Janis Hetherington – Part 11: Fatwa

Tristan Jervis, Anna-Maria Galojan, Janis Hetherington and Biscuit ed Charlotte Dingle attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of Middle East magazine

Tristan Jervis, Anna-Maria Galojan, Janis Hetherington and Biscuit ed Charlotte Dingle attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of Middle East magazine

Janis Hetherington was the first UK woman in an openly same-sex couple to be artificially inseminated… In this, the 11th part of her exclusive autobiographical series for Biscuit, Janis looks at the threat of war in the Middle East – and its LGBT rights abuses.

You may well ask what the fuck is going on with this title.. But all will be revealed to your lickle grey cells and I’ll put you in the PINK. That is pink as in Pink Poundy, that owes its provenence to your poncy pinky finger that yonkerooonies ago denoted what your inclinations were when you clasped your Babycham glass or lifted your elegant bone china tea cup. Of course you knew that piece of trivia.

Glance at the elegant photo staring at you (courtesy of Eugenie Absolam) and you will sigh “Hardly earth-shattering enough to elicit the rancour associated with the first word of this article” but there you may well ponder in the months, nay years to come, whilst war rages all around us.

You see they say the camera NEVER lies, and of course the image taken does indeed not just remain true in essence, but it is the huge circumstances that have evolved in that so short time since posturing for the lens (less than a lunar time warp month) that has had me tearing up every sheet (well, metaphorically in this electronic sphere) as daily news erupts with much ferocity.

Send her to the funny farm I imagine are your mutterings… The Olde Gal has totally lost her Miss Marples. However, there you would be entirely up shit creek without a paddle, so to speak. The Olde Gal, far from losing anything, has in fact found out a great deal. And sadness is her bedfellow.

So, to set the scene, the PIC (a very charming portrayal you will agree) evolved as a result of an invitation to attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of that illustrious magazine The Middle East… and thereby hangs the clue. Geddit? For all you who have had your noses stuck up footy shorts and into balls of varying sizes (tennis dears do keep up and that odd-shaped rugby thingy) the world that is the Middle East in is on the brink of WAR…. Like in BANG BANG… Kaboom. Body bags. Mass graves. When I started to write this article our enemy was our enemy but now our enemy is our friend and our friend is now our enemy… and as gays and bis or even tries we are or could be PUBLIC ENEMY number two (one is always Tony Blair, thus the “Paxo” of the title).

How terrified should we be… the answer to that is VERY.

I was frightened enough to change the whole timbre of this piece and this olde drake is not in the habit of self-censorship. When I started this delight (well it was supposed to send sensual shivers up your spine) it was to be a tale of delightfully sexy Arabian nights (not knights, dears, though it does seem Crusades might well seem increasingly appropriate!) and briefly refer to the other gal in the pic Anna-Maria Galojan who just about escaped jail in her Native Estonia where she was engaged in a political career to seek asylum here. Her beau is the chap in the pic who is fairly conservative and monarchist in his leanings, although which side he dresses on one has no idea. You could have said, to coin a hackneyed phrase before Murdochio ruined the News of the Screws, that all human life is in that pic. Left-wing, right-wing, gay, straight, bi and tri (as in try anyoldthing). To continue the changing saga, Russia and its homophobic agenda is banging its balilaikas on its satellite spaces. This may not include dear lickle Estonia just yet, but with everyone having to take sides as the turmoil escalates in Iraq who knows what will be carved up to go where should sectarian violence dominate? So a little discretion is in order before I slam into human rights issues in little old Estonia. Another piece of vitriol I was about to lob your way dusbinned!!

"I sadly cannot tell you my tales of Iraqi ladies who love ladies, for fear of a Fatwa..."

“I sadly cannot tell you my tales of Iraqi ladies who love ladies…”

And now you can see how my jovial tone has become one of foreboding. For indeed it was my Iraqi ladyes who luv ladyes that I was going to excite your senses with. Tales of long nights of lust and longing and how an orgasm sounds so different when emitted with a guttural moan (I kid you NOT it fucking does). But I must tell you now I cannot indulge you further. Those whose coffee-coloured arms were wrapped around their ladye loves are no longer safe. Even though their abodes are not actually physically in the geographical confines of those cities most affected, it is easy to trace them should I reveal more and sadly I have to return them to the closet they had so wished to escape.

So here I was two days ago left with this terrible dilemma regarding what can I write without putting people’s lives at risk, since so many of my past loves are still fighting frightening circumstances to adhere to their pledges of human rights. Instead of thrilling you with an orgy of the excesses of my alter ego the Countess, I thought for once a small degree of decorum was necessary to remind us all that the wonderful Biscuit would indeed have been issued with a Fatwa if published a few thousand miles east. We as writers would face mutilation if we travel to another continent in turmoil, openly practising our sexual preferences in Nigeria, the Sudan or even post-Apartheid South Africa.The wonderful Archbishop Desmond Tutu continues to amaze with his courage in standing up for gay rights but his is an increasingly solitary voice in that vast country. Listen to the rantings of Mugabe or any of the minor dictators and you will hear Gay Sex spoken of as THE CRIME that is most heinous.

And don’t think that wonderful seat of democracy the USof A isn’t battling to keep the Tea Party and its evangelical crack pots away from the seat of power, with their pledges to outlaw same-sex unions and offers of free “treatment” to cure the sin of homosexuality. Which takes me into the very public feud within the Cheney Clan. For those who say “Whohe?” we have gone full circle back to Iraq and the War of 2003, which as we now know was perpetrated based on the lies of Dick Cheney (whose firm Haliburton made a cool 35billion smackeroos out of the fiasco), Bush and Blair. Those who follow these things will know that Dick has two daughters. One gay, one evangelically straight. And isn’t that just so ironic – the chief war monger and Wanker Banker who is responsible for the death and destruction of a beautiful and cultured land is besieged in his own family with the war on morality. One is almost tempted to say “No peace for the wicked”, were it not for the trail of blood that surrounds those murderous palms. Wicked just doesn’t come into it… Evil multiplied by a billion 35 times over.

And lastly we arrive at Paxo and Blair. I shall miss Jeremy Paxman. He always seemed to give us “minorities” a fair crack of the whip (now you can see how serious this is when I feel unable to raise a naughty innuendo) and you could almost smell his pleasure in asking that arch villain Blair if he and Bush had prayed together whilst urging our allied forces to destroy a nation on the false premise it would make us all safer. SAFER???

When I can openly name the wonderful, sexy, liberated women who have now gone into hiding, possibly even behind a veil, and lovingly share their kisses and embraces without fear their faces will be scarred from acid or worse – then I can smile at that photo and tell you tales. Then I can speak of nights of Arabian bliss and wipe away these tears from crying for what is lost… And what I fear in my life time will struggle to return… I weep for you my darling ladyes. But I promise you will never be forgotten and we shall fight to see you smile in freedom and liberation

You have our love.


Read the rest of Janis’s exclusive series for Biscuit here:

Janis Hetherington, Part 10 – “Split personality”

Janis Hetherington, Part 9 – “Eccentricity”

Janis Hetherington, Part 8 – “Polyamorality”

Janis Hetherington, Part 7 – “We still weren’t ‘normal’…”

Janis Hetherington, Part 6 – “The publicity years”

Janis Hetherington, Part 5 – “Meeting Biscuit”

Janis Hetherington, Part 4 – “The custody battle”

Janis Hetherington, Part 3 – “The death”

Janis Hetherington, Part 2 – “Breaking the rules of 70s family life”

Janis Hetherington, Part 1 – “A graphic sexual voyage”


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Janis Hetherington

Outrageously, rebelliously outspoken. Sexually incontinent. Avid supporter of lost causes: ever hopeful they will be transformed, ever fearful that once they are they will become the monsters that trampled them. Janis is the author of "Love Lies Bleeding: Memoirs of a Sexual Revolutionary".

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One Response to Janis Hetherington – Part 11: Fatwa

  • janis hetherington says:

    Thank you Biscuit for being brave enough to put this up. Your courage is what journalism should always be about. With much respect. Janis

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