Daily Mail journalist, Jan Moir, has provoked outrage with a blatantly homophobic column attacking the recently deceased Boyzone singer, Stephen Gately.
Originally titled, “Why there was nothing ‘natural’ about Stephen Gately’s death” Moir flat out denies the medical evidence that Gately died of natural causes, instead linking his death to his “lifestyle” and calling the circumstances around it “more than a little sleazy”.
She speculates about Gately and his partner’s sex life and outrageously claims that “Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.”
There has been a widespread reaction against this nasty and bigoted article. The Press Complaints Commission has received a record 22,000 complaints in a matter of days and almost 30,000 have joined a facebook group condemning the article.
Moir’s article is not an isolated aberration. Profit-driven tabloids routinely engage in puritanical speculation about the sex lives of celebrities and trade in homophobia, sexism and racism to sell both papers and their right-wing politics.
The fact that the death of Stephen Gately should be used as an opportunity to launch such a vile attack on gay people in this way shows that, unfortunately, homophobia is still a real issue in our society. Its a reflection of the real homophobic attitudes that exist and affect the lives of countless LGBT people. Homophobic violence and bullying in schools remain common and the government continues to deny LGBT people full equality in marriage.
It is very positive that many ordinary people are unwilling to tolerate the vile opinions expressed in the Daily Mail article. The justified anger over Moir’s article should also be directed to fighting against homophia generally and for a society based on solidarity not prejudice and division.