Back in the late 1960s the BBC radio comedy show Round the Horne brought camp characters and polari, the secret language used by many gay men of the time, to the British nation. The gay innuendos and sexual references went over the head of most listeners, but shone a light on a queer underworld for those who with eyes to see, or rather ears to hear.

A regular sketch on the show with the super-camp duo Julian and Sandy, played by comedians Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, featured the two men in various professions – including, in March 1968 (in episode 2 of series 4) a sketch where Jules and Sandy are running Transcendental Meditation classes at a local ‘Gurumat’ in the King’s Road. The sign on the door says ‘Levitate and Enter’, and once inside, the show’s host Kenneth Horne, is treated to some profound (and very simple) gay wisdom on how to achieve inner peace through THE TRUE VADA – ie clear vision of life’s sacred nature.

First approved for medical use in 2004, TRUVADA is also the name of a true medical phenomenon– a simple pill combination of two chemicals (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) – that has proved something of a miracle in that it not only treats people with HIV infection, it is also used by HIV negative people who are sexually active, to prevent infection by the virus in the first place. The TRUVADA medicine, used as Prep treatment by the HIV negative, made it possible for men to have sex with men without fear of contracting a killer disease. From the 1980s until the 2010s FEAR was an ever present factor in gay sexual encounters – except for those of us who were already HIV positive and had nothing left to be afraid of. The Truvada medicine made it safe to be sexual again, the much-hated condom was no longer so essential, GAY LIBERATION can move forwards again…

Liberation is more than a sexual thing! And to be gay is about much more than being sexual. Our sexual orientation influences how we approach the world. Radical Faerie founder Harry Hay spoke of gay men being naturally attuned to subject:SUBJECT consciousness – ie seeing and treating others as self, as another subject, rather than an object to be used, which he saw as the defining quality of heterosexual relationships. Some might argue that on the gay sex scene OBJECTIFICATION is more the norm but perhaps with a reminder of the ‘True Vada’ this could rapidly shift:

from the sketch:

“…to gain your actual bona tranquility…

…to start, perceive a Oneness in all the Universe… without this everything and everyone is as naught…

…without the actual recognition of THAT you are nanty.. nanty.. nanty. But once you attain the TRUE VADA you are at One: I AM HE AND HE IS ME, AND WE ARE THEM TOGETHER…

you’ll find it a bit odd at first – but then we all do…

the ego is as naught… think within… radiance…

yin is yang… yang is yin…

the true smile rises up from within…”

Round the Horne Series 4 Episode 2

What we call objectification becomes, once we are able to perceive the Oneness in the Universe, more an act of worship – a search for the divinity shining in everyone.

As Gay Mystic Andrew Harvey puts it:

“When you wake up to the Divine Consciousness within you and your divine identity, you wake up simultaneously to the Divine Consciousness appearing as all other beings. And this is not poetry and this is not a feeling, this is a direct experience of the divine light living in and as all other beings. And until this realization is firm in you, you do not know who or where you are.”

Spirituality is the missing element in the modern story of LGBTQ+ Liberation – but we do not have to turn to homophobic religions to find it! Queer pioneers since the 19th century have offered us many spiritual views of sexuality and gender-fluidity – Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Elsa Gidlow, Harry Hay, Ram Dass, Allen Ginsberg, Judy Grahn, Andrew Harvey, Toby Johnson, Andrew Ramer, Raven Kaldera are a few key examples. But even gay comedians have been known to deliver some spiritual truth – and this sketch from Kenneth and Hugh is a magnificent and hilarious example of gay men delivering some of light, some True Vada.

The fact that the Truvada medication has been saving the lives of gay men for two decades now is one of life’s truly magical ironies – but how did the pharmacological industry come up with this name??? Perhaps the research chemists were Round the Horne fans!

Published by shokti

i am shokti, lovestar of the eurofaeries, aka marco queer magician of london town. i explore the links between our sexual-physical nature and our spirits, running gatherings, rituals and Queer Spirit Festival. i woke up to my part in the accelerating awakening of light love and awareness on planet earth during a shamanic death-and-rebirth process lasting from January 1995 to the year 2000, and offer here my insights and observations on the ongoing transformation of human consciousness, how to navigate the waves of change, and especially focusing on the role of queer people at this time.

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