Straight man writes to beloved queer bar in London’s Soho to complain they’ve turned it into a ‘gay street’
The Admiral Duncan, one of the oldest and best-known LGBT+ pubs in Soho, shared a bizarre complaint it received from a homophobic ex-punter.
Staff at the London venue shared a postcard sent by an unidentified man, who said that Soho had been “much better before you lot turned it into a gay street”.
Marked with a Philippine postmark, the postcard begins by referencing the 1999 nail bomb attack that killed three people and injured another 79 at the venue.
“To staff,” it reads. “First may I salute you all for surviving a bomb blast but Old Compton Street was much better before you lot turned it into a gay street.”
“Before you lot turned it into a gay street” pic.twitter.com/LqQrFrftP3
— Admiral Duncan, Soho (@admiral_duncan) November 11, 2019
The note goes on to use a string of racial slurs for Italian, Jewish and Irish people.
“In 1961 when I was picking up my cup final ticket it was full of [redacted]. All the Italians were either Juventus or Milan fans and Soho was great.”
Of course in 1961, homosexuality was still illegal in the UK. It was only after anti-gay laws were abolished in 1967 that LGBT+ venues were able to exist openly.
The postcard ends with the non-sequitur: “Now you have to wear a chastity belt to feel safe.”
Twitter followers were quick to condemn the hate mail, and sent the pub messages of support.
Some of my best nights were in Old Compton Street back in the day, I even had a few jars in the Admiral Duncan a few months after you re-opened after that tragic incident, and I’m not even gay! I cannot believe someone went to all that effort to send you that.
— MB & MK’s Medboy ⭐️⭐️ (@medboyUK) November 12, 2019
His homophobia seems to be a lightly veiled excuse to espouse his racism. He’s certainly comprehensive.
— Adam Cumiskey (@cumiskey) November 12, 2019
I’ll give him (and let’s face it, it’s a him) his dues, he’s definitely an equal opportunity bigot. Although he missed out the transphobia. I wonder if that had anything to do with him moving out to the Philippines? #TheyWhoShoutLoudest
— Ethan Kristopher-Hartley Esq ?️????? (@efan78) November 11, 2019
All the more reason to go for a pint or three at the AD, I’d say.
I have some wonderful LGBTQ friends, and hate like that towards them saddens me immensely.
— Firefly Flutes (@firefly_flutes) November 11, 2019
Despite the claims made in the postcard, queer people have been congregating in Soho and throughout central London since at least the 18th century.
In 1709, the journalist Ned Ward reported on a “Molly house” – a place were gay men would socialise – which had sprung in the back room of a Jermyn Street brandy shop (a stone’s throw from Soho).
With homosexuality illegal until 1967, Soho didn’t establish itself as an openly LGBT+ hub until the 1990s.
However in recent years the number of LGBT+ venues in Soho and around the capital has plummeted.