Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Keith Wedmore talks about going public


Keith Wedmore talks about the group writing and publishing an article in the The Friend, May 1960.


excerpt from 20 March 2013 interview with Mark Bowman.


Mark B.  The group did go public in May of 1960—

Keith W.  Yes, we said a few things—

Mark B.   —by printing a concern in The Friend, and it said—and I wonder who wrote that—and then a month later you had a one-day conference, and there was subsequently a lot of letters to The Friend, so you kind of, the group went public.  Was there a particular reason for doing that?  Do you recall where you were in the process?

Keith W.  We just thought a progress report might interest Friends, which it did.  Duncan Fairn wrote it, and I think he came out first with the title Towards a Quaker View of Sex, a sort of slightly wry title.  And so that came out, and that, of course, was written out of the stage that we had got to.  We were at a fairly early stage.  We were sort of Neanderthal man at that point, but nevertheless, we were making progress, and I imagine that he…I forget his letter now, but I imagine he let the cat out of the bag in the sense that he was saying we’re looking at this as a different morality, so that caused some correspondence and so on, which we considered, but we didn’t feel any of it needed answering. 

We didn’t indulge in, as the National Rifle Association does, having a spokesperson produce some beautifully worded—you know, they’re very good at this.  We just went on with our work in the library of the Women’s University Club.  And those Friends who said the—when he wrote, of course, he hadn’t read what we had so far written, and neither did we offer to give it to him. 

But a lot of people were disturbed at any thought that the ancient, ancien regime might fall.  People like structure.  Any change, especially of mind, any change is horrific to contemplate, so if you’re brought up in any system—and England is very programmed compared to America—if you’re brought up in any system, you don’t want it destroyed.  For one thing, you may have suffered greatly in order to keep it going, or you may have felt that you set a good example by how much it had cost you in pain and agony of hanging onto the same relationship, for instance, long after it was over or something.  So all those people had an investment in nothing changing.