Creamer (aka 'Sergeant Perry') being gaoled at Portsmouth Crown Court for three and a half years. Judge Peter Henry correctly summed-up this despicable individual:

"The people you were targeting undoubtedly would have been in that frame of mind where they weren't going to think straight. You were relying on the fact they were going to panic and pay the money."

Even though homosexuality was decriminalised quite a long time ago, many gay men (and women) are still reluctant to 'own' who they are, so leaving themselves open to this kind of nonsense. To some extent this is understandable because however 'right on' we may like to kid oursleves that Britain is today, there are still a lot of prejudiced people around who don't hesitate to make life difficult for gay people if they think they can get away with it (just remind yourself how successful a number of major religions are in having their prejudices accepted and in a number of cases enshrined in law). Whilst this is in some respects a depressingly familiar type of case, at least it has a 'happy' outcome - the culptrit has been brought to book.

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