Tuesday, July 04, 2017

David Garrett on Frank Sargeson's crime


David Garrett's peace plan for the Middle East and fondness for eugenics have previously been topics for discussion on this blog. Here's an exchange I had with Garrett at Kiwiblog the other day, in the wake of the government's decision to allow for the quashing of convictions under the anti-gay laws that existed in New Zealand before 1986. Yes, this guy was an MP and a confidant of members of cabinet once. 
DG:
I heard some old queer on National Radio last night lamenting the “lives wrecked” by the cops raiding “gay venues like saunas”…I was an assiduous reader of “The Truth” back in the day…there were plenty of stories about gays being picked up for propositioning people – granted those “people” were often plain clothes cops – down at the local cottage [gay slang for public toilets], but I don’t ever recall stories about raids on gay saunas, let alone private houses where two gay boys were going at it…
I think I will go for the chocolate fish: half a dozen of them for anyone who can provide a link to a prosecution for gay sex at someone’s private house…
SH:
You must have missed the raid on Westfield sauna in Auckland in February 1980. Thirty men were taken by the police in a glare of publicity. Eight were later convicted under anti-gay laws.
Norris Davey, later known as Frank Sargeson, was convicted of indecent assault in Wellington, 1929. The full details are in Michael King’s biography of Sargeson but there’s a link to the conviction here. [The police broke into a boarding house and arrested him and his partner.]
DG:
Well you won’t get them…the Sargeson case had already been discussed…In addition, you do understand the difference between a BOARDING house and a private dwelling? The boarding house in question was probably a known nest of gay boys…
SH:
So a police raid on a private residence ending in the arrest of consenting adults doesn’t count when the address is a known ‘nest of gay boys’, David? And presumably you erased the memory of the spectacular raid on Westfield sauna because, after all, that place was a nest for gays as well, and thus fair game for the police?
It’s fascinating to see how social conservatives have moved from justifying anti-gay laws to trying to pretend these laws were ineffectual and went unenforced. Back in 1986 the country’s social conservatives led a large and angry movement which insisted that these laws and their enforcement was the only thing that stood in the way of the collapse of civilisation. Now they seem to be keen to forget those arguments, and to try to erase the persecution of gays from our history. I don’t think they’ll be successful.

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