Why there is nothing “natural” about the Daily Mail

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2009 National LGBT Conference
19 November 2009

Conference is appalled at the recent article in the Daily Mail surrounding the death of the Boyzone singer, Stephen Gately, where they imply that his death was due to him being gay.

Columnist Jan Moir wrote:

“Healthy and fit 33 year old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again. I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy”.

She also drew comparisons between Gately and Kevin McGee, the former civil partner of actor Matt Lucas, despite Gately dying of natural causes and McGee committing suicide after months of clinical depression and addictions.

She wrote, “Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever after myth of civil partnerships. Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding about same-sex relationships arguing that they are just the same of heterosexual marriages. Not everyone they say is like George Michael. Of course, in many cases this may be true. Yet the recent death of Kevin McGee and now the dubious events of Gately’s last night raise troubled questions about what happened. It is important that the truth comes out about exact circumstances of his strange and lonely death”.

UNISON and the Scotland Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Committee have been long-standing campaigners in the fight for equality for all and in particular LGBT rights and this Conference is appalled that irresponsible journalism such as this is still being printed in the United Kingdom today. This is one of the most shocking articles printed; although the overall behaviour of the media, with their liberal use of insinuation, suggestion and salacious reporting, is abhorrent in the twenty-first century.

That this article appears in the same week that Ian Baynham’s life support machine was switched off after he suffered brain damage after a vicious homophobic beating in Trafalgar Square, just goes to show that our work is not over and the fight must continue. Therefore:

1.Following a motion passed at our Annual General Meeting, the Scottish LGBT Committee will write to the Daily Mail and the Press Commission (PCC) to challenge this outrageous piece of homophobic journalism;

2.We encourage all branches and individuals to do likewise and furthermore to challenge all forms of homophobia, particularly in the press;

3.In addition we would invite conference to send a letter of appreciation to the National Union of Journalists who provided support to their LGBT members by quickly responding to condemn such journalism and providing a website for members who may have be affected.