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Boyz editor insists magazine is ‘not transphobic’ as advertisers, stockists and LGBT+ leaders continue to sever ties

Josh Milton November 26, 2020
Boyz magazine faced severe criticism for fortifying its support for LGB Alliance, prompting many queer businesses to pull advertising or to stop stocking it. (Facebook/Twitter)

Boyz magazine faced severe criticism for fortifying its support for LGB Alliance, prompting many queer businesses to pull advertising or to stop stocking it. (Facebook/Twitter)

Amid backlash for endorsing the anti-trans group LGB Alliance, Boyz editor and co-founder David Bridle stressed Thursday afternoon (26 November) that the magazine is “not transphobic”.

In a statement published to Twitter, the managing editor of the publication took aim at what he called the “censorship of discussion” over trans rights.

It comes after some of London’s top Pride organisers, queer theatre and club owners, as well as LGBT+ club night promoters, lifestyle stores, clothing brands, healthcare providers, community service providers, photographers, nightlife legends and activists all sought to distance themselves from Boyz.

Many belaboured the publication for aligning with the LGB Alliance, withdrawing advertisement deals and announcing they will no longer stock it.

Responding to his critics, Bridle said: “We are simply saying lets hear what they have to say, and not assume we already know.”

Bridle added that he is “sorry that many of our readers and supporters feel we should not allow such debate” over trans rights before once again boosting an upcoming webinar the LGB Alliance is hosting.

Top human rights campaigners have decried the “toxic debate” over trans rights, where anti-trans coverage has clogged the British press with such intensity that trans people are more likely to experience depression and negative mental health outcomes, researchers say.

“You don’t have to watch the webinar, but if you [do], it’s possible you would open all of us to finding a way through this damaging schism in the LGBT+ community,” Bridle added.

“We’re not trying to make matters worse, we are trying to bridge gaps and start some talking.”

Countless queer businesses and talent cut ties with Boyz amid anti-trans backlash. 

Boyz has for decades acted as a Yellow Pages of queer London life. Founded in 1991, the monthly magazine spotlights LGBT+ businesses and happenings across the capital.

But when the publication, as well as Bridle, retweeted various LGB Alliance statuses, Twitter rung out in reaction – provoked further by Bridle fortifying support for the group.

Bridle set out to show that Boyz is not transphobic by referencing its coverage of a pilot of an NHS Gender Dysphoria Clinic held at the Soho sexual health centre, 56 Dean Street.

Nevertheless, the blistering backlash against Boyz quickly dented the magazine’s distribution chain – which is tethered to London’s nightlife scene.

Drag Race UK queens Baga Chipz, Cheryl Hole, The Vivienne and Sum Ting Wong joined activist Owen Jones, among others, in criticising Boyz.

While beloved queer bars such as The Vauxhall Tavern, Fringe festival hotspot The Pleasance, Pride in London, Britain’s biggest gay lifestyle store Prowler, the historic Clonezone and menswear brand Molly and Tommy – whose wares only recently appeared on a Boyz front cover – all cut ties with the magazine.

Even 56T, which operates the TransPlus programme covered by Boyz, expressed “disappointment” over the controversy.

Several other queer talents, businesses and advocacy groups also backed away from Boyz.

 

Founders of the LGB Alliance have defended working with the anti-LGBT+ and anti-abortion Heritage Foundation and have refused to denounce its neo-Nazi and homophobic supporters, despite it seeking to position itself as an “LGB rights group”.

On his own Twitter account, of which Bridle specified in his bio are his “personal views”, Bridle both follows and is followed by Malcolm Clark – a combative and firebrand LGB Alliance co-founder who once said LGBT+ clubs in schools shouldn’t exist because of “predatory gay teachers”.

Across a patchwork of tweets, he also expressed support for JK Rowling, whose explosive views on trans people are considered by activists as a “threat to LGBT+ people”, as well as former Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore, who claims to have been “bullied” out of her job due to her views on trans people despite resigning of her own accord.

 

More: Baga Chips, bi pride, Boyz magazine, cheryl hole, lgb alliance, Owen Jones, Pride in London, student pride, Sum Ting Wong, the vivienne, Trans, trans rights, transphobia

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