Janis Hetherington – Part 19: "Marriage"

Marriage-handcuffsJanis Hetherington was the first UK woman in an openly same-sex couple to be artificially inseminated. In this, the 19th part of her exclusive autobiographical series for Biscuit, Janis ponders the issue of marriage.

So, let’s describe my dilemma. Marriage. Like not an agreement but the whole shebang.. crash bang wallop. Suddenly we (myself and my polyamour of 40 years) have a drawer full of invites. The present list alone would sort out Biscuit for life!!

What is it? How can you contemplate it if, like me, you know you are capable of having multiple sexual partners? What are you committing to? The right of equality? Is that all it is? To prove YOU have the right to be equal? But equal to what? As I understand marriage vows in my nearly 70 years on this odd and not so green planet I see it as a contract of bondage not always lovey dovey bliss. We (as playful partners) were supposed to be different. Yes we signed legal contracts over property and wills but nuptials….? Not our bag dear-hearts.

And no I am NOT naïve. I have fought many court cases that I would still have had to fight had I and my children been part of a conventional marriage contract. Equality yes. The right to choose yes. For those of us who’d be throttled by tying the knot, don’t make us look like non-committers. Security? That seems to be the issue. It always was in a failed marriage and those who specialise in the new brand of GAY MARRIAGE I fear will charge a premium when sorting out assets and unfortunately custody.

And now onto bisexuality. Could that indeed be used as an issue in litigation? It has been used in the family law courts to establish the fact of the “ability of a parent” to produce an acceptable environment. Does marriage to one own’s sex somehow wave away that necessity of proof? How would you answer under oath? Could you say you deceived your male/female partner for years and now you had found true love or would you reply the person I love is whom I have chosen to spend my life with but if they die/leave me it could change and may well choose to be hetero/bi/poly? In court your original oath is bound to be taken into consideration should acrimony ensue. It will be a minefield of the law interrupting a given sexual proclaimation. The law prefers a definite as opposed to a nebulus concept. But that is the beauty of equality. You have the plusses and the negatives.

So onto my own gripe. My local Beeb have “banned” my guest appearances (I have been involved with them for over three years) on the basis I am “too fruity” for an afternoon show.  I do have their apology and explanation and it seems I am most valued but NOT for their afternoon listeners. As I recall, I mentioned knickers and brothels. Brothels seems to irk them particularly but since my book Love Lies Bleeding deals with that subject and was the reason I was originally invited onto the show three years ago I am at a loss to understand their problem. Especially as it was on the very week of JE SUIS CHARLIE and freedom of the press was the subject first mooted. Of course I took the opportunity to mention Biscuit when asked about what papers I wrote for. I have been warned by Beeb about advertising but my co-guest was at liberty to mention his company and push THAT plug. So are people just bored with my ramblings and voted me orft for being a boring old fart? NOT from the feedback I have received. Or could it be more sinister in that the program I did in July helping the Beeb re. their Gaza problem of being accused of bias against the Palestinians (I provided them with Palestinian coverage) upset some on the “team”. Perhaps, but nothing to do with MOI being “unsuitable”.

I think it is just a progression towards retro- respectability. One that has severe consequences for the LGBT community and their seemingly necessity to define their own morality within the “law”. I was always asked by the court representatives to define my lesbian position ( no we are not talking about bedroom activities beloveds ) as in “role playing” . Which I answered with a bewildering “to satisfy my lover”. You may well say that was yonks ago but I can assure you the number of court cases since mine in the 70s you can count on both hands. Now ??? Well there will be one or two solicitors firms who will specialise for well-heeled applicants and for the rest? Equality my dears like all those broken marriages made in “heaven”. Hell …just that.

So onto a hilarious note. For the first time in years of internet exchange I nearly got screwed by a plonker on four legs!! I received a request from a name that I thought I knew in Gaza. Being ever cautious I looked up the applicants profile and was greeted (yeah on a Saturday morning!!) by several nubile lasssies being shagged by an array of animals. Not lock up your daughters more lock up your pussies (actually donkeys!!!). So on the one hand schtumstville (gag your gob) and the other..arrrhhhh doggie dong! I had noted that one MP mentioned should GAY MARRIAGE become legal then why not marriage to an animal next but seriously NOT at 8am before I’ve had my porridge should I have to be confronted with the evidence of such issues. Send them to your animal rights orgs. Pretty please.

I had looked forward to mentioning this latter incident on my Beeb prog scheduled for next week but I fear it will have to be contemplated by the ever brilliant and understanding BISCOTTIES. Can I finish on a positive note? I know many people worldwide pick up the Biccy banter. It may not translate in ackers at the moment but I’m sure all the effort put into Biccy is more than worthwhile. Just hope I pop my cloggers soon. You’re mentioned in my will. Well not tooooooooooooo soon!! xxxx


Janis Hetherington, Part 18 – “Bi – the new currency of shame?”

Janis Hetherington, Part 17 – “Tittle-Tatler”

Janis Hetherington, Part 16 – “Ex-bisexuals?”

Janis Hetherington, Part 15 – “Nothing is black and white”

Janis Hetherington, Part 14 – “Arabian Ladyes”

Janis Hetherington, Part 13 – “Blow-up dolls and secret cells”

Janis Hetherington, Part 12 – “Major Ronald”

Janis Hetherington, Part 11 – “Fatwa”

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”








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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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