Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Gay Spies: The Good Old Days

In 1963 the Sunday Mirror offered its assistance to the Security Service.

"How to spot a possible homo," ran a headline in the paper. Below this, for MI5's benefit, was a list of supposed signifiers of male homosexuality ("a gay little wiggle", "his tie has the latest knot", "an unnaturally strong affection for his mother").

The pretext for this unsolicited advice - which now seems clearly offensive - was the case of John Vassall, a gay civil servant who spied for the Soviets under threat of blackmail. A gay man, the paper's reporter said, was a de facto security risk: "I wouldn't trust him with my secrets." ...

A great article on BBC News Magazine by Jon Kelly - in response to MI5 being named Stonewall's most gay-friendly employer.

From the Cambridge Spies to London Spy, all the old gang are here.

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