Boyz editor insists magazine is ‘not transphobic’ as advertisers, stockists and LGBT+ leaders continue to sever ties
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.
After @BoyzMagazine defended an anti-trans hate group, the magazine should be removed from LGBTQ spaces and boycotted by advertisers.
Several LGBTQ companies have already declared they won't work with them anymore.
There's no LGBTQ community without the T.
— Owen Jones ? (@OwenJones84) November 26, 2020
TRANS AND NON BINARY PEOPLE EXIST. AND NO HATE GROUP OR PUBLICATION WILL EVER TAKE THAT AWAY. The Trans community are the most inspirational, bravest people I know. Sending my trans brothers and sisters so much love.
— Baga Chipz (@ChipShopBird) November 26, 2020
Shame on Boyz Mag. Shame on you
— TheVivienne BLM (@THEVIVIENNEUK) November 26, 2020
Trans people exist. Trans people are people. We are all humans so to publicise exclusion of one of our own groups is disgusting! @BoyzMagazine DO BETTER! #TransRightsAreHumanRights #TransLivesMatter ?️⚧️
— Cheryl Hole (@CherylHoleQueen) November 26, 2020
Um….. no, because they are a HATE GROUP!!!! I’m not going to give the Al Qaeda a ‘chance’ am I?! @StonegatePubs @2BrewersClapham @onlyathalfway you give money to this magazine…… https://t.co/exLHHBaUj2
— Sum Ting Wong #bIm (@IsSumTingWong) November 26, 2020
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.
We are very disappointed that @BoyzMagazine are defending a transphobic hate group.
We stand for the whole LGBT+ community & do not tolerate transphobia.
We were due to be interviewed for their next issue. We will not take up this offer or future offers of ads or editorial.
— London Gay Men's Chorus (@LdnGMC) November 26, 2020
I’ve always enjoyed a healthy relationship with Boyz magazine but that ended today when they platformed a hate group. Lots of love to my trans friends and loved ones. In short; fuck ‘em ?
— Myra DuBois (@myradubois) November 26, 2020
#transrightsarehumanrights and we cannot and do not support any person, group or business does not respect this. We haven’t used said magazine for almost a year. That isn’t going to change. ?️⚧️?️??
— Halfway To Heaven (@onlyathalfway) November 26, 2020
Trans people's rights and lives aren't an issue for 'debate'.
When our community offers a platform for transphobia we legitimise it.
This is never ok.
We're disappointed in you @BoyzMagazine.
— National AIDS Trust (@NAT_AIDS_Trust) November 26, 2020
National Student Pride will always support and fight for the Trans community. Trans rights are human rights and not a question up for discussion. Whilst we have worked with @BoyzMagazine in previous years we will be ending any relationship from this point on.
— National Student Pride (@studentpride) November 26, 2020
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.