Towards a Quaker View of Sex

Meeting Minutes, 7 June 1959


Group discussed invitations to join the group (Joyce James added); discussed what known and understood about homosexuality and when it might be creative; affirmed higher value of heterosexual partnerships and asked what value can be seen in homosexual relationships.


Keith Wedmore Papers


Minutes of the Meeting of the Quaker Group on Homosexuality and Other Problems of Sex, held at the University Women's Club, London, W1., 7th June 1959.

1. Members present:
Anna Bidder
Richard Fox
Kenneth Barnes
Mervyn Parry
Lotte Rosenberg
Keith Wedmore
Alastair Heron

2. Apologies received from:
Duncan Fairn
Alfred Torrie
Kenneth Nicholson

3. Minutes: After careful revision by the group, the Minutes of the last meeting were accepted.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes:
Anna Bidder reported that Elsa Harman did not feel a concern to meet with the group. Joyce James expressed great interest but was unable to meet with us before November. Marion Fairn has written resigning from the Group and informing us that Joyce James i the new Chairman of the M. & P. We invite Joyce James to become a member of the Group and to join with us in December and thereafter as often as she can. We hope that, as Chairman of M. & P. she will keep us in touch with the work of that committee.

The approach to Stephen J. Thorne and Doris Eddington has not yet been made.

5. Discussion on Homosexuality:
For the purpose of discussion some categories must be defined. We recognise that these are to some extent arbitrary since grades of homosexuality from a continuous series from 100% heterosexual to 100% homosexual. We find two bases of classification: (a) Personality (b) Behaviour
We note that homosexual behaviour does not invariably indicated that the person is a real homosexual and as such incurable. Nor is apparently heterosexual behaviour always an indication of 100% heterosexual leanings. Outward behaviour may be opposed to unconscious trend. It is therefore difficult to determine whether homosexual behaviour in a person is curable. We first considered situations in which homosexuality is creative: "xxxxxxxxx Eros" the importance of homosexuality in the male teacher of males (schoolmaster, college tutor). Is the value of this dependent on the absence of complete physical relationship?

The teacher has a primary responsibility towards the well-being of the pupil. It is difficult to see how this can be rightly fulfilled if the teacher uses a pupil for the purpose of personal satisfaction, either intellectually, emotionally or physically, whether this is done consciously or unconsciously. This situation also applies to the relation between doctor and patient and in any situation of responsible leadership.

When, between two people, a great difference of ages, experience or prestige exists, an analogous responsibility rests upon the older or more mature. All this applies equally to hetero- and homosexual relationships.

In considering women teachers, we find that the parental impulse may be so strong that the homosexual side is less important, but we find that parental impulse can also be a valuable factor in men teachers.

We find it difficult to distinguish between the maternal or paternal, or to be certain what is the relation between parental and homosexual feelings--we feel this problem calls for further study by us. We see that the relation will be affected by the gender and temperament of the individual and by the social pressure of the environment.

In considering the teacher-pupil relationship we recognise a different emotional climate as between younger teen-age boys and girls, and consider that the emotional disturbance of this period is more over in girls than in boys that that freer expression has become permissible in both during the course of the last generation.

This different between boys and gifts must affect the qualities most needed for teaching each. We suggest for further consideration the possibility that latent homosexual and parental feelings can each be valuable in a man teaching boys, but that latent homosexuality in a woman teaching girls may be a hindrance rather than a help and that parental feeling is here of primary value.

To assist further discussion of the creative aspect of homosexuality at our next meeting, we formulate the following questions:

i) do we think it is desirable that society should have some homosexuals, or is the ideal society heterosexual only?
We are all agreed that the heterosexual relationship in marriage transcends in human importance any homosexual relationship. We also all accept that homosexuals have the right to loyal and permanent relationships and that these may be of creative value for themselves and for society.

We agree that the heterosexual partnership has qualities which are not to be found in the homosexual and we ask ourselves

ii) What is the difference between a homosexual and heterosexual partnership, when there is an intention of permanence in each case? Has the homosexual partnership also something to offer which the heterosexual cannot offer?

iii) What has the homosexual individual to offer society? Are homosexuals a good element which should exist in an ideal society, or is their best value to society the result of God's redemptive power working in a situation which is basically no ideal?

We hope members of the Groups will be able to give some thought to these problems before our next meeting on September 6th. The meeting will be held at the University Women's Club, 2 Audley Square, W.1.

(signed) Anna Bidder

P.S. The name and address of Kenneth Nicholson was omitted on the list of members:
Kenneth Nicholson,
Robins Acre,
Saffron Walden, Essex.
Tel: Saffron Walden 2122.

The address of new member, Joyce James, will be given later.