The story of Hull’s Dan Billany [1913-43] has been posted previously in ‘A hero of his time and ours’ It is appropriate ,therefor, that in time for Hull Pride on July 18th, we have received this message of support from Dan’s niece ,Jodi Weston Brake,
“I wish I could be in Hull for the Pride event . Dan would have been so PROUD. How times have changed.”
Writing in the late 193os ,when any expression of male homosexuality was illegal, in one of his detective novels ,Dan writes of the reality of gay love then .
“it was a kind of love which,in te world as we know it,could not be made public. Rather commit suicide..Many have.”
And a little later,writing of the very real risks that gay men were at from blackmailers [the anti-gay laws were accurately described as a ‘blackmailers charter’ ]
“Unhappy devil ,Mrs. Valentine [the blackmailer] had found a way to make the very honey of his life into poison to buy her brandy and run her Daimler.”
Turning honey into poison —-that was the reality of the effect of the cruel prejudices and discriminatory laws of numerous gay men of Dan’s and later generations Without their sacrifices we would not have such freedoms as we do today.
And that is why it is so important that those convicted under gross indecency and other anti-homosexual laws should be exonerated–and why we are launching our petition at this years Hull Pride.
Who can doubt that Dan would have been Proud to be marching with us on July 18th? And he would have been utterly amazed to tune in to West Hull FM at 8 on a tuesday evening to hear Danny Norton announce ‘This is ‘Loud and Proud’-for West Hulls’ LGBT Community; being beamed out over his birthplace on Hessle Road. The ‘love which in this world could not be made public’ is now very public indeed!
Yes—-Dan would have been proud of his native city of Hull and its LGBT Community. t
On Hull Pride Day on 18th July a wreath will be laid at Hulls Cenotaph in Hull in honour of all those LGBT servicemen and women who gave their lives defending our freedoms. As Dan’s niece says in a message to Hull Pride, “Their bravery needs to be acknowledged.Caught between the devil and the deep,and so much to fight for-what Hitler would have done to the Gay Community ,given the chance, does not bear thinking about . His track record gives us a terrifying insight
“What a different world we would be living in if it wasn’t for the selfless bravery of all who fought.”
All the braver one might add when they would have been denied the most basic freedom to give expression to the love that they felt for their own sex had they survived and returned home. And which they would have been discharged from the services for until the year 2000. Despite all that they gave their lives for us.
We are PROUD of all of them
And We Are Proud of Our Dan
I am a distant cousin of Lieut. Dan Billany and was in contact with his sister, Joan, in the last few years of her life. I openly asked Joan if her brother, Dan Billany, was homosexual. This is what she wrote in a letter to me dated 25th January 2000: “As for Dan being homosexual. This is something that they [Reeves and Showan] have decided and he is not here to argue or disagree. If, indeed, he wanted to. I don’t know. He may have been, but if so, I was completely unaware of it. Bear in mind I was a very naive younger sister!! But this is the way with most biographers, is it not? I did not see the M.S. (I didn’t want to) and they [Reeves and Showan] had to write the book as they saw it. Fair enough. It’s their [Reeves and Showan] point of view.”
Dan Billany’s sister, Joan, also said in a letter to me, dated 1st September 2000 “Anyone with a modicum of intelligence, like your internet reviewer [Kaz, Socialist Party website] would realise, that, just because I tell a tale from a murderer or a rapists point of view does not make me either of those. Personally I have had enough of the emotional yo-yo stirred up by the whole business”.
I am the Billany family’s genealogist as well as a descendants and relation of Dan Billany, twice over. I have been in contact with several members of the family and consider myself an authority.
When her mother was alive, Jodi showed no interest in her family history – her mother told me so – and Jodi has been cashing in on her uncle’s fame since her mother’s death, ever since.
When her mother died, Jodi sent me a message of condolence.
Why would you do that, when it’s your own mother who has passed away?
Jodi has also been quoted as saying that her mother never spoke about Dan Billany to her.
That’s funny because Joan mentioned her brother several times in her letters to me.
As a genealogist with over 33 years of experience behind me, I know better than to repeat rumours and peddle them as the truth.
The truth is that Jodi didn’t know her uncle well enough to say what he would be proud of.
She certainly never learnt anything about Dan Billany through her mother.
For the record, Dan Billany wrote about his character having heterosexual intercourse in his books too.
For example “The Trap”, pages 108 – 112 in which he wrote the following…
“Her lips were parted in absorbed bliss. At last I leaned very gently forwards so that my lips rested on hers, not pressing: remained so with closed eyes, thinking of nothing, absolutely nothing, letting my whole being soak in the fragrance of adoration for her. Very slowly her arms tightened round my neck, but hardly perceptibly: I responded immediately, turning my body towards her, so that my weight was partly on her, and we lay in close contact, all the front of my body touching hers. Because of this movement, my lips pressed hers. She wriggled slightly against me as she nestled down in the chair, and the need for her, the aching longing for her mounted like a flame through me, seeming to choke me. My thighs and my heart and my lips craved for her. Oh God how I wanted her.”
Does that sicken you?
Jodi should be ashamed of herself. I don’t even know why she is using her maiden name.